1996 Lexus ES 300 Long Term Road Test

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1996 Lexus ES 300: Crosswind Noise

June 07, 2012

aerodynamics.jpg 

For the past two days since I left Wendover, Nevada, I've been driving through a wicked crosswind. Tumbleweed is flying across the road, trees are bending, windmills are spinning and flags are snapping. When there's no crosswind, the 1996 Lexus ES 300 is nice and quiet. The weather stripping around the doors seems to hold out the wind noise just fine. But this crosswind has created a horrible turbulence in the driver's side window next to my left ear. It sounds like a hurricane.

I've noticed that when I pass an 18-wheeler I hit a zone of silence just as I approach the rear left back wheels of the truck. I have about 45-seconds of blissful stillness and then, when I approach the front of the truck, the racket starts up again. It's a wonderful demonstration of the importance of aerodynamics.

I've check and it doesn't look like the weather stripping around the driver's door is at fault. In fact, I think this same thing might happen in many newer cars since aerodynamics are design to deal with wind coming over the car from the front, not from the side. However, I have noticed that, here and there, bits of black plastic flashing between body panels on the Lexus have dried and, in some cases are curled up and flapping in the wind. I'm tempted to buy some epoxy and clue them back into place but so far, I haven't had the time.

Other than that, this old car is running fine and carrying me 600 miles closer to the Atlantic Ocean each day.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 140,866 miles 

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