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For Cruiser’s squealing problem, look at the driving surFaCe
— William
William, we love having customers
like you at the shop. Guys like you
come in, having already diagnosed
the problem and tell us you need
grease plugs (whatever they are),
a lube job and ball joints. We sell
you all that stuff, and when you
Dear Car Talk: I have a 2003
come back and say the car was still
Chrysler PT Cruiser Limited Edition squealing, we can just shrug and say
with 225,000 miles. It is running
“Hey, you asked for all that stuff.”
I think the squealing is actually
fine, but when driving at lower
coming from your tires, William.
speeds and turning, like in our
But I don’t think you need new tires,
condo parking garage, it makes all
What you’re hearing is the
kinds of squeaks and squeals. They
are not heard when driving at higher tires scrubbing or dragging along
the smooth, sticky, concrete floor of
speeds on the road. I think in the
parking garage.
old days, new grease plugs and a
lube job would have taken care of
Chemically sealed concrete is
this. Is there a way to quiet things
almost perfectly flat and nonporous.
down short of replacing ball joints? That means 100% of the tire’s

contact patch is in touch with the
garage floor. So when you turn the
steering wheel, you end up dragging
the tires — in tiny little movements
— over the garage floor. The tires
are intermittently sticking and
then sliding a little bit. And that
stick-and-slide creates the eeerrreeerrreeerrr squeaking sound you
hear. It’s a lot like what you hear on
a basketball court, as players stop
and pivot and their sneakers drag
along the court surface. When you’re
on a normal road, it doesn’t happen,
mostly because the pavement isn’t
as smooth. Those chunks of asphalt
create a much more porous surface
than concrete, so not every square
millimeter of your tire’s contact
patch is touching the road. Plus,
when you’re driving, there are other

noises that would drown it out, like
engine noise, wind noise, road noise
and your copy of “Led Zeppelin IV.”
What can make the squealing noise
worse? If they recently resealed the
garage floor. If you have wheels
that are out of alignment and more
likely to drag or scrub on turns. Or
if you’ve been watching too many
Charles Bronson movies, William,
and are flying into your parking
space at 30 mph.
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
© 2021 by Ray Magliozzi and
Doug Berman Distributed by King
Features Syndicate, Inc.