What's Making Jillian's Corolla Shake?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 02, 2014

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 2006 Toyota Corolla with 60,000 miles. I love the car. It's never given me any problems, except this one: It has an annoying vibration that occurs exclusively when I'm stopped with the brake engaged. If I'm stopped at a light and I put the car in park, the vibration goes away. My mechanic of more than 36 years (he's excellent) is stumped. He's replaced two motor mounts that he thought were causing the problem. When the vibration didn't go away, he replaced a third motor mount. But it's still vibrating. Any thoughts on what's causing this and how to fix it?

-- Jillian

TOM: The motor mount was a good guess. Usually it's the big one in front that breaks and causes this kind of vibration.

RAY: But he's replaced all three motor mounts now. So I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the motor mounts are not the problem.

TOM: That's why you wrote to us, Jillian -- for that kind of keen analysis, right?

RAY: Actually, I'm guessing you have the same problem that we saw recently in the shop.

TOM: It also was a Corolla. Everything under the sun had been tried to stop it from vibrating.

RAY: I had the car out for a test drive, and I was stopped at a light. The thing was shaking and buzzing, and for some reason, I decided to pop the hood release. And the vibration stopped.

TOM: Turned out the hood was vibrating.

RAY: There are two little "bumpers" that stick up from the radiator support under the hood. Their job is to push up against the underside of the hood when it's closed and keep it from vibrating. I guess they had worn down, and they weren't doing their job anymore.

TOM: They're actually adjustable, so all we had to do was back them out a few turns, close the hood and voila! We charged the lady 450 bucks and gave her the car back.

RAY: No, it was a five-minute job. So we charged her only $425. But I'm guessing that's what's wrong with your car, Jillian. Have your mechanic check it out, and let us know.

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