Don't let the dealership wait you out until your warranty expires.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1997

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1994 Toyota Camry LE V6 with an automatic transmission and a little
over 30,000 miles on it. It has been properly maintained. At about 50-60 mph, a
high-pitched whine develops in the transmission while the accelerator pedal is
depressed. Upon release of the pedal, the noise stops instantly. The service
manager at my Toyota dealership said the whine was coming from the "final drive
assembly" and that it was OK for now. He said it was a very rare occurrence.
Since the car is still under warranty, what should my next step be? -- Henry

TOM: Your next step should be to ask him when he wants you to make an
appointment to come in and have your final drive gears replaced, Henry.

RAY: He's right that it's very rare. He's also right that it's OK for now, in
that it's not going to break suddenly and leave you stranded, or cause some
catastrophic safety failure. It's just going to get slowly worse. And it's
going to drive you nuttier and nuttier. Look what happened to my brother! The
doctors say his condition can be directly traced to the incessant whine of the
final drive on his 1967 GMC Suburban.

TOM: The problem is an improper gear mesh between the ring gear and pinion gear
in the differential. Make sure your dealer writes his diagnosis on your service
slip, so that you have proof that the problem started during the warranty
period. That will ensure that they'll have to cover it under warranty, no
matter how long they manage put you off.

RAY: They're trying to wait you out, Henry. By telling you it's OK for now,
they're hoping that either your hearing gets worse and you stop noticing it, or
that you get transferred to a different job out of state, or if all else fails,
they're hoping you get abducted by aliens.

TOM: But you don't have to let them stall you, Henry. Tell them it's bothering
you and you'd like it fixed. There's no reason you should have to accept this
problem on an otherwise perfect car with only 30,000 miles on it.

RAY: Replacing the gears in the final drive is a big job, and they're not going
to like it, Henry. But tough. That's what you have a warranty for.

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