Negligence is one of the main causes of vehicular accidents. Broken parts and failing engine are just few of the culprits, which could sometimes end up fatal. However, car noises can warn you of the imminent problems before they even happen.
From the engine, under the vehicle, or even by the wheels, here’s a list of car noises that you should be concerned about.
Under the bonnet
When you hear a hissing sound while the engine is on, it means that there’s a leak in either your cooling system or your vacuum line. If not prevented, the former could result to overheating while the latter can cause issues on fuel consumption, which should not be ignored at any given time.
While hissing could mean leaks, squealing noises suggest that there might be an issue with the engine belt. The rubber could already be worn off which you would need to immediately replace. It can also be a sign that the tensioner is failing, which may cause slippage.
Whining noise is a sign of a failing power steering pump. When you hear this sound, your power steering fluid might be low or there’s a leak in the pump itself. As a result, your car’s steering wheel could be stiff especially when making a turn.
On the other hand, when you hear clattering or knocking when revving up, you better prepare to shell out some cash. Clattering noises can mean that the lifter isn’t pumping up or the valve clearance needs adjustment, while the knocking sound could spell worse as it could be due to bad rod bearing. Both are costly to repair.
Lastly, hammering or rattling sounds are something that you shouldn’t ignore. These could be combustion-related, which are signs of abnormal ignition. If not attended to, this could completely destroy the pistons that could give you much more headache.
Under the vehicle
Driving a car with manual transmission needs proper care. Improper use of it can lead to crunching or crackling noises when shifting gears. This is an indication that the synchronizer – the component in the gearbox that allows shifting of ratios – has already been worn out. It would need replacement as soon as possible.
On the other hand, percussive noises when driving over humps and potholes could mean loose components underneath. This can also be associated with bad ball joints and worn control-arm bushings.
Meanwhile, train-like noises while moving at low speeds is a sign that the constant-velocity (CV) joints are failing. CV joints allow transfer of energy from two shafts with different angles. If it fails completely, the car won’t be able to move.
Furthermore, howling sounds when accelerating and decelerating on a rear-wheel-drive vehicle could mean that there’s a problem with the differential. You would need to have the gears, bearing, or pinion replaced before they get completely destroyed.
By the wheels
You shouldn’t hear any screeching noise when braking. This is a sign that the pads are bound for replacement as soon as possible. You may have ignored them but there are ways that your car is telling you that the brakes need checking. These pads could be worn all the way which could damage the rivets and steel backing plate.
If this screeching noise occurs while moving, then the problem could be your wheel bearing. If not replaced, it could get completely damaged. The wheels could stop from turning which could lead to a life-endangering accident.
These mishaps can be prevented if your car undergoes regular preventive maintenance checkups. But in case you missed those or you just don’t have time to spare, these engine noises can serve as your warning for an upcoming repair. Although, we don’t recommend you to wait for them before you get your car checked.