Q: I own a Chevrolet Silverado 2500. Over the last eight to 10 months, it has developed a crunching sound on the front end. It almost feels like the truck is going to break in half. I took it to a mechanic to check the front end, and he found it all in order. I am concerned. I do plow with the vehicle — nothing serious, just basically my little street. I now notice that at 65 mph, I get a slight wobble. I sure hope you can help me. The crunching sound only happens when I step on the gas.
A: The combination of the crunching sound and a wobble at 65 mph gives me reason to be concerned. The crunching noise could easily be from the CV axle joint that propels your front wheels. The wobble at highway speeds makes me even more suspicious of this problem. The axle has two joints, and, in your case, I am leaning toward the inner joint. If you can generate the sound and the shop you use can’t locate it after hearing it, then, sadly, I say it’s time for you to find a different shop with stronger diagnostic capabilities. When a customer comes in to my shop to complain about a noise, we always ask the customer to go for a ride with us in the vehicle to duplicate the problem. If you cannot duplicate the problem, it’s extremely difficult to locate the failed part.
Q: I have a 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis. When it rains, I get a leak in the car that seems to come in under the dashboard, right over the emergency brake pedal. I also end up with a wet floor in the back seat on the driver’s side. What do you think? Have I got a leaking windshield, or is the leak coming from somewhere else?
A: I have a few customers with the same year, make and model as you, and they’re absolutely in love with their cars. It’s a nice car with a very comfortable ride, so let’s try a few things to locate the problem. The first step is to open the hood and look at the wiper tray and fresh air inlet screen located under the windshield. Make sure it is clear of all leaves, pine needles and other obstructions. Next, use a hose to slowly run water in each corner. The water should flow easily out the bottom and onto the ground. If that is not happening, then the drains are blocked. It’s easy to clear the drains with compressed air and a few bent coat hangers. I did a search on the ALLDATA information systems for technical service bulletins and came up dry. I am sure you will find it and perhaps have another 10 years of enjoyment from this very comfortable car.
Car Care Tip: When you have your car serviced, ask if the shop has a system to remind you when your next oil change is due. This will help you to avoid running the car too long without an oil change.
Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears every Saturday. Write to Larry at The Salem News, c/o Auto Scanner, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.