Over time, you get used to your car’s standard sounds from driving it on a regular basis. So, when new noises arise, they can be alarming.
Common reasons for this to happen:
The first step in identifying the cause of a noise involves pinpointing the location. Here are the most common and concerning noises that vehicle make — along with conditions that often create them — according to their location within the vehicle.
Under the Hood:
- Belts and pulleys: If there is a screeching noise with a repetitive tone, it may show the serpentine belt is worn or the engine pulley that drives the belt is freezing up. This belt is responsible for giving power to multiple systems in your vehicle, including the air conditioning compressor, alternator, power steering pump, water pump, and radiator fan. Belt noises are usually quickly identified and typically vary with engine speed.
- Hoses: There are many different hoses beneath your hood, which can develop holes or cracks over time and affect your car engine’s performance. If you can hear a hissing noise or see coolant beneath the front of your vehicle, a worn hose is the likely culprit. The mechanic will carefully trace any liquids to the source or listen for the escaping of air until they can identify the source of the issue.
- Internal engine parts: If you notice a tapping or metallic slap, there may be an issue with the way your engine is rotating component. Possible causes are low motor oil levels or an issue with timing or engine calibration. If you notice an internal engine noise, it is wise to have the car inspected by one of our expert technicians as soon as possible.
Under the Car:
- Brakes and wheels: If a high-pitched squealing is noticed, the brake pads are likely in need of change. A deeper growling or grinding noise usually shows pads that are past due for change, and may require more parts and labor than a standard brake job.
- Exhaust system: When a clanking noise is present under your car, or its normal running noise is significantly louder, there is potentially an issue with your exhaust system. The mechanic will review the individual pieces of the system from the tailpipe to the front and check that all clamps are secure with a bit of space from the chassis to know the source of the noise.
- Suspension system: This system is made up of many moving components, bushings, and joints that can produce irregular clunking noises when any part gets worn. To confirm there is an issue with your suspension system, the mechanic will check the entirety of the system, which will usually involve lifting the car.
Outside the Car:
- Aerodynamic interference: As your car ages, parts on your exterior can loosen or become caked in debris, ultimately resulting in odd noises that often seem like a low rumble or whir. The sound is often intermittent, increasing with speed and sometimes stopping entirely. Frequent culprits are the heat shield and the dust shield, although just about any part of your vehicle’s body could be the cause.
- Tires: If there is a humming sound that consistently increases with acceleration and stops when your vehicle is not in motion, your tires may be responsible. A quick check of the condition of tread, as well as the tread depth itself, may indicate the issue in short order.
How important is this service?
It depends on the cause of the noise. Given the number of variables mentioned above, costs can vary quite a bit. If the oil is dangerously low, for example, that could result in a significant engine damage if not addressed immediately. By taking care of the issue expeditiously, you may save yourself a bundle down the road before whatever is at the root of the sound worsens. Book a mechanic to perform a thorough inspection as soon as possible.