We have a 2005 Chevy Equinox. When driving and reaching 30-35 mph, a high-pitch whistle begins and continues until the speed slows to 30 mph or slower. We have had our truck to both a local dealership as well as a local garage. After being told it was due to the air conditioning compressor needing to be replaced, which put us in the hole by $1,300, we still have the noise. The local garage has supposedly ($200 later) been all in and through the truck and it has no answers. After having our truck for three days with no answers, it is suddenly coming up with “it has to be the front axle.” It is grasping at straws and costing us money that we don’t have. Any chance you might be able to suggest anything? – Harry
Here is a thought: maybe it is not mechanical – it might be a wind noise, one caused by the air moving through or around some portion or component of the vehicle.
There is an inexpensive but time-consuming way to check this out. The first thing I would do is drive at the speed where the noise can be heard and, if you have cruise control, it can be used to help maintain that speed. Once you have achieved the required speed, and with the noise present, slightly open and close each window, one at a time, to see if there is any change in the noise. If it gets worse or better, you know it is wind-related.
Next, with the help of an “assistant,” push and pull on each door while it is closed to see if a change in the pressure on the related seals makes a difference.
Still hearing the noise? Time to break out the duct tape and some cardboard. Cut a piece of cardboard or other fairly heavy, supple material that air can not penetrate, in a piece about one foot square. Tape it to one portion of the front of the car and go for a drive at the problem speed.
Keep moving the cardboard to different positions on the front of the vehicle and going through the same process. If at some point you find this eliminates or reduces the noise, start reducing the size of the cardboard to narrow down the problem location. During this process, carefully watch the temperature gauge to ensure you do not block off the air to the radiator too long.
If the noise persists, tape around the outside edge of the windshield – air can sometimes sneak in around a piece of molding. Once again, if the noise is gone or reduced, gradually remove portions of the tape until you have narrowed down the potential site.
This will be a cumbersome task, but it will only cost you the price of a roll of duct tape and your time.
My 2003 Golf is going through a litre of oil every few thousand kilometres. I have complained to the dealer about this and the response is that they all do this, that it is not covered by warranty and I should check my oil level every time I fill it with gas. Does this seem reasonable in this day and age? – Charles in Montreal
Does it seem reasonable? Depends on the circumstances, such as mileage on the vehicle, service history and manner in which it driven.
It is not uncommon for an engine to consume oil over a period of time. Generally speaking, this only becomes obvious to the eye if the burn rate is more than a litre/quart every 1,500 km or so. If you are going twice that on a quart, you are probably outside the range at which a warranty would be in effect.
The rate of consumption you mention could be caused by any number of factors ranging from a leaky valve guide to piston walls that have become too smooth for the rings to seal properly. It is a lot cheaper to add a litre of oil every once in a while than rebuild an engine.
How do I get a stuck wheel off? I do my own winter-summer tire/wheel changes on my 2008 Civic. I’ve run into troubles the last few times getting the wheels off, especially the rears as they have rusted in place. – Trevor in St. John’s, Nfld.
A big hammer helps.
Seriously, this is common, especially on the east coast where rust can occur literally overnight. You can use a large rubber hammer to loosen a wheel.
But if that does not work, another method is to back off the wheel nuts a turn or two, lower the car and go for a short, slow-speed drive – say the length of the driveway or a few hundred feet turning the steering wheel and slamming on the brakes abruptly. Obviously, you should use caution and not do it to excess as it could damage the threads on the wheel bolts. But this should pop the wheel free.
The big trick is to prevent it from happening next time. Using a wire brush, clean the wheel/hub mating surface, especially the small round area around the dust cap in the centre. Apply an anti-seize compound rated for high temperatures to the clean area before mounting the wheel.