Common Car Noises and What They Mean
Unless you’re a new driver with a brand new car, chances are good that you’ve heard some strange car noises. You wonder what they mean, and of course, you’ve turned to the internet for answers. Before you call an auto repair shop, it’s good to have an idea of what the noise means.
We’ve put together a list of the most common car noises, followed by a brief description of what they mean. Some noises are more serious than others, but all of them deserve attention from a reputable auto mechanic.
Car Making Rattling Noise
A rattling noise could mean any number of things. Try to pinpoint exactly where the rattling noise is coming from. Under the hood? From the wheels? From under the car? All of these are serious. Any rattling noise coming from under the hood generally means something has come loose. If the noise is coming from underneath your car, it’s most likely an issue with the exhaust system. And if the noise is coming from one of the wheels, it could be a loose lug nut.
Ticking Noise In Car
No, not like a bomb. If you hear a ticking sound while your car is idling, it means you are low on oil. Get an oil change as soon as you can. If you hear ticking while you’re accelerating, it could be a problem with your valves or other engine components. In either case, it’s important to take your car in for car maintenance or auto repair.
Car Makes Noise When Accelerating
If your car makes noise when accelerating, the cause may depend on the quality of the sound. Loud squealing or squeaking could mean a problem with a belt. But a loud rumbling noise when accelerating could mean a problem with your exhaust system. In each situation, it’s better to have an auto mechanic look at your car sooner rather than later.
Car Making Whining Noise or Squealing Noise
If your car is making a whining noise or squealing noise, it could be one of several things. If the noise is coming from under the hood, it could be the serpentine belt is loose or worn. If the car makes noise when turning the steering wheel, it may be a sign of low power steering fluid. Both of these problems have simple fixes.
So far, we’ve talked about car noises coming from the engine, the tires, or the exhaust. Now it’s time to talk about brake noise. Any noise whatsoever from your brakes deserves immediate attention. Your brakes are your vehicle’s main safety feature, allowing you to stop and avoid collisions.
Brakes Making Grinding Noise
This is not a pretty sound, and it’s very noticeable if your brakes make a grinding noise when you push down on the brake pedal. The most common cause for brake grinding is worn-out brake pads. The grinding noise is a result of metal-on-metal contact. Installing new brake pads is a quick and affordable fix.
Extensive brake repairs are not cheap. This is one of the reasons we recommend you get a brake inspection once every six months.
If you have squeaking brakes periodically, it’s probably nothing to worry about. But if you hear the noise every time you brake, or you hear a continuous squeal while you’re driving, pay attention. You may have worn brake pads or a problem with your rotors. Schedule brake service as soon as possible.
Next, we turn to car noises that happen (or don’t) when your car won’t start.
Car Won’t Start Clicking Noise
If your car won’t start and you hear a clicking noise, you have a problem with your electrical system. The most common cause for this issue is a dead battery. It could also be a problem with your alternator. In some cases, simply cleaning off the battery terminals and making sure the clamps are tight will allow you to start the car.
In other cases, you may need a jump start. Then you’ll need to be sure to drive the car for at least 30 minutes. Maybe even drive to the auto repair shop to get the car looked at, and perhaps a new battery.
Car Won’t Start No Noise
If your car won’t start and there is no noise, it could be a completely dead battery. It could also be a blown fuse. If you have a new battery and your car won’t start, it could be a problem with the starter. If getting a jump start won’t let you start the car, you may need to get a tow.
We offer free towing to either one of our auto repair shops, where we can take a look under the hood and figure out what the problem is.
If your car is making a strange noise, it’s best to take it to an auto repair shop for diagnosis and repair. Don’t wait for the noise to get louder, or for your car to break down.
The Only Auto Repair Shop You’ll Ever Need
At National Budget Muffler, we do more than muffler repair. We offer a range of auto repair services at two Harford County locations. Our Joppa location is conveniently located on Pulaski Highway, and our Bel Air location is on Tollgate Road near Harford Mall.
When you bring your car to us, we treat you with respect and tell you the truth, every time. We won’t try and convince you that you need repairs if it’s something that can wait a year or two. Many of our customers have been coming to us for years, and now their young adult drivers do, too.
Call us today to set up an appointment.