We are a team of ASE certified mechanics that have created this guide to help
you save money while doing the job yourself, or at least see what you are paying
for when having the job done at a shop. When driving a vehicle a slight amount of
whistling is normal due to the airflow traveling over the body, windows and roof,
but when sound levels increase it can tell you there is a problem.
What Goes Wrong?
Whistling noises can be generated by the engine, alternator or window and door
seals that have an issue such as deteriorating rubber or corrosion on the battery
cables forcing the alternator to overwork itself, or the alternator itself is going
What Does It Cost?
These kinds of repairs are two stages, first the source of the whistling sound
must be located, followed by the repair of the problem. A shop or dealer will charge
an hourly rate for both aspects of the repair.
Lets Jump In!
Vacuum is present when the engine is running and is at its strongest point
when the engine is idling. This will generate various whistling noise pitches
as the engine changes rotational speed.
Lift the hood to inspect the
engine vacuum line routing hoses to the different accessories such as the brake
booster and EVAP system.
Repair the vacuum leak
When a door or window seal fails it can create a whistling noise as air
enters and passes through the passenger compartment, it helps to have someone
in the car with you to help find the origin of the noise, inspect the door or
window seal in that area and replace or repair as needed.
A window seal has a top, bottom, front and rear sealing points, while traveling
and the noise is being generated use your fingers against the seal to try and
stop the noise this will let you know the location of the defect. In most cases
the window seal will need to be replaced.
Windshields and sunroofs can also whistle when the seals have failed.
Hood ornaments or other accessories on the exterior of the vehicle can
whistle as well. We had a customer that change their antenna to one that had
the mast bent into the shape of a horse, and it whistled. For window leaks a
great trick is to turn the blower motor on high (non recirculation) and then
go around the outside of the doors/windows with something like a smoke
machine, incense stick or even a candle flame and watch for movement of the
smoke or flame to show the leak location.