So I took my car in this morning to get it tuned up, in order to help
it pass the smog test. At least the oil change, I thought, might help.
It was running fine when I took it in to the garage today, though, and
when I picked it up afterwards (plugs oil filter and air filter and all
that) (Hyundai Accent GT fuel injected engine) it seemed to be running
maybe a bit better, not much difference, but it was running fine,
So I drove it about 5 miles to work and parked it, then 3 hours later I
drove it to lunch. As soon as I started it to go to lunch, the CHECK
ENGINE light came on AND it was running rough, almost dying at stop
I am going to take it back to the mechanic tomorrow, but I want to
know: What could have happened? Why did it only start running bad AFTER
I left the garage and let it sit for 3 hours? What might be wrong with
it that he would have done to cause the check engine light to come on
and run rough, only AFTER sitting in the garage at work for 3 hours?
What is the mechanic likely to say? Can he in any way claim it was NOT
a result of something he did wrong?
What can you tell me to help me resolve this without my paying more
money, getting taken for more parts, etc.? I'm looking for knowledge,
here; knowledge is power.
It's quite possible that one of the plug wires wasn't connected properly
and came loose. Although it's less likely, one of the plugs may have
cracked or broken. Also, check the oil level to make sure that there
wasn't a leak and the engine didn't run dry.
These are some of the reasons that everyone should learn to do simple
maintentance like this for themselves. You save yourself a bunch of
money and you know exactly what was done, how it was done and what parts
Thank you Mr. Wizard! Really - no sarcasm. It is a shame that today's
consumer wants to be just that - a consumer and not invest in any real
understanding of the products that they buy. Big ticket items like a car
almost scream for some level of understanding. But... folks want to go plop
their money down, drive around town, and not even understand something as
basic as an oil change and then come looking for "knowledge" when something
is broken. Knowledge does not come instantly through usenet posts. It's
accumulated. Advice and information that contribute to knowledge can come
from a forum like this, but knowledge is just not one of those things that
the instant gratification generation can demand. Just a little bit of
investment on the part of the owner would go so far in reducing the number
of foolish "my car is broke now, what's wrong with it and did the
mechanic/dealer break it or what should I do?" posts.
In the case of the OP, I suspect the mechanic did not use winterized air in
the air cleaner.
Perhaps I'm just a walking anachronism, but I feel that I owe it to
myself to know as much about the things I own as possible, and to do as
much of my own maintenance and repair as possible. It has saved me many
thousands of dollars over the years and given me the peace of mind that
comes from knowing that if something goes wrong, I can probably fix it
or at least work around it until someone else fixes it. I truly hate
being dependent on anyone else for my well being.
Actually, the sad part is, I do know how to change the oil and plugs
and air filters and so on. But I have no place to do it; my apt. does
not allow working on cars, and I know no one with a home nearby where
I could do it. I also do not have a 2nd car I can use to go to the
parts store once I get the car taken apart and realize I need this or
Also there is the issue that when I did do these things for myself,
sometimes it was more hassle than it was worth. Like, if a tiny part
dropped on the ground, or broke, or if I discovered a part I needed, I
had to walk 2 miles to the nearest parts store to get one, they didn't
have it and I had to walk to a 2nd one... next thing you know, that
"simple half hour job" becomes a 4-5 hour ordeal, simply because of
not having the resources that an Auto Repair place has.
Another thing is having ALL the tools that help to make the job
easier. The average Joe does not have all the little things that the
mechanic has, to make the job easier to perform, for example a
hydraulic rack to put the car up on. What about recycling the oil? If
you have to put it in something and drive it across town to dispose of
it, there goes the gas money and the time for that...
So, the fact is, I quit doing these things because it was just too
much trouble and required too much time sometimes. And I make good
money and my free time is more important than the $19.95 I spend on an
oil and filter change. A tune up, yes, is overpriced, and I do resent
paying $225 for the hour or so they spend giving my car a tune-up, but
still and yet, I don't have the place to do it. If I had my own home
with a garage, I might consider doing things like this.
One more issue is that some of these compact cars are so tight, it is
just a pain in the ass to get in the engine compartment to work on
For the 10 minutes it would take to change plugs and wires, I doubt
anyone would notice.
That's true of more susbstantial repairs, but not basic maintenance.
The tools to do basic maintenance will fit in a shoebox.
Are we going to have a rational discussion or are you going to be
ridiculous? No one needs a lift to do basic maintenance on a car.
Any gas station that does service has an oil reclamation tank.
If you're making good money, why not buy a house with a garage instead
of stuffing your cash in some "slumlord's" pocket? It's the best
investment you'll ever make, for a lot of reasons. Being able to work on
your own car is just one of them.
Again, that's not generally true of basic maintenance. Yeah, getting to
the starter or replacing a timing belt can be a bit of a hassle, but
that's not what we're talking about.
True, that part I could do. But an oil change, no.
Like I say, they WOULD scream if I did an oil change. Plugs and wires
you are right, I should do those myself. Maybe I will next time.
Yes, and I have them. The plugs are pretty hard to get to, though, on
this car, if I recall. But yes, I could do it.
No but it helps. Especially things like brakes. But even with an oil
change I'd much rather do it on a rack then crawl under there adn do
it. But it's a moot point because I can't, at our apartment.
And they will allow anyone to use it? But again, I can't change oil,
You're getting into a personal discussion here which would require me
explaining to you why I have not been able to buy a house but can rent
an apartment. Suffice to say, I live in Southern California and would
prefer to live in a nice area in an apartment than to live in a not so
good area in a home.
Okay. You make some good points.
I wonder how many mechanics who use their computers every day know how
to fix them, re-load software, re-install Windows, add an internal cd
or dvd player, etc.. These are things many people who use their
computers every day cannot do. But I can, and I learned only because
like someone said above, I don't like to depend on other people for
things I use a lot.
But it's all a matter of how much time and energy one is willing to
invest in learning something. Some people just find computers too
intimidating, and others find cars too intimidating.
What I've found it that it's largely a mindset. People who don't think
they're capable often never even try, but if they do, they're frequently
surprised at what they can do. OTOH, there are some people with no
mechanical/technical capability. I feel sorry for them.
Take it back like you indicated and see what they say.
If the mechanic is honest, he will tell you what the problem is and will
be honest about whether it's related to the repairs. If it's unrelated,
he can and should claim it was not a result of something he did. While
odds lean heavily toward the tune-up, there are still many things
unrelated that could have caused the issue.
Not much knowledge to impart until I know what the issue was and exactly
what was done on the initial visit.
Thanks. I was just looking for some ideas as to what MIGHT cause it,
as much for my own knowledge in general, as for this particular case.
Fortunately it turned out to just be something loose that the mechanic
found right away and fixed easily and without cost to me. Thanks for
To be more clear, I found out that it was an electrical connector to
the tube that goes into the air filter. Somehow or other that piece
got broken or lost so it came loose.
The mechanic said they did not take that piece apart so it was just a
coincidence that it was loose because that piece was lost or broken.
(I'm not clear from looking at it exactly how it was before... I'd
have to see the new piece.) Anyway, he jerry-rigged the connection to
remain tight with some plastic ties.
I need to go to Hyundai and see if I can order that part, but the
nearest Hyundai here is 35 min. or so away and I'll have to go there,
show it to someone, have them order it, then make another trip back to
pick it up.
Unless someone here can point me to a web site or something where I
can locate the part, get the number of it and order it by phone...
I have no idea what it would be called, an ex- mechanic friend of mine
looked at it and said he'd call it the "electrical connector that
connects to the tube going into the air filter". He said it maybe had
to do with something else, (air mixture?) maybe but I forgot what he
Thanks to all for the feedback.
If you go to hmaservice.com and sign up, you can access service manuals
and order parts online for delivery to a local dealer. That will save
you one trip. You may also be able to order the part directly from
What I generally prefer in situations like this Dan is to use shrink wrap.
You know the stuff commonly used to seal and insulate electrical
connections? Slip a piece big enough to go around the connector on and
shrink it down. Should make a neat and reliable seal for you.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.