Chilly Warning (Diagnosing a Noise in Cold Vehicle)Posted November 5, 2023 1:30 AM
When the weather gets colder, sometimes the noises your vehicle makes will change. For example, you may notice a whining sound when you get going in the morning. It may go away when the vehicle warms up, but it's best not to ignore that sound because it could be a warning of worse things to come.
Colder temperatures cause different components to behave differently. Let's take a look at a few of them. First, the fluids in your vehicle. Cold temperatures can make them behave a little differently, such as engine oil, transmission fluid and power steering fluid. Those characteristics could change if the fluids are older and full of contaminants.
Belts also can create a whining noise when cold. Since they turn pulleys that move other things, several factors can create issues. Increased friction can change proper tensions on belts. Plus, belts change as they age and may crack, get loose or develop a glazed surface. Belts and pulleys also must be aligned properly to work the way they're designed to.
As you can imagine, it's easier for a technician to diagnose a noise if the vehicle is making it. And if a vehicle only makes a noise when it's cold, that sound may be gone by the time the vehicle makes it to the repair facility. That means a driver may have to consider dropping off the vehicle the night before so the technician can be the first to start it the following morning. Most service facilities can accommodate that with either a drop-off box or other arrangement. Heed your vehicle's warning when you start to hear unusual noises. That's a cool idea you should be able to easily warm up to.
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