What Common Car Noises Mean

Automotive suspension test and brake test

While visiting an auto shop for an occasional diagnostic test is a smart idea, many folks start troubleshooting the old-fashioned way: when something sounds strange. 

Cars today are quieter than ever, and most drivers are well attuned to their own vehicle’s whooshes and purrs. But when you start hearing a new sound, such as car noises that stand apart from the normal hum, it’s a sign that you might have a problem. And while it would be convenient if the issue could take care of itself, early intervention usually equals a quicker, less expensive fix. In other cases, the problem might affect the safety of your vehicle, making it imperative that you get your car to a shop. 

We regularly work with customers who’ve come in after hearing a strange noise in their car. Here are some of the most common problems we diagnose. 

There’s a problem with the brakes.

The sound? A high-pitched noise when you brake is usually a sign of worn brake pads. This is a quick, inexpensive fix, but not one to ignore. If that whining squeak has progressed to a grinding sound, the need is urgent. It’s likely that the pads have worn completely through, exposing the rotors or drums. 

There’s a belt issue. 

The sound? A squealing sound when you start the car or accelerate may mean your serpentine belt is worn and possibly about to break. If the belt breaks, your car won’t be able to run. The serpentine belt also touches multiple car components, meaning any one of these parts can cause stress. A technician will be able to assess the components for any problems, as well as look at the belt for signs of wear. 

You have a serious engine issue. 

The sound? A rhythmic thumping or banging signals a major problem, possibly with your engine’s rods or pistons. Don’t push through on this one. Call your mechanic and discuss whether it’s best to get a tow to the shop. 

You have a problem with your wheels. 

The sound? A rattling that stops once you’re driving at a high speed may be due to a loose nut in your hubcap. Thankfully, this is an easy fix and an inexpensive one, but don’t put it off. Your wheel may be improperly attached. 

You’ve filled up at the wrong tank. 

The sound? A knocking when you accelerate might mean you accidently filled up your high-performance car at the wrong pump. If your car requires high-test gas, this can occur when you use less-than-premium fuel. 

You have an exhaust problem. 

The sound? A rattling sound while you’re idling (often combined with a physical shaking or rumbling of your car) may mean that you have problems with your catalytic converter, muffler or exhaust pipe. This one is also serious: If there’s a crack in your exhaust system’s manifold, carbon monoxide can leak into the cabin. 

Your battery is struggling. 

The sound? Clicking as you start your car might be a warning that your car’s battery is on its last legs. Have your battery tested to see how much juice is left before you’re stuck somewhere inconvenient and in need of a jump. 

If your car is making a new or unusual noise, contact Bavarian Body Works today

Our trained technicians can assess your vehicle to determine the source of the issue, handling any needed repairs or replacements. Contact us today for more information.