How to deal with a husband and the squeak he won't hear

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband won't listen to my fourteen year old son and me when we tell him about the Phantom squeak in my '87 blue Mustang. The squeak comes from the steering wheel area when I press on the gas pedal. If I press on the brake, the sound disappears. Sometimes it's louder than other times. When I took my car to the Ford dealer, the squeak was silent for the test drive. The guys there were real sweet and took the whole steering area apart, but found nothing. The noise interferes with my listening to your radio show. What do you think it is?

TOM: Well, if it makes it hard to listen to our radio show, it's probably a divine blessing, Beverly. I'd leave it alone and thank my lucky stars if I were you.

RAY: Actually, Beverly, I think it's the speedometer cable. The speedometer cable runs from the transmission to the back of the speedometer on your dashboard (aha! Right above the steering wheel!). The cable spins inside a plastic sheath. And when the cable gets old and starts to fray, it rubs against the sheath and "squeaks" or "chirps."

TOM: It's most likely to make noise when the weather is cold, and during the first ten or fifteen minutes of driving (before everything really warms up). So by the time you drive all the way to the dealer for a test drive, the car is warm and the squeak is gone.

RAY: So what you have to do is leave the car parked at the dealership overnight. Then take a mechanic for a ride first thing in the morning. My guess is the squeak'll be there right on cue. If not, don't worry. Once these cables start to go, they get worse very quickly. In a few months, the noise will be so bad that even your husband will have to believe you.

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