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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bottom line, last local shop I brought it to suspects the drive unit in my 2017 BoltEV. And I have just over 100,500 miles…

For perhaps the last 20,000 miles, there has been a small problem that has gotten progressively worse, though sporadic. At first, I noticed that at highway speeds, and at a certain incline, the steering would jitter slightly. Somewhere in the 95,000 to 99,000 range, there were a couple of times when the jitter felt severe, to the point where I pulled over to look at the tires. Before pulling over, I was concerned I might need it towed. Looking at the tires, nothing. Then I drove away and it was like nothing happened. Whatever it was, it was still sporadic.

Since I try to replace tires at the 50,000 mark, I bought a new set at about 99,500, and took it for an alignment. I expected that one of these changes might address the problem.

The problem persisted, though still sporadic. For example, on Friday’s drive home, the jitter became more pronounced for about 5 miles of the 35 mile journey. So I took it today to a local shop to have the suspension and steering looked at/tightened down. They told me the suspension and steering look fine. They suspect that the jitter is related to some imbalance in the drive unit.

And while I was taking these steps to troubleshoot, I crossed 100,000 miles.

Nothing in my brain connected the jittery steering to the drive unit; it never entered my mind.

I haven’t made an appointment at the dealership yet. I hope the local shop is wrong…
 

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Bottom line, last local shop I brought it to suspects the drive unit in my 2017 BoltEV. And I have just over 100,500 miles…

For perhaps the last 20,000 miles, there has been a small problem that has gotten progressively worse, though sporadic. At first, I noticed that at highway speeds, and at a certain incline, the steering would jitter slightly. Somewhere in the 95,000 to 99,000 range, there were a couple of times when the jitter felt severe, to the point where I pulled over to look at the tires. Before pulling over, I was concerned I might need it towed. Looking at the tires, nothing. Then I drove away and it was like nothing happened. Whatever it was, it was still sporadic.

Since I try to replace tires at the 50,000 mark, I bought a new set at about 99,500, and took it for an alignment. I expected that one of these changes might address the problem.

The problem persisted, though still sporadic. For example, on Friday’s drive home, the jitter became more pronounced for about 5 miles of the 35 mile journey. So I took it today to a local shop to have the suspension and steering looked at/tightened down. They told me the suspension and steering look fine. They suspect that the jitter is related to some imbalance in the drive unit.

And while I was taking these steps to troubleshoot, I crossed 100,000 miles.

Nothing in my brain connected the jittery steering to the drive unit; it never entered my mind.

I haven’t made an appointment at the dealership yet. I hope the local shop is wrong…
In my 2017 bolt I had to have the front wheel hubs replaced twice (actually only one time on the left side and twice on the right side). The first one was done enter warranty but not the second one and it was pretty darn expensive! And that took care of the shaking. Whether that is what the problem is with you I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In my 2017 bolt I had to have the front wheel hubs replaced twice (actually only one time on the left side and twice on the right side). The first one was done enter warranty but not the second one and it was pretty darn expensive! And that took care of the shaking. Whether that is what the problem is with you I don't know.
I’ll ask the dealer to look at the wheel hub. When your car experienced the shaking, was it sporadic?

Even if the wheel hub is expensive, I assume it’s much less than the drive unit.

Other than this issue, I’ve only had a wheel bearing replaced, which was not cheap either (over $800).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In my 2017 bolt I had to have the front wheel hubs replaced twice (actually only one time on the left side and twice on the right side). The first one was done enter warranty but not the second one and it was pretty darn expensive! And that took care of the shaking. Whether that is what the problem is with you I don't know.
The front left wheel bearing was replaced at 81,600. I wonder if the front right is now failing, but exhibiting different symptoms? The front left was just noise when reaching 65-70 mph.

I have been wondering whether recently I’m hearing a less pronounced, but similar sound at lower speeds. But again, when the front left exhibited problems, it wasn’t sporadic steering jitters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I had a similar issue on my Bolt and it was a loose bolt on the steering column. I torqued it down and the issue went away. When I say loose, not loose enough to move it with your hand, just not torqued down enough. I suspect that is why the vibrations were sporadic.

View attachment 38860
Yes, after researching my “symptoms“ a couple of weeks ago, I came across a thread discussing this. So that was my specific ask to the shop today - to please look into the steering shaft bolts. They said they looked at every bolt, and found no problems. It won’t hurt to ask the dealership to look at this first.
 

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Next time it happens, pull over and feel for excessive heat at any (especially front) wheel. Since we don’t tend to use the brakes very much it could be a sticky caliper. It happened twice shortly after I bought my used Bolt, but seemed to clear itself up.
 

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Yes, after researching my “symptoms“ a couple of weeks ago, I came across a thread discussing this. So that was my specific ask to the shop today - to please look into the steering shaft bolts. They said they looked at every bolt, and found no problems. It won’t hurt to ask the dealership to look at this first.
If you are going to ask the dealer to check it, ask them to confirm they are torqued to specs. The lazy check of just seeing if the bolts are loose won't work because in my case it wasn't that loose. The only way to know it wasn't tight enough was to check it with a torque wrench.


Another clue that it might be the same issue. Does the vibration mainly happen when you are going straight and if you turn or go on a curve does the vibration stop?
 

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I tend to think the drive unit is not the cause. It is quite simple really and i can’t visualize how it would cause infrequent shaking. I could understand drive unit electronics maybe but tend to think more of a bearing issue or the steering bolt mentioned.

Bearings can run smooth and then something upset them and they vibrate. I had a catastrophic bearing failure on my motorcycle a year ago. Bearing actually wobbled on a hard stop using the rear brake, made a couple of clacks when stopped using only the front brake and then 34 miles later after running 80MPH (speed limit) it failed as I pulled off the exit ramp. This was 1,100 miles after a service at the dealership where they ”checked” everything.

Lane keeping system is an interesting thought, keep mine on all the time and it generally don’t notice it but like it when it does intervene. Intermittent issues are always the hardest to diagnose.
 

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If it's safe to do so, I wonder if putting it in neutral and applying the brakes the next time it happens would tell you anything? Might give some clues if it goes away when you switch to N... or after applying the brakes.

Mike
 

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Next time it happens, pull over and feel for excessive heat at any (especially front) wheel. Since we don’t tend to use the brakes very much it could be a sticky caliper. ...
But be careful. If it is a dragging brake pad the disc could be very hot.
Get an infrared temp reader, not expensive and handy in the kitchen too!
Point it at the hub areas and the brake discs. Measure all 4 corners for reference.

You could swerve on an empty highway developing left and right lateral G's to see if the jitter changes, indicating a loose wheel bearing on one side.

Also, on my cars here in salt country, I routinely clean and re-grease the caliper slider pins.
Some car manufacturers call out this as a routine maintenance item.
One sticky slider pin will start wearing the pads unevenly and create brake drag.
Probably unrelated to your issue, but who knows...
 

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Rotors?
Rust on them making balancing issues...

From what you say, it seems like the drive axles have play and can position themselves in off-center causing vibrations.

Or again - brakes. Brakes will cause jitter at different speeds, but would be more or less reproducible.

Finally - worn shocks, strut absorbers.
You got 110k miles and no word on the suspension components being replaced except the wheel bearing...
The sway test is pointless, before someone brings it up, as if that is evident, shocks are long gone.
Now, we are at a point when they became weak enough to allow for some resonance to happen when the wheel hits some sudden uneven surface.


So - me would check 3 things.
Rotors
Play in the drive axles at the connection points (up down, front rear - side to side is unimportant and should exist). Yet, the car must be sitting on the ground.
Struts
 

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I had a similar issue on my Bolt and it was a loose bolt on the steering column. I torqued it down and the issue went away. When I say loose, not loose enough to move it with your hand, just not torqued down enough. I suspect that is why the vibrations were sporadic.
I've had an almost identical problem with the intermediate steering column shaft in my 2013 Toyota Prius. About every 20-30k miles I need to loosen, clean and retighten the bolt that clamps onto the splines of the steering column. I've forget pretty efficient at doing the job after 174k miles in it.
 

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I've had an almost identical problem with the intermediate steering column shaft in my 2013 Toyota Prius. About every 20-30k miles I need to loosen, clean and retighten the bolt that clamps onto the splines of the steering column. I've forget pretty efficient at doing the job after 174k miles in it.
I should probably do that with mine, take it off, clean the threads and bolt and then use some good threadlocker when I put it back on.
 

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I'd start by putting the thing in park, apply parking brake and maybe put near a tree. Then wiggle steering wheel back and forth while someone looks at all they can that affects steering.

Then maybe I'd lift front end and grab tires and shake them left and right to also look for issues.

I agree that there could be things like rotors, wheels, tires and maybe oddity of pavement/tread issue.

My lane keep assist seems to wiggle on only the most smooth and new pavement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I tend to think the drive unit is not the cause. It is quite simple really and i can’t visualize how it would cause infrequent shaking. I could understand drive unit electronics maybe but tend to think more of a bearing issue or the steering bolt mentioned.

Bearings can run smooth and then something upset them and they vibrate. I had a catastrophic bearing failure on my motorcycle a year ago. Bearing actually wobbled on a hard stop using the rear brake, made a couple of clacks when stopped using only the front brake and then 34 miles later after running 80MPH (speed limit) it failed as I pulled off the exit ramp. This was 1,100 miles after a service at the dealership where they ”checked” everything.

Lane keeping system is an interesting thought, keep mine on all the time and it generally don’t notice it but like it when it does intervene. Intermittent issues are always the hardest to diagnose.
I agree that the drive unit theory is likely incorrect. Today the steering acted up on my drive, and I noticed the jitter was exactly the same going downhill - when I wasn’t asking the drive unit to pull the car.

The car is going to the Chevy dealer the week after Thanksgiving. I’m thinking the front right wheel bearing is failing - though the “symptoms“ are not quite the same as the front left.
 

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Going downhill and slowing down? Outer tie rod ends...
 
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