What Do Car Noises Mean?

Strange sounds coming from your car are often the first indication that something isn’t quite right. Understanding the causes of these sounds can help you work out if the problem is one that you can fix yourself. Or if you need a mechanic to make an accurate diagnosis. And quickly repair it for you.

What do car noises mean? Read on…

Listening to Car Noises

Listening is the key to identifying many issues. Sounds often intensify when you take specific actions such as accelerating or braking. Or turning the wheel suddenly. Look at common noises here…

Road Sign Bumps on the road

Car making squeaking noise when driving slowly

A loose or slipping alternator pulley could mean potential future problems if it’s not fixed quickly. If bearings become dirty or worn out, they tend to make a loud squeaky noise. A squealing noise can point to a faulty drive belt. And can cause additional issues with air conditioning or power steering. This can be fixed by an auto mechanic in just a few minutes.

Knocking noise from rear of car when going over bumps

If noises are heard when going over bumps or potholes the suspension may be to blame. Sway bar links and bushings are simple to replace and can be done on your driveway. Other potential causes for this noise include worn struts or shocks, defective ball joints and control arm bushing.

Car makes noise when braking

A squealing noise experienced whilst braking is a common complaint. And is a sign that drum shoes or brake pads are wearing. The mechanical sensor will indicate that brake pads need replacing.

A grinding noise coming from the brake area means the pads are completely worn. Rotors may become damaged and also need replacing. A clucking noise results from loose brake pads, or from a poor installation. A metal rubbing noise can be due to a bent dust shield after new brake pads have been fitted.

Car makes noise when turning

Any sounds such as car squeaks when turning is likely to be related to the steering linkage. The most common noise is a growling due to low power steering fluid – the system may have developed a leak. Noise may vary as you change gear indicating possible problems with the steering pump and this needs professionally repairing as soon as possible. Defective wheels and tyres, and worn out wheel bearings may produce a clunking noise.

Car making noise when driving

A grinding or whirring noise from the gearbox might be a problem with the clutch or clutch bearing. Or issues with the gears and shafts within the transmission. Under the car whirring is often caused by a defective differential, or a joint or wheel bearing.

A squeak that speeds up as you accelerate could be a component of the driveshaft that needs immediate attention. Roaring could be due to a damaged exhaust system. And chirping on acceleration could indicate that the water pump has become misaligned.

Man driving a car

Car won’t start clicking noise

When your car won’t start the main reason is usually a problem with the battery. This results in a clicking noise when you turn on the ignition. And several more clicks without the engine turning over.

A tapping or clicking noise could also indicate an engine that’s low on oil and needs topping up. Or could be due to an old engine simply wearing out – and this sound goes away when the engine warms up. Valvetrain issues and blockages in the system can also be the culprits.

Car making noise from the engine

Noises can come from the top end of the engine – indicating bad lifters caused by high mileage or low fuel – and resulting in loud ticking or tapping sounds. Noise can also come from the cam lobe if your car has done excessive miles. Or from the timing chain or timing belt area. And you’ll get noise if alternator bearings and air conditioning bearings are worn.

Get Roadside Assistance When You Need It

If your car is making a noise and then breaks down, you’ll need to call recovery specialists. You’ll get help from your own driveway or by the roadside. And get taken to where you want to go. Call to get a free quote. And an expert will be by your side in no time at all.