Identifying Strange Car Noises

December 3rd, 2018 by


Whether you’re gearing up for a road trip or just trying to make it to work on time, few surprises provoke more anxiety than strange car noises. Moreover, unless you’re very familiar with your vehicle and its components, trying to identify the source of that strange squeaking, grinding, or rumbling can prove very difficult indeed. However, if you know what to listen for, it’s possible to identify the source of a problem before you ever bring it into a service specialist.

Most strange car noises are the result of problems with your:

  • Alternator
  • Braking Systems
  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Power Steering Systems

Issues Under the Hood

With so much going on under your vehicle’s hood, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that most strange car noises you hear originate in this part of the vehicle. Here are some common problems and the noises associated with them:

  • Clicking or Ticking: A ticking noise is most likely stemming from sludge caught in your engine. This sludge could prevent oil from circulating, and should be dealt with right away. If you think it’s a clicking noise that you’re noticing, you’re probably low on oil or due for a new filter.
  • Popping: A popping engine could indicate one of several issues. These include a dirty or clogged air filter, as well as broken spark plugs, or a faulty ignition.
  • Grinding: If you notice a grinding noise, especially when you’re changing gears, the problem is likely stemming from your transmission. Grinding could also indicate a worn clutch, which is easier to replace.
  • Squealing: When you notice squealing coming from underneath the hood, there are two likely culprits. The first is a damaged belt, connected to your engine, which might squeal when you start your vehicle. The other potential source is the alternator, which relies on belts and pulleys in order to function properly.
Car engine pulley drive belt

Brake Problems

No driver wants to hear that there’s a problem with their brakes. If you notice a sound coming from one of your wheel wells, it’s important to get it checked out right away. Identify the problem quickly by listening closely:

  • Scraping: A scraping noise indicates worn out brake shoes or an off-kilter brake drum. It may also indicate that your brakes are out of alignment, and that they’re being applied unevenly.
  • Squealing: Not all squealing sounds originate under the hood. If you notice a squeal when you apply the brakes, it may be caused by dirt clogging the brake pads or brake rotors.
  • Clunking: A clunking noise can indicate damaged or missing brakes. It can also indicate that your calipers have been mounted incorrectly.
Car brakes system

Lastly, it’s important to note that when you notice a strange sound; the problem may not always be so dire. Although all strange car noises should be investigated promptly, if you notice scraping or clunking coming from somewhere other than under the hood, the problem may just be your muffler!

Solve Your Problems at Biggers Chevrolet

Experiencing a strange car noise or a leak that you can’t explain? No matter what your problem is, the trained technicians at Biggers Chevrolet have the tools and the know-how to get you back on track in no time. At our service center, we take advantage of special diagnostic tools for Chevrolet vehicles, so we can find out exactly what went wrong, answer your questions in plain speech, and get to work right away. Contact us today to schedule service or have your questions answered.

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