Car vibrates when in idle, especially with AC on

Tiny
JEFFREY CORDERO
  • MEMBER
  • 2013 HONDA CRV
  • 2.4L
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 33,000 MILES
A few months ago I hit a curb with my car (do not drive tired). Since then, my car vibrates enough to make me nauseous whenever it is not moving. I got it checked, they said it is most likely caused by a little bit of a bend in the frame, though the frame itself does not vibrate much, instead the engine shakes very visibly.

The vibrating gets worse whenever the AC is on, though is still there when it is off. It ceases mostly whenever it is in park/neutral, and is worse whenever it is in reverse (and stopped). Also, it gets worse with warmer weather. I noticed that when stopped if I switch from drive to neutral it will almost completely cease for a short time before coming back (though not as bad since it is in neutral). Also, there is a fast ticking sound coming from the engine area (do not know if it is the engine), which I do not remember being there before. I was told by the mechanic that it is normal for cars to make sounds like it. As I press down the gas the vibration quickly ceases and the ticking sound gets faster until it is indistinguishable.
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Saturday, January 14th, 2017 AT 1:44 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You need a new mechanic! What you've described a dozen different ways is a simple engine misfire. That has nothing to do with the crash or the frame. I have to be careful when I say that because the cause of the misfire could have been caused by the crash, but we'll consider that later.

Your main observation is the car does not need to be moving to feel the vibration. No need to look at the frame, tires, suspension, or anything like that. The frame can be twisted into a pretzel and it's not going to cause a vibration when the car isn't moving. The tires can be flat and the wheels can be bent into squares, but you won't feel that until the car starts to move.

The place to stat is by observing the engine when it's idling. If it's misfiring, you'll feel and hear it. The Check Engine light should be on too, and the diagnostic fault code will specify which cylinder is misfiring. The cause could be as simple as a worn spark plug.

Now, if we were to assume the vibration is the result of the crash, you may be feeling normal engine vibration that is being transmitted into the car body. That COULD be the result of bent sheet metal causing one of the engine mounts to transfer that vibration. Mounts are two metal brackets with a rubber isolator in between. The rubber prevents normal vibration from being felt in the passenger compartment. If something is bent that allows the two brackets to rub on each other, the normal engine vibration will be transmitted into the car. The same thing can happen when a mount breaks due to dry-rotted rubber isolators.

The additional clue to something being bent is it will affect the alignment. You will observe the car pulling to one side when you let go of the steering wheel, and / or the steering wheel will be off-center when driving on a straight road.
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Monday, January 16th, 2017 AT 4:57 PM
Tiny
JEFFREY CORDERO
  • MEMBER
CARADIODOC,
Thank you so much for this detailed answer! In terms of the engine misfiring, the check engine light is not on, and other that a constant clicking that seems to follow rpm it is not making any sounds. Is there a way I could easily check for diagnostic fault codes though?

As for the possibility of alignment problems, after driving it for a few months I haven't noticed it pulling to a specific side or the wheel being off, and I have specifically checked earlier. Is it possible that it is just off enough for parts to be touching but not cause alignment issues? If so do I bring my car to a body shop or a different mechanic? I ask because when I brought it into the first mechanic I was shocked to get my car back after only like 30 minutes.

Thank you so much for your answer, it is so helpful. If there is anything else I can check to help I would be happy to. Otherwise I just need to know what kind of repair place to bring it to so I don't get charged $70 for nothing helpful again.
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Monday, January 16th, 2017 AT 8:55 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
30 minutes is plenty of time to do an inspection related to hitting something.

You have to forget about alignment issues for now. You said you feel the vibration when the car is standing still. You don't even need to have wheels and tires on the car for that. Alignment problems only show up when the car is in motion. The best place to have alignment, handling, and tire wear problems checked is at a tire and alignment shop. All large cities have specialty shops that work on large trucks, but they work on cars too. The alignment specialist at any new-car dealership knows what to look for on their models.

The common tire and alignment shops you can find in any town are the Goodyear, Firestone, and Tires Plus dealers. They're experts in finding the causes of alignment-related vibrations and tire wear problems. Most of them can also handle engine vibration problems. Many of them offer free steering and suspension system inspections, and some do that for free if they do the repairs.
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Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 AT 2:58 PM

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