I am new to your site, but have enjoyed getting a chance to read your answers to many common car problems. I am writing to you about a perplexing noise I am getting in my 2000 Avalon. It has 127,000 but has been maintained very well from day one and runs like a dream. Just recently I started hearing a noise behind the dashboard. It sounds as if it is coming from directly behind the steering wheel. It sounds like grinding gears or like something is scraping against something else inside there.
I almost blamed it on the tape deck at first since it resembled a tape being stuck or stripped in the deck but I ruled that out by turning off the radio and the sound continued. It has nothing to do with speed or the steering mechanism itself. I almost think that I have it pinned down to being related to the AC somehow but I am not certain that is it. It does not happen all the time and generally increases in volume when the auto AC is trying to adjust to a really low setting. When I turn off the AC when I hear the sound, withing two minutes or so it stops. The sound is only coming out of the dash on the drivers side as well. It is not audible from outside the car. I am really stumped as to what may be causing the noise and have never pulled the dash out on this car and am hesitant to do so. Do you have any ideas on what this might be? Thank you!
Wow, you got me stumped. The only thing that really comes to mind that might be able to cause the noise you describe would be the A/C blower motor, which is inside the dash…..kinda more towards the passenger side than driver side but its about the only thing that is rotating inside the dashboard.
The blower motor has a hamster wheel attached to the end to push the air into the cab. This wheel could be loose or rubbing on something? Taking the dash apart is not going to be easy or cheap. If you wanted to guess at something you might want to have your mechanic check into the blower motor/blower motor wheel “cage” and see if there is a problem there.
Wish I could help more, keep me posted if you dont mind. I would like to post your fix on the site for others.
Thank you for your response Austin!
This problem has stumped me and my mechanic friends for the past 4 months. The problem is that half of the people I tell about it never hear the sound because it is not an every day thing. I cannot tell exactly what sets it off so it may go four or five days and make no noise at all and then poof one day it is doing it on and off all day. I decided to take a video of it so you might be able to hear it for yourself. I had to wait a few days for the sound to come back, but it did and I pulled into a parking lot, shut off the radio, and the ac and recorded this.
Any new thoughts on what this may be???
Thank you so much!!!