SOLVED: Squeak when car is unlocked

flipflop

Active Member
Nov 24, 2020
42
13
This is an odd problem that has been driving myself and my local SEAT dealer mad. It started in December last year. In a nutshell, when the car is unlocked, it exhibits a squeaking noise that I can't quite pinpoint the source of - here's a link to a sound clip of the noise that occurs when the car is unlocked. I'm sure the noise is coming from the front of the car somewhere. Usually, the car will need to be left locked for some time and then unlocked for the noise to occur, i.e. unlocked the following morning after being locked the night before, or unlocked at the end of the day after work. The noise will sometimes occur when unlocking the car after it has been locked for a short period of time, i.e. after popping into a shop or something - but this is infrequent.

My local dealer replaced the driver door lock a while ago but this didn't resolve the problem. The problem can be intermittent (the noise doesn't always occur after the car is left locked for several hours). I managed to replicate the problem a few months ago with a technician present and he suspected it was the alarm squawking, and therefore replaced the alarm box but this didn't solve the problem. I left the the car with the dealer for a week and they said they couldn't replicate the problem, but I managed to replicate it less than two hours after having the car back. SEAT UK got involved and suggested booking the car in with another dealer for a second opinion. The service manager at my local dealership has offered to speak to another dealership and arrange for them to investigate. My local dealer has no idea what might be causing the odd noise. It doesn't seem to be related to any particular weather conditions - it happens rain or shine, hot or cold.

Oddly, I noticed about three months ago that when the engine is shut off, it sometimes makes a similar noise to the one that occurs when the car is unlocked. Here's a link to a sound clip of the noise when the engine shuts down that I’m trying to describe. The noises in both scenarios are very similar and I think they are linked to the same cause.

I brought this up with a friend of mine (who's knowledgeable of SEAT, VW, Skoda and Audi) and he suspects the vacuum accumulator might be the culprit. The car needed to go into my local dealer a couple of weeks ago for one of the bass speakers to be replaced under warranty. Whilst I was there, I was discussing the unlocking/engine shut-off noise with the service manager and I also mentioned what my friend thinks might be causing the problem. I turned the engine on and off a few times to demonstrate the noise and he was able to hear it. He brought it up with the technicians and their opinion is that it might be the clutch - I was a bit sceptical.

The car is due to be booked in with another SEAT dealer where they'll keep the car for a few days and try to replicate the problem and pinpoint the cause. I haven't had much luck with my local dealer. I would be very grateful for any advice that might help me to resolve this problem once and for all, as it's driving me nuts. Before anyone asks - yes, I've checked for mice and there aren't any :LOL:
 

flipflop

Active Member
Nov 24, 2020
42
13
Fuel line rubbing somewhere would fit both your senarios, fuel pump priming when unlocking car and rubbing when fuel pump shuts off when turning engine off? Worth a look.

Hmm, didn't think of that. Appreciate the suggestion - I'll look into it. I thought fuel pump priming is controlled by the ignition?
 
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UnworthyBean

Active Member
Dec 6, 2019
38
19
Mine has started making roughly the same noise. Only happens when unlocking, only in the mornings and only ever on the first unlock. It also doesn't happen every time, maybe once a week?

I might be a coincidence but it started happening shortly after running over something on the motorway, left me with a flat tyre but had the car checked and seemingly no damage underneath or suspension

Would be interesting if you find an answer though. Hasn't really bothered me enough to investigate further.
 

flipflop

Active Member
Nov 24, 2020
42
13
Mine has started making roughly the same noise. Only happens when unlocking, only in the mornings and only ever on the first unlock. It also doesn't happen every time, maybe once a week?

I might be a coincidence but it started happening shortly after running over something on the motorway, left me with a flat tyre but had the car checked and seemingly no damage underneath or suspension

Would be interesting if you find an answer though. Hasn't really bothered me enough to investigate further.

That's interesting. Mine also makes the noise only ever on the first unlock. It used to make the noise every day but now not as much - varies between most days and once or twice a week. Sometimes more than once a day, i.e. in the morning and after work (when I was in the office). It's been driving me nuts for a while, so I'm determined to find the cause. Strangely, it has also made the noise when I've locked the car - but this is really rare and I could count on one hand the number of times this has happened in the past year.

Sounds like mice to me.

Pesky mice!
 
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flipflop

Active Member
Nov 24, 2020
42
13
Weather dependent, ie, is it more noticeable in the colder weather now?

You'd think so (and I thought so), but nope. I was hoping it would be more prevalent during the colder weather to help the dealer find the cause. It was chronic last winter - every morning and evening after work without fail. In the past few months the behaviour has changed - sometimes every day for a few days, then maybe most days for a bit, and sometimes maybe once or twice a week. I started keeping a log of whenever I lock and unlock the car, so that maybe I could see a pattern of behaviour (i.e. weather conditions or how long the car is locked for).
 

R.Bot

Active Member
Oct 30, 2019
46
24
If it happens at exactly the same as unlocking, rather than when opening the door (which is when my pump primes), I had something similar a while back. It was the fuel flap locking actuator squeaking. It must have failed a week or two later, in the locked position, first I knew was when I went to put fuel in and couldn't. Not enough fuel to get to nearest dealer, car was in warranty but Seat weren't interested unless I got it to them. Right PITA that was ! If it is that, get it replaced asap, whilst you can still get to it easy.
 
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flipflop

Active Member
Nov 24, 2020
42
13
Thanks, guys. I've contacted the dealer with details of the possible causes. I'll let you know what they say. Although I put an ear next to the fuel flap and unlocked the car yesterday, and heard the squeak but it sounded like it was coming from the front of the car somewhere. I might try popping the bonnet open, leaving it on the catch overnight and then listen in the engine bay when I unlock the car again tomorrow morning or something.
 
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flipflop

Active Member
Nov 24, 2020
42
13
My local dealer has tested the actuator and said it's not noisy, so it can't be that. The car is booked in with another dealer so that they can have it for a week and investigate. They were pleased with the details I provided and video clip demonstrating the noise. They said they're confident they'll get to the bottom of it. I'll post back with an update. The noise definitely sounds like it's coming from the front of the car - maybe near the front offside, but I can't be sure. It's definitely the front.
 

martin j.

Active Member
Feb 11, 2007
1,369
474
Fife
I don’t get a squeak but I think the lock/unlock is very noisy-solenoids?- I’ve heard quieter cell doors.
 

flipflop

Active Member
Nov 24, 2020
42
13
The dealer I've taken the car to has put a master technician on the case. The good news is that he's witnessed the fault and captured it on video, so the problem has been verified as a fault and will be progressed through warranty. There's a donor car that he'll take the actuator off and fit to mine to see if that sorts the problem. If a donor actuator sorts the problem then he'll order a new part. He reckons it could well be the fuel pump at fault. I'll post back here as the matter progresses.
 
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flipflop

Active Member
Nov 24, 2020
42
13
The dealer called earlier this morning - they tracked down the cause of the noise, which was the charge actuator arm on the turbo. They took apart the turbo to move the arm which made the noise each time. The arm has been lubricated which should resolve the problem. The technicians have sent a report to SEAT technical to query if the turbo will need to be replaced or whether the lubrication will be sufficient to resolve the problem once and for all.
 
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Sly870

Active Member
Jan 10, 2021
20
3
The dealer called earlier this morning - they tracked down the cause of the noise, which was the charge actuator arm on the turbo. They took apart the turbo to move the arm which made the noise each time. The arm has been lubricated which should resolve the problem. The technicians have sent a report to SEAT technical to query if the turbo will need to be replaced or whether the lubrication will be sufficient to resolve the problem once and for all.

I would insist on the part being changed.

Btw, why would a "turbocharger charge actuator" move when the car is unlocked? Apologies for the stupid question but never heard that one before.

I was about to open bets on the fuel pump or something :D
 
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