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Weird Car Noises


With all of the different moving parts, vehicles are known for making lots of noises. Some sounds are normal, while others may indicate the need for a repair. Generally, when you hear a weird or unusual noise coming from your car, you should get it checked by a mechanic. Some noises come with a little more urgency than others.

In this article, we’re going to look at some different types of sounds your car may be making and the most common causes for those sounds.

Noises Around the Engine

The engine is probably the loudest part of your vehicle. Strange noises coming from the engine may also be the most alarming. Here are some common sounds engines make when something is wrong:

  • Hissing under the hood­—A hissing sound may mean there’s a leak under the hood. While leaks can be easy to spot, be careful around the engine because the components can get hot.
  • Slapping sounds—Slapping or flapping noises are usually caused by broken belts or something blocking a fan.
  • Knocking when revving the engine—In most cases, engine knocking is caused by using the wrong type of fuel. It may also indicate a more serious issue. You should have a mechanic inspect your vehicle as soon as possible if you hear engine knocking.
  • Squeaking that changes speed with you—Squeaking that speeds up as you speed up may be caused by a faulty u-joint (universal joint) or a faulty driveshaft. A mechanic can help you make necessary repairs.
  • Howling or whining—Noises that sound like howling, whining, or even singing are typically caused by a broken bearing or differential. You should get your car looked at as soon as possible if you hear this sound.
  • Clicking at start-up—If you hear a clicking sound when starting up your car, it’s almost definitely a dead battery. You may be able to solve this through a jump, or you may need to replace the battery.

Noises Around the Brakes

The braking system is vital for safe driving. Without brakes, you can’t slow down, take turns at a safe speed, or come to a stop. Because of this, you absolutely cannot ignore weird noises around your brakes. Here are some noises to keep an ear out for:

  • Squeaking brakes—Most brake pads are designed with wear in mind. They often come with a wear indicator, which will squeak when your pads are too low and need replacing. If you hear a squeaking when you brake, it’s time to have your brake pads inspected.
  • Grinding brakes—Grinding usually follows squeaking. If you fail to have your brake pads replaced and you start to hear a grinding sound, it probably means your pads have worn off and metal is now grinding against metal. This can be dangerous and lead to serious damage on your vehicle. Get your vehicle to a mechanic ASAP.
  • Rattling brakes—It’s not unusual for brakes to rattle a little when you let up on them. It is, however, unusual for brakes to rattle when you press down on your brake. If you hear a rattling while braking, you should bring your car to a mechanic.

Noises Around the Steering Wheel

Much like braking, steering is also an important function for safety and vehicle handling. If you start to hear a strange noise while turning the wheel, you shouldn’t ignore it.

  • Popping or clicking—A pop, click, or snap in your steering wheel may mean something is wrong with your suspension. This could include a problem with the wheels, the constant velocity (or CV) joints, the front axle, or the bearings.
  • Whining or squealing—If your steering wheel begins to whine or squeal, you’re probably low on power steering fluid. You may be able to solve this by topping off the fluid. If there’s a leak or a problem with the power steering pump, you’ll need to bring it to a mechanic.

Noises Around the Tires

Your tires are the one point of contact between your car and the road. Because of this, they can wear out over time. Here are some noises you may hear around your tires and what they probably mean.

  • Humming tires—A humming sound may be a sign of uneven tread wear. Uneven wear can be caused by a suspension problem, faulty wheel bearings, alignment issues, or another issue with your undercarriage. Having your tires rotated and your vehicle aligned on a regular basis can help prevent this.
  • Squealing tires—Tires have been known to squeal from unsafe driving habits, like turning tightly at high speeds. Another reason for squealing tires may be underinflation. If this is the culprit, reinflate your tires as soon as you can. Driving on underinflated tires can be dangerous for both you and your car.
  • Slapping or thudding tires—Slapping or thudding sounds are often caused by severely underinflated tires. It’s not safe to drive on tires that are severely underinflated as you run the risk of a blowout. You’ll need to replace a severely underinflated tire immediately.
  • A sound like a coin in the dryer—If you hear a sound like a coin in a clothes dryer coming from your tires, there is probably a loose lug nut in your hub cap. This may mean your tire hasn’t been properly tightened or it has come loose too. Take it to a mechanic to have it tightened as soon as possible.

Noises Around the Exhaust

Your exhaust system helps to keep car fumes away from you and your passengers while improving engine performance and fuel consumption. Here are some noises to watch out for around your exhaust.

  • Rattling exhaust—A rattling noise around your exhaust means that some kind of damage has occurred. This can include anything from hitting an object or large pothole, rusty parts, or a faulty catalytic converter or muffler. Because so many different things can cause an exhaust to rattle, you should take your car to a mechanic to have it inspected.
  • Roaring exhaust—If you hear a roaring sound that increases when you accelerate, there may be a leak or crack somewhere in your exhaust system. You may also have a faulty transmission. In either case, a mechanic can make necessary repairs for you.

Call Restored Auto LLC for help with your weird car noise.

Whether your car is popping, hissing, whirring, clacking, or making some other weird noise, the mechanics at Restored Auto LLC can help. We’ll take a look at your vehicle, diagnose the problem, and make any necessary repairs or replacements. Call us today to schedule an appointment.