Hmm. Purr. Vroom. Driving a car has never been easier on the ears thanks to modern innovation. However, some car noises should be avoided because they may indicate trouble. Roll down the windows every now and again and listen for “any strange sound,” suggests Mike Peth, director of vocational instruction at Ohio Technical College in Cleveland. “Because you know your car, you can often spot something that could turn into a problem. “Ignoring it is unlikely to make it go away.”
You’re driving down the road when you hear something rattling, grinding, or even hissing. These noises might suggest a variety of issues with your vehicle, ranging from minor to major. “Any new noise your car makes doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem, but it also doesn’t mean it’s fine,” says Tom Piippo, mechanical division director for the Automotive Service Association and owner of Tri-County Motors in Rudyard, Michigan. Here’s a list of frequent automotive noises and what they could mean:
These car noises might be warning signs of trouble:
A coin in a Clothes Dryer makes a Noise
It could be a loose lug nut within a hub cap if you hear something rattling around inside a wheel at low speeds (and then stops as you drive faster). That could indicate that your wheel was not correctly tightened the last time it was removed and replaced. Take your car to a repair as soon as possible.
Squealing, Grinding, or Snarling Brakes
What it means: If your brake pads or shoes are screeching, they may be nearing the end of their service life and need to be replaced. If your brakes grind or growl, have them checked out right away. It could be an indication that the pads are so worn that metal is touching metal, which is a major condition that could impair braking performance. (Here are five symptoms that your brake pads need to be replaced.)
When you turn, you hear a Finger-Snapping, Popping, or Clicking Sound
What does it imply? If you have a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive car and hear this noise when turning or cornering (but not when driving straight), one or both of your front axle’s constant velocity (CV) joints may need to be replaced.
A rhythmic Squeak that becomes louder as you speed up
What does it imply? The universal joint (U-joint), which comes in pairs and is a component of the driveshaft, could be the source of this noise whether you have rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Get it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible.
Read More: Safety Features you should Check in a Car
What does it imply? This is frequently an indication that your bearing’s tiny metal balls that aid in the smooth rotation of parts are failing. Which ones, though? If you have front-wheel drive and the sound fluctuates as you turn left, right, and back, it’s most likely your front-wheel bearings; a consistent, rising scream indicates rear-wheel bearings. If you have rear-wheel drive and the whine becomes louder as you accelerate, it’s possible that your differential, which allows your wheels to spin at different speeds as needed, is leaking fluid. Make the necessary repairs right away.
Under the hood, there’s a Rhythmic Clunking, Pounding, or Thumping
What it means: A significant problem with the valves, connecting rods, or pistons could be present. Get to a mechanic as soon as possible.
Under the hood Squealing at start-up or when Accelerating
What it means: Worn or loose accessory belts that operate your power steering pump, air conditioner compressor, and alternator could cause this. It could be the serpentine belt in contemporary cars, which drives many accessories at once and is quite easy and inexpensive to repair.
Noise from the Tires
People become accustomed to the sounds their cars make over time, so a noise that develops gradually may go unnoticed. If you hear noises emanating from your tires, for example, it could signal a problem with the alignment or suspension, according to Burkhauser. It’s a good idea to take a passenger who isn’t used to riding in your car for a ride now and then to see if they notice any peculiar noises you’ve become accustomed to.