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Toyota Yaris - funny whirring/scraping noise from under the hood

I have a funny noise under the hood, a rotational noise that fluctuates some, but does not seem to change depending on speed, acceleration, braking, or when I am idling. I don’t know much about cars, but suspect it may be either a fan or belt. A little background that may or may not be related:
I have been going to the same shop to get my oil changed for the better part of a year. Last summer, they replaced a belt, the serpentine belt I am almost positive. Just before this noise started, about 6 weeks ago, I went to one of those quick oil change places because I was in a pinch. For the first time ever, I got the “high mileage” oil (I have around 80,000 miles on the car now). This place tried to upsell me on absolutely every car part I could possibly need, including telling me the serpentine belt was showing wear & tear. I insisted it had been replaced within the last year. They seemed like upright, honest salesmen/oil change experts, but I am a woman who is not very car-savvy, so I am always suspicious of these places trying to rip me off.
Help please! I am scared to go to a mechanic because of ostrich syndrome. I’m afraid of how expensive this will be, so I’m hoping if I ignore it long enough, it will disappear!

First, stop going to the Quickie Lube places. Click on the “Mechanics File” tab on this site and find a recommended local mechanic. Find one you feel is trustworthy, and have him/ her diagnose the noise for you.

My best guess since rpm etc. does not change is a coolant fan motor or clutch, If you ignore it long enough, you may cause further problems. I would like to be there to help identify the noise, but I cannot. I would not at first stab at the cat think things are related, but another part of regular car stuff that goes on. Ask you friends about where they take their car, and try and find a good guy that way.

As per above, the fan in front of the radiator could do this but also the fan for the heater/air conditioner. Some years ago, dry leaves found their way into my heater system, and the fan makes quite a noise when it chews those up. Check those out first.

P.S. Any place that tries to sell you all the things you mention is not “nice”; those are smiling thieves!

Thanks for the help guys. Took your advice, and quickly got a recommended mechanic. They say it is the water pump going bad.

The recommended mechanic is probably right. The quick lube places will always tell you something needs changing. My usual place stoops and rises based on the wind direction. Two years ago the said I should change the belt tensioner. I said no. This year I requested that they change it with the belts and surprise! It is fine.

When a different place suggested an additive with my oil change, I told them that I watched the Castrol Syntec infomercial and additives are not needed, especially with synthetic oil. If I thought additives were needed I wouldn’t pay double for my synthetic oil. Plus, our oil rep always told us that his additive makes oil almost as good as full synthetic. I didn’t tell him that. It’s hard to double up on goodness. I tell good stories, meant for people who want to cure insomnia.

I’m so glad I took the advise offered here to find a trusted mechanic. The new mechanic had it diagnosed in 5 minutes flat, then offered to give me a ride home because it was going to take a few hours to repair. They called me when it was finished (just a couple hours later), then picked me up & brought me back to the shop. Despite the fact that when I went in they knew I thought it was an engine problem & was going to be costly, they didn’t try to overcharge me and make a few bucks. I was out in under $300, plus they happened to see my front license plate laying in my back seat (its been there for about 6 months and I’ve never bothered to get it installed) & installed it without me asking and for free. I actually hugged the mechanic; I’ve never been so happy to spend $250!

Good to hear of a positive experience with a mechanic…and you can try another recommended procedure from Tom and Ray: once in a while, bake some brownies or cookies for the shop and leave them when you drop the car off for service…take care of them and they will take care of you!

Funny you should say that Jesmed; I was planning on taking some to them tomorrow!

What a good customer! That should put you on their VIP list. :wink:

Haha I’ll say! Between my boyfriend & I, we have now spent over $5000 there in the last two months (new engine for the boyfriend). Yikes!!!

Wow…for $5k, THEY should be baking cookies for YOU!

We’re going in later today for one last thing on my boyfriend’s car… I’m going to ask if they have a frequent customer discount card.