Skip to comments.Car Problem
Posted on 02/24/2013 3:17:17 PM PST by Allen In Texas Hill Country
Hope no one minds if I shift gears from politics and bring up a car problem. Been buying used and new cars for near 48 years. Of the first 14 vehicles I never had a major failure such as what occurred Friday.
I live 60 miles northwest of San Antonio and was headed to SA. Got within 10 miles of destination when I smelled something and within a few seconds vehicles around me started beeping their horns. Billows of smoke was coming out and no power steering. The engine was still running and with emergency lights on I safely got off and parked where a tow vehicle could pick it up.
The dealer has had the car for nearly 2 days and still cannot detail what needs to be fixed. Or what still might be working. He hasn't yet mentioned the engine block or innards but near everything else under the hood is up for grabs.
The car is 4 1/2 years old with 35k miles. Due to unique circumstances I forgot to purchase extended coverage which I had on the car before this one. I screwed up and forgot. Do I have a question here???? I don't know, Anybody else have a car this relatively new fail so extensively? My 14 year old Tahoe has near 140k on it. Of course various this and that has been replaced but it still runs like a clock.
I wrote a letter that tries to explain my extreme frustration and maybe that is more of what I'm doing here, I'll mail it tomorrow. But its got only 35k and may be in the shop for 3, 4 or more days. What a PITA!!!! Now this is the 6th time I have bought this make so I thought, foolish me, that that I mean its not going to fail in 4 years.
First impression - check the serpentine belt.
Legal issues for stating the make/model of the car that blew up?
Knowing the make and model would be helpful.
if it was a fire under the hood, file a comprehensive claim on your auto insurance. Other than that, you are probably outta luck......red
Get your car to another shop.
I’ll go out on a limb and guess this is a Government Motors POS?
I can’t imagine any legal issues if you post the type of car.
And don’t feel too bad about nt buying the warranty...they don’t always work out.
You say you lost power steering and there was smoke...
My initial thought is losing a belt will drop power steering, but not account for the other symptoms.
If a steering pump or hose just completely blew, that would explan both the loss of steering and the smoke....
But the dealer should be able to find this immediately.
My guess is really that the dealer hasn’t even looked at the car yet, and some element of the steering system blew a major leak.
Sounds like a power steering line sprung a leak and sprayed fluid over the hot engine. Have them replace the line. It might be covered under the lemon laws in Texas.
Why do you think there’s a legal problem if you mention make and model? Don’t be silly. If your Chevy blew up, it blew up. If your Ford fell apart it fell apart. No one can sue you for simply stating what actually happened to your vehicle, regardless the make or model.
FWIW, my daughter has a 2001 Honda Civic. She parked it before going in to work. Shortly afterward, someone came in and said a car in the parking lot was on fire.
Something under the dashboard of her car had caught fire, melted the dashboard, and burnt a bit of the inside roof. She got it fixed, but the wires were too screwed up to tell which ones were responsible.
She says that a similar thing happened recently to a friend who has a Honda Accord.
I would guess a belt. Example: Your air conditioning compressor bearing/alternator bearing failed and the rotor won’t rotate . Your belt smoked. Or timing belt. Just a guess.
If the engine was running but you lost your power steering, I would think that one of the hoses on the power steering pump failed. That would explain the smoke as power steering fluid would then hit the exhaust pipes. Been there, done that.
I had a Buick catch fire around 30 miles from home. As luck would have it, I had a fire extinguisher with me for the first time ever.
I discovered the auto transmission was leaking fluid onto the exhaust.
I had the transmission rebuilt and after several days it came to me that my auto insurance might pay for it. I contacted my agent and sure enough, they paid for it.
I also first thought of the serpentine belt which someone else mentioned.
You will usually hear a loud whining noise if your power steering unit has drained, especially during turns.
Powertrain is routinely covered longer than bumper-to-bumper warranty, most often 100K mikes. You should be good, whatever it is, unless they can conceivably claim abuse or neglect. You performed all routine maintenance and can prove it, correct? Even if you didn’t keep receipts or go to the dealer for service, most shops will have a record of all your visits as well as service performed in their system, if you need it.
It's interesting that the vehicle has been in the dealer shop for 2 days without a finding....
Did the vehicle overheat? "Check Engine" light come on? Leaks anywhere under vehicle?
Did you have an actual fire under the hood? Or just smoke?
Smoke + smell + no power steering usually means that you blew a power steering hose and the fluid was spraying on your exhaust manifold. I’ve had that happen twice in the last 35 years.
Sounds like you lost your serpentine belt...the loss of power steering would be a tipoff. Or, I suppose, the power steering pump could have seized. Either is not a big deal. You should get a second opinion from another shop.
Would that we could fix. Or just scrap and recycle, our dysfunctional political hacks like we can our dysfuctional cars!
You forgot to mention what make and year the car was. Provide that information, and you will get a lot more feedback.
Your serp belt broke, which overheated the car since it controls your water pump and power steering. The dealer is taking you to the cleaners. $90 fix unless you did other damage by driving with an overheated car.
>> Dont be silly. If your Chevy blew up, it blew up. If your Ford fell apart it fell apart.<<
OTOH if you are driving a rice-burner you are getting justice (just kidding — I hope someone has an idea for you: personally, it sounds like you somehow got a bad short in the wiring harness and those things are single units these days).
Is this a Tesla? lol A little help with make and model would help. A LOT!
Sounds to me like you bought an American product..........
What color was the smoke?
Just a guess but sounds like you lost the power steering due to some type leak which was allowing fluid out onto the hot exhaust/engine, thus the smoke pouring out and no power steering.
As far as the dealer not looking at it just yet seems a bit odd to me. But if he is short handed or over loaded I guess it could be a few days. I’d be interested in his response as to when he’ll let you know something. Depending upon the problem and warranty situation the choice of repair location could be impacted.
Well you’ve got alot of responses...all of which are things the dealer would check in the first 5 minutes.
Either you have the most perplexing problem in automobile history, or your dealer hasn’t looked at the car yet.
BTW, if this is the most car anxiety you’ve had in a lifetime of ownership, you have bought some very good cars, and taken very good care of them.
I do believe it is either a steering hose or pump that burst a leak. Since you are doing business with the dealer, you should proceed with caution.
If you blew a hose, he may tell you that you need a new pump, since it might have ran dry and been damaged. I would say no to that and take my chances.
If you blew a hose, he may tell you that your belts are contaminated with fluid and need replaced. Again, I would aggressively say no to that.
If the belt or pump spewed all over the alternator, he may tell you that needs replaced. Depending on how bad it looks, that might be legitimate...but if the car starts and runs without the check battery light coming on, I wouldn’t replace that either.
With all of these things, the dealer may tell you that you risk a firy death if you ignore him. If this worries you, drive directly from his shop to an auto detail place, and have them clean the engine.
Also, you may be told about contaminated CV boots and steering bellows...again I would not replace these and just get everything cleaned real well.
Or the belt broke, car overheated, and a radiator hos blew. That would be the case if the smoke was white. Just hope he didn’t blow a head gasket. Power steering fluid on the engine isn’t likely to produce enough smoke to have other vehicles honking at you.
My guess is that it’s a leak or broken hose, whenever I’ve
had a bearing seize (water pump, power steering or alternator) there has been a loud screech then a bang when the belt broke.
How’s the oil and engine coolant levels?
I had the same make for years and years. Only once did I get a lemon. Literally, every three months something major would go wrong with that car. When I sold it I was up front and told the guy who wanted it that I had replaced just about everything in the car. But I suggested he take it to a reputable mechanic and have it checked out. After he had it checked out and signed the papers, on his way home the transmission blew up.
Sometimes you have a glitch that just happen in any car no matter the miles. But I’d keep an eye on this. If you have too many glitches don’t hang on to it. I should have gotten rid of that car long before I did.
BTW-Like one of the other poster stated, if your mechanic can’t tell what’s wrong with it after two days, it’s time to take it to another mechanic. Personally, I’d take it to the dealership. They tend to be a bit more expensive but you know that it will be done right. Last time I took it to a “reputable” third party vendor they ripped out the firewall installation because it was in the way.
I agree...a belt alone wouldn’t make enough smoke to annoy other drivers.
Yep. This is probably why the dealer won't answer his question. A serpentine belt only runs about $20.
Water pump, steering pump, alternator,....if he pulled right over he should be ok. Car just got a little too hot.
This happened to me about a mile from home. The car did get hot, and steering was really hard. It took about 20 minutes for my husband to replace it.
Well my personal experience is that it certainly can. Hope for his sake it as minor as a new hose and some fluid.
>>What color was the smoke?<<
If it was white, do we have a new Pope?
It may be a Hurricane Sandy car which means the entire electrical system is suspect.
Power steering fluid leaked onto the exhaust manifold?
Beat me to it. I was going to suggest that if you didn’t get a CarFzx on it when you bought it, get one. If it’s one of the Sandy vehicles or one that has been totaled for some other reason you may have some recourse.
No recalls on your vehicle?
A serpentine belt is called that because it goes around so many things under the hood. It's like a snake. Power steering would stop. No water pump to cool down the engine, so the temp light would come on. The engine light would come on due to the alternator not getting charged.
If there's any spilled oil under the hood (dirty engine), it would smoke like crazy.
I kid you not, but two threads below this is a post about Elvis’ Cadillac going up in smoke:
A couple years back a Freeper started a thread about the irony of how some threads appeared near one another. I recall that because I’ve often thought about that as well. I’m sure he would have enjoyed these...
Its just that till now I was happy with my Mazdas.
‘08 Mazda CX-7.
Try feeding them a better brand of kibble
The ONLY thing the dealer said so far is that they thought the AC pulley froze/locked. But they suspected there were several/many(?) other side effects. OK, so maybe that burned up the main belt but not for all the smoke?????
Well, a seized A/C compressor would do it, and have about the same effect. Did the smoke smell like rubber, oil, or something else? What color was the smoke (white or black?)
Playing the Race card I see>