I’ve got a 2002 Toyota Camry with 96,000 miles on it. Car has been running fine for years but on a recent 250-mile drive I noticed a whirring noise (almost like the engine of a remote-control electric car). The noise is faint, but definitely new. I’m fairly sure it’s coming from the under the hood, or at least from the front half of the car. No vibrations. The noise is only audible at highway speeds, and really only present when I’m accelerating (or on cruise control). It seems to get slightly worse if the car is climbing a hill.
Some things that have been worrying me:
*I left the car in a friend’s driveway all summer. Could that have anything to do with it? (There were no noticeable problems when I got back, which was months ago–when I came back after two months, I simply re-connected the battery and the car started on the first try).
*I had a transmission fluid change about 2K miles ago. It was at a Jiffy Lube. They “flushed” the old fluid. They claimed they used the correct Toyota brand fluid. (I’ve since read that flushing the old fluid can be a bad idea for older cars.) Could this have something to do with it?
*I just had my snow tires put on two weeks ago (and this is the first long drive I’ve done with the snow tires on). The guy who changed my tires took about 2.5 hours to do the job and the manager apologized on his behalf, saying “this is only his second week.” The car is steering fine, and not drifting or anything, but could that mechanic have done something to the tires that is causing this highway-speed, acceleration-only whirring noise?
Many thanks for your help.