According to the US Department of Transportation, as many as 41% of driver-caused of accidents happen because of a failure to recognize a car problem.
This negligence can lead to costly repairs, legal battles and even loss of life.
But simply being aware of what car noises is a great step to take toward more responsible driving.
Let’s explore some car noises that you shouldn’t ignore.
1) Hissing Under the Hood
That’s not a cobra. It’s not a steak just thrown on the grill either. But it may sound like it.
If you hear a hissing or sizzling sound under the hood when you turn the car off, then you’ve likely got a fluid leak.
It’s most likely your coolant or oil. Either way, that’s a bad sign. Both of these fluids work together to help keep hot engine parts cool. If they’re leaking, then they’ll eventually run out. Changing your oil will do little good.
Your car will overheat, causing expensive damage.
2) Knocking in the Engine
You knock on a door because you want to be let inside. You knock on wood because you hope something isn’t true. But if your engine is knocking, then the intruder already got inside.
Engine knocking normally suggests that someone filled your gas tank with gas that is below the octane indicated in the owner’s manual.
If it just started, it’s unlikely much damage is done. Always follow the owner’s manual’s guidance on octane levels.
Let’s imagine for a moment that someone didn’t just set a firecracker off in your tailpipe. That’s what it sounds like when you either have a too rich air-fuel mixture or your catalytic converter is on the fritz.
Get it checked out please to prevent having everyone in the neighborhood ducking for cover when you press the gas.
4) The Banshee’s Scream
In Ireland, the Banshee is a female spirit that symbolizes death. Her screams in the distance could strike fear into even the bravest of souls.
This sound may not be quite so ominous in a car. But unless you want to end up stranded on the side of the road, don’t ignore this warning.
Most likely your serpentine belt under your hood is ready to snap. When it does your vehicle will stop dead in its tracks.
5) Grumpy Cat
A cat who doesn’t like you will be very quick to let you know with a sound that’s more reminiscent of a mountain lion than a cuddly cat. It sounds like a “Row-aow-ow”. It’s time to step back.
If you hear car noises like this when you start it up, your battery is losing power. It’s no longer able to recharge itself faster than you’re using power.
You’ll probably need to replace it soon.
6) Driver’s Seat Becomes a Massage Chair
Do you hear a loud roaring sound under your rear while driving? Does your driver’s seat give you a pleasant vibrating massage while driving?
You may think someone secretly installed a vibrating chair in your car. But this is actually the sign of leaking exhaust system.
As much as you might like to keep this luxury, a malfunctioning exhaust could pump deadly carbon monoxide into your vehicle. Don’t delay getting it checked out.
A low pitch-humming under your car could signal many things.
- The differential may need lubricant
- You may have a failing transmission
- Universal joints may be wearing
- The wheel bearings may be done for
This issue is that sounds under your car are often echoes and vibrations from somewhere else. It takes some detective work to figure out the true source.
Even if the culprit isn’t obvious, these car noises shouldn’t be ignored.
8) Grinding to a Halt
You may not see the sparks fly just yet. But if you hear grinding when you brake, then you’re already metal to metal. Without that brake pad, you’re damaging your rotors. And you’ll have to push the pedal to the floor to stop the car.
You’ll need Bonsai Dinero dinero rapido if you don’t get those brakes fixed fast. That’s an accident waiting to happen!
9) Squeaky Turns
If the steering wheel squeaks when you turn the car, then it’s likely leaking steering fluid. Over time, it will become more pronounced as it becomes harder and harder to turn the car.
Power steering helps you turn further with less effort. Without it, you would have to use your muscles to turn the wheels of your car. Driving would be a much more labor-intensive ordeal.
10) Roaring When Accelerating
If your car roars louder and louder as you accelerate, you could have a damaged exhaust system as we’ve already discussed. Or it could be the transmission.
In an automatic, the car shifts gears for you as you accelerate. But just like in a manual transmission, these gears can get stripped.
Your transmission may be having trouble switching to that next gear and staying in gear.
A roar is warning sign if you’re on Safari in the African veldt and certainly a bad sign when your car does it.
11) Popping on the Engine
Popping in the engine can signal low oil levels, which you should address immediately to avoid blowing your engine up.
But if it occurs with a hesitation, then it may have another cause. If you’re hearing these car noises you should check for:
- Ignition issues
- Clogged fuel filters
- Worn out spark plugs
- Bad spark plug wiring
- Messed up catalytic converter
Often it’s a good idea to start with the inexpensive and easy possible solution. But if the noise continues, get it checked out.
If You Hear These Car Noises, Don’t Wait
Whether it’s a hiss, a pop, a roar or a howling, listen to what your car is trying to tell you. Don’t ignore it and be part of the problem.
Get it checked out and keep your car in good working order.
For more tips on keeping your car in good working order, follow our blog.