Mechanics find quick fix for car rattle | Columnists
We bought a new car in September 2019. There were a few bugs in the first two months, but the dealership took good care of us. We are satisfied with the purchase.
A few months later I started to hear a slight rattle in the dash – it was coming from somewhere near the radio (or what they call that complicated computer screen/multifunction device in the dashboard edge).
I intended to make an appointment to have the rattle examined and disposed of. You know how it goes – when you’re not driving you forget the rattle, so I didn’t make an appointment to have it checked.
Then the nation went into lockdown and we had nowhere to go. Yes, I heard the rattle while driving, but the next day I forgot about it again.
Time passes. We drive more. Last September we went to Colorado. I heard the rattle frequently and said to my wife, “When we get home, I’m going to take the car and get that damn rattle fixed.”
People also read…
We came home and I forgot the rattle again.
A few weeks ago, on a trip to Wisconsin, I heard the rattle again. It was irritating. I swore to myself next week to make an appointment to have it repaired. This time I remembered.
I stopped at the dealership and made an appointment for 8am the next day.
The dealer’s welcome team greeted me and picked up my car. I went straight to the service desk and checked in. The young duty writer told me it would take about an hour, so I sat in the waiting room, drank my coffee, and checked Facebook and email on my smartphone.
I silently scoffed at the one hour estimate. This rattle was deep inside the dash, I thought, and would require some disassembly. I was just glad that I was finally able to get rid of that annoying rattle.
When a service agent came into the waiting area to tell me my car was ready, he smiled and said, “Your car is ready and here’s the problem.
He handed me the remote garage door opener that I had attached to my sun visor. I must have looked a bit bewildered (my normal gaze when it comes to automotive issues) as the service writer explained: “The rattle was from your garage door remote.”
“But the noise was coming from the dashboard,” I replied.
“Actually, the noise was coming from that remote,” he said, still smiling.
“But…but…the remote door opener is attached to my sun visor,” I said.
My joy at having solved the problem overcame my doubts and was reinforced when he told me that because the solution was so simple, there would be no charge. “Free.” I like these words.
I left the dealership still skeptical, but was thrilled when I pulled onto the highway and realized the rattle was gone.
I don’t mean to sound paranoid, but I imagined that the mechanic who fixed the knock problem was eating his lunch that day and saying to his co-workers, “You’re not going to believe what I’m saying. had to do today. A guy thought he had a rattle in his dash, but it was just his garage door opener.
You see, I am mechanically challenged. I am the eldest of four boys (and two girls) and my three brothers are excellent mechanics – one as a professional and the other two damn good amateurs. I seriously doubt any of them ever had to take a vehicle to the dealership to find and dispose of a rattle.
For years they did their own oil changes and many of their own repairs. I did a few of my own oil changes back when cars were simpler. When I tried to change the oil in my late model 1973 Ford, I moved the drain plug and had to have it towed and fixed at a local service station. The towing and repair cost me more than the money I saved trying to do it myself.
I hope the guys at the dealership had a good laugh at my rattle dilemma. At my age, I have no intention of taking an auto mechanics course at community college to avoid embarrassment.
In the meantime, I love my mechanically inclined brethren and am not envious of their skills. Well… not most of the time.
Arvid Huisman began writing Country Roads 32 years ago, and today the column appears in several Iowa newspapers. He can be contacted at [email protected]