Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Hub Blogging
If your car makes some weird sounds now and then, you might be tempted to ignore them, especially if it’s not happening all the time. However, ignoring the problem can mean costly repairs in the future. Let’s examine some of the most common noises and explain why they occur.
Common Car Noises and What They Mean
Car noises can be scary and annoying, but they signal that something is wrong with your vehicle. Here are some common noises and their meanings.
A screeching sound under the hood
The most common cause of a screeching sound is a bad belt. Belts sometimes slip, so they don’t engage properly with the pulleys they’re supposed to be driving. This keeps them from turning at the right speed, making a terrible noise. For instance, it could mean you have a problem with your fan belt. The fan belt is responsible for moving air into and out of the engine, so if it’s loose or broken, it will create a lot of noise. Always check your fan belt and ensure it’s in good condition before driving anywhere. If you have a screeching sound and it’s getting worse, take your car in for service.
Chugging or rattling noises
A chugging or rattling noise is usually caused by a faulty fuel injector or spark plug misfire. This can occur if dirt is built up in your engine or the fuel filter hasn’t been changed in quite some time. If you have this problem, have your Victoria BC mechanic inspect your car’s fuel system and ensure everything is operating correctly.
Chugging can also signify that something else is wrong with your car’s engine — such as a low compression ratio or problems with the timing belt — but these problems are less common than they used to be, thanks to modern technology.
A low-pitched humming from under your car
If you’ve got an oil leak, it will make a pretty loud sound. It could be coming from anywhere in the engine or exhaust system, but if you suspect an oil leak, start by looking under your car for any signs of oil or fluid seeping on the ground. If something is leaking from under your vehicle, have it checked out as soon as possible.
Squealing or loud grinding sound from your brakes
The squealing or grinding sound you hear when braking is often caused by a brake pad that needs replacing. The pads are made of metal and rubber and wear down with use; when they get too thin, they start making noise as they rub against the wheel hub while braking. You can usually tell when you need new brake pads because they will feel spongy when applying the brakes — this means there isn’t enough pressure pushing against them to stop your car’s wheels effectively.
A thudding noise from your tires
That noise is likely the result of a tire out of balance. Balance is important because it helps prevent vibrations and keeps the car running smoothly. Tire balance can be checked at any auto parts store, tire store, or mechanic. You can also buy an inexpensive tire-balancing kit in many auto parts stores to help you balance your tires at home.
Scraping noises from windshield wipers
A wiper blade worn down or damaged will make a scraping sound on the windshield when turned on. For safety reasons, you should replace your blades at least once a year — before winter comes if possible — especially if you live in a climate where rain and snow are common throughout the year.
How far can I drive on space-saver tires?
Space-saver tires are designed to get you to a safe location and replace regular tires. The U.S. Department of Transportation says you should only drive with space savers for 50 miles at speeds below 50 mph. This is because the space saver tire has had its air pressure reduced to fit inside the spare tire cavity. This makes them less stable than regular tires and may not perform well on wet or rough roads. If you drive more than 50 miles on space savers, you risk getting a flat or blowout because the sidewalls aren’t strong enough to support the vehicle’s weight.
Why should you have your brake fluid checked?
Brake fluid is a critical component of your vehicle’s braking system, and it helps prevent brake fade by providing a consistent source of friction between the brake pads and rotors. When you apply your brakes, the fluid transfers power from the calipers to the pads and slows down your vehicle. Brake fluid also acts as a hydraulic fluid to assist in turning the wheels and activating other systems on your car, like power steering and ABS.
There are numerous possible causes for loud, high-pitched squealing sounds and lower-pitched growling noises. The good news is that finding the underlying cause should involve little more than having your vehicle checked out by a reliable mechanic. You owe it to yourself to have your car checked if you hear strange noises, even if they happen only intermittently during driving. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
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