5 Car Noises That You Don’t Want To Ignore

Cars make noises, that’s not something new. However as the driver of a car it is your responsibility to know the good noises of today’s modern vehicles from the unusual sounds that signal a potential breakdown. Just about every breakdown that occurs, short of a flat tire, has tell-tale warning signs that can help you prevent a roadside disaster.

While we all enjoy cranking up the tunes while we drive, it is a good idea to turn the volume down a bit to listen to your car or truck. Why? Two reasons… First, you will get acquainted with what your vehicle “should” sound like when running properly. Secondly it will let you pick up on odd sounds (like the ones below) that will necessitate a call to your mechanic. We’d recommend and appointment at Turn Key Auto Repair, but you make that call.

Scraping, Squealing, or Grinding When You Brake

Not only is it embarrassing to come to a stop with squealing breaks, it’s a sign of a serious issue. Typically noise when hear unusual noise when you apply the brakes there is cause for concern and investigation. These are the three most common sounds and associated causes. If you hear any of these, it’s a good idea to get into the shop.

  • Scraping or Squealing: This may not be a sign of a serious issue and may simply be due to picking up some road debris or a bit of rust on your rotors if your car has sat a while.
  • Squeaking: This may be the first sign your brakes are toward the end of their life. While inexpensive brake pads can squeak, most likely the sound you are hearing is the brake wear indicator touching the rotor. This is a built-in warning system that your pads are just about worn out and in need of replacement. Plan on getting into the shop right away.
  • Grinding: If you hear grinding, stop immediately and investigate. Most likely you had been hearing squeaking, but ignored it for too long and now your pads are worn down to the rotors. This can get expensive so stop and call for help.

Hissing When You Turn off Your Engine

This is the classic sound of an engine in trouble and if you hear a hissing sound after driving it means you have a problem that should be addressed immediately. This is typically a result of a leak in your coolant system or your vehicle overheating.

Regardless of if the issue is caused by a coolant leak or overheating the result can be the same, catastrophic engine failure. Everything under your hood is designed to work within a certain temperature range, and if that range is exceeded you risk permanent damage measured in the thousands of dollars.

The good thing is this sound is a warning sign that you can address before it becomes a problem. Something as simple as a cracked hose or bad thermostat can get you back on the road very inexpensively. However doing nothing can end in a very bad day for you and your wallet.

Rattling As You Drive or Turn

Rattling is never a good sound when you’re driving and is a sure sign that something is about to go. If you hear this sound, get in to the shop as soon as you can. When you hear a rattling sound when driving, it is important to pinpoint where the rattling is coming from. Near the rear or a wheel, you may have a suspension issue. Under the hood, perhaps a loose part. The important thing to always remember is once something starts rattling, it will absolutely get worse and worse until you’re stranded on the side of the road. Having that rattling sound inspected soon means you will likely just need to replace a single part or have something properly torqued down. Waiting can result in damage to not only the cause of the rattling, but associated part or systems.

Clicking Or Tapping From Under The Hood

Listening to your engine when you know it is running well is an important way to benchmark the “normal sounds” when driving. If you start hearing clicking or tapping sound is a telltale signal you may have an oil issue. Running low on oil, or not maintaining the proper oil pressure. This lack of lubrication leads to metal on metal contact, typically around your valves. Typically this sound will also be accompanied by lights on your dash telling you there’s an issue.

If you know your vehicle is burning oil you can wait a few minutes after stoping your car to give the oil time to return down into the crankcase and check your levels. Adding oil may help, but it is a short term solution and you should plan time to get your vehicle into a shop to see why you’re leaking oil.

There’s other causes of knocking or tapping under the hood though and you will want to have these checked out to address any issues early, before they become an expensive repair.

A Roaring Exhaust

Enjoying the horsepower and awesome performance of your Shelby Mustang? Oh, that’s not a Shelby… then you may want to schedule a time to get into the shop. While a loud exhaust will not necessarily hurt your engine it does mean that you have a failing system. This may be a muffler issue, leak in your exhaust system, or a more significant engine issue. Regardless of the specific cause having your system inspected can help prevent a ticket, prevent inhaling noxious gasses, and causing further damage.

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