SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

March 22, 2014

Auto Scanner: ’97 Mercury sounds like a jet engine

Q: My daughter’s 1997 Mercury Mountaineer makes a strange sound only while moving. It sounds like a jet engine as we pick up acceleration. The transmission shifts fine. I thought it was an exhaust problem, but I crawled under the car when I put it on ramps and could find nothing. The front bearings have been changed in the last two years. Any suggestions would be a blessing.

A: There are many components that make noise on a car as you move. Just because you had your bearings changed a few years ago does not guarantee that they have not failed. Among the top items that fail on your car would be hub bearings and the transmission planetary gears — and, of course, you should look at your tires. What I would do is take it to a repair shop and let them analyze it on the lift. You may have a safety issue and don’t realize just how bad it is.

Q: My question is about odometer rollbacks. Here’s my story: In 2005, I bought a 2002 Subaru Forester from a nearby dealer. It had 30,000 miles on the odometer. Over the past four years, I have had this work done on the vehicle: 60,000 mile service, four tires at 73,000, replaced rotors and brakes at 89,000. Replaced front A/F sensor at 100,000; timing belt, water pump, cam seals, etc., at 104,000. Replaced defective thermostat at 100,000. Replaced catalytic converter at 105,000, left rear wheel bearing at 110,000, transmission at 113,000. During the transmission change the mechanic thought it was odd that it would fail after so few miles. His experience was that they lasted many more miles. That got me to thinking about when we bought the vehicle; I remember vaguely that there was a hole in the carpet under the gas pedal. I think I was suspicious, but my daughter needed a car and she liked this one, so we bought it. Other than the carpet hole, the car looked good and ran well with good gas mileage. I accepted the repairs as “things wear out and you fix them.”

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