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Skyvisions, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 14461
Experience:  Toyota Master Diagnostic
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Toyota RAV4 4x4: I have a 2006 Toyota RAV4 with a strange humming

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I have a 2006 Toyota RAV4 with a strange humming noise while the engine is running. It happens all the time. I took it in and was told this model/year is known to have the alternator cause the noise. The car runs fine and alternator is working. Cost to replace alternator is $600. Is this a known problem? How long before the new alternator starts making the noise? Is an there an alternator that will not make the noise.

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Did they give you any documentation to support their theory of this known problem?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
There are no technical service bulletins addressing any known issues with the alternator making noise. However on the V-6 engine there are issues with the water pump making a whining noise. I have seen a few alternators fail on these vehicles V-6 or four-cylinder and they do make a whining noise. Unfortunately without hearing a noise myself is difficult to say for certain. Hopefully you the technician that is diagnosing this is giving you good information and has checked the idler bearing which is also known to make noise for the serpentine belt and the water pump bearing.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
its a 4cyl. Should I ask for proof it is the alternator (dealership)? Noise is a sign of something happening and I like to be pro actve. At this point I am at a loss on what to do next as you have not provided any options. I find trust is the hardest part of auto ownership. I do not like paying high cost unless it fixes the problem and my expeience is you get what you pay for expect in auto maintenance. Can you provide any assistance while being professional to your trade?
The botXXXXX XXXXXne comes down to your relationship and trust factor with this particular dealership. Alternator noise is very easy to diagnose. Provided they have a professional technician looking at it and not the lube rack technician you probably have the correct diagnosis. One easy way to tell is to put a long screwdriver down against the aluminum housing on the alternator and pressing your ear against the handle of the screwdriver. You will be able to hear any abnormal bearing noise coming from the alternator by doing this. This is the old school method. These alternators on this particular year are pretty expensive. I would not drive this much more than a month or two without replacing the bearing otherwise it could cause problems with the drive belt and water pump which may cause it to overheat.
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