Tap to Read ➤

Car Noises and What They Mean

Rahul Thadani
If you know the various noises a car emits, you can diagnose and fix a lot of problems by yourself. Read on to know about car noises and what they mean.
An automobile is a highly complex collection of various parts and components, and knowing different noises coming out of it is very important for fixing a multitude of problems that frequently plague these machines.
You may have realized by now that your vehicle emits sounds that vary in volume, duration, and nature. Elemental understanding of these different sounds will help you in instantly deciphering the faulty part, and this will make the task of auto repair a much simpler one.
This does not mean that you need to be an auto mechanic who knows all about automobiles and their components. It simply means that you have basic knowledge about your vehicle, and this makes troubleshooting of the vehicle easier. Therefore, educate yourself about the different car noises and what they mean.

Different Car Noises and Related Problems


These are the most common sounds you may hear while driving. Investigate its cause immediately, or you may end up spending a lot of money repairing the source of the problem. The potential damage could be to the wheel bearings (if the noise occurs while turning), driveshaft center bearing, loose bolts in the torque converter, or a faulty connecting rod.


This originates from the tires or it implies some fault in the braking mechanism. Low air in tires, faulty alignment of the wheels, faulty air conditioning compressor belt, or worn out brake components could be the cause.


This is one that you will hear very often in an automobile, so be alert whenever you hear it. Any loose nuts or bolts could be the culprit, and it's important that you get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. It could imply a fault in the exhaust system of the car, or even loose brake pads. Get it looked at immediately.


This most commonly surfaces when you are starting the car, or when you suddenly accelerate more. Its cause lies in the ignition chamber, and you need to check for faulty ignition timing, leaking valves, or a defective ignition system.


This will almost always occur in a rhythm, and surface at regular intervals. Some of its causes include defective wheel bearing, low engine oil level, possibly a loose hubcap, or a bent fan blade.


This is a very loud and distinct sound and usually implies that something big and expensive has broken down. So brace yourself, as it could mean a leaking valve, incorrect engine timing, rotor problems, or wire problems. These don't sound very serious, but if you ignore this problem, it will come back to haunt you at some point in the future.


This definitely implies a leak somewhere under the hood of the car. The cooling system of the car is the most likely place that this hiss is emanating from. Use a torchlight and find the source of the sound.
Over a period of time, you will learn to differentiate between the various noises. Regularly consult an auto mechanic about diagnosing them, and pretty soon you will become an expert yourself.