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Car Making Wind Noise when Accel – (Fixed!)

A whooshing noise on acceleration is an alarming sound, but it sounds worse than it is. I’m a mechanic, and we’ll get this figured out right now!

Wind noise on acceleration is a symptom closely associated with escaping intake turbocharger pressure. Common causes of escaping intake turbo pressure include:

  • Loose intake hose clamp
  • Damaged intake hose seal
  • Split intake hose
  • Damaged intercooler

In this post, you’ll learn why your car makes a whooshing noise on acceleration and what you can do to fix it today.

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Index

What’s the Wind Noise?

The wind noise you hear on acceleration is most likely the sound of your car’s turbo pressure escaping from the system.

Regular car engines breathe in oxygen, gas is added, the mixture is ignited, your car moves down the highway, and the spent gases are expelled through the tail pipe. We call these types of engines normally aspirated.

Turbocharged engines handle breathing a little differently. A turbocharged engine is more powerful but more efficient also. A Turbocharged engine makes use of the wasted exhaust gases to power the engine.

Think of a turbocharger as two halves, the exhaust half and the intake half.

The exhaust half contains an impeller wheel which is spun by the exhaust gases leaving the engine. Connected to the impeller wheel is an axle that drives a compressor wheel housed inside the intake half of the turbo.

The compressor wheel pinning at 150 thousand rpm sucks air in through the air filter and pressurizes the air (about 15PSI), forcing it into the engine.

The whooshing wind noise you hear is likely this air escaping from the compressor side of the system.

There are, as you know, three likely areas where the compressor air leaks, and we’ll look at them next.

Loose Intake Hose Clamp

The intake half of the turbo system uses rubber or silicone hoses to corral the pressurized air and route it to the intake side of the engine. The hoses typically come in sections and must be fitted together and clamped or fastened at either end.

Some systems employ clips that become weak over time, and the turbo pressure overcomes the clip’s grip on the hose, and the hose partially blows off, allowing the turbo pressure to escape.

Diagnosis – Pop the hood and locate the turbocharger; go ahead and check the ducting or hosing from the turbo is secure. Follow the rubber hosing from the turbocharger to the intake side of the engine. Note you may need to remove the under-engine splash cover to access the hosing.

Check all the clamps systematically.

Many turbocharged cars will route the charged air through an intercooler (more on this later); check that the hose to and from the intercooler is secure also.

The fix – Tighten any loose clamps, or replace if they come loose again.

Damaged Intake Hose Seal

I’ve already described how the intake hosing routes around the engine and how they are clamped to each other in sections. In addition to the hose clamps, the intake hoses will likely employ a seal that prevents pressure loss when the system is charged.

The seals are delicate and, with age, lose the ability to seal. Replacement seals are usually available, but you may need to visit the main dealer.

Diagnosis – Visually inspect hose joints. It’s common for intake hoses to contain small residue of oil, check for tell tail witness marks (oil stain or leak from an intake hose)

Fix – Replace the seals or treat her to a set of hoses.

Split Intake Hose

Self-explanatory, older hoses have been known to split. I can’t blame them, really; they’re under constant cycling at 15 psi pressure.

Most hoses are rubber, but higher-end and performance cars use the more durable and less flexible silicone hoses.

Diagnosis – Inspect the hoses for splits or damage.

The fix – Replace the hoses or upgrade to silicone; you’ll notice improved performance.

Damaged Intercooler

The process of pressurizing the intake air has an unfortunate side effect; it warms it. And warm air contains less oxygen, which means proportionally, the ECM must add less fuel to maintain the optimum AFR (Air Fuel Ratio).

Less oxygen and less fuel mean less power and efficiency, not exactly a roaring success. The solution is simple – cool the air before it enters the engine. And so we have the intercooler.

The intercooler resembles a car radiator, but instead of coolant, it has charged air passing through it. It’s also known as an air-to-air cooler or heat exchanger.

Intercoolers don’t get any more complex than that; that doesn’t mean they don’t give trouble; they do.

They are prone to splitting as they age, but they are susceptible to damage too. On many vehicles, the intercooler is located low down under the radiator; clipping a high curb or road kill or drib strike can cause them to rupture.

Diagnosis – Check for leaks; wet, oily stain on the intercooler is a common sign. You’ll need to remove the under-engine splash cover to gain access.

The fix – Replace the intercooler if damaged.

Sum Up

A whooshing noise from your car when you accelerate is likely caused by a leak in the turbo’s pressurized intake system. A visual inspection usually reveals the offending component. A loose or worn-out intake hose clamp is the most common repair for this symptom.

You may also find the following posts helpful:

Car won’t build boost

Is it hard to replace a turbo?