When I am breaking, accelerating, turning, just about anything in this car I hear a thumping noise in the front end. I was told by a mechanic that it is lack of lubrication on my drive shaft and that there is nothing that can be done. It is getting louder and more frequent. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I also have been receiving a warning that my steering fluid is low, but there is no place to check the level, how do I fix this problem without a heafty bill from a shop?
Step 1: Get a second opinion from a reliable shop. “There is nothing that can be done” is a highly suspect response.
Since the term “drive shaft” would seem to imply a rear wheel drive car, you might want to have this genius mechanic show you the drive shaft on your front wheel drive Malibu. Maybe he meant axle shafts, rather than “drive shaft”, but I am wondering what type of lubrication he is referring to. Does me mean that the CV joints are going dry? This mechanic does not seem to be competent, IMHO.
However, unless you have already exceeded the mileage limitation for your car’s Powertrain Warranty, that warranty coverage should still be in effect. If the Powertrain Warranty is still in effect, why are going to an independent mechanic with this problem that could be related to the CV joints? It is also possible that this symptom is not related to the CV joints or axle shafts, but I think that it would be wise to rule out those areas that are covered by the Powertrain Warranty before you pay for repairs on any other parts of the car. If the problem is with a front end component, that would be covered by the bumper-to-bumper warranty, and it is likely that this coverage has expired–but that is worth checking.
Of course, if you followed the advice of someone who told you that you don’t need to do the scheduled maintenance in order to keep your warranty in effect, then it is possible that you are no longer covered by the powertrain warranty. As a first step, I would suggest that you check the length of your powertrain warranty, as well as your maintenance records. With any luck, you may be able to have this problem repaired under warranty.
Check the fluid:
Your Owner’s Manual should address checking Power Steering fluid. The cap/dipstick is sometimes hidden, often low, behind the engine, a real pain. Sometimes you just see the cap using a flashlight.
The proper Power Steering Fluid is the only thing you should add, if necessary, being careful not to “over-fill.” There should be marks showing the range. I would do it “cold” (before running car) using the cold mark. Fluid low enough to cause a problem may not even show on the stick. If it’s really close to the mark, leave it alone.
The 2 problems may not be related, at all. You may not get the noise to stop by doing this. The fluid may be leaking somewhere if it’s low. If the noise gets “better” then it’s probably in the steering and you need them to check that, specifically, even checking in the boots on the rack for fluid. Keep checking “cold” for several days and see if the fluid goes down. It shouldn’t be dropping any in several days. Power steering fluid should be checked as part of your maintenance routine, as per the manual.