On Thursday, I drove from Cardiff to Cheltenham and then onto Sheffield. For the first part of the journey, there was very heavy rain and strong winds. The second part was much drier.
However, as I was speeding (legally) along the motorway, my car (a 15 year old Ford Fiesta) decided to make a strange grinding noise. Odd. The noise was of variable length and at random intervals. First guess was the tape player, I hadn’t used it before as I had only picked some up at my Cheltenham stop-off. Nope, with the player turned off and the tape ejected, the noise continued. Was it when I accelerated? Nope. Braked? Nope. Turned a corner? Nope.
This probably can’t be good. Should I keep driving? Pull over straight away? I decided to stop at the next services if the noise went on. The noise stopped.
About 2 miles from the services, I was preparing to carry on past and then gnnrrrr. Time to stop. At the services I phoned up the insurance company who arranged for a breakdown vehicle to come and visit. About 30 minutes later, a man arrived. I explained the situation and he said that he would have to take it for a spin. We drove off and everything was going OK, OK in that the car wasn’t making a noise. “It’s definately not the brakes or the wheel bearings”. That’s fine, but still no noise. Fortunately the noise kicked in a couple of minutes down the road and the man had an idea of what it could be.
Back at the services, he had a look under the car. He came to the conclusion that the heat-shielding around the exhaust had come loose and was flapping about in the high winds. I wondered why this hadn’t happened earlier, in the actual high winds, but I guessed that it might have just come looser later on. I wasn’t driving differently to what the car had experienced before.
I was safe to drive on though and did so. The noise wasn’t quite so bad after that either.
On the way back, the noise was still gone. Strangely when I got to roughly the same location, the noise started again. And when I got to the point at which it first started, the noise stopped again. I have no idea why this section of road was different to any of the rest of it. There was a slight rumbling at times later but it seems to have gone again.
It’s like my car is just allergic to the M42.