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Whiny Subaru gives me headaches-literally

@Jennyzig
I totally agree with those who suggest that the people who are judging this whining sound may simply not have hearing acuity to detect the sound which affects you. Like others said, that can be a combination of actual hearing loss, and just the dulling of perception as a result of spending a lot of time in a noisy environment. And I absolutely accept that the sound you hear may be real, and that it can have painful effects like the headache you describe.

The problem is that detecting this sound is so subjective, a result of normal variations in individual human hearing compounded by the other factors already mentioned, including gender. So I like @Triedaq’s comment about testing the alternator electronically to find out if it has an electronic defect. That would be the easy way to identify and quantify the problem. To support the evaluation, perhaps you could insist that the dealership compare the results on your car with other new cars on their lot.

Otherwise, you may need to somehow find a university sound research lab which would have equipment to actually measure the sound frequencies produced by your car, and by other new cars like yours. Presumably, that would show if yours produces a different sound signature than all the rest. My point is to find a way to eliminate the subjective aspects of detecting this problem, either electronically or with sound measurement equipment.

I empathize with you because I have better than average hearing, by which I mean that I notice sounds which others miss. So I appreciate that this can affect you painfully. I hope you are able to resolve this completely, and soon.

@jennyzig
FWIW, you may not have followed this board long enough to have noticed Triedaq’s credentials: among other things, he’s told us that he’s a musician. Based on what he’s revealed about his age, I’m guessing he’s not a rocker but maybe has classical leanings. Which is to say that he probably has highly trained ears, so his comments on hearing are highly credible.

Having been married to an audiologist for many years I can say with confidence that women typically have better hearing at high frequencies than men, especially men who work in noisy environments. It is very likely that these guys are simply not hearing the noise that is all too clear to jennyzig. I have extremely good hearing, even at high frequencies and always have. I hear things all the time that people around me cannot. She should bring the car back to the dealer and request that one of the younger female employees join the gang of people trying to hear the noise. I bet the outcome will be different.

I completely agree with @bloody_knuckles. It is a sexist comment, but it is true women in general have better hearing than men. And, men lose their hearing faster and at younger ages than women. It is very possible and even likely that the service techs and service writer don’t hear the noise, but @jennyzig does. I think the Subaru corporate response is biased against @jennyzig. Another point to bring up to a lawyer. I think you are going to have play real hardball with Subaru. Write back that their reply is completely unacceptable. You hear the noise and you are getting headaches, and you are suffering. Suffering means $$$ to any corporate person with half a brain and you should get a response from a higher level corporate individual.

The OP says the loaner vehicle did not have this problem and the corporate letter says the loaner was an older model so comparing the two could be apples to oranges.

Any chance that depending upon engine option and so on this whine is due to sensitive hearing and a timing chain and/or turbocharger whine which is possibly made more noticeable by comparing it to a previously owned car which had neither? In a word; normal.

Just throwing the possibility out there although I don’t buy into the breaking it in theory given by the dealer.

I am so grateful for everyone’s input. The kicker is that the service rep (not the manager) said that 1) he heard the noise, 2) it would drive him crazy if he had to listen to it while in his car and 3) he offered to inquire to his regional rep when he/she came to visit next. So he is a man in his 30’s who works at the shop and DOES hear it. Also, the loaner was the same make and model, both 2012 Foresters, but just had more miles on it.

The unfortunate part is that I don’t have hard, quantitative data to measure the sound and use it to support my position. As individuals have different hearing abilities it becomes subjective.

@ok4450 it isn’t a turbo. I do concede that this is my first Subaru and that there may differences in level of sound between manufacturers, makes, models, etc. Butt the loaner WAS the same year, make and model. Lower trim line, though I don’t think it is my leather that is whining :wink:

Thank you for clarifying the part about the year model on both cars. Other than the things I’ve mentioned previously, the only other thing I can think of that might cause a while would be if there’s some glitch in the transmission or it’s low on fluid or oil as the case may be.

Inspection of all fluids should be done as part of the dealer PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) but that could depend upon the dealer too.

One thing you MUST do is document the complaint and keep all records in the event that this turns into a real problem involving a Lemon Law. You should be given copies of any repair order with the complaint as stated and any resolution, or non-resolution, noted on it.
Without a paper trail regarding any Lemon complaint you could be dead in the water. Hope that helps and you need to stay on top of this “regional rep visit” just in case this turns out to be a brush-off move.

Hey folks. Second dealership (different owner) I went to: 1099 heard high pitch whine. either electrical or fluid flow through line causing noise. noise coming from fuel tank area. ordered pump and gasket. Thanks again for all the support! It’s not over yet, but such a relief to have my concerns acknowledged and a plan in place. Night and Day difference in treatment - this time went to Subaru of Kings Auto Mall.

@jennyzig It sounds like you’re finally on home stretch!

Glad to hear you’re making some progress. Thanks for the report!