Fixable or trade in

  • 3.8L
  • 6 CYL
  • 240,000 MILES
Car started squealing which accelerates upon my acceleration. It takes longer than usual for it to heat up in the mornings when it is just chilly out as opposed to freezing. All last summer the A/C did not cool. I am thinking a belt and thermostat? But over this past winter I hit a patch of black ice, fishtailed, lost control, went off road and spun a 360 at least five times in the school front yard. So now it is starting to vibrate when I hit fifty mph. I have been told by friends it could be tie rod or strut. The dash light also came on twice that said A/C off to protect engine? Do not know where to start.
Do you
have the same problem?
Saturday, April 29th, 2017 AT 3:44 PM

1 Reply

None of these repairs should be as painful as a pile of monthly car payments.

For the vibration, you need new friends to guide you, so here I am. Vibrations are caused by rotating parts, and given the history, a bent wheel is the best suspect. You won't have any trouble finding a good used wheel at any salvage yard. A lot of these cars were produced.

Slow warm-up is most likely the result of needing a new thermostat. That is not a major repair.

The most common cause of the AC system not working is the refrigerant has leaked out and the system needs to be recharged. If there is a leak that can be detected, that will have to be repaired first. The need to recharge the system can be expected at 12 years old.

The belt squeal can be solved, but the cause has to be diagnosed first. A tipped or turned pulley will cause the belt to walk across that pulley as it goes around it. You can verify this by dribbling a little water on the smooth back side of the belt while the engine is running and the noise is occurring. If the belt is making the noise, it will change when the water hits it. Look for a pulley that has the belt running slightly off-center in relation to on the other pulleys. The pulleys were originally painted black, and that paint rubs off where the belt was running. Look for a pulley where there is some shiny silver showing to the side of the belt. That will indicate the belt is running in a new location on that pulley. That one, or the one right before it is tipped or turned. Usually that happens to idler pulleys with a bearing in their center.

Given the proliferation of unneeded, unreliable, and expensive-to-repair electronics that has been forced on us by the engineers, I am always in favor of keeping the older stuff on the road. That "driving excitement" fades pretty quickly when you get those common $800.00 to $2000.00 repair bills. Even your car is too new for me, and I surely have no interest at all in a new car.
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Monday, May 1st, 2017 AT 5:08 PM

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