What should I do about repairs on my Hyundai Elantra?
June 24, 2011 11:16 AM Subscribe
I have some questions about my car/car repair, specifically about having driven without a cap on my break fluid and my cabin and engine filters. 2004 Hyundai Elantra.
posted by andoatnp to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
I'll go over the story of what happened just to give all the possible relevant details. I was out driving two weeks ago and someone pulled up next to me and told me my left rear wheel was wobbling. I was right down the street from my regular Firestone so I pulled in there. I got a $14.95 inspection and they told me my car had the following problems: the rim on my left rear wheel was bent/rusty/unbalanced and needed to be replaced, one of my break pads was coming unglued and had to be replaced, my break fluid cap was missing, my cabin air filter was missing, and my engine air filter was dirty.
At that time, he said it probably wouldn't be a good idea to be driving around the car until I got the rim replaced. The mechanic took me in the back and showed me the wheel on some machine that would spin so I could see how much it was wobbling and also where my break pad was coming apart. I had to leave the car there for 3 days while they got some parts to do the fix on the rim and brake pads and put on a new brake fluid cap (~300 dollars).
Now, to my questions. The mechanic said that it wasn't great to have been driving around without a cap on my break fluid because break fluid is hydrophilic and gets water in it. I don't tend to ever open up my hood so I have no idea when the cap could have disappeared and if it's been a few days or months and months without it. Do I need to spend the $80 to have my break fluid flushed or is it probably ok to keep driving? What sort of problems might this cause for my car?
Also, how big of a deal is a dirty engine air filter and is that something I should get replaced quickly? And what are the ramifications of not having a cabin air filter (which very well could have been missing since I got the car used in 2006). [And just for curiosity's sake, are break fluid caps and cabin air filters things that can just fall off/disappear or what might explain that?]
Finally, I'm not very knowledgeable about cars or repairs, so if there are any general comments you have about this situation I would love to hear. (For example, is Firestone a good place to take my car? Should I have driven or got my car towed somewhere else for a second opinion? etc.). I don't tend to drive that much (5/6,000 miles per year), and I tend to avoid highways/freeways. Thanks for the help and information.