Whining Noise?

We just bought a used car from a company here in Indianapolis. It’s a 2010 Ford Focus.

It’s my fiancees and I’s first big coverage and the first newer car we had. We traded in a 98 Mercury Sable which was falling apart

Now, this is a big purchase for us, and the car is a dream compared to the junker we were driving before. We only have one real concern and we don’t know if this is something we should be worrying about

My fiancee noticed that when acccelerating, the car has an electrical sounding whine coming from the engine. It only occurs when we’re accelerating and pitches a bit higher when we’re turning

We have until Thursday to return the return the car if their is an issue.

I’ve attached a video of her revving the engine. A few more car savvy people out there, please let us know if this is just a normal part of newer cars or if we should take the car back

Ya know we could analyze the heck out of it, but take it to the dealer, say fix it or it is yours. Beware of unscrupulous dealers, one car I test drove and took home had a mysterious clunk in whahatever, from the front end. My guess was a bad ujoint or something. They took a look, said oh there was a stick caught up in it, and we fixed it, same noise after supposed fix. NO SALE! Do not be afraid to spend the bucks and get an independant mechanic analysis for any used car you buy!!!

I’m likely of little or no help here because of a severe hearing loss and Tinnitus. Listening to automotive noises through PC speakers does not work too well for me.

A whine in an engine would usually be due to a belt tensioner, alternator bearing, or power steering pump. Cars with manual transmissions can exhibit a whine from a transmission mainshaft bearing.

Again and maybe this is just me, but that engine sounds kind of “clattery” so to speak. I’m having some doubts about the fitness of the valve train.
Maybe some others with better hearing could weigh in on this. If I was next to the actual car I could possibly be a lot more definitive.

I Can’t Do Video/Audio On My PC, But I Can Find TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) Written By The Car’s Manufacturer To Assist Their Technicians With Customer Car Problems.

Ford TSB 13-4-24 (One Page) helps mechanics with 2008-2011 Focus models that whine, howl, or groan while the vehicle is moving. Apparently some of these vehicles need to have the intermediate shaft bearing replaced. Along with the bearing they call for half a dozen little attaching parts, (nuts, bolts, clamps, and straps).

Under warranty the job paid technicians just an hour labor. Since it’s not major, perhaps the car lot or their repair facility could check it out and see. Maybe they’d take care of it for you.

OK4450 says, “Again and maybe this is just me, but that engine sounds kind of “clattery” so to speak. I’m having some doubts about the fitness of the valve train.”

Ford TSB 10-9-3 explains that some 2008-2010 Focus vehicles (earlier 2010 vehicles built prior to 12/23/09, manufactured during about the first third of the model-year run), can make a ticking noise that may be mistaken for upper valve train noise.

The noise comes from the fuel rails or injectors while idling. After removing 2 fuel rail attaching bolts (not the rail), a new part, a fuel rail insulator cover is slid over the rail before the bolts go back. Warranty labor paid a minor .2 hour. If the car fits the TSB perhaps they’d take care of this, too.


I didn’t listen to the audio clip, but per what CSA says above, my first thoughts were the fuel injectors. They can make a whining noise, considerably louder on acceleration, which is normal. It varies car to car. I’ve no experience with the Taurus, but my old VW Rabbit definitely made a whining noise during acceleration, coming from the fuel injectors. I can hear it on my Corolla too, but it is quite a bit more difficult to hear, almost imperceptible on the Corolla.

Edit: One idea, test drive another Taurus, see if it does the same thing.

I think it could have been the power steering fluid causing it. It was below the minimum line. I filled it tonight so I’m going to go drive tomorrow and let the engine run some of the air out of it

I’ve got 50,000 mile power train coverage, but the car lot I bought it from has great reviews on Google. Only three complaints out of 220 and two of those were for for repo on late payments

I am going to go there tomorrow to have a look and let them know the power steering was low and make sure it’s not an issue and to have one of their mechanics have a look at it

If the noise doesn’t go away with the fluid fill, I’d print copies of the TSBs that I mentioned above and show the mechanic. Both address noise complaints that are fairly easy, fairly inexpensive defect remedies.

Both TSBs are Focus specific for your model-year. The one bulletin is manufacturing date specific. The mfg. date can be found on a sticker, possibly on the latch end of the driver’s door or the body door opening where the door latch striker is located.


Most of us recommend having a pre-purchase inspection done by your mechanic before you buy a used car. As you have until tomorrow to return the car, you could actually still have this done today. I’d suggest doing that.