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Strange Car Noises? Here’s What’s Causing It

Have you noticed your vehicle making an unusual or funny noise? Check it before you wreck it! The area where the sound is coming from might not be where the issue is located – that said, the noise alone is enough of a warning that your vehicle needs to be looked at. Browse through our library of sounds below to make yourself familiar with the most common noises you should never ignore and what they might mean…

1. Sound: Grinding from the gearbox

grinding noise from the gearbox

Cause: The clutch is either worn or needs adjusting. This can also indicate a more serious problem with the transmission, such as the shafts and gears inside.

2. Sound: Scraping when brakes are used

scraping noise when brakes are used

Cause: This can be due to the metal backing of the pads grinding against the brake disc rotors causing them to become worn. If this is the case, the brake pads must be replaced immediately.

3. Sound: Clunking

clunking noise when brakes are used

Cause: If a clunking sound occurs when the brakes are being used, this usually indicates wear and damage to the brake discs/pads.

If you hear this sound when you drive over bumps or potholes, this might highlight a problem with your car’s suspension or the exhaust system might be loose.

If a clunking sound occurs when turning corners, there could be a problem with the steering, wheels or tyres.

4. Sound: Groaning when steering wheel is turned

groaning sound when steering wheel is turned

Cause: A component in your power steering system might be causing friction – this can lead to you losing control over the car’s steering.

5. Sound: Knocking or pinging noise from engine

 Knocking or pinging noise from engine

Cause: This can indicate that your engine is not properly tuned or is running on the wrong fuel.

6. Sound: Screeching when accelerating

Screeching when accelerating

Cause: A high pitched screech can be due to a loose or worn fan belt which needs tightening or replacing.

7. Sound: Hissing from the bonnet

Hissing soud from the bonnet

Cause: If the bonnet emits a hissing sound, it could mean that there is a fluid leak. It may be that the oil or coolant is leaking onto a heated part of the engine, or that the engine is overheating.

8. Sound: A loud bang

 Loud bang noise

Cause: A loud bang from the exhaust pipe is the sound of car backfiring; this happens when unburned fuel leaks from the engine and ignites in the tailpipe.

If this sound is coming from the front of the car, it could indicate a problem with the engine’s fuel, ignition or exhaust system (this can be caused by a blockage in the fuel filter, old spark plugs or a malfunctioning catalytic converter).

9. Sound: Rattling beneath the car

Cause: This sound is typically caused by a loose exhaust system, suspension or brakes. It may also indicate that something has become lodged in the system.  

10. Sound: Roaring during acceleration

Roaring noise during acceleration

Cause: This sound can occur because the silencer is no longer working properly, meaning that your exhaust system may be rusted or damaged. In turn, this could be letting exhaust emissions filter into the cabin.

11. Sound: Tapping from under the bonnet

Tapping sound from under the bonnet

Cause: This might mean the engine is low on oil and needs topping up.

12. Sound: High-pitched squealing

High-pitched squealing sound

Cause: A high pitched squeal can sound because your fan belts have become loose or worn.

13. Sound: Squeaking from wheels

 Squeaking sound from wheels

Cause: This could mean that your brake pads are worn or there is a problem with your brake system.

Car servicing options

If left untreated, these problems can quickly become extremely dangerous for both yourself and others on the road. Seeking help and advice from a professional – such as Mr Tyre – will ensure the problem is properly identified and fixed so you stay safe on the road. Whether you have noticed that your vehicle has started making an unusual noise or a problem is detected during servicing, we can repair and replace a wide range of components, from batteries and brakes to exhausts and wheel alignment. Please contact us today to find out more or to book an appointment.

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