2012 Mazda5 with mystery wobble/vibrations, not tires

Hey everyone, new guy here. Been reading the forums a while but have never registered and posted. Happy Thanksgiving to the US folks!

I have a 2012 Mazda5 with about 122,000 miles. The car generally runs really well but has gotten to that age where things are going bad. Currently, there is an up/down type wobble sensation at low speeds (20-25mph), some vibration at higher speeds (45-55mph roughly) and there used to be some high speed vibration. Once the car warms up, the wobble seems to get a lot better but the 45-55mph shake is always there.

I initially thought tires, although I had a set of 70 or 80k Goodyears with maybe 20-25k on them, and I had them balanced several times. That never worked. I then went ahead and bought brand new General G-Max tires and had those installed a week ago. The vibration at high speeds did seem to improve. (75+ mph) but the low speed wobble and 45-55mph range vibration are still there. They actually seem a touch worse even.

I also have a slight shudder accelerating under normal load, 2nd gear it seems. I believe a shop put in the wrong transmission fluid. I've changed it out a few times and added some shudder stop and it was better but not gone. The motor and transmission mounts helped smooth it out too.

For context, I have been working through the whole vehicle this year plus I had work done in the previous year that needed to be done. The motor and transmission mounts are all new, idler pulley is new, intake manifold is cleaned and reset, CV Axle on drivers side was replaced last year by shop, I threw a new one on the passenger side earlier this year (then suspected it was bad and replaced it again last weekend). LCA's are new on both sides (Mevotech), stablizer end links front and rear are new Moogs, front struts (Monroe Quick struts) and stabilizer bushings were replaced by a shop 18 months back. Brakes are new, no vibration relating to brakes. Rear shocks and mounts are new, as well. Shocks all seem to work fine although I've been suspect of the front right strut mount for a while now, despite it being relatively new.

Inner and outer tie rods are new. Alignment is done. There are almost no obvious noises, minus a slight metallic clunk in the front quarter panel that has been there since shortly after the struts were replaced (I swear they bent the quarter panel).

I was suspecting tires, a bent wheel, or the CV based on the collection of issues. I've ruled out all three...well, the tire shop said they checked the wheels but I remain skeptical.

Does anyone have any thoughts as to what I should be looking at or has anyone had a similar experience?

Would a bent wheel or bad strut mount be reasonable possibilities?


CX5 Optimum 2020
Many believe that when a wheel is balanced to 0 grams everything is fine, but it is not always, I will at any time be able to balance a square wheel to 0 grams, and it provides a bouncy drive with guarantee. Get a comfort balancing of wheels to make sure they're actually round.
Many believe that when a wheel is balanced to 0 grams everything is fine, but it is not always, I will at any time be able to balance a square wheel to 0 grams, and it provides a bouncy drive with guarantee. Get a comfort balancing of wheels to make sure they're actually round.

That's why I went ahead and just bought new tires, just to rule that part out. I didn't really like the GY's I had on it anyway. Symptoms stayed identical after the replacement though so I think it's safe to rule out tires as the problem.
2008 Mazda5 GT
I’m dealing with a similar problem (tackled a lot of similar things) and think it is rim that does not turn true. I’m not willing to pay for new rims at the moment. See if you have family/friend with good wheel you can swap/test.

Did you get the wheel road force balanced?
https://www.hunter.com/find-equipment/ find a shop here. When you take it in, make sure the tech is senior. Young guys/gals trained to operate the machine does NOT mean they know how to trouble shoot.

The right way, they should balance the rim first to find the high/low spot (usually vale stem) then “match mount” the tire (new tires have color dots to indicate). This greatly reduces unevenness. They then rebalance the wheel. Not a lot do shops are willing to do this. They’ll just slap the tire on and balance it as a whole and add s*** ton of weights to “balance” it...
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Did you get the wheel road force balanced?

It's been road force balanced and regular balanced. Probably had it balanced 3-4x with the old tires then went and bought new tires. Asked them to specifically check rims to see if they're bent. I'm in Michigan and pot holes eat tires here...and sometimes bend rims. I don't think they did anything beyond balancing them based on comments they made.

Maybe I'll try to position something near the rim and just look for a bend myself. I have a suspicion of which wheel it would be already anyway.
Well, we made it across the country and it's finally making noises to suggest the front right wheel bearing needs to be replaced. I'll have to take that in. I don't have the tools to press in a new one, myself. We'll see what they say or if that fixes it.
2008 Mazda5 GT
Good luck. Hope that is your gremlin.

FWIW, new pair of Timken bearings (mechanic job, not DIY bc I don’t have press) didn’t resolve it but we may have different issues. Keep us posted on your outcome.
2010 Mazda 5 Sport
So no change when you rotated the wheels?

Whenever I have a front-end vibration like this, I rotate wheels around in the driveway. Fronts to back. If no change, then indeed, it is not the tires/wheels.

If that is indeed the case, buy GOOD OEM disc rotors. Cheap Chinese rotors or really any aftermarket rotors will cause vibration.

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