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Gas Pedal Vibration


Last Edited: April 17, 2007, 9:43 pm

As some of you know, in Nov my Hyundai died and I had to rent a car. Although I had lots of problems with my Sonata, which was always breaking down, the ride was always very smooth.  It was also under warranty during most of the problems, although I got sick & tired of living at the Hyundai dealership.

So I finally found a pre-owned 2006 Camry with about 18,000 miles on it.  It's been running okay, but it never felt very comfortable to me.  So in Jan I decided to take it to my local Toyota dealer for the 25,000 service (it had 21,000) and they changed the oil and rotated the wheels, and whatever cost me $69 plus.  I noticed a slight vibration when driving and they said I needed a wheel balance.  One person said that perhaps the car was out of alignment and that didn't show up until the tires were rotated. Anyway, I made the mistake of taking the car to Walmart to save a little money.  At least they didn't charge me, since the mechanic couldn't seem to balance the wheels correctly and suggested I take the car back to the dealer.

About 2 weeks ago I had a 4 wheel balance for $39.95 and was told I needed an alignment because the car was pulling to the right.  I didn't notice it too much before the tires were balanced, but I also didn't want to take a chance on wearing them out, so last week I took the car back for an alignment. I figured this would be my last visit to the service department for a long time.

Well I'm trying not to go crazy from the pain the vibrations are causing in my back which is setting off my sciatica, but I feel as if someone just plugged me into an electrical socket.  After the alignment, I felt as if the car was pulling to the left!  When I drive, even at 20 mph, it feels as if I am driving on a dirt road with lots of bumps and the vibes transfer from the gas pedal through my leg.  The steering wheel is not shimmering at all, fast speeds don't make it any worse, and the car seems to drive straight except for the slight left pull.

What could be causing this?  I bought the Camry because everyone I know told me it's the best car made and I'll be driving it for the next 10 years.  Now I wish I had bought the Malibu that was $4,000 less.  I'll never be able to suffer like this for the next 5 years or at least until I pay down the loan at little.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.  I'm wondering if there is something wrong with the front end.

Entry #52


Comment by pacattack05 - April 17, 2007, 9:42 pm
Stop Whining...LOL
Comment by pacattack05 - April 17, 2007, 10:02 pm

Comment by pacattack05 - April 17, 2007, 10:04 pm
All joking aside...I know how you feel. I get it twice a year now. From the left side of my hip down to my foot.
My sciatica is bad!!!!
Rick GComment by Rick G - April 17, 2007, 10:34 pm
Nancy, it depends on how "slight" the pull is. If it is indeed just a slight pull, then it's probably nothing to worry about. I took my van in for an alignment and ended up needing ball joints and tie rods. It still has a slight drift to the left but it's no big deal.

You can tell how good your alignment is by the position of your steering wheel when you're driving in a straight line. The steering wheel's features (grips, logo, etc.) should be horizontally level.

If you had other front end problems, most repair shops would insist on fixing those problems before doing an alignment.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 17, 2007, 11:51 pm
Thanks, Rick.   My car would travel in a straight line with no steering wheel vibration before the alignment, but they told me I needed one. I even drove it at 80mph on the interstate and it was okay, but once in a while the tires felt as if they were "slipping" under me. Now I feel everything. I thought that perhaps the tires weren't wearing evenly. The service advisor seems honest. In fact, the reason I went to the back to the dealer (instead of the lower priced repair shop) for the alignment is because he called to offer me a free wheel cover. The ones I have retail for $75 each. During my previous service I noticed a bad scrape, although I didn't make a big deal out of it. I just never noticed it before. I thought that was really nice of him, so I canceled my appt at the other place & just asked if the dealer would match their price. However, it's so hard knowing what to do when you need to depend on someone else for a diagnosis. Too bad we can't plug our cars into our computers and find out what's wrong. I'm not concerned about the car as much as I'm very uncomfortable driving it. After spending over $100 for the 4 wheel balance and the 4 wheel alignment, I really was hoping it would be a smooth ride. Pac, I'm not whining. I've had this pain 24/7 for over 20 years since a bad fall, but sometimes it's unbearable, so I try to avoid irritating it. Of course stress exacerbates any physical pain.
truecriticComment by truecritic - April 18, 2007, 2:44 am
I would suggest taking it back to the dealer and see if either the mechanic or service mgr will go for a test drive.   Also, you might get a tire store to take a look for free - at least you will get a 2nd opinion. I have had mostly good results with tire stores - and a few that were not up to par.

Virbration can be from worn steering parts. Out of balance. Tires that are worn uneven. Also, since tires are all radial tires now, when rotated, the belts could have slipped.   Could also be a bent wheel.   Those are all personal experiences that I have gone through.   Since I am only a weekend mechanic, I am sure there are other possibles.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 18, 2007, 2:48 am
Thanks, TC. I'm just totally frustrated, since the car was really driving okay but I wanted to have it checked out to make sure everything was working properly. All the shaking started after the January service, so the rotation probably had something to do with it or something done to the breaks when they were checked. However, I'm not getting any vibrations from the brake pedal, just the accelerator. Just seems too bumpy. If it didn't hurt my back so much, I would just forget about it.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - April 18, 2007, 7:25 am
I agree with true critic on possible problems.
Also when rotating steel belted tires I understand the tires are to be kept on the same side of the car.
I understand when steel belts are put on new The steel belts will flex according to the direction of the rotation. Changing from one side of car to other side changes the rotation of the tire.
Rick GComment by Rick G - April 18, 2007, 10:30 am
What JAP and truecritic say is very true. When I had my alignment and tire rotation the mechanic had to try a couple different rotation schemes to get a smooth ride.

Tire rotation is more blown up than it should be. The only effective way to do it is every 5 to 6 thousand miles religiously from the day you bought the tires. In my opinion, it's better to leave the tires in place and replace the front tires twice as often as the rear tires.
SirMetroComment by SirMetro - April 18, 2007, 11:04 am
One other note. Find a mechanic who will inspect your car from top to bottom and give you a written report. This typically is not free (should cost between $50 to $100). Use his (or her) unbias report with the dealer to address the problems with your car. Also, make sure the "Service Advisor" understands the pain your feeling (take a small ball pin hammer with you and offer to hit him on the spine so he gets the drift of just how bad you hurt, oh, but don't really hit him, just offer to). Also, keep in mind, "Service Advisors" are nothing more then sales men in disguise with the intent to "sale" their service to you. So yes, they will always "appear" honest. As House would say "Everybody Lies".
If you feel like your "slipping" while driving down the road, you may need different tires. Bad tires combined with slick roads (rain/oil/etc...) can create a "slipping feeling". Believe me, after spinning out a few times on the Interstate (and a few major highways, it's a sick feeling when your helplessly spinning with no control in your car on the road). Even if the tires look new, they don't always grip the road well. Next time you actually need tires (or if you can afford to now), go to Pepboys or NTB and ask for "all-weather, high traction" tires. Pepboys have some really good deals starting at $30 a tire. BTW...I love Pepboys for most automotive work. They warrant all their work, they do a great job and they are typically cheaper then most dealers.
For more info regarding cars, check out any of the following web sites:
   http://www.kudzu.com <-- See if anyone is local to your area. This site sometimes have reviews of the local repair shops and in some cases, the Shops pay attention to what is posted here and will do whatever it takes to get a positive post from their customers. It also lists "woman friendly" repair shops as well. I found one where the Customer posted a complaint, then a few days later, revised it with a note telling just how incredible the Shop was in making everything right.
In regards to tire rotation, all I do is throw away the rear tires, put the front on the back and buy new front tires.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 18, 2007, 11:14 am
Thanks everyone. I said from the beginning that the tire rotation caused the problem. I had 2 new tires put on the car when it was purchased (or so I was told) and didn't want them rotated in January, since they only had a few thousand miles on them. It was part of the scheduled service. Then when I mentioned the vibration that suddenly happened, I was told the alignment was probably already way off but I didn't notice it until the tires were rotated?? Going to Walmart was a mistake, but I honestly feel everything was okay before I spent the money on the balancing and the alignment. I haven't hit any potholes or curbs and this was all done at Tire Kingdom when I bought the car. Sorry for adding this, but it's hard to write everything when trying to explain a long story. I did feel something wasn't comfortable, but now I wish I had left it alone. Still, the car drove much, much smoother before all this work. It didn't surge (almost red line) either until my first service appointment when they put in some kind of additive. I'm really not a whiner, but I've never paid so much for a car and had a $300+ car payment and am getting very depressed that it's not what I expected. I hope I can get this resolved.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 18, 2007, 11:36 am
I want to add:
Called the dealership just now and was told I need to make an appointment to have the shop foreman test drive it with me. I'd rather he drive it alone, although I'm not sure if my 120 lbs in the passenger seat will make a difference. Anyway, I'll have to sit tight until Monday, since he's off this week. At least one thing I can say is their service department has been very responsive. If it is the tires, then I just wasted all money trying to fix a problem that wasn't fixable.
Comment by pacattack05 - April 18, 2007, 12:04 pm
One suggestion is to get a car history report. It shows whether the car was in an accident, among other things.
I forget the link, but go online and type those words.
If it was in an accident and was fixed to look good, and the dealer didn't tell you, you have a case.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 18, 2007, 4:31 pm
Pac, before I bought the car I had a complete CarFax report run. But thanks for mentioning it.

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