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I recently had some work done under the hood of a 1999 Toyota Corolla (I believe they did some work trying to repair a gasket leak), and shortly afterward it broke down and would not start. I took it back to them, and they said the camshaft broke on its own and this was not related to the work that they did. I can't trust the mechanic for a whole lot of reasons that would just confuse everyone, so I'm trying to do some research to decide whether I believe him.

Would you assume the mechanic broke your camshaft if your car would not start due to broken camshaft around 30 miles after they repaired a different issue under the hood?

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    I kind of lost track of what was going on... What all was supposed to have been "fixed"? There was the airbag and alignment issues which are totally unrelated, so why were they even poking around in the engine? I assume this was the $1300 repair? What did they say they did? I'm afraid as the question is written there is a lot of narrative, but very few details for us to help with. It all sounds very frustrating. – JPhi1618 Mar 29 '16 at 14:19
  • One moment we're talking about airbags and then suddenly about camshafts. Also, you repaired a loaner car on your own dime? What exactly is going on here? – mkaatman Mar 29 '16 at 14:26
  • I have no idea how a knocking sound has something to do just with the gaskets. Its actually much more than that like a lifter or bearing or something else – kasey Mar 29 '16 at 14:35
  • I made an edit to clarify some of this stuff. @JPhil, $1300 between two repairs (I rounded), one to the airbags of Cobalt for $660, one for the knocking sound for $600. I mostly mention all that to say why I don't trust the mechanic's assertion that he didn't break the camshaft. – Devsman Mar 29 '16 at 14:39
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    @kasey Yes, that is correct. – Devsman Mar 29 '16 at 14:53
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I'm struggling to find the question you are asking here but taking the literal question "Would you assume the mechanic broke your camshaft if your car would not start due to broken camshaft around 30 miles after they repaired a different issue under the hood?" my answer would be "No."

If a camshaft were broken by a mechanic or anyone else, the car would not be capable of traveling 30 miles under it's own power. A camshaft is a piece of cast metal. I have seen them break where latent casting faults have come to light but the only reason I can think of that could be introduced by a mechanic would be either lack of oil or over tightening of a camshaft bearing cap. Assuming that the work they did was unrelated to the camshaft, unless they introduced a massive oil leak, I don't see how they could have caused the camshaft to fail.

My advice would be to remove the rocker box and visually inspect the camshaft to establish the exact point at which it has failed.

Out of interest, which gasket was it that they were trying to repair?

  • They said it was a leak they were trying to fix earlier, and did say it was a pretty bad one. But I have no car knowledge so the only word I retained from his explanation was "gasket." I can ask later. – Devsman Mar 29 '16 at 15:37
  • It could be the valve cover gasket. – kasey Mar 29 '16 at 15:39
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    If you don't understand what they've said, don't be afraid to ask them for more information. You are the customer. If they can't explain something to you in words you understand, it's possible they don't understand it either. If they fixed the leaking gasket and were happy for you to take the car from the workshop, they must have been happy that it wasn't leaking anymore. – Steve Matthews Mar 29 '16 at 15:43

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