Driving a car should bring its owner pleasure. What could be better than a warm and comfortable ride in your favorite car? But sometimes our expectations are shattered, and comfortable rides turn into a real ordeal because of shaking and vibration of the steering wheel or even the whole body.
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7 Causes of Vibration in All Wheel Drive Vehicles
On different cars, the nature of the appearance of vibrations is always about the same – it is the wear and tear of the rubbing elements of moving mechanisms. However, when it comes to details, front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive cars may have completely different causes of vibrations.
If your car has four-wheel drive, and you don’t know what the body-beat is related to – most likely, it is one of the following faults:
- Wear on the mechanisms of the bevel gear – the one that transmits torque to the driveshaft and on to the rear axle gearbox and to the wheels themselves;
- Wear of the outboard bearing. There are as many as three of them on some vehicles, and each of them may become the culprit for body shaking. Diagnosing the malfunction is simple – just check the backlash of the driveshaft in the area of each of the bearings;
- The transfer case – wear of the parts. It is also not difficult to identify the impending failure – most often the vibration occurs at speeds above 80 km/h, but with intense wear the body roll may occur at lower speeds. Only a workshop will be able to check and correct the problem;
- Clogging of oil pump of rear drive clutch – rear drive does not engage fully, there is vibration and shaking of the body. Solution – cleaning oil pump screen, flushing system, changing oil;
- Wear of the constant velocity joint – the grease dries out, bearing rubbing parts fail, and more often it simply crumbles, that is why the drive begins to hang around, creating unimaginable vibrations even at low speeds. You can detect this visually. The most dangerous is the wear of telescopic joints of angular speeds, but they are not present on every car;
- Wear of the cruciform joints is a frequent cause of vibration on classic domestic cars, but it also occurs on foreign vehicles, although less frequently. The detail is not repairable – only replacement is needed, diagnosed by increased backlash of the connection;
- Unbalancing of the cardan shaft occurs if it has already been balanced before. The cause is corrosion and falling off of the balancing elements. Solves the problem by rebalancing. Diagnostics is possible only on a specialized stand, as well as changing the geometry of the driveshaft.
Often, problems with elements of rear drive are accompanied by extraneous noises, incorrect operation of all-wheel drive, multiple errors, if electronics controls drive. In any case, you should not postpone repair in case of vibration occurrence.
Other causes of vibration
There are much less problems with front-driven cars, and it is much easier to cope with them for a driver with minimal technical knowledge. Let’s touch upon other causes of vibrations, which may occur on any other type of vehicles, regardless of the drive.
So, statistically, 70-80 percent of all body or steering wheel wobble problems occur because of the wheels. The simplest and most common of these is the buildup of dirt and ice on the inside of the wheel rim, resulting in increased imbalance. The runout can be so severe that many drivers start replacing one part after another, although the solution to the problem is simply cleaning the wheel of dirt.
One option for getting rid of a thick layer of dirt in a hard-to-reach area is to wash the wheels vigorously in the area of contamination.
Detachment of balancing weights from the wheel also leads to vibration, which can be repaired at any tire shop. Only if the impact or collision with a large bump was not bent the same disc, which is most often difficult or impossible to fix completely.
Sometimes the vibrations begin to annoy the driver after the disk has been cracked and welded somewhere in the garage. The weight balance of the wheel in this case is strongly shifted in the direction of the weld, and most often it helps to get rid of vibration completely only by buying a new disc.
Tip! Before you diagnose vibration in your car, do not forget to check the pressure in tires, because different pressure in tires is one of the trivial causes of beating steering at high speeds.
Severe vibration can be caused by improper fitment of the wheel on the hub. First of all, this is due to the high wear of the wheel’s seat and bolt holes. For exact alignment of the wheel, you can buy a special pad in any store or wrap some tape on the hub axle as much as you need so that the disc does not have any free movement when installed in its place. As a rule, the problem disappears after that.
Another problem with the hub is a layer of dirt on its surrounding surface. The wheel sits unevenly and experiences angular movement in space while driving, which creates vibrations on the body and steering wheel. It is enough to thoroughly clean the hub to eliminate the vibration.
On front-wheel-drive vehicles, severe vibration during speeding occurs due to wear of the inner drive shaft grenade. Most often the tripoid joint goes out of order, which can be easily checked by setting the car over the pit. Ideally, there should be no backlash, but if the backlash is more than 1-2 millimeters, it is necessary to repair the unit urgently. The main reasons of breakage – torn dust cap, natural wear and tear, factory defect of product.
Sometimes replacing the drive assembly costs less than installing a separate joint, so if you are not sure if it is the shaft or the grenade joints, you can make a complete drive replacement – in 90 percent of cases this will solve the problem.
You can only determine if the steering joints are faulty with the wheel suspended. The joint should not have even the slightest backlash. If this is not the case, the part must be replaced. You can make the repair yourself, but don’t forget to adjust the alignment of the wheels after it.
And on cars with automatic transmissions, strong vibrations may be connected with failure of torque converter. If everything is alright with drives, and other elements of suspension are normal – most likely it is the problem. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to diagnose the unit visually, so the repair is made only after a thorough check of the car.
The fault of body runout is often caused by the engine. Sometimes it may be a tripping due to a faulty coil or spark plugs. At the same time, the vibration may diminish as the revs increase.
Another problem with the engine is the destruction of the rubber seal in the cushion of its attachment to the body. This can cause shaking and even jolting, which is unsafe and can result in costly repairs if the engine comes off the mount.