Blog Car Care Advice Diagnosing Car Noises: 10 Sounds You Never Want to Hear
Car Care Advice

Diagnosing Car Noises: 10 Sounds You Never Want to Hear

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Imagine this: You’re out for a long, relaxing ride when suddenly your car starts making strange noises.

At that moment, as your mind races to figure out what’s wrong, you may also be stressed about what you should do next

But don’t worry — we have all the answers you need.
We’ve listed down different types of noises a car can make and their causes to save you from drowning in uncertainty. We’ll also tell you why ignoring these sounds can be a bad idea. 

Let’s decode what your car is trying to tell you.

This Article Contains:

10 Common Car Noises and What They Mean

Here are some of the common noises your car might make and their causes:

1. Whining, Squealing, or Screeching Sounds from the Engine

A screeching or squealing sound is something most drivers have experienced.  
Here are the reasons behind this engine noise:  

Note: Malfunctioning air-conditioning compressors and faulty alternator bearings can also produce whining noises.   

2. Ticking, Tapping, or Rattling Noise from the Engine

Engine rattling or ticking noises aren’t as alarming as other car sounds on the list, but they can be severe. Their possible causes include:

3. Knocking Sound from the Engine

If you hear an engine knocking sound, it could be stemming from: 

4. Hissing Sound from Under the Car Hood

A hissing sound coming from underneath your car’s hood is a serious issue that can be caused by common problems like:

5. Grinding Noise When Changing Gears

Hearing a grinding noise when you change gears is a serious issue that could leave you stuck on the road if not addressed. Common causes include:

6. Grinding, Clunking, or Scraping Noise When Braking

If your brakes are making grinding, screeching, or clunking sounds, here are some reasons behind it:

7. Rumbling Noise When Idling

If you hear a rumbling noise while idling that gets louder as you accelerate, the likely causes include: 

8. Clicking or Humming Noise When Turning the Wheel

Notice a clicking sound while turning the wheel? 
Here are some possible causes: 

9. Droning, Wobbling, or Flapping Noise from Tires 

Tire and wheel hub issues can also produce strange noises. This mostly happens due to:

10. Loud Bang from the Rear of the Car

A loud banging noise from the vehicle’s rear means your car’s backfiring. This can happen due to:

Got more doubts?
Check out the FAQs.

3 FAQs on Diagnosing Car Noises

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about diagnosing car noises:

1. Why Does My Car Make a Whistling Noise?

A whistling noise in a car usually has fewer potential causes than other common car noises, making it easier to diagnose. However, it’s crucial to note when the noise occurs during vehicle operation.

Here are some conditions when your car might make this noise and the reasons behind it:

2. What Should I Do if My Car Makes a Strange Noise?

When your car starts making an unusual noise, you should figure out where it’s coming from, such as the engine bay, brakes, tires, etc, to narrow down the cause of the problem. For example, a ticking or rattling sound from the engine could indicate a leaking fuel injector or low oil levels, while screeching from the tires might suggest worn brake pads. 

However, it’s best not to try DIY repairs, as you could make things worse or risk your safety. Instead, let an auto repair mechanic handle it.

3. Can I Drive My Car if It’s Making Weird Noises?

No. You shouldn’t drive your car if it’s making an unusual noise, as it can compromise vehicle safety and result in expensive repairs. These noises can stem from various issues within your vehicle, such as leaks or failing internal components, and may indicate a severe car problem. 

If these car sounds are accompanied by dashboard warning lights, pull over safely, turn off the engine, and call a mechanic for help immediately

Enjoy Smooth, Noise-Free Rides with AutoNation Mobile Service

While certain car noises are normal, others, like screeching, grinding, or squealing, shouldn’t be ignored. Any strange sound can signal serious vehicle problems, and you should address them ASAP.

But if driving to a car repair shop feels unsafe, AutoNation mobile service mechanics can come straight to your driveway. 

We’re a mobile auto repair and maintenance solution, offering easy online booking and a 12-month | 12,000-mile warranty on all repairs. 

Contact us today for all your car repair needs.