Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My engine makes a humming noise that sounds sort of computerized, and may be power steering or transmission related.

asked by on

When in motion ( and often but not always), the van makes a "middle c" pitch hum that moves lower on the scale as I slow down, and fades out when stopped. It is more pronounced and more predictable when we are driving on the highway, or the engine is warm. It has a somewhat computerized element to it, and our first thought was that it was related to the power steering, because of the "power/computerized" feel of it, but it also seems to related to transmission activity. My husband describes the noise as a kind of whirring, but that doesn't ring true for me. It's more electronic sounding to me.

My car has 135000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi there. The noise that you are hearing c...

Hi there. The noise that you are hearing could be the power steering pump whining, the alternator bearing failing, or the transmission gear train has too much gear lash. Check the engine to see if there are any noises when running at a stop with the transmission in park. When revving up the engine in park and there is no noise, then the noise is with the transmission. If the noise is there with the engine revving up in park, then shut the engine off and remove the drive belt. Turn all of the accessories pulleys and see if any of them have a bind or noise to them. Then with the belt off, start the engine and see if the noise goes away. If the noise goes away, then an accessory is making the noise and should be addressed. If the noise is still there with the belt off, then the engine is making the noise. If you need further assistance with the noise as your vehicle is driving down the road, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Power steering not working in a 1997 Isuzu Rodeo

Hi. There are only a few things that could cause the power steering to not work. The belt, pump, or faulty hose. Though the most common cause of power steering failure is fluid starvation. I would suggest having a technician,...

Q: Transmission not operating correctly.

Hi there. There could be a couple things wrong. Either the transmission has indeed failed inside with the final drive differential bearing, or the wheel hub has spun out the splines. Check the splines to the wheel hub and see...

Q: How to properly use a car seat?

It’s vital for parents to master the use of car seats in any vehicle. The rules are relatively simple though: If you have an infant, s/he must be in a rear facing car seat in the back seat of...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.