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Control Arm Bolt missing, could this be their fault?

I took my Mazda 6, 5-speed stick-shift in to the shop because it was driving like I didn’t know how to use a clutch. Whenever I would shift and try to accelerate the car would sputter, but eventually it would drive just fine. After taking it in, I was told (from what I can remember) that one of the cylinder or piston or something wasn’t firing. This made perfect sense to my husband and myself and we got the car fixed ($500). The car then drove just fine. A month or so later I noticed one day that when I was driving in a straight line, that the steering wheel was not being held straight. It was crooked. And even worse than that was whenever I would put in the clutch to shift, the car would violently pull to the left. The higher the RPMs, the more noticeable the pull. Oh, and the car started making low, heavy, creaking noises when I would turn. So, once again I take the car to the same shop. They called me today and asked if the car had been in an accident. Um, “no.” Well, one of the control arm bolts is gone, completely missing. He said that this doesn’t usually just fall out so he thought maybe the car was in an accident and someone doing work on it had to remove the bolt and forgot to tighten it or something. Anyway, I say no and that the last people to touch the car was them when they fixed the piston/engine firing issue. He said that there was no way it was them who touched the bolt because they were working in the engine block and not underneath the car dealing with the suspension, etc. So, they put a bolt in it and are checking the alignment. They said is will be fixed for $200. My question is, I really feel like it is unlikely this bolt fell out, and that it is more likely they did something wrong. Do you think that fixing the first problem (and some kind of oversight on their part) could have been responsible for this control-arm bolt problem?

I can think of no way that fixing the first problem caused the second. Totally different parts of every car I’ve seen. Of course, I can’t see your car. If you could list the work done the first time (find the receipt) it would help.

There’s no way these two problems are connected. Except perhaps by age. What year is the car and how many miles does it have on it?

By the way, I agree with your guy that these don’t usually fall out by themselves, but that’s not to say it’s impossible.

Yeah, they didn’t break your car. It’s entirely possible, even if it’s a newer vehicle (which I doubt, since you’re spending money to fix things and therefore it’s out of warranty) for the bolt to have been poorly installed at the factory (that does happen from time to time) and it’s just taken this long to finally work itself loose.

You can count me as one more person who sees no connection whatsoever between the recent work on your engine and the missing control arm bolt. Just how old is this car, and how many miles are on the odometer?

I see no connection either. Loose or overtightened bolts are just a part of the assembly process when the vehicle is manufactured.

I own a 6, 6 cylinder. They are notorious for coil problems (as are the Fords that share the same engine). Assuming they replaced a coil, it is unlikely that they caused the control arm problem.