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How to determine need for maintenance

I have a 2000 hoda civic rebuild that i just bought online for $1000. A few quirks have poped up and im trying to find out if its worth it to take it to a mechanic if i only need the car to run for 4-6 months before i upgrade. The main issue ive noticed is the wheel on the drivers side in the front making a loud creaking when i turn the steering wheel. Im not really worried about the car breaking down. im really just curious if it could be dangerous and if there’s anything i can do to avoid getting expenses work done.

That really sounds more like a suspension part than anything with the wheel. I’m thinking a worn ball joint or tie rod. The ball joint hold the wheel on and the tie rod is connected to the steering so really I would just have someone check it out as a safety issue. Usually it doesn’t cost anything for someone to look at it and give you their opinion. As you turn the wheel, that puts more stress on those parts and that’s why they could be making a noise.


Im struggling with not knowing anyone that knows cars and cant help but be suspicious of machanics eager to convince me i need more work than i do. Ive had more bad experiences than not as far as poor estimates on time and cost of repairs. I understand thats the struggle unfortunately but with this car being such a small investment id like to save as much as i can to put down a payment on something more permanent. I already avoid highways entirely and never drive above 50 so as not to strain him. Ive been driving it for about a month and I havnt had any personal experiences where the car drove over anything even slightly dramatic. I can confront a machanic if you think its wise, but how do i determine if they are addressing the cause of the problem rather than a symptom that will mask it long enough for the check to clear?

It might be bad struts, it might be something else. But if it’s coming from the front suspension, it is potentially dangerous. No matter what you drive, you are eventually going to need a reliable and trustworthy mechanic now and in the future. This would be an excellent opportunity to find the right one. Ask family and friends for referances, and take this vehicle to various places for first, second and third opinions for free estimates. But be sure they are free before you let them touch it. You should be able to find a good shop. I know there are incompetent and crooked shops out there, but in reality, most are very good and honest, Some are better than others though.

If you just bought it and plan to trade it in as little as 4 months, why own it in the first place? Just curious.

Well, you should be concerned, at very least. It’s not just your concern, but others who have to share the roads with you.

As pointed out, it could be okay to drive, BUT, it could be a potentially dangerous problem that could cause loss of control.

Although you have a nonchalant attitude toward your own well-being, you have an obligation to figure all of that out to protect those on the road who would worry about drivers like you.

Look, find a busy alignment shop and have the car lifted and at least a safety check performed. You should be under no obligation for repairs at inspection time and a quality shop should be able to take you and show you what the exact problem/problems are if they find any. They can also let you know how safe it is for operation.

I like saving money, too, but at some point one can become penny wise and pound foolish. A wreck and its consequences are not components of an intelligently orchestrated savings program.

Thank you for your prompt attention in this matter!

That’s one way… an old, cheap rebuilt car with a loud unusual noise in the front-end.

That’s another way… being “curious” if it’s “dangerous”!

Those car symptoms and your feelings of curiosity are Mother Nature’s way of helping you determine that the need for maintenance is imminent! :wink: