Could the chain-sound be the shackles of Yuppiehood?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

I drive a 1980 BMW 320i. Since I've owned it for ten years, you can't call me a yuppie! It's in excellent shape and runs like a top. However, I've noticed that when I drive by say, a line of parked cars or next to a building (something that reflects back the sound), I hear what sounds like a small chain dangling from the front left corner of the car. I don't see anything hanging. What could it be?

RAY: Well, Mark, you probably dropped your Rolex or an empty bottle of Chardonnay into the engine compartment when you were bragging about the car to some stockbroker friends.

TOM: Or perhaps the belt buckle from your Burberry raincoat is hanging out the door and dragging along the road as you drive!

RAY: Sorry, Mark, it's hard for us to resist a yuppie joke. We'll do our best to refrain for the rest of this answer.

TOM: It's actually very difficult for us to tell what the noise is from the information you provide. It could be any number of things, from rattling brake pads to a loose timing chain. You're going to have to ask a mechanic to ride with you and listen to the noise.

RAY: And this is the kind of problem that would be best handled by a dealer. The noise may be caused by something that commonly loosens up on 320's. If a BMW mechanic has seen it fifty times, he might be able to diagnose it as soon as he hears it. Even though the dealer's labor rate is higher than the rate at Fred and Ethyl's Service Station and Charm School, a quick diagnosis in this case will save you a lot of money.

TOM: Besides, it's probably a good idea to take this 320i in for service once every ten years anyway. Just make an appointment and drop it off some morning after the Racquetball...oops! Sorry, Mark.

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