A clicking and whining 2003 Subaru Outback



Hi - I am hoping someone can help me figure out two potential problems with my car:

1) Should I worry about the “clicking” noice I hear in the shifter column when I step on the brake while the car is in park?

2) When I really downshift and the engine revs to, say, 4000rpms, I hear a faint whine coming from the passenger rear tire area. The very high pitched whine only lasts a few seconds, and it really only happens on the interstate, when I am trying to maintain speed up a big hill.

Should I investigate these noises, or ignore them? Thanks so much.


I should have also said the car is an automatic transmission, with 47,000 miles on it. Thanks!


The clicking in the shifter column is normal. It’s the interlock relay. Why are you downshifting at all? The transmission was designed to shift on it’s own. I would have the whine in rear tire area checked because it may be a bearing going out. I think downshifting at 4K is damaging your vehicle in several areas. I know it’s fun but it’s also very expensive.


Thanks for your response…I will get the whine checked out. As for the downshifting, I realize I wrote my post imprecisely. I am not actually manually downshifting my car - I meant to say that I heard the whine when the car downshifted itself, like when it wants to maintain speed up a big hill. That is, when I press on the accelerator to maintain highway speeds on some of the hills around here, my car automatically donwshifts and it goes from cruising at about 2800 or 2900 rpms to about 4000 rpms to maintain speed…I hope this is normal, because it is doing it all on its own!


Yes, it’s normal (the downshifting). My Subaru does the same thing, and 4,000 RPM is not all that high. Nothing to worry about.

I don’t know what the whine is, though, or why you’d hear it only under these circumstances.