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Whiny '07 Corolla

Auto trans; about 67K miles. I got a chance to drive my daughter’s car a few hundred miles this weekend. When it’s on a smooth, quiet road I can hear a whine when going about 50 - 55 mph (2500 RPM). The sound is like a turbine whine or maybe a leaky vacuum line. The pitch (mid-to-upper 100’s Hertz) changes very little with road speed or RPM. It gets louder when the accelerator is pushed a little (big push makes too much engine noise to hear the whine); when I back off the accelerator, the whine goes away. I had only one chance to coast in neutral, and I think I heard the whine. I could not clearly tell if it was there or not at 2500 RPM in a lower gear.

I’m trying to figure out whether to take the problem to the mechanic or to the transmission shop, or – hope against hope – learn that I can fix it myself.

Forget the transmission. Check for tire wear. At 67,000 miles the car is due for new tires.

Does your daughter notice any change in the sound? Perhaps it’s been like this since day 1 and is normal.

Open the hood, have somebody rev the car to 2500 rpm and hold it there, see if you can hear the noise. Maybe it’s a normal wind noise from the side view mirrors or other body parts.

Is it almost time for new tires anyway?

The rear differential in my car has been making a whining sound for the last 150,000 miles. Maybe it’s not worth spending money on or worrying about.

My '06 Corolla has what I would call a whine from the drive train at highway speeds. I consider this to be normal. I’ve driven lots of cars with louder drive train whine. After all, this is an economy car.

Art, I Wouldn’t Know A Mid-To-Upper 100’s Hertz Whine From A Bale Of Hay, But How About A “Whistle” Or “Hoot” Under Light Acceleration At 35 - 40 MPH ?

Toyota’s had some owners of 2003 - 2008 Corollas (that have the 1ZZ - FE engine and automatic transmission) complain about that.

This doesn’t exactly match with your description of a noise being in the 50 - 55 MPH range . . .

They issued a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) to help Toyota technicians diagnose and fix the problem. The fix is to replace the existing automatic transmission oil cooler lines (2 - one inlet, one outlet) with new “revised” Toyota lines and a clamp.

The TSB doesn’t indicate that this is other than just a noise issue. They were taking care of these under the car’s warranty for folks who complained during that time.

Your friendly Toyota dealer should be able to help with this.


[Edit: I did not see the today’s (7/13) two posts before I wrote the post below. More stuff to think about.]

Thanks for the good advice. Car was back with daughter, so I could not check it and respond immediately. Tires were fine when I bought the used car in December. She came by yesterday, and I checked the tires; still fine. Car needed some routine maint anyhow, so took it to the mechanic. His diagnosis of the whine: wind noise, caused by slightly bent door not seating properly against weatherstripping. He says this kind of bend (which they fixed with a little hand-and-knee oomph)is usually attributed to someone’s trying to break in. “Hmmm,” I said, “maybe that’s related to the mysteriously chewed-up doorframe weatherstripping that I had replaced a couple of weeks ago.”

Next time I get a chance to drive the car we’ll see if the whine is really gone.