New car noise

Dear Click and Clack:

Last week I purchased a new 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium. A day after I drove home from the dealer (at which point the car had approximately 300 miles) I began to hear a little chirping/whistle sound from near the front of the engine (nearest the driver). I took it to the service department; they heard the sound, but said it was normal with CVT transmissions. Have you heard this complaint before? The sound is a bit annoying, and I don’t recall hearing it during the test drive. I love the car otherwise.

Get a second opinion and also check with a transmission shop. If they see it as any sort of a problem, get it in writing, and take it back to the dealer. I would also take it to another subaru dealer or at least call them. Then you have all the evidence in the world.

No, it’s not normal.
No, it’s not the transmission in all likelihood.

However, even if it is the transmission, a CVT is so alien to a transmission shop in the US that I would hesitate to take the trans shop’s word for anything connected with a CVT.

Much more likely than the CVT for the source of this noise is the serpentine belt or a belt tensioner. The transmission is behind the engine, and the belt and tensioners are at the front. Ergo–unlikely to be the transmission.

Also, since the car is under multiple warranties, I would suggest that you avoid taking the car anywhere where you would have to pay for service–and that includes a transmission shop. You should not have to pay for anything with this car other than periodic maintenance.

If this dealership is not forthcoming with a decent response to your complaints, then you need to “kick it up a notch” by contacting Subaru at the corporate level. Contact information can be found in your Owner’s Manual.