Q: I have a 2000 Subaru Wagon, stick shift, 61,000 miles. The problem is noticeable vibrations in the shift lever and the steering wheel at highway speeds (50-plus mph). I have been told that the cure is to have the four tires removed and dynamically rebalanced. This is a fairly inexpensive cure for the problem if it works. Also very recently, I had a timer belt replacement in association with a head gasket replacement. Can I rule this out as the cause of my vibration problem, which developed shortly after that repair?
A: As long as you don’t have a check-engine light, you can almost rule out an engine problem. Also since the problem starts at 50 mph, I tend to lean more to a tire problem. If this problem came into my shop, we would spin the tires one by one to pinpoint which of the tires is giving you a problem. This should be a fairly easy and inexpensive problem to fix.
Car Care Tip: If you are driving a Ford F-150 or a Ford Ranger, take a look under your car for rotted fuel tank straps. In some models, you are covered by a factory recall.
Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears every Saturday. Write to Larry at The Salem News, c/o Auto Scanner, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.