Dear Car Talk:
I have a 2008 Volkswagen Jetta with 140,000 miles on it. I bought it in 2009 with 20,000 miles on it. I’ve never had any major issues with the car. But within the past couple of weeks, it has started to make a “growling” noise when I turn the car off. It growls for about 10 seconds after it’s turned off, and then goes quiet. Any ideas what this might be and what it costs to have it fixed? — Leslie
I think you might just be parking too close to the dog’s bed, Leslie. Try stopping a little sooner when you pull into the garage, and see if the growling stops.
Actually, I think the growling is coming from your leak test pump. That’s part of the emissions system.
There’s a pump in the back of the car, near the gas tank, that goes on right after you shut off the engine. It pumps for about 10 seconds to pressurize the fuel system. If it’s able to get the system up to full pressure in the allotted amount of time, the computer concludes that there are no leaks, and all is right with the world. If it takes too long to pressurize the system, the computer concludes that there’s a leak somewhere, and it turns on your check engine light.
I’m guessing that something’s wrong with your pump after a mere 140,000 miles. It’s always run after you’ve shut off the car. But now it’s making noise because the pump’s motor, or one of its bearings, is dying. Or maybe something close to the pump is now touching it and vibrating when the pump runs.
You should be so lucky, Leslie. It’s obviously still working, because if not, it would have turned on your check engine light. So it’s not an emergency. But the noise suggests it’s likely to fail sooner rather than later. When you factor in diagnostic time, parts and labor, you’ll probably put out between $200 to $300 (and one growling noise) when it’s all over.
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