Knowing what causes strange car sounds can help you determine whether the problem is serious or minor, and how quickly you should have it checked out. If you’re not sure whether the noise your car is making is the consequence of a serious problem, seek help from a reputable repair centre right away.
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1. Clunking Noise
If your car makes a clunking noise when you use the brakes, it could indicate that the brake discs, calipers, or pads are worn, loose or damaged. If the clunk occurs when driving over bumps, there could be an issue with your car’s suspension, mountings or a loose element of the exhaust. If your car clunks when turning corners, the problem could be with the steering, wheels, or tyres, or a worn-out wheel bearing or even an engine mount or similar.
2. Whirring or Grinding Noise
A grinding or whirring sound coming from your car’s transmission could indicate a problem with the clutch thrust bearing, clutch itself (in a manual), or shafts and gears inside the transmission. If the grinding or whirring is coming from under the car, it could be due to a low oil level in the differential(s) or gearbox, or a universal or CV joint or wheel bearing. When you use the brakes, the metal backing of the pads grinds on the brake disc rotors, indicating worn brake pads. Your brakes will be ineffective (and dangerous), and the metal-to-metal contact will quickly wear down the discs.
3. Hissing Noise
A hissing sound from under the bonnet suggests there is a fluid leak, which is getting onto a hot part of the engine, such as radiator coolant leaking onto the engine block or exhaust manifold. It could be a vacuum leak from one of the little hoses around the engine’s air intake if the hissing occurs when you speed.
4. Knocking Noise
A knocking sound coming from your engine is usually an indication that something is significantly wrong; have it looked out as soon as possible. A professional will be able to tell you whether there is a serious problem with the engine’s internals or if it is something that can be fixed more readily. An engine issue is known as ‘knocking’ sounds like a faint metallic ‘ping’ when you accelerate and can be caused by a poorly tuned engine or fuel with too low an octane (or Research Octane Numbers (RON)) rating, i.e. you are using 91 Octane when the car is designed to take 95 or 98 Octane.
5. Sputtering, Popping or Banging Noise
A backfire occurs when unburned fuel exits the engine and ignites in the tailpipe, resulting in a loud bang from your exhaust pipe. There could be a vacuum or exhaust leak, or a problem with the catalytic converter – in an older car, this could mean the engine is out of tune. If the popping or spluttering is coming from the front of the car, it could mean there’s an issue with the engine’s fuel, ignition, or exhaust system, which could be caused by a clogged fuel filter, worn spark plugs, or a faulty catalytic converter.
6. Rattling Noise
Rattles coming from beneath your car suggest that something is loose or has wedged itself there. It’s possible that a component of the exhaust or suspension has broken loose, and this should be investigated as quickly as possible.
7. Roaring Noise
When you accelerate, a roaring or plain noisy exhaust usually indicates an old exhaust system that has rusted or become damaged to the point that the muffler is no longer doing its duty of keeping the car quiet. Although an exhaust problem is unlikely to cause your car to stop or cause more damage, it may be allowing exhaust pollutants into the cabin and should be investigated immediately.
8. Clicking or Tapping Noise
A tapping or clicking sound from under the bonnet might mean your engine is low on oil, which is easy to check and top-up. It could indicate a problem with the valve train on an older engine. If your car has a lot of kilometres on it and/or hasn’t been serviced often, it’s possible that your engine is worn out, however, some engines will happily run with a top-end tick for a long time, especially if the sound goes away when the engine warms up or in the summer.
9. Whistling Noise
A whistling from under the bonnet could indicate a vacuum leak in one of the hoses around the air intake, which can be difficult to locate but is normally simple to repair.
10. Squealing Noise
A squealing sound from under the bonnet of your car is one of the most common – and easily fixed – car sounds. It signifies that one of the belts that drive accessories from the engine, such as air conditioning or power steering, has slipped on a pulley. This can be rectified in minutes by a qualified mechanic. If the screeching originates from the wheels when you use the brakes, it could indicate that your brake pads are worn out or that you have another issue with your brake system. If the squealing is coming from your tyres, though, you should turn your cap the other way and ease up on the accelerator.
If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!