The sound of modern cars can be inspiring. What you don’t want to hear are the abnormal and annoying warning sounds that may let you know that things aren’t all good under the hood.
Many automotive issues can alter the noises your car makes. For example, poor alignment can cause squeaking when taking a turn. However, certain vehicle noises indicate the need for immediate maintenance. In this blog, we list some common warning sounds that tell you to take your vehicle to a reputable service centre as soon as possible.
- Squeaking Engine
Engine squeaking may almost sound like there’s a bird trapped under your hood, or it may sound squeakier. The squeaks will likely happen intermittently and may change frequency depending on the type of driving you’re doing.
The sound usually occurs when a timing or serpentine belt in the engine becomes loose or damaged. Some automotive belts can be adjusted, while others must be replaced. If left unaddressed, loose belts can cause permanent engine damage. Excessive belt wear could even cause a belt to break while you’re driving.
- Clicking Steering Wheel
While many car noises come from the engine or undercarriage, they can happen inside your cabin as well. Your steering wheel can make a clacking or clicking noise when you turn.
The clicks may indicate low power steering fluid or damage to a component in the steering column. These issues tend to progress over time, making the vehicle harder to manoeuvre as the problem develops.
- Clunking Hood
Some engine noises sound like they originate from the hood itself rather than what lies beneath it. You may hear clunking or banging that sounds like someone keeping time by tapping on your hood.
Tapping that happens in a rhythm can signal an issue with the pistons or connecting rods in your engine. It’s vital to find the source of the sound quickly to avoid costly repairs of damage to the engine caused by the affected pistons or rods.
- Grinding Brakes
Ideally, your brakes should be virtually silent when you come to a normal, complete stop. Any brake noise should be investigated by a professional.
If your brakes start to sound like they’re grinding to a halt, the components of the brakes are touching directly, which can damage the rotor. Once this level of damage occurs, your brake system may become unsafe and unpredictable.
- Popping Turns
Not all clicking when you turn comes directly from the steering wheel. Popping and clicking noises may also seem to come from one or both of the front wheels. Generally, this type of popping will stop when you start driving straight again.
The noise most likely indicates that you have a damaged constant velocity, or CV, joint in the front axle. Without replacement, the joint could become completely useless and dramatically impact your vehicle’s handling.
- Rattling Wheels
Many automotive noises are reminiscent of another sound. Rattling from your wheels often resembles the sound a small object would make while turning over in a clothes dryer.
The rattling noise means that something isn’t right with the way your wheels are attached to the car. For example, a lug nut may have come loose and started rattling as the wheel turned around. Have your tyres and wheels checked as soon as possible.
- Roaring Undercarriage
Roaring noises from under your car may be similar to the sound of going over a bridge on a windy day, except the noises don’t stop once you hit solid road again.
This noise almost always comes from an issue with the wheels. You may need to replace your tyres, have the bearings tightened or replaced, or have your tyres balanced to solve the issue.
- Screeching Stops
Like the grinding brake sounds we discussed in section four, squealing or screeching brakes necessitate immediate maintenance. The screeching may happen whenever you tap your brakes initially, but it could occur anytime you use the brakes if you don’t have the noise checked out.
In many cases, screeching comes right before grinding sounds develop. You may not have enough brake pad thickness to keep the metal components from touching. If you catch this early, you may only need to replace the pads. However, unsolved brake problems can cause brake failure.
If you notice any of these sounds, don’t wait to find out what they mean for the future of your vehicle. Take your car for an inspection and routine maintenance. Prompt action on your part can keep your car’s engine purring contentedly for years to come no matter where the road ahead takes you.