CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

The car hasn't felt right since having major work done, and I can't tell if there's actually something wrong or if I'm just crazy

I took my Hyundai Accent in for it’s inspection about a month ago. It’s an old car with a lot of miles on it—a family friend sold it to me and said that the engine had been rebuilt–but I haven’t had any problems with it beyond the spark plugs needing changing. Prior to inspection, I felt a slight push back on acceleration. I assumed it was the spark plugs again and asked them to check.

It turns out the car was leaking exhaust and would not pass inspection without major work. My muffler was replaced. Engine gaskets. Catalytic converter. I have a full list of everything that was done if it could be relevant. After I got the car back I still felt as if it was not running comfortably, but chalked it up to possible anxiety/overreaction.

About a month later I noticed my breaks were squealing whenever I touched them. I took the car back in, and was told my rotors were burnt/warped and it was causing the car to pulsate. I assumed that was what was causing the push back feeling. The rotors and pads were replaced.

Today–the car still doesn’t feel right. I can’t get anyone to believe me, but it feels as if it’s vibrate upon idle A LOT more than it did before, both from the seat and the wheel. I’m also hearing a squealing noise when I back up, and on occasion when I hard turn. The brakes still occasionally make a “putt putt” noise upon braking.

I took it back for another look and the mechanic assures me there’s nothing wrong with it and that it’s safe–that he himself would drive it. I’m not 100% sure what to do.

1 Like

How old is it?
How many miles are on the odometer?
How many miles are on the rebuilt engine?
You have to bear in mind that these cars were designed to be very basic transportation, and were not built to the highest standards.
It is entirely possible that your Accent–of unknown age and unknown odometer mileage–has exceeded the duration of the manufacturer’s intended design, and as a result it may only be a money pit at this point.

1 Like

It’s a 2007 and the odometer reading is approximately 175,000. I can’t tell you the exact mileage of the rebuilt engine, but I purchased it about three years ago and I don’t drive that much. Maybe 2,000 miles or so a year?

I can accept that it might just be the car’s time. I’m just wondering if it’s safe to drive while I look for something else.

There is your answer about if it is safe to drive. So take your time and look for something else if you just don’t feel comfortable with this vehicle.

I REALLY hope that you are doing maintenance on the basis of elapsed time, and NOT on the basis of odometer mileage.

Of course. I always make sure to take it in for oil changes and to have the tires rotated and the spark plugs looked at. Was there more I should have done? Up until now I’ve always been very comfortable driving it. Beyond the occasional spark plug change (it starts to buck when they go) I haven’t had any problems with it and have always felt quite comfortable driving it.

That’s unfortunately where I am with it, I think.

3 years and 2,000 miles per year = 6,000 +/- miles total !!!
and you’ve had the spark plugs changed multiple times ??
Back in the last century spark plugs were generally good for 30,000 miles.
Newer car, newer plugs - platinum, iridium - good for 60-100,000 miles.

“Something is rotten in Denmark” - Methinks you need to visit a new mechanic for diagnosis and repairs.

I’d check the brand and model number on the spark plugs and make sure they are the same as recommended in your owners manual or on the underhood sticker. The best plugs are almost always the ones the carmaker uses when the car is new. Anything else is an experiment (if done thoughtfully) or a mistake.

You has to replace a converter and it seems like you are only getting 2000 miles out of spark plugs. How much oil is this car using? If you are not using oil between changes how often are you changing the oil?

Keep in mind, new spark plugs can mask other problems for a while because they fire so easily, problems like bad wires, marginal coil(s), leaky valves or worn rings etc.

If this was my car I would do a dry and wet compression test. I don’t know why most people call ir a wet and dry test because you always do the dry test first.

For the same reason they call it a “hot water heater.” It’s a cold water heater. You have to heat the water first before it’s hot. :wink:

1 Like

Yep, never thought about that one. Like the late George Carlin said " Why do we park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?"

I always call it a dry and wet test. And I park in the garage.

I should probably clarify here that I haven’t actually had the spark plugs changed multiple times. Actually, I believe it’s only been once since I’ve had the car. What I mean is that I always bring them up when I bring the car in for oil changes et al. I know that’s stupid, but the bucking that happened when they needed changed made me nervous enough that I wanted any to mechanic to…be aware of it I guess? I don’t think anyone has been taking advantage of me there.

The thing that’s really bothering me now is the vibration, which seems intense and abnormal. It’s possible that this is just the way the car feels when it’s running right and I’m not used it. But I’m unsure. I can’t recall it ever vibrating like this before.

You seem to be mentally locking on symptoms ( spark plugs for one ) that really don’t have much to do with your problems. I have a feeling that even if this vehicle is fine to drive you will never be able to relax and just drive on . I think you should just start looking for a replacement vehicle .

I actually think you’re right on that. It just seems so, well, stupid of me? I might drive it on some short, low stakes trips to see if I can get more comfortable.

LOL! My oldest Brother was born in 1929! I was born on his 23rd birthday in 1952! We joke about being ‘twins’. His forte is being an accomplished artist. Mine is science and history. In the mid 1990’s we were caring for our elderly Parents. While preparing breakfast he asked if I could “put some toast in the toaster”. Q: “Why would I put toast in the toaster?” A: "To toast it "!!! Q: I suppose you have a “Hot water heater at home?” A: “Of course I do. You have seen it!” Shaking my head.

2 Likes

Does he also use an ATM Machine?
Does he enter his PIN Number when he uses the ATM Machine?
:wink:

2 Likes

I think your concerns are justified but I am also a little confused about this vibration.

Does it vibrate at idle when the vehicle is stopped?
or
Is the vibration occurring when you are coasting to a stop and have your foot off the gas but not on the brakes?
or
Is the vibration occurring mainly when you have your foot on the brakes and slowing down?

If it only occurs when moving, does it sound like a propeller?

It vibrates at idle, like when I’m waiting at a stoplight. I can feel it both in the steering wheel and the seat.