Have you ever noticed an unusual sound when you start your car, apply brakes, or accelerate? While some noises are harmless, others shouldn't be ignored. If the sound is new, intensifies, or persists, you should bring your vehicle into a nearby AAA Car Care Center for service. Below are common car sounds and what they could mean.
- Loud bang – If you hear a loud bang or backfire it could mean the catalytic converter isn't functioning properly or the air-fuel mixture is too rich.
- Squealing wheels when braking – This could mean the pads or shoes are badly worn, or something as simple as dirt on the brake rotors. Noises related to brakes present safety issues and must always be addressed quickly.
- Grinding when braking – You know you need new brake pads when you hear metal rubbing against metal. Don't delay–the rotors are being damaged with every brake application.
- Noise when turning – The steering probably needs fluid or is damaged and requires replacement.
- Hissing under the hood – Coolant or oil could be leaking onto something hot, if noticed when the car is first turned off. The engine could also be overheating.
- Engine knocking – Low-grade fuel can produce a knocking sound in the engine. Always follow the owner's manual for fuel specifications.
- Rattling under the vehicle – The exhaust system or brake pads could be loose if you hear rattling under the car.
- Roaring increases with acceleration – The transmission or exhaust system could be the issue. On a manual transmission, the clutch could be slipping. An automatic may not be shifting to the next gear.
- Popping sound by the engine – Anything from a clogged fuel filter to damaged spark plug wires could be the cause of the sound, especially if there is engine hesitation.
- Clicking in the engine compartment – You are probably low on oil or are in need of an oil change.
Don't take any chances if you hear an unusual noise from your vehicle. It is not safe to try and diagnose the problem yourself. Instead, our ASE certified technicians at AAA Car Care Center will diagnose and remedy the problem so you can get back on the road safely. AAA members will receive a 10% discount on repair labor and a 2-year/24,000-mile warranty on repairs. For additional car care resources, visit our blog today.