4 Car Noises Every Car Owner Shouldn’t Ignore

Hearing some odd noises while you’re driving? While it’s natural to hear the car engine purr when it’s running, car noises– a screech, a squeal, rattling, or a clank–may be a cause for concern. These can sometimes indicate a more serious condition apart from just the noises they make.

Taking a moment to pay attention to these noises can give you a general idea of what’s going on. They can help diagnose issues with your car sooner, instead of having to wait for something to break before getting it fixed or replaced. This can even save you money in the long run.

Let’s have a look at some of the more common car noises that car owners shouldn’t ignore.

High pitched squeals when you step on brakes

Hearing high pitched squeals or a raspy scraping noise when you step on the brake pedal can be a cause for concern, but not one that you should be panicked about immediately. In modern cars, this means that the brake wear indicator is rubbing up against the rotor.

The brake wear indicator is a small metal tab that lets you know when the brake pads have worn down and may need to be replaced soon.

For your own safety, get a brake inspection scheduled with your mechanic as soon as possible to have your brake pads replaced and prevent any brake-related malfunctions while you’re on the road.

Squeals Under the Hood

When the squeals don’t come from the brakes, they are likely coming from under the hood of your car.

The fan belt, or in newer cars a serpentine belt, is an essential component to keep the car running. This belt connects several systems and transmits power to vital automotive parts.

Hearing car noises from under the hood may mean that the serpentine belt is loose or worn out. This spells trouble as this belt connects the major systems in your car.

Once the serpentine belt breaks or snaps, the alternator also stops running. This will run down your battery. Coolant circulation comes to a halt, causing your car to overheat. Oil may not get circulated properly.

In short, the engine will stop running and you could potentially even risk expensive engine damage.

Shelling out some cash for regular maintenance and check up can help save you from this trouble and save you a lot of money as opposed to paying to get your car towed when you’re broken down in the middle of nowhere.   

Grumpy Cat Growling

There can also be instances when you would hear sustained “rurrr’s” like the sound of a cat growling when starting your car.

Slow engine crank is often an indication that your battery is low on charge or running low on electrolyte. It may be possible to get the car started. Perhaps all that’s needed is a charge or a jump start. If fluid is low, you might revive the battery with just a water refill.

Though this may not be an urgent cause for concern, it could be just a matter of time before your car battery gives up and refuses to start the engine.

Taking your car to a mechanic can help save you from this inconvenience by figuring out the best course of action based on your current battery condition.

Squeaks from turning the steering wheel

Small squeaking car noises when turning your steering wheel can be less of an issue compared to when it starts to sound like it’s groaning and becoming less responsive.

Groaning sounds are created because of friction and can indicate a more serious problem in the car’s power-steering pump. You’ll likely lose control of the steering as it worsens.

So drive carefully as soon as this happens and ensure your safety by having your power-steering system checked by a specialist.

Squeaking noises on the other hand, are normally an indicator of low power-steering fluid. Replacing the fluid is usually an easy fix and a much cheaper option than replacing the power-steering pump. 

Keeping your car in great shape should be of top priority and proper maintenance is key to a longer lasting vehicle. Feel free to visit our blog for more car care tips and tricks. And if you’re looking for the best affordable used cars in the Chicago and Waukegan area, check out The Auto Warehouse—a trusted car dealership that offers great financing options for used cars since 1990. Call us today at 224-836-4767 to get more information.