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Frustration Abounds

Okay, I am frustrated. A little background for you. Each time I “hear” something in one of our vehicles my husband gets angry at me and says “your just looking for trouble”…however, I hear what I hear and it ends up in a fight. Bottom line for me is the safety of myself and the 3 kids I drive in said vehicles.

In a few weeks I will be driving across the country with my 3 kids to visit family. I have 2 vehicles to choose from.

My first choice is a Ford F150. However, it has developed a really disturbing noise. It drives fine. Shifts fine. It’s the noise that it makes whenever the wheels are moving that is disturbing. My daughter said is sounds like an airplane. I think it sounds kind of like “wump wump wump” but I can definitely understand why she compares it to an airplane. I had the husband drive it and he said “I hear nothing to be concerned about.” That is a pretty typical answer. I took it by a tire place and, while he did not drive it, he showed me where the inside of the front tires had “cupping” and he said that could be the noise. He recommended that the tires be rotated. They have not been rotated since they were purchased in 2/2009. My husband wanted to do this himself. He moved the front tires to the back and back to the front today. I have not driven it. However, he said there has been no change in the sound and that maybe it would make noise until the treads flattened out.

My question is, could this be the reason? I would have felt more confident had the sound level dropped once they were rotated.

Could anything else be making the truck sound like an airplane?

I am in a quandry as to how to proceed. As I said before, the safety of my kids is the bottom line.

I know several months ago the steering wheel started to make a bit of a squeeking noise when turned. not sure if that is relevant.

We also pull a camper with this truck…

I really appreciate any feedback on this so I know how to proceed. I just want to make sure we can get from point a to point b and back without having any car issues along the way.


  1. Tell us a bit about vehicle #2. Is it in better shape or does it have different issues?

  2. I have driven on cupped tires and had no issues other than noise with them. However, in my case, I got two new tires to replace them when I was going to take a 1800 mile trip. If tire cupping is the issue, the noise may not go away for the duration of the life of the tires. How many miles on these tires?

Personally I would spring for at least two new tires and a suspension/alignment check before the trip. I am risk-averse and that colors my opinion in this case.

  1. How old and how many miles on the F150?

Eliza Jane, Will You Be Gone 2 Weeks Or Less ? Do You Have A Light Load Of Stuff To Haul ? Leave The Truck For Hubby To Screw Around With At Home.

I’d check on renting an unlimited mileage (one that can leave the state) car at the weekly rate. The money saved on gas alone, compared with a Ford F-150, could go a long way toward the rental fee. Shop around and see what cars / vans and discounts are available. Do the math, crunch some numbers. You could be cruising in style in a late model comfortable car.

Check with your insurance company. I believe most will cover you and your rental for up to 2 weeks, but get the details from your agent.

I’ve done this several times for family vacations. Go with a major national chain and any car problems you could encounter should just become their problems not your’s. Do you have a plan in case your own car breaks down during the trip ?


Thanks for the response. I believe it is a 2006 and the mileage is probably around 67,000.00 or so.

As for the other vehicle, it has it’s own set of issues. Of course, the hubby says he “hears nothing to be concerned about”… but I try to not drive it at all. It is a Dodge Grand Carvan. When reaching a specific point when making every left turn you hear a “pop” or “clunk” kind of noise.

I am going to try and take it by a local mechanic, see if he can drive it and then give me an idea what this “non existing” problem is. I am not sure if he would be the one to drive and look at the truck or the tire shop. Either way I am risking angering the “husband who thinks he is a backyard mechanic” if he finds out. Wish I could win the lottery and get them both fixed without him being any wiser…


I will go check. We will be leaving on a Saturday and getting back on the next Sunday. So, less than 2 weeks. I hate putting money into a rental that could go towards the “non-existent” problems in the 2 vehicles. I have no plan on how to get things fixed if I break down on the 600 mile drive.

I will go look at car rentals now.

Thanks! I live 600+ miles from any family…

Tire cupping is usually caused by weak shocks or struts. Severe featheredging (which can be mistaken for cupping) can be caused by improper alignment, with that due to worn or bent suspension components or just due to age/miles and the suspension settling in.

The pop noise on the Caravan is usually a sign of a failing halfshaft. A halfshaft is what propels the vehicle and if one of these breaks (popping is an early indicator) the vehicle will quit moving right where it’s at; short of coasting to a stop and waiting on AAA.

Just my opinion, but I think your husband is being way too cavalier about the safety and reliability of a vehicle that he’s about to see his wife and kids hit the road in.
There is no way my wife even leaves on a short 400 mile trip without a thorough servicing of the car in advance.

Your husband is correct that moving the tires to the rear could cause the noise to subside over time. It’s also possible that these tires could be cupped badly enough that the trip may finish them off. Hello potential blowout.

Given the (at this point) lingering subtle car problems and your husband’s attitude I tend to agree with mountainbike about a rental.
Heck, rent an economy car and you’ll cut the gasoline bill way down besides as compared to that truck.

I don’t know if it will help or not but maybe in the future you could possibly try to convince your husband that a man is not expected by law to be a pro mechanic. He should drop the facade and not be afraid to ask for help or crack the books before dismissing something that could have serious consequences.

Yeah, I kind of agree. Just rent something. Those folks that are not willing to repair problems in their cars pro-actively should be just driving new cars under warranty.

Each time I “hear” something in one of our vehicles my husband [i]gets angry[/i] at me and says “your just looking for trouble”…however, I hear what I hear and [i]it ends up in a fight.[/i]

I am not sure if you need automotive advice or relationship advice. Anyway, that is for you to decide. I am not going to delve into the details of your marriage.

I hope the efforts of others to solve your automotive problems helps.

Sign up for AAA. If you get the plus-RV package (I think it’s $100/year) they’ll tow you up to 100 miles and also pay for the hookup fees. And you get discounts at many mechanics and parts suppliers.

Regarding your vehicles, your husband is wrong. Feel free to tell him that a bunch of guys on the internet told you so. My dad used to have the same attitude toward car repair. “Old cars are supposed to overheat. It’s ok.” It’s not that he didn’t know anything about cars. It’s that he was cheap and didn’t want to pay to get them repaired. I suspect your husband may be coming from the same position. If so, having to spend money on a rental car when you have two cars that would be available to you if they worked right, might convince him to just get the bloody things fixed.

Thanks for your responses. I am going to take the van to a local mechanic tomorrow. He will drive it and let me know what it is/how much to repair. Still not sure if I should take the truck to the tire place or the mechanic to check out 1/ is the sound from the tires 2/why it happened… what needs to be repaired. I checked out a page on the internet called “how to read tire wear”… on the truck tires it is just the inside row on both tires where some of the tread is lower than others… There is still plenty tread left on the tires.

It is so weird that the sound just started out of the blue one day. I wonder if the extreme heat made it do it? I dont know.

I have been contemplating a mid-life career change, perhaps I should look into being an auto mechanic : )

I am sure Dr. Phil would have alot of fun dissecting my marriage. It is what it is. However, having a dependable automobile is one step on the road to freedom.

Thanks for the info folks. I appreciate it.

Unfortunately your hubby is like an aunt I had who would tell (with amusement and a bit of pride) of her '62(?) Rambler that stopped going right in the middle of a city intersection after the transmission made funny noises for weeks.

“Whump, Whump, Whump” usually means tread separation or a broken belt in a tire…A close inspection of the tires will find it…

I have the opposite problem in my family. My wife and son forget to tell me that something weird is going on with the car. It took me a long time to convince them that:

  1. if the car doesn’t seem right, I want to know about it.
  2. if there is something wrong, it isn’t anything that you did.

I certainly wouldn’t want a breakdown on the highway and I really don’t want either of them to have a problem.

Very commendable,what I mean is your efforts to educate yourself in order to read tire tread wear patterns.

Okay, I took the van by this morning. He took it for a drive and put it through it’s paces. I have to take it back next Wednesday morning and they will put it up and take a look at it. He thought it probably was not anything to do with the axle as he said it normally makes a “click click click” noise. He said possibly sway bar link or tie rod ends. He said it was safe to drive it. He wont know for sure until they put it up and take a look.

So, I need to know, is it safe to drive it long distance with either of those conditions? The husband is not happy with me at the moment. Wait till he finds out I am getting the truck checked tomorrow.

I am going to call my mom and ask for a loan. Then, I will just get what needs to be fixed immediately done on my own.

I really do want to learn how to do this stuff myself. I find it really interesting.

Thanks for the input on tie rod ends/sway bar links.


Nice! I like how you have taken charge of the situation.

The sway bar links probably won’t pose a threat if they are just a little worn, but they should be fixed in the long run. However, tie rod ends are something I would want fixed before the trip. The sway bar helps you make emergency maneuvers at high speeds when something unexpected happens, so it it was broken or missing, I would be more concerned about them.

Does the truck have oversize tires and a lift kit on it?
My guess is yes, and since the tires are wearing out, that means that the alignment is way off, and the tires are causing the noise, if not damaged.

I would probably recommend concentrating on the minivan.
Have it put on a lift, and have your mechanic give you a list of all the things wrong with it, and tell you which ones are most important, that could leave you stranded on your trip.

As for your relationship, I don’t know you nor your husband.
Its entirely possible that he’s a cheap bugger, and just doesn’t care.
Its also entirely possible that you over react to everything, and it stresses you out in life.

I have met and dealt with plenty of people from both columns.
I’m sorry you’re not happy with the situation he’s put you into, but tell him to back off, and let you make sure the cars are safe to drive.


I agree with Whitey. If it’s tie rods, you should fix it ASAP. Not only can they cause safety concerns when they break, but they can also affect the vehicle’s alignment, which will prematurely wear the tires and cause you to have buy new ones as well as fix the car.

As for learning to do this stuff on your own, Good! You will always care more about the outcome of repairs to your car than any mechanic, which means it’s very nice to be able to do it yourself, so you know it was done right.

You’re going to need a lot of tools to really fix everything, but the good news is that some parts stores will loan you tools for free - - especially the specialty tools that are expensive and only do one job. Forums like this, and vehicle-specific forums are great places to learn tricks and techniques. And be sure to go out and buy the helms manual for your vehicles - they give step by step instructions for replacing literally every part on the car. Then come here if something in the manuals doesn’t make sense.

I won’t lie and say that working on cars is fun (unless you get a group together to thrash on a car over pizza and beer), but it is rewarding both financially and because you’re more invested in the process of keeping your car on the road for a good long time.

Hey Bladecutter. The truck is not lifted and does not have oversized tires on it. At 5’ tall, I have enough trouble getting into it as is : ) My son would probably love it though.

And, I hear you about some people over reacting. I really do try and remain calm and level headed at all times. However, I am not perfect. I have a pretty good head on my shoulders though… But, this drive does worry me. Last year I told him something was wrong before I left with the kids and he said everything was fine. However, I stopped at a Steak N’Shake in St. Louis. As I was pulling out of the drive thru the van made a horrible noise and stopped. It wouldn’t budge. Some nice people helped me push the van into a parking spot. I managed to find a mechanic, got it towed, etc. Mechanic said it was the right front axle. Husband said there was nothing he could do to help since he was 600 miles away. So, having 2 vehicles that are having issues now, I really want to be sure everything has been fixed/checked. I want the one I drive on the trip to be as reliable as possible. Also, I have a teen daughter that drives the van. I want to ensure that she is driving a vehicle that is as mechanically sound as possible.

I will make my decision once I get the scoop on the truck. One thing I am positive about is joining AAA before we leave. Shadowfax, thanks for recommending the plus RV plan.

Positive note, I really do like the mechanic I went to today. I think he is honest and will do right by me. And, I am determined to learn to do basic maintenance on the van/truck such as changing the oil, etc. I think it will be fun.

Thanks guys

The mechanic is not entirely correct about the symptoms of a failing halfshaft.
Yes, a failing shaft can go click, click, click and eventually turn into knock, knock, knock.
Halfshafts can also develop an odd wear pattern which will cause them to pop sharply when the wheel is turned sharply in one direction or the other.

My hat is off to you too for trying to educate yourself about vehicles, tire wear, etc. Too bad everyone doesn’t do it.
If it makes you feel any better, keep in mind that even people who are pro mechanics to the nth degree and have been for decades are always learning something; either by choice or inadvertently. :slight_smile: