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May 20, 2015

How To Trouble Shoot Unfamiliar Car Noises

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It can be unsettling when your car starts to produce unfamiliar noises. You are concerned about how long your car can keep going before it comes to a complete halt and leaves you stranded, how much the repair work will cost you, and how you are going to get around while your vehicle is being repaired.

Troubleshooting Unfamiliar Noises

There are many possible causes of car noises, some of which are harmless, while others indicate big problems that need fixing. It can be hard to trace some noises since they tend to travel along the vehicle’s body, but you can isolate them if you can associate the noise with a particular component. Some car noises that could mean trouble include:

Whining

Whining noises under your car could indicate a faulty drive unit, rear axle, gearbox, or wheel bearings. If the pitch is variable, depending on the engine speed, it could also indicate problems with an engine driven system, such as the water pump, power steering pump, compressor, or air conditioner.

Squealing/squeaking

The most noticeable squealing noise is when your breaks are going bad. Brakes are designed with a small piece of metal attached to them that emits a squeak when worn out, alerting you that it’s time to replace your brake pads. While the noise may not be necessarily accompanied with poor brake performance, you should get the brakes inspected for your safety. Note that brakes may also create annoying creaking noises when wet, so listen for any noise after the pads heat up and dry out.

Squeaks coming from under the hood may be a sign for another problem, like a slipping belt. Such noise could be associated with a worn or loose belt in one of the belt driven systems, or leaking fluids from any of the engine systems. So, before you replace any belts, ensure that there are no leaks.

Grinding

This noise could indicate that your brakes are completely worn out. It could also indicate a broken water pump, power steering pump, alternator, or faulty wheel bearing if the grinds only occur when making a turn.

Knocking, thumping, or clunking

Thumping noise when you brake could indicate loose suspension components, loose brake calipers, or defective shock absorbers. If the noise changes with the speed of your car, it could be due to worn tires, though this should be accompanied by vibrations in the steering wheel.

When the sound occurs when you press and release the gas pedal, it indicates worn out universal joints, or excessive wear in the rear axle. A faulty front drive unit could also cause clunking.

Hissing

There are several likely causes of hissing, including a leak in your tire; a damaged radiator cap, radiator hose, or the radiator itself; or a leaking vacuum line in the exhaust system.

The sooner you can identify the source of the noise, the sooner you can get rid of it and any possible inconveniences down the line, keep your car going, and stay safe on the road.


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