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The best way to get my car checked for a road trip

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 18 Nov 2017, 10:21 am
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Default The best way to get my car checked for a road trip

Hello, last year I took my 2006 pt cruiser for a check point inspection before I went on a road trip. I was advised that my car was ok, that was not the case. I ended up breaking down 400 miles away from home. Is there a better way to get the car checked before a road trip.

The engine was replace due to I needed a new head, waterpump, timing belt, new spark plugs (other parts for tune oil), oil change, air filter, motor mounts, thermostat and anything else I could think of while the mechanic had the car open. I know one of my tires has a plug in it but all my tires have good thread.

Still my car is shaking and not sure why. My mechanic that replaced the engine told me it was it's age of the car and engine. I don't want to get stuck on the road again trying to go see my family for thanksgiving.
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Old 18 Nov 2017, 10:37 am
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Default Re: The best way to get my car checked for a road trip

Your shaking can be caused by one of several different components going bad. Radiator fan, motor mounts, etc. We need more information to be able to advice what to check.

Does it shake at an idle?

Does it shake without the Air Conditioning on at an idle?

Does it shake at high speeds?

Is the engine light on? If so did you get the OBDII Scan codes?

Post what information you can and we can help get the shaking taken care of.
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Old 18 Nov 2017, 10:38 am
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Default Re: The best way to get my car checked for a road trip

First, a car does not shake because it's old. If shaking while not moving, it's often either a missing engine or the motor mounts that hold the engine are bad or not adjusted correctly. If shaking just while going down the road it's likely something such as the suspension, wheel bearings, alignments, a bent wheel rim or even the tires. A statement that the car shakes because it is old might cause me to have less faith in the mechanic that made this statement.

The best way to get the car checked out for a road trip is to go to a good mechanic and ask him or her to check out the car for a road trip. It's likely then that they should check both the engine, engine mounts, suspension, wheel bearings, and substantial number of other things such as fluids, tires and alignment. If family with PT Cruisers, the mechanic may also want to check radiator fan function since fan failure is one of the primary causes of PT engine overheating and failure.

The mechanic should also review the maintenance schedule for the car and ask you questions such as when the timing belt was last changed if the car is approaching or over 100,000 miles. And when the brake pads and transmission filter were last changed.

All this depends on the quality of the mechanic you chose. If unhappy with the one that told you the car shakes because it is old, ask friends and family if they recommend a different shop.
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 18 Nov 2017 at 10:43 am.
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Old 18 Nov 2017, 11:02 am
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Default Re: The best way to get my car checked for a road trip

Most shops will offer a bumper to bumper inspection which takes about an hour. You will know if they are at least experienced in this kind of service because they will have a checklist form for such an inspection service.

If you are in an area that has a FIRESTONE or SEARS they both do excellent jobs at inspecting. (there are reason for this.)
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Old 18 Nov 2017, 11:16 am
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Default Re: The best way to get my car checked for a road trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy_Cruiser View Post

The mechanic should also review the maintenance schedule for the car and ask you questions such as when the timing belt was last changed if the car is approaching or over 100,000 miles.
I would not recommend having the timing belt replaced just before going on a long trip. Whatever repairs you have done on the Pt Cruiser make sure you give yourself enough time to make sure the repairs are done correctly before leaving on your trip.
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Old 18 Nov 2017, 11:48 am
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Default Re: The best way to get my car checked for a road trip

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Originally Posted by ptcruisersteve View Post
I would not recommend having the timing belt replaced just before going on a long trip. Whatever repairs you have done on the Pt Cruiser make sure you give yourself enough time to make sure the repairs are done correctly before leaving on your trip.
Steve,

Think about what you just said. Would you send family members off for a long trip in almost 12 year-old PT Cruiser with over 100,000 miles on it and still sporting the original timing belt? I sure wouldn't.

It's very possible that a good mechanic may find several issue that will take time to fix. Suspension repair can be just as timely and complex as timing belt replacement. If the mechanic finds these types of problems, the car owner will need to decide if they should take the chance, fix the car or take another car instead. A good mechanic will be able to help their customer gauge that risk. And once the mechanic makes the desired repairs, the customer should be able to drive the car with confidence.
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Old 18 Nov 2017, 11:50 am
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Default Re: The best way to get my car checked for a road trip

Time belt, motor mounts, radiator fan was all replaced. Timing belt was changed 4 months ago with new belt, motor mounts about 1 year ago. Radiator fan 1 year ago. Replacement of engine 4 or 5 months ago.

Does it shake at an idle? Yes, whenever I stop at a stop light.

Does it shake without the Air Conditioning on at an idle? Yes, anytime I stop at a stop light. I use to shake more with air conditioning on that's why I replaced fan. Shake got much better but still shakes.

Does it shake at high speeds? It is smooth when at any speed, just the idle.

Is the engine light on? If so did you get the OBDII Scan codes? Tried to check for codes but couldn't because the check engine light wasn't on.
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Old 18 Nov 2017, 11:54 am
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Default Re: The best way to get my car checked for a road trip

I did watch a video about motor mounts and it was suggested to replace mounts with oem mounts. I bought my mounts at auto zone which I think were 20$ or something like that each. The one at the bottom wasn't replaced because the mechanic said it was good. Saying that the upper mounts most of the time go bad, not the bottom.
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Old 18 Nov 2017, 11:59 am
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Default Re: The best way to get my car checked for a road trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy_Cruiser View Post
Steve,

Think about what you just said. Would you send family members off for a long trip in almost 12 year-old PT Cruiser with over 100,000 miles on it and still sporting the original timing belt?
Handy, you are looking at it from a driver who knows how to make repairs on the side of the road. Not all members have that capability. When you are replacing several different parts replacing the timing belt there is potential risk of failure such as a Gates water pump, bad belt tensioner, etc. I would rather take my chances with the current mileage engine on a long trip unless I had enough time to make sure the timing belt replacement is working properly.
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Old 18 Nov 2017, 12:01 pm
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Default Re: The best way to get my car checked for a road trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by evonna_21 View Post
Time belt, motor mounts, radiator fan was all replaced. Timing belt was changed 4 months ago with new belt, motor mounts about 1 year ago. Radiator fan 1 year ago. Replacement of engine 4 or 5 months ago.

Does it shake at an idle? Yes, whenever I stop at a stop light.

Does it shake without the Air Conditioning on at an idle? Yes, anytime I stop at a stop light. I use to shake more with air conditioning on that's why I replaced fan. Shake got much better but still shakes.

Does it shake at high speeds? It is smooth when at any speed, just the idle.

Is the engine light on? If so did you get the OBDII Scan codes? Tried to check for codes but couldn't because the check engine light wasn't on.
How many miles on the engine?

Has the head gasket been replaced? If so did they check the valves?

If they did not install the motor mounts correctly they can go bad within a year. You can check for engine movement and the link below might help you.

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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 18 Nov 2017 at 12:10 pm.
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