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Q: Car makes a medium pitched whine or growl in sync with rpms.

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At first I thought it was the brakes, but the whine seems louder when accelerating uphill, could it be the torque converter? I smelled the ATF and it seemed normal to me.

My car has 152000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

If you are hearing the noise at idle when the car is not moving, generally the noise you are describing originates in the engine, the transmission (torque converter runs even at idle), and/or the accessory drives. However, if there is no whining when the car is not moving but rather the noise starts at speed, that could be a wheel bearing issue. If the sound occurs when the car is stationary, if the sound is not really obvious (pinpointed) on the mechanic’s initial inspection, a quick diagnostic can be performed by simply taking all of the belt driven accessories out of the picture by disconnecting the drive belts and then very briefly running the engine. If the sound disappears, the faulty component is then isolated amongst the accessories and pulleys. If the sounds does not disappear, that means the noise originates within the engine and/or transmission. If the sound occurs only once the car is moving, remote wireless microphones can be used to identify the wheel position that the noise originates from and at which there could be a failed wheel bearing. If you want these steps performed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request a vehicle noise diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will get this resolved for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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