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Subaru Repair/2003 Subaru Outback wagon

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Question
Two weeks ago a clicking noise began.  As best I can tell, it's coming from inside the steering column, near the dashboard, slightly to the left of center.  The clicks sound like a switch being turned on and off.  They are irregular in pattern.  Sometimes one, sometimes many consecutively.  They come and go irregularly, with anywhere from one minute to 20 minutes of silence in between the activity.  Once, I drove the car a half hour and they didn't come on at all.  I have tried turning on and off the heater, the wipers, the radio, etc., anything to find a pattern but so far have found no pattern.  Sometimes they don't start until I've been driving ten minutes, other times right away.  It's a sharp, distinct noise.  They aren't associated with the direction of driving (ie turns vs straight), and I've tried jogging the steering wheel a little side to side, and that does not stop the noise.  

The only other information I can give you is that they first began on a 10 degree morning when I forgot to turn off the heating element for the outside driver's side mirror.  It was on about 20 minutes longer than needed.  The car gets serviced regularly and there are no other problems that I know of.    

Thanks for any assistance.

Answer
Hello Holly,

That sounds like a relay that is clicking as the contacts inside make and break a connection there will be a click.  To identify you will need to remove the lower dash panel and try to find the relay that is making the noise, from there figure out what system the relay is in control of and then diagnose the issue in that system, it could be the relay or it could be a fault somewhere else causing the relay to make to be commanded on and off like it is.  There is a relay for virtually everything that is turned on and off in your Car so its not practical for me to try and tell you which one it could be, unless you can tell me what system seems to be working irregularly.

Hope that helps

Justin Stobb
Independent Subaru Expert

www.allwheeldriveauto.com  

Subaru Repair

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