Front end shakes between 25 and 50 mph

Asked by Feb 12, 2015 at 11:18 PM about the 2001 Ford Focus SE Wagon

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have an 01 Focus wagon that runs great except it has started to shake (it feels like the front passenger side wheel) between 25 and 50 mph. It doesn't always do it, and usually only when driving straight. Accelerating or turning (doesn't seem to matter which way) will make it stop shaking when it does happen. e.g. accelerating from 30-40, it will settle down and then might start shaking again at 40 - or not. accelerate much past 50 and there is no shaking, even when settling down to a cruise. If the vibration has started, it will continue to vibrate while braking, until you get down to around 20mph when it settles down. And sometimes it doesn't vibrate at all.

The wheels were recently balanced and rotated with no change. The car has very new shocks, struts, and sway bar links. They needed to be replaced anyways, and after they were done it settled down for a bit, and then it started back up again.

5 Answers

18,750

Sounds like it could be tie rod ends, lower ball joints or as simple as a broken belt in one or more of your tires.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer
1,145

I would take the car to a tire shop and have them check the balance on the tires and to see if the tire has a slipped or broken belt in it. It could also be that the wheel is slightly bent. It could possibley be a worn tie rod or control arm but leaning more toward a tire or wheel issue. when a tire is out of balance or has a slipped a broken belt the vibration is typically felt between speeds of 30 to 45 miles an hour. Any speed under 30 typically will not produce the vibration because the wheel is not spinning fast enough. Speeds of above 45 miles an hour the wheel is spinning faster in the frequency of the defect in the tire with a balance therefore the vibration is not typically felt.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
145

I have had this problem as well on my 2000 sedan, I decided to throw parts at it as it was time to replace them anyways. Turned out that it was my passenger brake rotor that had warped. Only odd part about it was you didn't feel it in the brake pedal whilst brakes were applied. But the above answer is also very good because the rotation would have brought that bad tire to the front and made it much more noticeable, and the broken or slipped belt can be followed by some road noise as well.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Turns out it was the tie rod ends. I saw honda_ASE_master_tech's answer first, and took it to my tire shop first, what with their very permissive free service policy. One rim was slightly bent and there was a balancing touch-up, but they said one hub felt loose and I should take it down the road to the mechanic, who told me it was the tie rod ends. I was considering just junking the car because I've heard stories of people "chasing" problems like this with fix after fix and never getting the shake to go away, but mine was taken care of pretty simply, and now I have a reliable old car again. Thanks everyone!

1,145

No problem

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