What’s causing a vibration in my 2012 Highlander?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader who can't solve a vibration problem.

2012 Toyota Highlander.
2012 Toyota Highlander. –Toyota

Q. I have been experiencing a vibration in my 2012 Toyota Highlander since I purchased it used about two years ago. The vibration has started to get just a bit worse, and now there’s a slight vibration that changes when I take a turn. About a year ago, when the car was in for service, the tires were rotated and the vibration felt better. I just had the oil changed and the tires rotated, but the vibration and noise are terrible again. Do you know of any problems that I can address with my dealer?  

A. I checked AllData, a technical database, but I didn’t find any bulletins that would address a vibration. Since the vibration changed when the tires were rotated, I suspect the problem is still related to the tires and/or wheels. The simplest solution is to see if the dealer can run a test swapping a set of wheels and tires from another vehicle. If the vibration and noise improve, the issue is related to the tires. At that point, a technician will need to carefully inspect each tire and wheel for a problem.


John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.