2008 Dodge Durango • 58,000 miles

Thank you for your time. I would like to know if there was something done to my car that was not on the up and up? I started my Durango this morning as I have done all winter, without the slightest hesitation. It has not shown any weakness, no "woo. Woo. Wooing" noises at all, even though it sits in the cold winter 20 degree nights, and starts up without ANY problems. I went to my mechanic this morning to do an oil change, I drove it into the garage, and turned off the engine. I spoke with my mechanic asking for an oil change and a tire rotation, he walked around the car with me, got in it, started it and drove it into the oil change bay. As I was walking to sit in the waiting room he ran up to me asking if I had any problems with the battery? He said that the car does not want to start, when a minute ago I just saw him start the car. I followed him out to the oil change bay and he showed me that the car does not want to start? How can this be when I have had no problems and it conveniently dies at the shop, a minute after I saw him start the car? Also when I brought my car in September for an oil change it had a warranty and the only thing mentioned at that time was that my brakes were at 60% and I should consider having my brakes changed soon. My warranty expired in December and when I brought it in 1200 miles later, now in January. I need a new battery, my brakes are at 25%, and my shock is leaking and needs to be changed, and I also need an alignment when the car did not pull at all when I was driving it? Please help? I am a woman and feel something is not right?
January 25, 2013.

Please understand that it is hard for me to argue this without seeing the car. It is unlikely that the battery went dead from one minute to the next, but that doesn't mean there isn't a problem with the starter or a relay. Has he load tested the battery? Will it start if you jump it? Also, as far as the shock leaking, does the vehicle bounde excessively? If not, tell him you will wait until they get worse, If the brakes are at 25%, you should consider replacing them. As far as the alignment, if the car drives straight down the road and the tires are wearing properly, there is no need for an alignment.

Let me know how he checked the battery. Was it load tested? Look at the tires on the vehicle. Are the front ones worn evenly or are there bald spots in places or did they wear unevenly? Ask to see the "LEAKING SHOCK". Is it leaking badly or just a little?

Let me know.

It does sound suspicious, but batteries fail at around five years old. Every mechanic dreads things breaking while in their possession. That's why he caught you immediately to point it out, ... So you WOULDN'T blame him. I can't imagine anything he could have done to cause the problem. Plus, you were on borrowed time anyway and you were about to need a new battery. Be grateful it failed in the shop, and not at the shopping mall parking lot.

The lead flakes off the plates in the battery over time and those flakes build up in the bottom of the case. When they build up high enough, they short those plates which ruins the battery. Many people think it's suspicious that their battery fails just when the warranty period ends. In fact, the battery manufacturer knows how fast that lead is going to flake off and the battery can be expected to last, and they provide the longest warranty possible according to that time. The longer the warranty, the higher price it can command.

Brake life or life remaining is always a judgement call that varies with driving habits. Mechanics never will tell you the miles remaining, only the percentage of the linings remaining, and that's just a visual estimate. When he said "60 percent", it could have really been 50 percent. Now that it's "25 percent", it could really be 40 percent, well within what would be considered normal. Brakes are considered a wear item and are never covered under any kind of warranty. If you do a lot of city driving, you got the life out of your brakes that can be expected at the mileage you listed.

I'd wait with the shock absorbers to see if they get worse. They are filled with oil, and the seal on the top often shrinks and leaks in cold weather. Some seepage is normal but your mechanic was right to point it out now. If the leakage stops in warmer weather, fine. If it gets worse, you will have had warning. Isn't that better than if your mechanic had ignored it and not told you, or worse, never even bothered to do a quick visual inspection?

Jan 25, 2013.