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Car Sounds and What They Mean

One minute you're driving and everything is fine, the next minute you hear a strange noise coming from your vehicle. Despite the temptation to drown out the sound with music, taking a closer listen is the better option. By becoming familiar with the sounds your car makes, you'll not only be able to diagnose problems more quickly, but you'll also help prevent damage to your vehicle.

Mechanic working under hood of car

The following are some common car sounds and how to fix them.

Screeching sound under the hood

What it could mean: A loose or worn serpentine belt
Solution: The serpentine belt drives multiple devices in your engine, including the alternator, air conditioning compressor, and radiator fan. If the sound only appears when you turn on the air conditioning, you can rule out any issues with the other belts. There may not be enough tension, and the belt just needs an adjustment. Having your vehicle serviced will determine if the belt is worn out and needs replacing.

Clicking sound while turning

What it could mean: a torn CV axle
Solution: If you hear this sound when making a turn, it's likely a torn CV axle shaft boot. The tear results in a loss of the grease needed to keep everything lubricated. Without proper lubrication, the parts become dry and start making the telltale sound. It may be as simple as replacing the boot and replenishing the grease. If it's a more severe problem, the CV axle should be replaced.

Rumbling sound while idling

What it could mean: An exhaust leak
Solution: If this sound is most noticeable under the driver's seat, you most likely have an exhaust leak. Your vehicle's muffler would usually silence this sound, but when the exhaust system isn't doing its job correctly, your engine will create a rumbling that vibrates your car. An exhaust leak can lead to serious problems, so you'll want to have your vehicle inspected right away.

Clunking or rattling sound

What it could mean: A worn or broken component in your suspension
Solution: If you experience this type of sound when driving over bumps, it could mean your suspension system is malfunctioning. There are many components involved in this system, so any one of them could malfunction and impact handling, steering, and possibly braking. If you hear the clunking sound, the areas to check include your struts, leaf spring shackles, control arms, ball joints, and shock absorbers.

Thudding sound from your tires

What it could mean: Low tire pressure or improper tire alignment
Solution: If, while you’re driving, you notice your car sounds like an unbalanced washing machine, the issue is most likely with the wheels and tires. Check the air pressure in your tires and make sure they are inflated according to the manufacturer's recommendations. If that doesn't solve the problem, book your vehicle for a tire alignment. A proper wheel alignment is crucial to prolonging the life of your tires, shocks, and other suspension components and will greatly influence your vehicle's performance.

Squealing or grinding sound from your brakes

What it could mean: Poor or worn out brake pads
Solution: Choosing to have brake maintenance service can prevent brake pad issues if detected early enough, simply by having them lubricated. However, some brake pads have a wear indicator that consists of metal that will rub against the rotor once they start to wear beyond a certain point. The rotor is a moving component that interacts with your vehicle’s brake pads. If you hear a squealing sound while driving, your brakes may need replacing.

Low-pitched humming sound while accelerating

What it could mean: A failing transmission, worn-out joints or wheel bearings
Solution: The first step is to rule out a major engine-related issue. You can do this by watching your RPM and speed gauges increase as you accelerate. Next, let off the gas pedal and Coast at a set speed, let off the gas pedal to watch the RPM gauge drop. If there is still a humming noise present, you can rule out the engine. More often than not, the noise is related to a wheel-bearing issue. However, because it could fall under an array of different issues, your best bet is to have a service technician diagnose the problem.

Ticking sound when idling

What it could mean: Low on oil
Solution: Generally, this sound appears when your vehicle is idling, which means an oil change is required. A low oil level can deprive a vehicle's components of necessary lubrication and lead to metal-on-metal sounds.
Pay attention to any sounds your vehicle makes, and if you hear anything unusual, take it to a certified service centre as soon as possible. By getting it looked at early, you will prolong the life of your vehicle and prevent more serious and costly repairs down the road.

If it's time for a routine vehicle inspection, book an appointment with Sherwood Chevrolet Service Centre today!

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amore, Author at Sherwood Chevrolet

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