Friday, January 25, 2008

More car trouble?

Ok, so I was just out doing my usual every-other-Friday book delivery routine, when somewhere around the time I crossed the intersection of Eagle Rock Avenue and Pleasant Valley Way, my not-quite-year-old Honda Fit began to make the most wacky-ass noise I've ever heard! It was a very loud, varying, but mostly high-pitched metal-on-metal scraping sound - sometimes squealing, sometimes clattering, but mostly a cacophony of sound that you generally do not want to hear coming from your car - ever.

When I noticed it, my first thought that something screwy was happening with my iPod so I shut the radio off, but to my dismay the sound was still there. Then I hoped it was the car next me making that sound, but that car passed and the sound remained.

So I pulled into my next stop - the sound continued though the frequency reduced as the car slowed and then stopped as I came to a full stop. As I stopped that first time after the noise began, I did hear a sort of a twanging sound, as if something just broke free of something else. Stepping on the gas while in neutral didn't produce the sound, so it must be something that depends on having the wheels in motion.

I got out of the car, dropped to my knees and looked underneath as best I could, but I couldn't detect any loose metal dangling things. I tried to look inside the wheels at the brakes as best I could - didn't see anything unusual. There was no smell of burning brakes, no sign of anything leaking.

So I delivered my books for this stop, took one more look under the car for leaks and such, and then continued gingerly along my way. As I backed the car out of the stall I did not hear the sound, but as soon as I turned the wheels and began to move, it came back loud as all get-out.

I proceeded along slowly, rolled down my window to listen some more... I'm not entirely certain, but the sound seemed to be coming from the front of the car. At my next and final stop, I checked under the car again, and this time I also tried pushing on all four corners of the car. Pushing on the left-rear sort-of produced a sound that could be part of what I was hearing while driving. I should note that in addition to the rate of speed, the noise also seemed to depend a bit on the road condition as it responded to small bumps in the road. Also, the noise seemed to get especially loud when turning the wheels.

Anyway, I know I wasn't just hearing things, because people did stop to look at me as I drove by. Heh how embarrassing.

After my last delivery, I went back to the library and dropped off all the returned books. At that point it was no more than a mile to get home and I figured I could endure the squealing for a couple minutes more.

But about half-way home, as I slowed down for a stop sign, the squealing magically went away before I stopped. And it stayed gone for the remainder of my drive home.

So what the heck was that noise?? I'm quite sure I didn't run over something that would have got caught up in my car and I certainly didn't hear anything fall off the car as I approached that stop sign. Anyway, I made an appointment for first thing tomorrow morning with Honda to have them check it out. I suppose that if they can't reproduce the sound they aren't going to have much luck finding out what made it. But there is a recall issue that I was notified of recently, so maybe they can at least take care of that if they can't do anything about the noise that doesn't seem to be there anymore.

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