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Toyota 4Runner Vibrations

I have a 2002 4Runner that has recently developed a vibration at freeway speeds. I purchased new tires about two months before the vibration started. I have been back to the place where I bought my tires and the assure me that they are balanced.
I have been dealing with this problem for the past couple of months and have been getting nowhere. When I took my 4Runner into the dealership to get the lower ball joint replaced I spoke with the service folks about the vibration problem and all I got in response was "we've never heard of that before".
I guess that I'm looking for any ideas or experiences as to what the problem might be.
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Comments

  • bobgordonbobgordon Posts: 156
    Is the vibration felt through the steering wheel, back-end of the truck or throughout the whole vehicle?

    It could be a number of things but since you say it happens at "highway speeds", it sounds like it could be a driveshaft issue.
    Is there any noise (i.e. clunk, squeaking, etc.) on turns?
    It also might be a motor/trans mount.

    Check the front driveshafts and CV joints, rear driveshaft and u-joints and mounts.

    It's rather difficult to diagnose over the net but these are a few things to look at.

    Good luck!
  • The vibration is felt through the steering wheel and also to a lesser degree the rest of the vehicle. It starts at about 60 mph and isn't constant. Meaning that the vibration varies in intensity. There aren't any noises associated with the vibration. Going around corners/curves doesn't seem to have an affect on the vibration. I've tried to experiment a little with acceleration and decelaration and it might get a little worse during acceleration but it is difficult to tell.
    Anyway, thanks for the help. I managed to wrangle a friend of mine thats a mechanic for a Toyota dealership to take it for a spin and see what he thinks as well. But I will definitely bring up the items that you suggested.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    Sounds like badly balanced tires. These rims are notoriously difficult to balance - it took me two different tries at two different places last time I bought tires, before it was right.

    You would feel badly balanced front tires through the steering wheel, and badly balanced rear wheels as a kind of distant vibration/shimmy in the rear end. And both would be most noticeable at highway speeds.

    A bad driveshaft feels more like a kind of drumming under your seat, and can get pretty alarming at 60-70 mph if the U-joints are shot.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • I just purchased 2 new 2006 4runners. An SR5 4wd for my wife, and a Sport Edition for myself. Both V6. They both have a vibration in the steering column. I went back to the dealer and drove another one, and it also has a vibration. The service manager at the dealership then drove another new 4runner, and acknowledges that there is definitely a vibration radiating thru the steering column. He then contacted the local Toyota rep, who says that this is a "CHARACTERISTIC" of the vehicle!!!!!!! Unbeliveable. I guess Characterisic is Japanese for DEFECT!!!!!! I contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission and filed two complaints, one for each vehicle. We need more people to file complaints before Toyota will do anything to fix this obvious defect. Over $70,000 in 2 vehicles and they are telling me that a constant vibration is a "characteristic"!!! It is NOT tire balance. Gauranteed. My guess is motor mounts or engine vibration. You can really feel it when you accelerate. Too get a real dose of it, try putting two fingers on the headlight stalk while holding the steering wheel with you left hand. You can really feel it. I am now thinking about engaging the Oregon Lemon Law and going into Arbitration to give both vehicles back to them. Only have 1800 miles on the SR5 and 700 on the Sport Edition. Absolutely absurd for Toyota to take this attitude with an obvious problem. My sport edition also will not track. It either goes left, or veers to the right. No such thing as straight ahead. Feel like I am driving drunk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission advised me that they have another complaint on the veering to the right, veering to the left. I am not a happy camper with my 2 new Toyotas!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • No vibration on my 2003 V6.

    I too have (had) the tracking issue. Crosswinds don't help any either. Not being able to steer a straight line has driven me nuts since after I made my purchase, mostly because my two prior Chevrolet's did the same thing and I thought this wouldn't be an issue with a Toyota. I didn't notice it during the test drive. For whatever reason, as I've put more miles on the vehicle, the tracking is better, but not perfect. Mine isn't bad enough to have an issue with Toyota. I guess GM products have me brainwashed.
  • There are several things that could cause the tracking issue and I am not all that familiar with my 2006 suspension system so I am going to have to rely on my dealer to investigate and see what gives. Toyota's determination that the vibration radiating thru the steering column is "charisteristic" is what has me really riled up!! Kind of disturbing, though, to discover that somebody else had already filed a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission regarding the tracking issue on the 2006 Sport Edition. I have always been a Toyota fan, but this attitude that is being exhibited by Toyota is starting to turn me absolutely sour on them. I have owned almost every make of vehicle( bought them all new), including, but not limited to, Mercedes, BMW, Lincoln, Volvo, Buick, Chevrolet, Ford, Jeep, etc. They all have their faults, but the only car company that I have ever been totally stonewalled by was Ford (Fix Or Repair Daily- Found On Roadside Dead!)A real horror story. I can only hope that enough 2006 Toyota 4Runner owners will complain about the vibration so Toyota will have to do something before I become involved in the long and tedious process in filing under the Lemon Law.
  • Just a follow-up on my vibration problem. The problem was resolved by getting new tires and having them "road force" balanced. The guy that installed/balanced the tires told me that having problems balancing tires on a Toyota is fairly common.
  • I sure wish that tires was my problem!! My wife's sr5 has Michelin cross terrains and my Sport Edition has lousy Dunlop Grandtrek AT20's. Having raced cars for several years I can gaurantee that tires are not the problem with all of these 2006 4runners. Motor mounts, driveline, engine vibration (camshaft?) are possiblities, but even Toyota cannot figure out the problem. I am glad that your problem was resolved thru tire balance. I am the "King" of tire balancing!! Had almost every kind of balance problem you can mention. I had a Mercedes that was almost impossible to get the tires balanced on, and I found that the Hoffman hi speed on the car balancing worked somewhat, but not totally foolproof. Tire balance is very easy to ascertain. Many people confuse tire balance with a driveline that is out of balance; had my driveline balanced 3 times on my Isuzu Trooper. Chronic problem. Anyway, if anybody reading this has a 2006 4runner and has this vibration please let me know. My son has a 2004 sport edition with no vibration. My daughter drives a 2002 sr5 with no vibration problem, but like I said earlier, every 2006 that we have driven has this same defect. Thanks.
  • Hi,
    I got the same problem with 06 sport. Went to the delaer 4 times and nothing happened. I called corporate office and i got nothing from them too. I think the problem is the tires. I am trying to get new tires M/S only, donloop AT sucks !!!!
  • Is your problem only at Highway speeds, or do you have a vibration that radiates thru the steering column at all speeds? Mine is there all the time and increases when you step on the accelerator. Toyota put $800 worth of tires on my wifes SR5 and $400 worth of tires on the Sport Edition,with the Sport Edition stickering at $3000 more than the SR5!! Does not make sense. I was going to put a set of the Michelin Cross Terrains on my Sport Edition, but my wifes SR5 has the same constant vibration that my Sport Edition has so we are going to wind up filing under the Oregon Lemon Law for relief on these two junkers!!!!!!!
  • vibration strats after 30. I think the problem is the tires. I test drove the same car with the same tires and u feel the same vibration. My frind has 4runner 05 and he has M/S tires and no vibration at all. If they wont replace my tires i will go with Lenon Law.

    Thanks.
  • Just a suggestion: Why don't you and your friend, with the 2005 4Runner, swap wheels (and tires) to see if you still have the vibration? If you don't then you know definitely that it is the in the wheel/tire combination.
  • I haven't been on this site since late '05 when I gave up trying to understand my vibrating steering wheel. I have a '05 Limited 4WD and have EXACTLY the same symptoms you describe. I didn't notice it on the test drive...too busy looking at rest of car I guess. The resonance/vibration occurs all the time and is different than a tire problem...very noticeable by putting a finger on the tilt lever on the steering column. I finally decided just to live with it...it's my wife's car and she doesn't really notice it (she's less picky than I am). May sound goofy, but there is one spot on my steering wheel where the vibrations are cancelled out...roughly the 5 o'clock position. I do most of my driving holding that spot. Let me know if you find any solution to the problem. Lexus had some kind of similar problem with their GX 470 and they designed a retrofit fix. Link to Lexus discussion on topic below.
    http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=7269&
    Good luck.
  • Both of our 2006 4runners ( SR5 and Sport Edition-Both V6) have this constant vibration in the steering wheel. My wife mistakenly thought it was road surface causing the vibration thru the tires, but IT IS NOT!! The vibration really comes in when you press on the accelerator. I have noticed that the vibration also seems to be more pronounced when going thru a curve. I am convinced that this is engine vibration, possibly motor mounts. If not motor mounts, then it is coming direct from the engine. Toyota still saying that it is "a characteristic" of the vehicle!!! I am taking both vehicles in to the dealer 3 times and then I am filing for arbitration under the Oregon Lemon Law. Will post the results when they are available. I do not know how long this will take. If Toyota were to tell me that they are trying to find a solution to this annoyance, I would just wait for a fix. However, they have the atttitude that I should just accept this obvious defect and keep my big mouth shut. $70,000 for 2 autos that are absolutely unpleasant to drive!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,572
    You might be able to get the dealer to swap the tires with a different set/brand to rule them out. Be an interesting test to compare the two with different tires on each.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • tiemtiem Posts: 6
    Toyota has a lot of vibrations on their cars these days. There is vibration at the brake pedal every time I step on the brake for my 06 4Runner. They changed the Brake master cylinder, but the vibration is still there. My lawyer just submitted a repurchase under a California Lemon Law. I think I got a lemon on my 06 4Runner too.
  • I think Toyota is selling pure JUNK these days.. I have a pending arbitration hearing at dealer's place. Then i will come to know what is the next pain toyota has for me. I now regret trading my 2005 fully loaded TL with this junk, non-fixable 4 runner crap that always vibrates only on the driver side.
    Service manager told me that all SUV's have vibrations. Because 4 runner is a TRUE truck so it has vibrations. I even wonder how Edmunds actually rate this junk among best suv's.
  • jokol2jokol2 Posts: 27
    The service manager told you that ALL Suv's have vibrations!!???? I have been driving 4 wheelers since 1973 and have owned Suburbans, Blazers, Jeeps,Isuzus, Toyotas. He is literally full of baloney!!!!!!!!!!!!! These 2006 4Runners that my wife and I are driving are the first vehicles that we have ever had a vibration problem with. Toyota is trying to hide from what I suspect is a serious defect. I have constant vibration when I touch the accelerator and am now feeling the vibration not only thru the steering column but also thru the brake pedal!!! Kind of scary. Toyota describing all of this as a "characteristic" of the vehicle. As I previously stated on this forum, Characteristic must be Japanese for DEFECT!!! I have one more visit to the dealer before I can legally file for arbitration under the Oregon Lemon Law but the sooner the better!! I only have 1200 miles on my Sport Edition and my wife has 2600 miles on her SR5. Will post more as this ridiculous situation progresses. I wish more 4Runner owners would file complaints. Too many people are accepting of this obvious defect and Toyotas claim of "normal".
  • jokol2jokol2 Posts: 27
    It is NOT your tires!!! My wife's SR5 has Michelin Crossterrains and my Sport Edition has the Dunlop Grandtrek. The vibration comes thru the steering column as a "fine vibration", and has absolutely nothing to do with your tires!!! I raced cars for 2 years and at one time had 42 tires in my garage. I have experienced just about every kind of tire "out of balance" that you can describe. This vibration is NOT tires!!! My personal opinion is that it is either in the engine or the engine mounts. The vibration in both of ours decreases when you let off the gas pedal and increases when you step back on the gas pedal. The service manager at the dealership where we bought my wifes SR5 drove a new one off the lot and told me the same exact thing; vibration decreases when you let off the gas and increases when you step on the gas. I also notice that the vibration increases when you go up a hill which indicates to me that you are putting a load on the engine and that is causing the increased vibration. In Oregon, if you cannot get the same problem resolved in 3 trys in the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first, you have the right to apply for either your money back or another vehicle. You have to go into arbitration to get this accomplished. What I am going to check into is whether or not the arbitration is final. If they find against you, can you then pursue this thru the courts?? You should report this problem to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission. The phone number is toll free; 1-888-327-4236. Your owners manual even suggests this option. The more people who complain, the better we all are. Not knowing the exact problem is very disconcerting to me. Could it possibly be the brakes!!???? Who knows. Toyota cannot tell us the source of the problem and do not seem to care about finding it. Very discouraging. Your complaint to the Highway Traffic commission is confidential. They will not tell anyone who complained so don't worry about any repercussions from anybody. I made it known at my dealership that I filed a complaint. Please let me know how you come out with this. Be sure that whoever drives it puts their finger on the headlight stalk when they are driving because that is the most sensitive part on the steering column, at least it is on both of ours.
  • I have just encountered the same thing on my brand new 06 SR5 V8 AWD. I notice a vibration from the steering wheel and from the gas pedal. Exactly as outlined above. When accelerating it grows in intensity. I am in California and will have to have them look at it.

    I am beginning to regret my 34K purchase here.

    SH
  • jokol2jokol2 Posts: 27
    Unfortunately, ALL 2006 4Runners have the same defect. Toyota is hiding from it and that really gets my motor going!!! You will get the run around and probably be told the same thing I have been told on both of our 2006 4runners; it is a "characteristic" of the vehicle!! You should call the National Highway Traffic Safety commission and file a complaint. That is the only way we are going to get Toyota to step up to the plate. The phone number is in your owners manual. Good luck and please post the results of your meeting with the dealer here for all of us to read.
  • vg245vg245 Posts: 4
    Just swaped the tires. Little better, but still the same problem. Going to the dealer again and i think Lemon Law is waiting for me. I am just so upset with this car. I miss my old maxima.
  • Does anyone know if the 2007's have the same issue? Did they fix it?

    I am pretty much going to go to the Sales Manager and Service Manager and advise them that here in Cali.. there are a million Lawyers who would love to work for me to get me out of the 4runner under Cali Lemon Law, plus added punitive damages. I will bring in the 4 runner every day to have the vibration issue looked at. I will have it tested at an independant garage as well. For my 34K I am willing to take the time and energy to get this resolved.

    Thanks

    SH
  • jokol2jokol2 Posts: 27
    The dealer cannot do anything for you. You have to get Toyota to "belly up to the bar"!! Since Toyota is denying any culpability, you will probably have to do like I am doing and file under the lemon law. If enough people would contact the National Highway Traffic Safety commission and file a complaint like I did, they will investigate this problem and they can make Toyota fulfill their obligation to us buyers. Complain, Complain, Complain!!! It only takes a few minutes on the phone and can only help the cause, not hurt. The fellow at the Highway Safety commission said they need more complaints in order to do anything. Toyota cannot say that this is not a safety issue since they claim no knowledge of any problem and do not know what is causing this vibration. Engine Mounts? Brakes?? Who knows. The dealer just drives the vehicle and admits to there being a vibration and states each time that Toyota claims this to be a "characteristic". We need to keep in touch about what Toyota will or will not do to resolve this nightmare. I hate driving this junker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I agree. I have already written the NHTSC number down and will be giving them a call. What is weird, is that all of these review auto buying guides didn't mention this. Toyota will only care once it starts hitting their bottom line, and sales of the 4runner start to drop off.

    Honestly I did not read the 4runner problems etc... on this forum before I purchased the 4runner, as I was too busy focusing on getting the best deal. However like those before me, I am upset at the what I now believe is a "snow job" by Toyota.

    One of the reasons I got a 4runner was for safety. This is now in question, especially if we do not know if this vibration can or has caused accidents in the past.

    Has anyone tried the Lexus GX470 TSB that i have seen thrown around in the forums?

    SH
  • tbowentbowen Posts: 1
    Hello, I just found this site today. Thought I'd add my experience(s)....I have an '05 SR5 4 wheel drive 4 Runner. Bought it with 4500 miles on it. I have had MORE trouble with the darn thing. I have had the sunroof worked on 4 times, still isn't right. I have a serious vibration problem in the steering wheel on the highway at speeds over 55-60 mph. Funny thing is I don't notice it as much on a really smooth road but the least little uneven-ness really sets it off. I have the original tires on it (Dunlop), I have 23,000 miles on my car and already need new tires. I tried rotating the tires, having them aligned and balanced etc etc. Nothing helps and it has progressed to the point it feels very unstable on the highway and scary. I don't drive off road or do anything "hard" on my tires. My husband hates Toyotas now from this experience and is in the process of making a trade from the 4 Runner to a Ford Explorer. He fears it will cause a wreck, can't afford those expensive tires every 23,000 miles, and the warranty will run out and still not be fixed. The local Toyota shop hates to see me coming, they think I'm a pain and swear no one else has problems with their 4 Runner like I do. I had a limited 2002 4 Runner prior to this and that car was awesome! I think when they changed body styles they really messed up, the newer ones just aren't even close to the previous ones-2002 and prior- as far as quality,reliability etc. Now I wish I'd just kept my '02 4 Runner, I know that car would go for many more years! I wish you all luck in fixing your vehicles, I just don't have any more patience or time to fight Toyota. I need a car I can depend on. Toyota lost a huge fan in me, unless and until they stand up and treat customers right and stand behind their products and go back to quality vehicles like they once did, I will not buy another Toyota!
  • nelsoncmnelsoncm Posts: 103
    I just test drove a Limited v8 4runner and was loving it, right up until I got about 60 mpg and started noticing a shimmy in the steering wheel. The sales manager I was with seemed surprised and wouldn't let me take it on the freeway to further investigate (though he said I could do it another day, just had to put a plate on the car for legal reasons.) Then I remembered I had read about this problem on Edmunds. Damn! I loved everything else about the car. I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee and was looking to trade it because while I love the car, it is so uncomfortable for this petite 5ft 2 woman to drive -- (seats sit high and the pedals are too far to the left for me). The 4 runner is much better suited to me, the seats sit lower, the pedals are placed better and the seats are way more comfy. I'm bummed. My test drive took place in Tustin, CA. -- By the by, if it weren't for being uncomfortable for me, I think overall the Jeep GC drives much nicer, feels very stable at all high speeds, and is way quieter. If anyone is looking to get out of their 4runners. I just wouldn't recommend a cherokee to short drivers, based on my experience!
  • I just purchased a 2006 SR5 4wd V8 and am experiencing the vibration/shimmy along with some pulling to the right and a bad radio! I have taken it back twice. The first time the dealer said it was just the interstate that I was driving to the dealership on because their machine said the alignment was dead on. They adjusted the tire pressure and fixed my center console (it was crooked!) and sent me home. The shimmy/vibration still continued and the pulling and then the radio starting having this popping/cracking noise. I went back for a second time. They balanced the tires and agreed to replace the radio. I go back again this Thursday for the pulling and vibration issue. I am floored that I am having these problems with a new car especially since Toyota was suppose to be a reputable vehicle. I'm extremely disappointed. I would love to hear any progress anyone else has made with any of these same issues. :mad:
  • jokol2jokol2 Posts: 27
    I just read your post and want to urge you to call the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission. Their phone number is in your owners manual. Toll free number. Only way we are going to get Toyota to do something about this problem that exists with all new 4runners!!! I still have a couple of more visits to the dealer yet before I can file for arbitration under the Oregon Lemon Law. I wish people who post here would mention their State of residence; it would help with the argument that this is BIG problem!!! The vibration is not tires; it is in the drivetrain and like I have said earlier, I think it is engine related. Let off the gas and coast for a ways, then step back on the gas and the vibration reappears in the steering wheel. You can really feel it by holding the steering wheel with your left hand and then sticking your left index finger on the light stalk. Gives you a double dose of the vibration and unmistakeable. I will continue to post here and hope all others do the same. We all need to share any info that develops with our problem with Toyota. Thanks.
  • jokol2 - I purchased the car in SC but reside in NC. I will post the results of the appt. tomorrow. I have felt the vibration that you are describing. The shimmy that I felt before isn't as bad but I still feel it here and there and mostly in a curve. I hope the replacement of the radio is a fix at the least!! I feel like a new problem arises every day that I drive this car. I hope to see some solutions soon. I'll keep checking the post.
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