Big problems- wear and tear [Archive] - Forum


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06-07-2007, 07:52 PM
Hi guys

I hope I'm not asking the same old same old here, but I thought I'd list a few problems my Grand Am is having and if anyone here has come across the same ones:

Just a note:

My tires are completely bald, and I need new ones.

To continue:

1. My car sways all over the road- no traction at all. I feel like I'm driving on ice. If I turn the wheel sharply, it seems to just sway to the side slowly- it is highly unresponsive. Can this be a result of bald tires just sliding around on the road?

2. In the rear-passenger side, there is a major rattling sound every time I hit a bump- big bump, small bump, doesn't matter. I have searched everything possible for this- it doesn't seem to be the door, there's nothing in the trunk, it's not the spare tire, I even fold down the back seats and it doesn't help it, I checked the speakers in the trunk, and I just can't find it- but it is very loud -- something is loose back there. It isn't so noticeable when the tire is low on air- only when it's inflated fully. (My tires go flat alot because of the rims). And- if someone is in the passenger front seat or passenger rear seat where the rattle is, the sound is gone- the extra weight seems to be a factor in whether or not it rattles.

3. I think the suspension is totally gone- this car takes bumps really bad- kind of like an old taxicab driving over traintracks- it's like a sailboat on huge waves, it dips in and out of depressions in the road or bumps in the road. What could this be- struts, or shocks?

4. If i crank the wheel all the way, and then just drive the car in circles, it does 2 things:

a) - grinding sound from the front wheels (I have been told my wheel bearings are gone- can this be the sound?)

b)- the car seems to 'slip' a bit- it jolts and makes a sound like I just ran over an empty plastic pop bottle full of air. This is an occasional thing, but it is happening- doesn't sound good.

My question is: could the bald tires be a major factor in these problems? Example- bald tires = rough, bumpy ride, grinding sound when turning corners, loose ride (like on ice) when on the road or changing lanes, and even causing parts to loosen (which causes the rattling)???

Thanks for the help everyone, I know it's a lot to read, but if anyone has crossed these same problems, I'd love to hear what your solutions were

06-07-2007, 09:32 PM
First replace the tires.

The rattle sound is a common headache of the GA.

To check the suspension do a "bounce test" Pick a corner and make it bounce by pushing down on it numerous times. Get a good bounce going then let go real fast. Count the number of bounces. You should see one solid bounce, a mid-range, then tiny, dwindling to nothing after that. If the bounces don't noticeably step down and it takes several (4 or more) big noticeable bounces before it eventually stops, then you need new shocks.

To check for bad bearings jack up the front end and put it on jack stands. Then place your hands at the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions and see how much wiggle you get back and forth by pushing one end while pulling the other back and forth. If it feels real loose with lots of play you got bad bearings. If it feels tight and little to no real play bearings are still good.

I think that covers most if not all of your concerns. Hope it helps.

Mike Jung
06-07-2007, 10:12 PM
Does this ring a bell:

Hi guys,

Got a question for you. Nice to see you all, I haven't been here in a real long time, lol.

I've had my Grand Am for 5 years, 5 months. Just hit 100,000K. I have an SE, 4 cyl.

I took my vehicle in to the shop a while back and they said the lower control arm bushing was gone and needed to be replaced. I assume when he said "gone", he meant it had fallen out, or was damaged and then fallen out, so it's non-existant right now.

Since then-

1. my ride has become unbearably bumpy- every single bump on the road, no matter how slight, is a major "klump-klump", both in the front end and the back end. It's as if there's no cushion at all.

2. when I hit the brakes at high speed, especially in the rain, the car shakes violently. Kind of like the ABS, but it does it at any given time.

3. When I turn corners, there's a grinding sound underneath the car, like a low-pitch grind. I can even feel a slight vibration at my feet when this happens.

4. the car feels as if it has no traction- like I'm driving on ice.

5. the car is like a see-saw- you know how it feels when you're in an old taxi cab and you cross over train tracks at high speeds? That's how my car is now. Totally feels like it's sailing over dips or bumps in the road- like my head hits the roof when on a bump, and when I go into a dip, I can hear a sound kind of like when you sit down on a really old couch- you can hear the springs bending and you sort of bounce up and down until it settles. Exact same idea with my car.

And aside from that, every possible dashboard light that can be on is on- change oil, service engine, trac off, the parking brake (the red 'P' and '!' signs), whatever else. The traction control doesn't work anymore.

Bottom line is, it's a horribly rough and noisy ride when hitting surfaces that aren't perfectly smooth.

I called for a few quotes on getting the control arm bushing replaced, and some shops want to charge me $380, while others want under $100.

Any advice on what to do here or what the heck is wrong!!?? Should I go for the lower quote, or does that just mean they're putting in a cheap part?

Thanks for any advice! I really need to grab this car by the horns and get it back into shape before this gets worse, but I have a bad feeling that major damage is already done here?

Well, I went to a new mechanic today just to get another quote.

Lol, you can never trust most of these guys- this guy wanted to clean out my wallet and bankrupt me. Good thing I paid only for the written estimate/diagnosis.

Here's what he deemed to be the major problems:

-The front lower control arm bushings are damaged (both sides)
-All shocks
-Right front axle seal is cracked
-both front wheel bearings

and then throw the breaks, rotors, new tires, cracked windshield and some other smaller cosmetics in there and I'm screwed, lol.

I can't even bear to say what his quote was here, but nonetheless, he over-quoted me on everything, and when I called him out on it, he suddenly lowered a whole lot of it. See ya!!


I am taking it in tomorrow to get it looked at from another mechanic we know pretty good. Should've just stuck with him in the first place.

Nontheless though, my wallet is screwed

06-07-2007, 10:14 PM
hey Wolf- thanks very much for your input- I'll try those tests and see what happens.

Mike- yep, that rings a bell alright- since that post, I've had my control arm bushings replaced and it has solved some prior problems which were really bad.

since then though, not much has changed- just gotten worse with the rattling and bumpy ride, etc.

Mike Jung
06-07-2007, 10:20 PM
If you are getting the suspension replaced.

I suggest: Monroe Quick-Strut (

See a thread, where we were discussing them: question regarding Monroe Quickstrut springs (

06-07-2007, 10:28 PM
Speaking of the rattling sound though- is there a common problem with this? It's in the rear-passenger side, just above the wheel- it seems to be in the area of the rear speaker/passenger side.

I have checked everything and have found nothing that's loose- got no idea what the heck is causing this, but it's a major, loud sound and something is clearly rattling back there.

Sounds like it's inside the car, not outside of it.

You'd think with a noise that loud, I'd easily find something loose.

The door seems a bit loose, (It's a 4-door). and I can move it up and down with a rattling sound, but I tried everything - such as jamming towels or blankets inside the door then closing it- to provide padding- and the noise is still there- so I don't think it's the door.

Mike Jung
06-07-2007, 10:32 PM
Trunk (pressure) Vent :confused:

06-07-2007, 11:07 PM
you think it might be the trunk?

06-09-2007, 01:18 PM
I had the rattling problem coming from the right rear of My "01 Alero" and replacing the struts solved the problem for me.

06-09-2007, 01:34 PM
Its probably the strut mounting plates. Considering you drove it so long on bad struts and how they are probably still stock and from the sounds of it you drive it alot they needed to be changed.

07-02-2007, 11:16 PM
New strut mount time, man, not to be an ass, but how can you drive a car in to the ground like that... I'm OCD when it comes to my GAGT every little noise i hear i replace everything :) most of those problems listed should get fixed before you get in an accident, just lookin' out for ya.

07-02-2007, 11:35 PM
he's right^. a lotta that stuff could ahve been avoided if u would have taken care of your car. 100 grand of miles isnt bad for a GA, most of us dont even have problems after 100,000. so all i can say is dont gripe wen u dont want to take care of your own stuff