Steering wheel shakes at all speeds over fifteen mph

Tiny
VSSOUTLET
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 150,000 MILES
I have a car I am considering buying. I got it for a day, so I am putting it through its paces. Two things I have noticed so far:

The steering wheel shakes at all speeds over fifteen mph. There is no brake pulsing not is the car pulling to either side. The shaking is very noticeable, not just a vibration. What could it be and how could I narrow down the possibilities?

There is a faint burning smell in the passenger compartment.

The car has not been driven in two to three months. Do not know if that matters.

Anything else I should check out during my test drive?

Update: I did a full test drive and inspection on the vehicle. I'm going to put the results below and I'd like to know what is a big enough deal to walk away, what should I deduct ($x from the asking price) and what is simply no big deal.

Asking price: $6,400. 151,000 miles on the car.

1) Steering wheel shakes, car pulls to the left. If I drive for awhile, I get smoke from the brake on the left front tire and it gets pretty hot. Car will not move forward when in drive without pressing on the pedal. My diagnosis: Frozen caliper.

2) 3 of 4 struts have torn boots. Struts look otherwise OK.

3) Silver coating on wheels crackling/rusting off

4) Low tread on one front tire

5) Leather torn on both front seats
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Friday, October 12th, 2018 AT 10:57 AM

5 Replies

Tiny
KEN L
  • ADMIN
The smell is probably the hybrid battery that needs to be replaced. The front end pull sounds like the brake caliper slide is frozen. The wobble at 55 sounds like tire balance or worn out tie rod out or ball joints. Here are guides to help us see what is going on:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/steering-wheel-shakes-when-accelerating-or-braking

and

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/tie-rod-end-replacement

Please run down these guides and report back.

Cheers, Ken

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Saturday, October 13th, 2018 AT 1:40 PM
Tiny
VSSOUTLET
  • MEMBER
The car is not a hybrid. The smell was the smoking from the frozen caliper after driving it for awhile. We replaced the caliper and there is no issue or smell.
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Thursday, October 18th, 2018 AT 6:22 PM
Tiny
KEN L
  • ADMIN
Nice work, we are here to help, please use 2CarPros anytime.

Cheers, Ken
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Friday, October 19th, 2018 AT 10:27 AM
Tiny
2CARPROS-ARCHIVES
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER
  • 23,500 MILES
Steering wheel shakes when I stop short with the brakes. Is this an alignment problem or a brake problem?
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Friday, October 19th, 2018 AT 10:27 AM (Merged)
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Proberbly is a brake rotor warp, get them machined.
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Friday, October 19th, 2018 AT 10:27 AM (Merged)

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