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When I switch the air flow mode to or from "windshield", I can hear a creaking/squeaking noise coming from the windshield's defroster outlets. It only lasts a second, so I know it's coming from the vent flap trying to open/close. This started happening only recently when the weather started getting cold.

  1. Where do you guys think the sound is coming from? The blend door actuator or the vent flaps? I don't hear any noises if I'm switching between the face or foot vents, so I think maybe the actuator is fine.

  2. Does each vent flap have its own actuator or are they all controlled by the blend door actuator?

  3. If I wanted to lubricate the vent flaps, can I get to them without having to disassemble the dash?

The car is a 2013 Nissan Maxima, and the vents seem to be controlled electrically as opposed to the old school cable controlled blend doors.

Here's a pic of where the sound seems to be coming from: https://i.imgur.com/yooHfSp.jpg

  • Good question, but I'll need you to delete the costing portion of it, which would make the question off topic (so, Q3 needs to go). Questions seeking price-shopping assistance are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 27 '17 at 2:55
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Ok, I've removed the costing portion. – user928112 Dec 27 '17 at 3:00
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It's age and flaps moving on tracks or pivots. Sometimes it's open-cell foam that's glued to flap doors that disintegrates for whatever reason foam degrades, and makes a rotten mess of little foam bits everywhere, including the mechanisms.

My sugestion is to live with it. It won't happen that often.

You may be able to clean the dirt and debris from tracks/pivot points, and that might cure the problem.

I strongly advise against any kind of lubrication. While this always cures the problem for a while, with the airflow in this area what will eventually happen is the "lubricant" attracts dirt and grit, leading to returned noise and even jamming (can't get proper distribution, failure of actuator motors, etc.)

So cleaning, perhaps. Lubrication, heck no. Unless you can be certain it's not in the airflow.

On Edit: BTW, I doubt it's the blend door - this would only change position if you requested a temperature change. It's the defroster door or similar.

  • Does the defroster door have its own actuator? Where is it usually housed? Also, would a bit of compressed air down the defroster vents help with cleaning? – user928112 Dec 27 '17 at 5:37
  • Also, looking at this diagram, it looks like there the defroster vent has its own door (part#27188U) and actuator (part#27733M) that are attached onto the blower unit. I'd like to try lubricating the actuator because it isn't in the airflow, but I don't think I can get to it without disassembling parts of the dash. parts.nissanusa.com/nissanImages/L31/R270000N.jpg – user928112 Dec 27 '17 at 6:04

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