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I have only used the four-wheel drive in my 2008 Ford F-150 a few times in 160,000 km driven. I put it in four-high for a short time today, and when I took it back out, a rattling sound came from under the truck. – Roger

Located at each front wheel are parts Ford refers to as integrated wheel ends (IWE). These pieces utilize engine vacuum to mechanically engage and disengage your vehicle’s 4WD. While there are many other possible sources of your noise, the IWE, its applicable solenoid and vacuum tubing would be my starting place.

I believe that the IWE is attempting to engage or disengage. Because of a vacuum leak or failing IWE unit, the required movement is not being completed, causing partial 4WD engagement or disengagement.

Located behind the battery on the passenger side firewall is the IWE solenoid and its vacuum tubing running down to the front end of the truck. Physically examining the tubing for any cracks or breaks would be an easy DIY’er weekend project. Past that you will have to bring it in for service to have the system checked out properly.

If you go online and search F-150 and IWE, you will find many videos of fellow owners attempting to demonstrate their own odd 4WD noises.

I was looking at a 2001 Audi roadster for sale and the current owner has had it 5 years. He has put 8,000 km on it and has kept it stored in and under-house garage. He has not changed the oil once. Should I buy this car? – Rhonda

The quality of my answer will always be strengthened by the details provided in the reader’s question. You are not giving me much to work with, but I am thinking you are referring to a 2001 Audi TT.

The current owner has had it for five years with little-to-no maintenance performed on the car during this time. It’s unlikely that the vehicle in question has always been a limited-use vehicle, so let’s go with safe 10,000 km/year on average, leaving this 18-year-old car with upward of 180,000 kilometres on it.

European cars are typically very complicated, which ultimately means more repairs, especially as the mileage climbs. I’m doing a lot of guessing here, but I suspect the reason this car has being driven minimally recently is because it has fallen behind on its maintenance and repairs.

The cost of catching it up may mean spending more than it’s worth. Without knowing more, this sounds like the perfect example of a car not to buy. In the very least, a prepurchase inspection by a qualified technician is a must.

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