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Could it be coincidence? Dealership damaged car? Is it safe?

So, I’m about to take the family on a driving trip from San Diego to Southern Coastal Oregon (yes, I know we are insane) and so I took the minivan to the dealership for 105k mileage check. The car had a corroded battery connection and was feeling wobbly when braking. Now I don’t trust the dealership because they called and said the battery was leaking and since I bought it through AAA, they came out and said it wasn’t leaking, it was a faulty connector. Later I pick up the van and there’s a weird bumping around sound coming from the front passenger tire area. They checked it, said the didn’t do anything wrong, that it was just a result of the car hanging on the rack (they fixed the power steering components connected to rack and pinion). They said the struts are good, but that the rubber connecting the strut was getting old and while it didn’t need to be repaired now, would need to be soon. They said the car was safe.
Does this sound reasonable? Could they have broken it? Is it safe to drive 18 hours each way?

Thanks all!

Without looking at the car it is not possible to say if it is OK or not. Click on mechanics files at the top of this page and find a local independent mechanic to take the car to for another check.

You had the wobbly brakes after picking it up from the AAA shop or the dealer?

I agree with Steve. The best thing is to have another mechanic take a look again. I find it unacceptable that the “weird bumping” is as a result of the car being on the rack, but not being able for us to see it, it’s hard to diagnose. Did they fix the “wobbly” brakes?

Yes, the brakes are fixed. They also said the back brakes needed to be cleaned, so they cleaned them.

Wobbly brakes were fixed at the dealership. They had to even out the discs, is I think what they said, and clean the back breaks.

Yep, wobbly brakes fixed by evening the discs, and cleaning the back brakes.

This sounds reasonable…no “coincidence” since their action caused the rubber to loosen, but anyone who would have serviced it would have put it on a rack and, presumably, cause the same noise to appear. As above, another opinion should allay your fears.

Curious…did they recommend on the invoice any other items to be fixed?

No way to tell over the internet of course, but it all sounds within reason. The wobbly brakes presumably were warped rotors, which they resurfaced. Many shops wouldn’t resurface warped rotors, they’d just replace them. But it may be the way your hub works, replacing the rotors, the parts cost is expensive so resurfacing worked out better. The most common causes rotors warp are b/c they overheated at one time or another during heavy sustained braking, or b/c the wheels were installed on the hub incorrectly. If one rotor is warped and the other (on the same axle) isn’t, then that bears more investigation. But if both were equally warped, and they installed the wheels on the hub correctly, I’d say you are good to go.

Most batteries leak a little at the posts, often showing up at corrosion on the post and the post connector. If you have battery fluid dripping down the side of the battery and landing at parts below the battery, that has to be dealt with now; but if it is just the typical post/connector corrosion, cleaning that up, maybe replacing the connector, good enough. Making sure the battery and alternator voltages are correct with and without the engine running would make sense too.

The bumping sound after putting the vehicle on the lift is a little unusual, but it could happen. When the car has been lifted by the chassis, the wheels are hanging freely, and that temporarily changes the geometry of the suspension components to each other, since there is no weight on the wheels. The suspension interfaces live inside rubber bushing and it might take a little driving for it all to come back into the same geometry the way it was before. Suggest to make sure that problem goes away after a few drives, before beginning your family trip.

For a long trip like that, it’s a good idea to visually inspect all your tires, including the spare, making sure they have enough tread and nothing unusual is happening, like cracks in the sidewall, bulges, or unusual wear patterns. Next make sure they are all inflated to spec, including the spare. If you’ve never used the tire jack, get it out and make sure you can change the tire in your driveway using it. That’s not something you want to learn with a flat tire on the side of highway 1. I always bring along a small tool kit and socket & ratchet set on a trip like that, sometimes it comes in handy. I had to do an emergency fix a broken seat belt retractor on my VW Rabbit one time for example.

To add to GeorgeSanJose’s comments, be sure to pack a roll of duct tape, and have a good credit card and an AAA card or equivalent. Some recommend a spare fan belt, but I don’t agree.

Fan belt on a van with electric fans?

The belt that drives the alternator is still generally referred to as the “fan belt”.
I’ve even heard a serpentine belt referred to as a “fan belt”, although I tend to use the term only for V-belts rather than serp belts.

Honda and Toyota call it a “drive belt.”

Lots of manufacturers call it a “drive belt” and that is about as generic a term as you can think of. “Drive belt” could easily mean a v belt or a serpentine belt

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“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” - William Shakespeare.

And how does a rose end up smelling so sweet when the fertilizer to promote its blooms does not.
Serpentine belt, drive belt fan belt whatever, but fan belt to me is a v belt used to drive the fan, and maybe alternator and water pump, woops that is what a serpentine belt does, I guess I would consider a fan belt a v belt that is not a singular belt for everything ie: not a serpentine belt.

The miracle of chemistry.

But that isn’t the point. The point is that whatever nomenclature you use, the belt is the same. And none would confuse any mechanic I’ve ever known. Well, one perhaps, but he gets confused easier than most people. Much easier.

I also prefer and often use many English terms, like “damper”. That to me is much more concise than “strut”. It isolates the subject item to only that part of the strut that absorbs the bumps, and that can help to communicate some problems more clearly.

I like “boot” for the “trunk” and “hood” for the “roof” too, as well as “bonnet” for the “hood”. There are many terms they use that I like better than ours. Except, of course, “made redundant”. That means “laid off” or “fired”. :grin:

If terms that clearly communicate the intent bothered me just because they weren’t exactly what I’d use, I’d have studied English, and perhaps been a writer or a poet or a hot dog vendor.

I like Boot for what I wear on my foot, and hood for the neighborhood my homies hang out in, Damper for that thing in the fireplace so the cabin does not fill up with smoke, Strut, that is what ladies of the night in vegas do, bonnet, that is what those amish kids wear, And yes I have booted a few slackers as executive chef, and booted a few computers as computer guru at work, and this is all because of fan belt definition?
wiki definition of serpent, good or evil sums it up!

The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. The word is derived from Latin serpens, a crawling animal or snake. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind[1][2] and represent dual expression[3] of good and evil.[4]

By description a a fan belt is a belt that drives the fan. A power steering belt drives the power steering, a serpentine belt drives the serpent :grin:

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Selling Nathan’s I hope :yum: