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Whirling/Whining noise from transaxle

I own a 2006 Buick LaCrosse with 73,000 miles. When accelerating in “Drive” I can hear a whirling/whining sound originating from the transaxle. There is no noise when I place the car in “Reverse” and accelerate. The transaxle oil if full, and the owner’s manual does not suggest replacing the oil until 100,000 miles. Any suggestions on possible repairs?

Well, you can tear that page out of the owners manual. Automatic transmissions need to be serviced every 25-30k miles regardless of what the owners manual says. Drop the pan, check for excessive debris in the pan (aluminum, brass, or steel shavings and chunks of friction material)Your transmission should have already been serviced twice and approaching its third.

Owners manuals are great, especially if you want to know what those funky little buttons on the dash do but as far as service intervals go, you need to check with the pros on that.

Owners manuals are written by those same people who have vested interest in selling those cars and advertising how “Maintenance free” and “Maintenance friendly” their vehicles are which basicly means that their service intervals are way out there. Engine oil should be changed every 3-4k miles, especially in severe service applications which almost everyone falls under, and like I said earlier, trans fluid every 25-30k. Oil changes and trans fluid filter and fluid changes are cheap, so why not do them??

OK, now off my soapbox and on to the whining coming from your LaCrosse. The most common thing is of course the fluid level which you have already checked. The only other thing I can think of off hand without actually looking at it is either an issue with the pump or converter. The only differences with the problem being in forward gears rather than in reverse is that forward gears will generate line pressures anywhere from 75-180 psi. where reverse pressures run much higher (200-300 psi) that COULD possibly be why there is no whining in reverse. Hard to tell without actually having it in front of me. Have a trans shop check it. Do you have an extended warranty??


Hi Transman,

Thanks for the advice. The owner’s manual states that the automatic transaxle fluid is “Dexron-VI” which appears to be a new product and 2006 might be the first year GM upgraded to the Dexron-VI. Is it possible that the new fluid could have a longer service interval.

Thanks again,


No. ATF, no matter what brand or kind it is is still subjected to the same heat and the same contamination from the clutch and band friction materials. Like all oils, they will break down over time. Transmissions are easily neglected. They usually come to mind when they start acting up and usually by then its too late then they end up on my bench.

When you go to service it, dont go for a flush mainly because the ones doing it dont like to drop the pan and change the filter before servicing it. Its a waste of time to flush a trans without first dropping the pan and changing the filter.