Not So Good Vibrations
You know you are getting old when you cannot feel, hear, or see the word “vibrations” without your brain’s playback track automatically kicking in with the Beach Boys song “Good Vibrations.” I’ve burned it into my memory over the years on LP records, cassette tapes, 8-track tapes, compact discs, and now…iTunes. How times have changed…but not tastes. There’s no replacing “Great.”
However, when it comes to your car or truck that vibrating you can feel, hear, and perhaps even “see” is your vehicle telling you something is not right and needs fixing---and right away. Unfortunately, vibrations are often ignored and chalked up to the vehicle “just acting its age.” Especially when the vibrating comes and goes.
That was the message in a useful video from the Toyota Maintenance YouTube channel where the host, Peter, shows how he diagnosed the source of these bad vibrations his customer complained about that occurred when stepping on the gas pedal, but not while coasting.
Vibration Causes Possibilities
Vibrations that develop whenever you accelerate can be due to multiple causes ranging from slap-in-the-head simplicity you don’t know how you missed it, to ones that take a little more effort to diagnose properly and not start firing the parts cannon at the problem until you’ve killed the problem…and your wallet.
The most important point to remember is that even a simple-cause vibration can pose a real hazard to your health and that of others on the road driving near you.
For example, you may be surprised to find that despite your tires look fine and the pressures are within norms, the beginning of a hidden bulging of tire layer separation that can take place and will cause vibrations to occur that don’t manifest until you’ve reached higher speeds. Slow down a bit and it goes away like magic.
The real horror of this simple problem is that it often goes unnoticed like an aortic aneurysm (a ballooning of a weak spot in a major blood vessel) threatening to pop at any moment resulting in almost certain death.
If you think that this might be happening to your vehicle at a suspect wheel, a simple test is to jack-up the wheel until it is just above the concrete. Then spin the wheel and watch what happens. Layer separation that is hard to detect visually will usually cause the tire to be “out-of-round,” meaning that as you spin it (while just a few millimeters off the concrete) the out-of-roundness condition will cause the tire to scrape or stop against the concrete in spots.
Other causes of not-so-good vibrations when accelerating include:
- Wheels out of balance
- Worn CV joint(s)
- Damaged driveshaft or prop shaft
- Engine misfiring
- Faulty fuel injector(s)
- Faulty Oxygen sensor
- Worn engine or gearbox mounts
- Faulty gearbox
Watch and Learn
That said, here are two recommended videos to shed more light on the problem of not-so-good vibrations.
The first video is that of Peter doing his show and tell diagnosis of a Toyota Tacoma. The second video is another YouTube channel video well worth watching as it provides good visuals and explanations of what you should be looking for and how to go about diagnosing a possible source of vibrations whenever accelerating your car.
Vibrations When Accelerating
8 Causes Car Shakes When Accelerating
For additional articles related to diagnosing a problem with your car or truck, here are a few for your consideration:
- Exhaust Smoke Diagnosis Explained in Detail
- 3 Simple Tests to Diagnose This Common Used Car Problem
- Quick 5 Minutes of Diagnosing a Used American Car with a German Engine That Won’t Start
Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on “Zen and the Art of DIY Car Repair” website, the Zen Mechanic blog and on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.
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Image source: Deposit Photos