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10 Car Noises and What They Mean


We’ve all had that moment of panic when our car makes a strange noise that fills us with dread. Some car noises are perfectly normal, while others can indicate serious problems with your car that need addressing as soon as possible.

To help you determine what’s making that noise on your car so that you can get it fixed before it jeopardizes your safety, here are 10 car noises, what they mean and whether you need to do something about them.

1. Screeches When You Break

Do you hear screeching noises when you press the brake? High-pitched noises like this can tell you that your brake pad indicator is rubbing against the rotor. Your brake pad indicator is there to let you know when your brake pads are wearing out. So, if you’re hearing this sound, it may be time to get your brake pads replaced. 

If the noises coming from your brakes are extremely loud, your brake pads could be completely worn out. This needs your attention immediately.

2. Noises Under Bonnet

If you hear a loud screeching or squealing noise coming from under your bonnet, this is often a sign that your serpentine belt is either loose or worn. Your serpentine belt is located on the side of the engine, and if it breaks, you will not be able to drive your car at all. If it snaps, your engine may overheat because the water pump will no longer work. Other components may also be damaged by a snapped serpentine belt.

Therefore, those kind of noises under the bonnet of your car are a cause for concern, and you should get this seen to as soon as you can. 

3. Stuttering Engine

If your engine stutters when you turn it on, it might be a case of needing a new battery. Stuttering occurs when a car battery is losing juice and is struggling to power your engine. It may be low on battery fluid, it may be too old, or it may just need a little jump or kickstart.

This isn’t as much of a safety concern as other car noises; your car will either start or it won’t. However, it would be pretty inconvenient if your car fails to start and you’re stuck somewhere. Consider getting your battery looked at and replaced.

4. Roaring Under Driver’s Seat

Roaring or muffled sounds under your driver’s seat and throughout the rest of the car usually point towards problems with your exhaust. The roaring sounds you might hear is excess engine noise that is channelled inside of the car when your exhaust system fails.

This is an issue which should be fixed immediately because if your exhaust system is malfunctioning, poisonous carbon monoxide could be leaking into your car, which is a serious safety concern. 

5. Flapping Air Con

Flapping sounds coming from your fans when you use your air-con or heaters could simply be a misaligned or worn out ventilation flap. This isn’t a serious safety concern so there is no need to panic. But, you might want to get it seen to when you can. 

6. Groan When Wheel Turns

If you can hear groaning noises when you turn the wheel of your car, it could be an issue with your power steering. The noise is often caused by something in your power steering system causing friction. Not doing something about this could result in you losing control over the car’s steering. Leaving it unchecked may also lead to further damage.

If it’s not a groaning sounds and it’s more like a high-pitched squeaking, it may just be that the power-steering fluid is low. Top it up and see if the problem persists.

7. Noises Under the Car

Noises that come from under the car may also point to problems with your exhaust. Chugging noises could indicate a blockage in your exhaust while rattling noises indicate that your exhaust is out of alignment. If you can hear hissing, your exhaust may be cracked. 

If you are worried about your exhaust because you are hearing any of these noises, make sure to get it looked at, so that your car stays safe on the roads. 

8. Noisy Tyres

Road noise from your tyres is common when there is nothing wrong. Although, premium tyres from the likes of Bridgestone usually produce less noise. But, if you can hear thudding noises from your tyres, this could mean that there is low air pressure or misalignment. 

If you think your tyres could be underinflated, check their pressure and inflate them to the manufacturers recommended levels. If this does not fix the issue, you may have to get your tyres aligned properly. 

If you find that you need new tyres, buying from a premium brand will help ensure your tyres are long-lasting and you won’t experience as many issues with them going forward. 

9. Scraping Wipers

If your windscreen wipers are scraping or chattering on your windshield, this is a sign that the wiper blade has worn away unevenly. This means it is no longer wiping the windshield properly which could result in you being stuck with a dirty windshield and no way to clean it.

Worn out wipers can also scratch your windshield, which can be more of an expensive fix for you. Get your wipers replaced as soon as you can to prevent this from happening.

10. Bang When You Start the Engine

Hearing a loud bang when you start your engine is commonly referred to as backfire. It usually causes a large cloud of black smoke coming from the tailpipe. This is a sign that there is a real problem with your catalytic converter, which helps ensure the emissions coming from your car’s tailpipe aren’t polluting the environment too much.

Since these are expensive items to replace, you should get yours checked as soon as possible if you experience any of these sounds.

For more car care advice and information, visit the rest of our blog or head to our website to see how you can save money on a brand new set of premium tyres.

  • 10 Car Noises and What They Mean
  • 10 Car Noises and What They Mean

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