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Poor Acceleration, Vibration, Chirping Underneath

In about a week, I’m going to turn in my Wrangler as part of the cash-for-clunkers program. I’m supposed to deliver a “driveable vehicle”.

As luck would have it, this trouble-free workhourse of 16 years chose this moment to start causing problems. A few days ago, I felt something “pop” – and ever since I’ve had poor acceleration (beginning at 30 MPH), vibration (co-incident with the poor acceleration), and a chirping noise that seems to be coming from underneath the vehicle (either near the transmission or the rear wheels – I’m not sure). The vibration (but not the chirping) is worse when the vehicle is under load (i.e., accelerating up a hill).

I can still get to and from work (so I still qualify with a “driveable” vehicle), and I obviously don’t want to spend money on a vehicle that’s about to go to the crusher.

But in between now and then, I’m worried that I’ll burn up a major powertrain component at the worst possible moment – and lose my “driveable vehicle” qualification.

Can anyone shed some light on what might be wrong with my Wrangler?

Thanks in advance,


No idea. Find another car to drive, call Enterprise Rental and rent a car. The only way to be sure it lasts the week is to drive it only to the place you are turning it in. Until then drive something else.

I think that you probably have two problems.
The chirping and vibration are likely from a universal joint that is about to fail. When will it fail? Nobody can say, but I agree with Uncle Turbo that this car should be driven ONLY to the dealer who is taking it under the Cash for Clunkers program. With any luck, it will not drop the driveshaft on the way to the dealer.

As to the acceleration problem, that could be the result of so many possible scenarios that it is not worth going into all of them on a car that is about to be taken out of service. Any probable solution will involve putting more money into this clunker, and that just doesn’t make good economic sense. Just stop driving it and rent an econobox for the next week.

Surely you don’t want to turn this “driveable vehicle” into a “non-driveable” one, thereby endangering your $3,500.-$4,500. voucher just for the sake of saving money on a rental car for one week. If you go to Rent-a-Wreck, you will find them to be particularly reasonable, and the cars are not really “wrecks”. They are simply several years old, unlike the cars at the major auto rental firms.