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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've now taken my car in 3 separate times (for a total of 8.5 hours) for this issue, and it's not being resolved at the dealership. so, i'm asking you fine people for insight.

I've had my smart since march 28th. i've put 7,300 miles on it, thus far. around april (1,200ish miles) i noticed that when i was on the interstate, that i'd get a high pitched metal on metal squeal/scrape sound coming from my front passenger wheel when i'd veer or turn to the right. it only happened on the interstate after going 80-85 for over 10 mins, once the wheels heated up. so i'd hear it while passing other cars and on the offramps.

i took it in for the squeal and this clunking noise i'd get when i'd turn sharply. my suspension bolts were tightened, which helped the clunk, but not the squeal. the dealership told me that the tech couldn't reproduce the squeal. well, of course, on my way home from the dealership it started squealing again.

so, i decided to wait a few weeks until it got worse, so maybe the tech could reproduce it. now my car will squeal while veering right OR left (and it sounds like it's coming from both wheels now), for a sustained period. only when i'm going fast, and sporatically. sometimes shaking my steering wheel seems to fix it, sometimes it doesn't. of course, it's completely random, but happens at least once a day.

i left my car at the dealership half a day and the service manager drove my car around and heard the sound, but again, the tech couldn't reproduce it. the official write up on my paperwork is "valve ping from using regular gas". which i don't believe is the case as a.) i've never used anything other than premium and b.) the noise is coming from the front of my car, away from my engine.

i've checked the calipers, there seems to be clearance between them and the rotors. my suspension is tight. the paperwork says my clutch is fine. what could it be? i've been worried that maybe it's the power steering belt or something, as the noise sounds like something between a brake squealer and a slipping belt (i've heard this same sound on other cars with a dented brake shroud that was scraping the rotor, and a bad wheel bearing), but i really don't believe that's the case.
 

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Perhaps the wheel bearings...

I've now taken my car in 3 separate times (for a total of 8.5 hours) for this issue, and it's not being resolved at the dealership. so, i'm asking you fine people for insight.

I've had my smart since march 28th. i've put 7,300 miles on it, thus far. around april (1,200ish miles) i noticed that when i was on the interstate, that i'd get a high pitched metal on metal squeal/scrape sound coming from my front passenger wheel when i'd veer or turn to the right. it only happened on the interstate after going 80-85 for over 10 mins, once he wheels heated up. so i'd hear it while passing other cars and on the offramps.

i took it in for the squeal and this clunking noise i'd get when i'd turn sharply. my suspension bolts were tightened, which helped the clunk, but not the squeal. the dealership told me that the tech couldn't reproduce the squeal. well, of course, on my way home from the dealership it started squealing again.

so, i decided to wait a few weeks until it got worse, so maybe the tech could reproduce it. now my car will squeal while veering right OR left (and it sounds like it's coming from both wheels now), for a sustained period. only when i'm going fast, and sporatically. sometimes shaking my steering wheel seems to fix it, sometimes it doesn't. of course, it's completely random, but happens at least once a day.

i left my car at the dealership half a day and the service manager drove my car around and heard the sound, but again, the tech couldn't reproduce it. the official write up on my paperwork is "valve ping from using regular gas". which i don't believe is the case as a.) i've ever used anything other than premium and b.) the noise is coming from the front of my car, away from my engine.

i've checked the calipers, there seems to be clearance between them and the rotors. my suspension is tight. the paperwork says my clutch is fine. what could it be? i've been worried that maybe it's the power steering belt or something, as the noise sounds like something between a brake squealer and a slipping belt (i've heard this same sound on other cars with a dented brake shroud that was scraping the rotor, and a bad wheel bearing), but i really don't believe that's the case.
Are "underlubricated" and as such will show up as a squeal when they get hot after running hard on an interstate as you have said they did. I would take the fronts apart myself and check that if I were you ....I know..it's the dealer's job under warrantee....but I could not stand for someone to tell me they couldn't find anything wrong when you know very well there is a problem. Did you ask the dealership if they checked that? I would......:)

"Just do it" ....yourself for your own peace of mind.

John
 

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I wouldn't think it's the power steering belt. I assume with the rear engine, that is where the belts are?

I'm thinking that you are probably closer with the brakes, or wheel bearing. With all those trips to the dealer, they didn't check what I would assume is the obvious place to start, wheels & brakes? There isn't much other mechanical equipment up front that I know of? The only other thing would be if there is a cooling fan for radiator with a bad bearing? :confused:

Sorry for no real answers, just thinking out loud.
 

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Just a thought... (and opinion only)

Other cars that I've owned have had rotor/caliper issues at speed in and in hard turns when seemingly in spec. Silicon is your friend, applied to the back of the brake pad. It fixed the old Porsche, it fixed the old VWs, and it even fixed the Vette. Silence is golden...

Happy motoring,
26.2
 

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My ignorance may be showing, but does EPS even have a belt?

the official write up on my paperwork is "valve ping from using regular gas". which i don't believe is the case as a.) i've never used anything other than premium.
I hope this doesn't become a common catch all explanation from service centers.
 

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Electric Power Steering has no belt-driven pump. It's basically a torque sensor and electric assist motor on the rack. Of course the alternator that generates the electricity is belt-driven, but it is there regardless.

I've never in my life heard the specific term "valve ping". Pinging, Pinking, Pre-detonation, Pre-ignition, Knocking - all terms for the sound of fuel burning too soon on the compression stroke of the piston. These days, most cars have "knock sensors" which electronically retard the timing when pre-ignition is sensed, making it possible to use lower octane fuel without damage. However, due to the retarded timing, engine performance and efficiency will not be optimal.
 

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As stated above the power steer is electric and completely in the front. Possible that the motor sings some when torque is added during a turn left or right. I have tried to "Hear" my power steering by coasting down my drive way and the dang thing on mine is dead silent.

Mass produced car with pre-lubed front hubs and bearing assys. Possible that a hub is not properly lubed. It is also possible that once heated up the brakes expand enough to drag slightly... I suspect the brakes first, hub bearings second, and power steer last

Tell your service manager to try again and gently... really.... use a very non adversarial tone...but communicate to him/her that if you have a front bearing failure, and subsequent accident, you and your insurance agent will hold him/her personally responsible
 

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Ha! I've had the same issue but I've kinda just let it be. To me no squeal but I can hear the scraping sound at highway speeds which is similar to the sound a bigger car makes when the brakes are on their way out.

I've chalked it up to it being a small car that makes hearing such noises more common :D
 

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I wouldn't think it's the power steering belt. I assume with the rear engine, that is where the belts are?

I'm thinking that you are probably closer with the brakes, or wheel bearing. With all those trips to the dealer, they didn't check what I would assume is the obvious place to start, wheels & brakes? There isn't much other mechanical equipment up front that I know of? The only other thing would be if there is a cooling fan for radiator with a bad bearing? :confused:

Sorry for no real answers, just thinking out loud.
I thought the power steering was electric? Am I incorrect?

OOPS! I should read the WHOLE thread before responding, sorry.....
 

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I don't know about the smart but most likely it uses sealed wheel bearings so lubricating them would not be possible but replacing them would.
I heard cars making squealy noises some times as they pass by my corner station cornering hard during autocross events.
Like Fred said, tell them to check the brakes first (caliper sliders) and second the wheel bearings.
I would be pissed to hear such claim from my mechanic. "Valve ping" Hawwww?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks for all the help, i'll definitely be taking the car back for one last check with this thread printed in hand. it's so ridiculously frustrating that i take my car in and then have a bunch of bs thrown my way. i feel like i'm not being taken seriously.

i actually hadn't looked into how the power steering works in the smart, i just assumed it was a belt. it really seems like everything on this car is different :p

i've been hoping that it's not the bearings, and that it is the brakes expanding with heat like many of you have said. apparently the wheel bearings were an issue with the 450, so i wouldn't be surprised either way.
 

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I'm voting with Fred.

Consider testing the front disc brake assembly by driving slowly (in a quiet area) along the wall of building, with windows down and the car electronics (stereo, fan, Ipod, etc.) Off.

If you hear a distinct metallic rubbing or scraping front-end sound-- as you slowly travel forward-- the disc pads and/or calipers might need attention (...the rotors, if scored or warped, could also be the culprit).

If the noise is present, try applying the foot brake slowly to see if the sound diminishes or is eliminated. If the sound stops when the brake is applied, I'd have the dealer focus on the front disc brake assembly.
 

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Ringing/Squealing sound

I am also having ringing/squealing sound at high speed on interstate. It starts at 70-75 mph and stays even when I slow down to 40 mph and after sometime it will go away. Such sound is completely random but I made some observations:

- In Texas Summer, when temperature went above 104 F, the sound most definitely showed up.
- When temperature dropped below 60 F (late fall, early winter) sound became less frequent. (Is it due to metal expansion/contraction? The space between break pads and disc is very small)
- I went to the dealership and they were able to regenerate the sound but couldn't figure out exactly figure out the origin. The mechanic at dealership seemed somewhat intuitive. He mentioned that break disc may be coming very close to or in contact with the break pads sporadically and air passing in between or metal touching each other may be generating ringing sound. He filed the space in between but sound didn't go away. He also mentioned that it can't be bearing issue because if bearings are defected, they will make continuous sound (not sporadic), leading to some level of vibrations. In my case I have never felt any sort of vibrations.

Currently I have 19200 miles and I will go to the dealership one last time to check on it further. Please keep me posted with your progress?

Did you try silicon that is mentioned in the thread? Does it affect safety? I will also ask this to the mechanic.
 

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The previous post to yours was in September of 2008, I doubt they will be keeping you posted. Some of those posting to this thread are no longer members!!

I'd get the wheel bearings replaced and the spindles checked to see if the inner race has spun!
 

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Hi.
I just joined this forum because I'm having the same problem as fuzzdecay and anjancontractor. The ringing/squealing sound is happening on my 2008 Smart at around 60mph on the freeway and is sporadic. Have you two had any luck at finding the culprit? I have an appointment this week with a repair shop and would like to be able to give them more direction if possible.
 

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Hi.
I just joined this forum because I'm having the same problem as fuzzdecay and anjancontractor. The ringing/squealing sound is happening on my 2008 Smart at around 60mph on the freeway and is sporadic. Have you two had any luck at finding the culprit? I have an appointment this week with a repair shop and would like to be able to give them more direction if possible.
@ KellyK
Hi.
I just joined this forum because I'm having the same problem as fuzzdecay and anjancontractor. The ringing/squealing sound is happening on my 2008 Smart at around 60mph on the freeway and is sporadic. Have you two had any luck at finding the culprit? I have an appointment this week with a repair shop and would like to be able to give them more direction if possible.
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As of today the problem hasn't gone away. I have stopped using it for long distance travels (1+ hour). I use it only as commuter car. The sound doesn't come if I drive less than an hour and less than 60mph.

I believe it is an engineering design issue that Smart car designers have to solve it in future models (if they figure out). The brakes are floating disc type. At high speed disc go through lateral vibrations, hence the pads come in slight contact with the disc, which makes ringing sound. If this theory (and it is only a theory without any evidence/experimentation/modeling) is correct then it is not a safety problem but the sound is annoying (and scary).

Before you take my words, you must consult mechanic. Many Smart cars have had bearing issues- make sure that it is not a bearing issue.

My car has now 30K miles on it and I have taken this problem as granted. How can we inform Smart car designers to conduct some vibration analysis to check if problem really exist? Will they listen to us?, Do they really care? How good/bad is European customer service? Are they really as good engineers as they used to be? Is it really good to be so laid back? Smart car really shows some key European characteristics. These questions arise especially in current economic climate when their economies are on the verge of collapse??- just another thought...
 

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Pinging sounds like marbles being dropped on a wooden floor or drum sticks on a hard edge. Squealing from the front is either bearings or brakes. I would suspect brakes first. Most bearing have a growling noise when they go out. These are replacement only and come with the hub. Get some anti-squeal goop for the back of the pads from the auto parts store.
 
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