Q: My car hates me.

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Okay, I have two problems. First, three days ago I was on the freeway and someone pulled out in front of me almost from a complete stop so I had to slam on my brakes and my car slide a little bit. Immediately after it started with a clicking noise and it felt like my car was wobbling as if i was going over a little bump over and over. The clicking isn't as noticeable but I can feel it, if that makes sense. Also my steering wheel shakes as I'm driving, accelerating or braking. I thought maybe I warped a rotor because my brake pads are pretty old and perhaps my alignment is off?? Second problem is now it won't start. I don't believe the two are related. Since I've had the car (November 2015) I've had to turn the key multiple times to get it to turn and start, but sometimes it starts up right away. Today I got in my car, put the key in, clicked it once with no turn, then nothing. It won't click at all yet the lights and radio still work. Someone once told me it was the starter? Thank You!

My car has 122000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like you may have a couple of different issues. The problem with the shaking in the steering may be related to the steering system. What you are describing sounds like a problem with the rack and pinion gears. The rack and pinion gear set does two things: It converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel into the linear motion needed to turn the wheels. It also provides a gear reduction, making it easier to turn the wheels by the use of reduction gears where the steering shaft connects. This system uses a torsion bar driven valve to direct and relieve pressure in a cylinder. When the steering wheel is not being turned, the steering valve is at rest. In this position fluid flows around the valve and out to the reservoir which is where the power steering fluid resides when not at work. Slight pressure also enters both sides of the assist cylinder. Because pressure is equal on both sides of the piston nothing occurs when the wheel is straight ad no assistance is need to turn the wheels either way. Occasionally you’ll notice that your steering wheel will make jerking movements or sudden turns to the left or right when not directed by you. This is typically the sign of loose bearings in the steering rack and the result of the steering rack literally moving without input.

The issue with the vehicle not starting may be related to a faulty starter relay. The starter relay directs power from the battery to the starter solenoid which then engages the starter when you turn the key. When this is not working properly, you may notice intermittent starting problems including no response when turning the key to start. Generally, when this does fail, it does so very randomly and usually without warning other than intermittent starting. The power from the battery will still power other accessories such as radio, horn, etc., but you may not have any power to the starter. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

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