New Honda whis­tles a dif­fer­ent kind of tune

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Classified­s -

Dear Car Talk: I have a 2017

Honda CR-V.

When­ever I re­turn from a long road trip (1-3 hours) and my air con­di­tioner has been run­ning, I hear a pro­longed whistling sound (for 1-2 min­utes) after I turn off the ig­ni­tion.

The sound is com­ing from un­der the hood on the pas­sen­ger side. It sounds like a com­pres­sor drain­ing air. I took my Honda in for ser­vic­ing, but they could not repli­cate the sound. It only oc­curs after long use.

I want to get it taken care of, as I only have 5,000 miles left on my war­ranty.

Any sug­ges­tions? — Jack Yes, I sug­gest you stop hang­ing around your car after you shut it off, Jack.

When you run your air con­di­tioner, the com­pres­sor “pres­sur­izes” your re­frig­er­ant. So, when you ar­rive home after a long drive, that re­frig­er­ant is un­der very high pres­sure.

Once the air con­di­tioner is shut off, which hap­pens when you shut off the en­gine, the re­frig­er­ant needs to re­turn to nor­mal pres­sure. And it does that by pass­ing through some­thing called an ex­pan­sion valve. I think all you’re hear­ing is the pres­sure of the re­frig­er­ant equal­iz­ing by pass­ing through that valve. It pro­duces a soft whistling sound while it equal­izes.

Un­less it’s re­ally loud, or whistling a fu­neral dirge, I don’t think it’s any­thing worth wor­ry­ing about, Jack.

If you were to shut off your air con­di­tioner while you were driv­ing, the same thing would hap­pen. But that faint whistling noise would be drowned out by the road noise, the en­gine and the ar­gu­ment you were hav­ing with your wife about why you turned off the darned air con­di­tioner.

Dear Car Talk: I have a pris­tine 1960 Chevro­let Bel Air. I am the se­cond owner. It has 95,000 miles on a 348 mo­tor with a Pow­er­glide trans­mis­sion. It’s all orig­i­nal with no hot-rod mod­i­fi­ca­tions.

The car runs smooth as silk. I drive it two or three times a month to keep it ex­er­cised.

But my daugh­ter com­plains that if she fol­lows me in her car when we go to car shows, the ex­haust re­ally smells bad.

I have al­ways used premium fuel in this car, and I drive it of­ten enough that the gas is not par­tic­u­larly “old.”

I know this car was built well be­fore pol­lu­tion con­trols were in­tro­duced, but I never re­mem­ber car ex­haust smelling re­mark­ably bad as a kid.

I have also no­ticed some of my vin­tage car show bud­dies have this issue with their 1950s-1960s cars.

Why do the vin­tage cars have “pun­gent” ex­hausts? — Joe

I didn’t re­mem­ber old car ex­haust smelling bad when I was a kid, ei­ther, Joe. But a few years ago, we were lucky enough to take a trip to Cuba to check out the old, Amer­i­can cars there.

And guess what? Most of them stunk! I think, as the air has slowly got­ten cleaner and cleaner over the course of our lives, we’ve all forgotten how bad it used to be.

Nowa­days, if a car drives by that’s got vis­i­ble or mal­odor­ous ex­haust, it stands out like a sore Ed­sel.

Be­tween 1960 and to­day, we’ve added fuel in­jec­tion, com­put­er­ized en­gine con­trols, oxy­gen sen­sors, cat­alytic con­vert­ers and more, to the point where you could put your nose next to the tail pipe of a new car and not smell any­thing — but please don’t.

The car­bu­re­tor on your car, in con­trast, is the tech­no­log­i­cal equiv­a­lent of pour­ing gaso­line into the cylin­ders from a paint can. It’s sloppy, im­pre­cise and dirty.

Now, it’s pos­si­ble that there’s also some­thing wrong with your Bel Air. And the prob­lem most likely to make your ex­haust even stinkier than usual is a fuel mix­ture that’s too rich.

So, if your car­bu­re­tor jets, for in­stance, are all worn out after only 60 years, they could be pour­ing way too much gaso­line into the cylin­ders. The en­gine wouldn’t be able to burn that ex­tra fuel, and it would all come right out the tailpipe. And it would stink.

There are other things that can cause in­com­plete com­bus­tion and a rich mix­ture: low com­pres­sion, in­cor­rect tim­ing, low en­gine op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture or a weak spark. It’s prob­a­bly worth check­ing all of them.

But my first guess would be the car­bu­re­tor. And it’s prob­a­bly not too early in this car’s life to re­place the car­bu­re­tor, Joe. That may very well im­prove the odor to some de­gree.

If that still doesn’t im­prove the smell to your daugh­ter’s sat­is­fac­tion, you start fol­low­ing her to the car shows.

Got a ques­tion about cars? Write to Ray in care of King Fea­tures, 628 Vir­ginia Drive, Or­lando, FL 32803, or email by vis­it­ing the Car Talk web­site at


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