Elantra steering wheel wobble/vibration

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2002 Elantra with 180,000 km highway driving...
Here's the problem but my dealer and another garage have yet to solve the problem. I'm getting tired of paying to try things without a solution in
sight...
- steering wheel wobbles at lower speeds - at higher speeds it's a vibration - sometimes pulls to the left sometimes slightly to the right.. sometimes not at all.
Here's what's been tried so far:
- Tie rod ends needed changing (Possibly unrelated) - Several allignments (thankfully i didn't have to pay for all of them) - Several tire balancings - 4 new tires.. problem went away for a few weeks but is back again - Re-balance made no difference
I suggested the rims may be the problem but i've been told several times that the balancing would sort that out... but balancing is really the fix if it was only a high speed issue right?
Any ideas or suggestions?
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wrote:

axles, that trying to get rid of the vibrations is a problem.
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If your wheel is bent, balancing may not sort things out well enough.
If it went away when the new tires were installed, I'd expect it to be a tire issue. It's possible that one of the tires is defective and not round or has a shifted belt or something. I'd expect primary assistance from the tire installer; i.e. the problem is likely due to the tires, so they should probably be checking and fixing the problem for free, if indeed tire related.
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jmh_ottawa wrote:

That sounds like a bent wheel or a tires that's either worn unevenly or improperly mounted.

That would be consistent with the low speed wobble.

That sounds like worn front ball joints or tie rod ends.

If the tie rod ends are worn, attempting to align the car is an exercise in futility. No reputable shop would do it.

Are they wearing evenly? If the alignment is off, uneven wear will result and cause the problem

If it's a wear problem, that wouldn't be surprising.
How do you drive the car? Aggressive cornering, wheelspinning acceleration and hard stopping can all cause wear issues and/or internal tire problems.
It sounds to me like the tires are the most likely culprit. If you had a seriously bent wheel, you would feel the wobble no matter what. Jack up the car and check to see if the tires hop or wobble when you spin them. Look for uneven tread wear. If you see any of these, you've probably found your culprit.
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I've had several new tires on the car so an actualy tire problem is becoming improbably. I've been told that it's a possible belt shift but on 6 tires on the same car.. how many times can you replace tires at a cost and keep being told it's the belts.
We're talking about 4 brand new tires that have seen less than 5,000 km... all recently re-balanced after the initial installation.
After the tie-rod ends were replaced a while back an alignment was done.. none of this work seemed to have any effect so i took it back and asked they re-check the alignement... which they did and said was fine.
At that point the focus shifted to tires... the two rear tires were getting old so at this point ok 4 new tires and a re-balancing it is...
Yes the problem did seem to go away but only for about 2-3 weeks at which point the problem returns.
After visiting my dealer and another garage...no one can really give me an answer and i get comments like "well there's not much else it can be"... i've changed tires, tie rod ends, had multiple alignment and balancings done.
I've been told that balancing would take care of any rim issue and that changing rims would be pointless but i'm starting to get tired at throwing money at a problem that isn't going away. So far it's getting close to $1000 over the past 6 months or so.
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I've had the same IDENTICAL problem on my Kia Sedona van since it was new in 2003. I kept taking it back but they never could fix it. Replaced tires twice. Did a tire load test. Alignments galore. The tires wear evenly and I've had them replaced once after 30,000 miles. Still wobbles at slow speeds on the steering wheel. This is from day one. I just live with it until I trade it in. The Kia dealer is totally useless after taking it back for oil changes and scheduled maintenance and complaining about the wobble each time.
Tom

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50:08) about "Re: Elantra steering wheel wobble/vibration":
j> We're talking about 4 brand new tires that have seen less than 5,000 j> km... j> all recently re-balanced after the initial installation.
j> After the tie-rod ends were replaced a while back an alignment was j> done.. none of this work seemed to have any effect so i took it back j> and asked they re-check the alignement... which they did and said was j> fine.
j> At that point the focus shifted to tires... j> the two rear tires were getting old so at this point ok 4 new tires and j> a re- balancing it is...
j> Yes the problem did seem to go away but only for about 2-3 weeks at j> which point the problem returns.
j> After visiting my dealer and another garage...no one can really give me j> an answer and i get comments like "well there's not much else it can j> be"... j> i've changed tires, tie rod ends, had multiple alignment and balancings j> done.
Jim
In all these discussions l am yet to see any mention of rotating the wheels. Either l missed that in your posts or it was the only thing you did not do for this problem.
l agree with others that the focus is on the wheels / tires," and since the tires have been changed I can only suspect that you may have a bent rim or two in front.
Wheel balancing should show up side to side variations from true but maybe it did not.
Why not rotate the wheels and tell us if that made a difference?
Best Regards
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jmh_ottawa wrote:

There's a difference between belt shift and uneven wear. The former WOULD be improbable on six tires, but the latter would be very probably if there is an underlying problem with the alignment or worn front end parts (joints).

It doesn't take long to trash a tire if the alignment or balance is out.

Who did the alignment? I've found that shops that specialize in alignment are far more likely to do a good job than dealers or tire stores. In particular, chain tire stores - or any chain stores - tend to be problematic.

If the work has been done properly, that's true. For balancing, find a shop with a Hunter balancing machine and a technician that knows how to use it. Again, dealers and many tire stores - chains in particular - are lousy at this.

Unless there is a visible wobble in one of your rims, that's not the problem.
Here are a couple of other possibilities:
- One or more of the brake rotors could be badly out of balance (I've heard of this happening with Elantras). If that's the case, no amount of balancing of the wheels will solve the problem, unless they're done on the car (not common these days). Even then, when you rotate your tires, you'll have to get them re-balanced.
- The lug nuts may be over-torqued, under-torqued or inconsistently torqued. If they were not installed using a torque wrench, they're not likely to be correctly torqued. A reputable tire/wheel shop will ALWAYS use a torque wrench on lugs.
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As well, bad shocks will cause tire problems. Have you (the OP) looked at the shocks yet?

Though I've never seen torque related problems be as common as the concern for them, it remains that today's wheels do indeed want to be torqued. Rotors can be warped from improper torque. It's not as big of a problem as it is given credit for, but it is an area to look at when running out of ideas.
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The alignements were done at the dealer and another garage.. both said they were slightly out but not by much.
The rotors had been changed not too long ago but that was well after the problem first showed up and has had no effect since.
The wheels have been rotated so many times that i now don't know where they were originally when the problem first started.
Now i think about it more the rims themselves may be the issue as when they were once rotated i do remember having a heck of a time getting them off the rear. Perhaps they were damaged at that time... although i do remember mentioning this to the tech's and they said a balancing should sort that out..
One thing i've yet to try is a st of new rims if only on the front to start.
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When wheels don't come of easily, a big hammer is the tool of choice. No, balancing won't make them straight again. Have you tried raising the wheel and spinning it with an indicator in place? Does not have to be fancy, a couple of pieces of wood and a dowel that just about touches the rim.
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I think the first step is to verify the rims aren't the problem... i'll likely wait till this storm passes and i get some nicer weather before checking them out... if a new ones are needed then rims don't cost too much but it's a place to start and it would give me some peace of mind that they have at least been checked.
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In article

We had the exact problem you describe with my wife's 2001 Elantra. It was at the dealer for warranty work so, while it was there, I had them mount and balance a brand new set of Kumho ECSTA 714s. Almost immediately we noticed the steering wheel wobble. Several returns to the dealer for rebalancing and a 4 wheel alignment were fruitless.
Finally, I brought it to my regular mechanic who, after remounting and rebalancing them, ran a dial indicator on the edge of the wheels and discovered that 3 of the 4 were out of round. No salvage yard in my area had any wheels for car and the dealer wanted an insane figure for new wheels (I think it was over 120 USD each), so I ended up getting some American Racing aluminum alloy wheels for $70 each. End of wobble.
BTW, the Kumhos are light years better than the Michelin MXV4s that they replaced.
John
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Excellent. It's good to see a conclusive diagnosis to a problem like this, rather than the approach that seems to go the route of do more alignments, rotate the tires, do more alignments, do four wheel alignments, do more, rotate thetires again... ad infitum. So much effort is wasted in these types of efforts. Four wheel alignments being one of the more abused things.
Most cars that can benefit at all from a rear wheel alignment can only allow for a camber adjustment in the rear. Camber is not the culprit in most vibration related problems, yet too many owners suffer through, or worse... pay for multiple four wheel alignments in pursuit of problems like this.
Hats off to your mechanic. Go buy that guy a beer.

Isn't it a shame how many tires are so much better than Michelins, at far lower price points?
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I agree mike i've almost fallen into that trap but as you say how many times can you check the same thing. I know balancing and alignments are renounded for being "easy money". I'll definetly be getting the rims checked by someone who can actually measure them correctly.
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You know it. I've used the guy for years and, if I had a functioning brain, I would have waited until the car was out of the dealer and had him mount the tires in the first place. The new alloys do look good, though.

It is. I've about had it with the MXV4s on my '03 Sonata. I may try a set of Kumho KH16s although the reviews on the Yokohama Avid series look pretty good, too.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

No, a big hammer is a BAD choice. See my other post for simple, safe ways to break stuck rims free.

Exactly.
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wrote:

car. once you have all these eccentric circles out of whack you will never get it right.
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jmh_ottawa wrote:

Did they do a four wheel alignment or just the front?

Then their not likely to be the problem.

That may eliminate balance as the cause.

That's not uncommon, as the Hyundai rims fit the hubs tightly. If you clean off the mating surfaces and apply an anti-corrosion product, you shouldn't have the problem again. BTW, the easiest way I've found to loosen the wheels it to remove the lugs and whack the upper part of the tire with your hand from the outside. That usually pops them right off and won't damage anything. If the wheel is really stick, you can loosen the lugs SLIGHTLY and drive the car a SHORT distance to break the wheels free, then remove them normally.

Unless you really wailed on the rims with a hammer, they shouldn't be damaged. Balancing won't help a bent rim.
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I did recently rotate the tires and have everything re-balanced so it's unlikely that it's a balancing issue... That somewhat even brings into question a rim issue but it's the most obvious place to start consiering that i'm fairly happy that it's not the tires themselves.
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