8 Car Noises and What They Mean
Most people are use to the purr of a new engine or the vroom of a slightly tapped accelerator but for some of us, the new car sounds are long gone. The purr now sounds like loose change on pavement and the vroom is replaced by a sound that mimics a lingering cold, you know, the raspy noise when you have something stuck in your throat. Although these sounds can make you feel uneasy, it’s your car’s way of communicating. Identifying these sounds quickly can be the difference between spending 50 bucks or hundreds of dollars. If you’re not fluent in cars lingo, worry not, these 8 tips will decode your trusty clucker’s moans and groans.
- Tapping or banging from under the hood. This is a sound you can’t ignore, there may be a serious problem with your vales, connecting rods, or pistons.
- Squealing at start-up or at acceleration. This sound seems a lot scarier than it is. Usually, the sounds indicate worn or loose accessory belts that drive things like your power steering pump, air conditioner compressor, and alternator.
- Grinding when braking. This sound is quite common in any vehicle that has some miles on it. The sound just means you need to pick up some new brake pads.
- Sputtering, rumbling or rattling from under the car. Generally, this sounds mean the exhaust system needs repairs or perhaps just an exhaust component replacement.
- Snapping, popping or clicking sound when you turn. These sounds mean one or both of the constant velocity (CV) joints on your front axle could need replacing.
- Howling, whining or even “singing”. This is usually a sign that your bearings—tiny metal balls that help parts rotate smoothly—aren’t doing their job. If your car is making these sounds, it’s a job for the mechanic.
- Clinking like coins in a washing machine. This sound indicates a loose lug nut inside a hubcap. This means your wheel wasn’t tightened properly the last time it was removed and replaced.
- Dead Battery Click. This sound we all know too well. Nothing is more dreaded than trying to switch on your car only to hear a click in response. It’s safe to say the problem is your battery, once it’s replaced everything should be smooth sailing.
While none of these sounds are exactly music to our ears, there are a few that are preferred over others. Be sure to keep an ear out for these noises, as they may be your car’s way of telling you something is not right.