What is that Noise?

What is that noise?!

What is that noise?!

Sometimes you think that you heard something, but you dismiss it because you are in a rush, in traffic, or just don’t know what it is. Well, here is what those strange sounds could be.

CLUNK, CLUNK, CLUNK as you turn a corner or back out of your parking space. Comes from somewhere in the front end. This is a drive axle, or CV joint gone bad. Usually happens when the axle boot is ruptured and dirt has gotten into the precision bearing, destroying it. Not a major problem immediately, but it should be replaced at the next service. If worst comes to worst, the axle will break, making a lot of noise but the car will not move. The axle boots are one of the service item that is inspected at every service, so if a boot is found to be ruptured, it can be replaced before much damage is done.

YEEEeeeeaaaawwwwwppppp Comes from under the hood right after startup until you accelerate the engine a few times to warm up the rubber. This is a belt squeel. It is caused by a loose accessory drive belt. Could also be a sign of a bad or misaligned pulley. Get it replaced immediately or you could be left stranded when it stops making noise and after it breaks.

BUBBLE BUBBLE BUBBLE BUBBLE This is a sure sign of a radiator that is very low on coolant. When the coolant gets low the coolant that is left in the radiator gets so hot that it actually boils out through the reserve bottle. There is a coolant leak somewhere in the system. WAIT FOR IT TO COOL DOWN BEFORE OPENING THE RADIATOR. When you do open the radiator, fill it up with water only and leave the radiator cap on the first detent. This will keep the radiator from building up pressure and the water won’t leak out as fast. This should be taken care of as soon as possible to avoid major engine damage. Cars do not react well to overheated conditions. They tend to start making more sinister noises…like…

KNOCKITY KNOCKITY KNOCKITY as you rev the engine. This is a BAD sound…usually caused by a loose connecting rod or crankshaft bearing. The result of an overheating condition or lack of oil in the crankcase. This is usually followed by the sound of a tow truck towing your car to the shop. Check the oil and coolant levels on a regular basis and keep them filled to appropriate levels.

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS… as the car is idling. This is caused by a vacuum leak somewhere in the engine compartment. Sometimes caused the engine to stumble or die when idling. Doesn’t usually cause any damage, but it could make your life miserable. An inspection of all of the vacuum lines are part of a regular service.

HISSSSSSSSSsssssssssssssss from the radio. Usually on the AM band, means that the antenna is not receiving a strong enough signal to be picked up by the radio. On FM bands, the radio drifts in and out of the station as you turn the car in different directions. The antenna is not extending fully or the wiring to the antenna may be faulty.

HUMmmclick, click click click click click click click usually means that the power antenna is not extending or retracting fully. Could effect the radio reception. Usually gets bent at a car wash when the radio is not turned off.

YYYyyyoooooooWWWWrrrrrrrrr when you turn the steering wheel to full lock position. This is the power steering pump starving for fluid. Have the power steering reservoir checked for proper level and refill if necessary with the appropriate fluid. If the power steering runs out of fluid, the steering becomes very hard and jerky to turn. Could do damage to the pump if fluid is not replaced soon.

SSSQQQQUUUEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeee from the wheel area, usually when backing up. This is the brake pad squeaker doing its job. The brake pads are due for replacement. The brakes are a critical system, so don’t wait to get this fixed. Even if the brake material is completely gone, the brakes will still work, but damage to the brake rotors is guaranteed.

SSSQQQAAAaaakkkk, SSSQQQeeeeekkkk when you go over a bump at low speed or push down on the fender. This is a squeak from a worn out bushing or shock absorber in the suspension. Usually means that a bushing is cracked or dried out. It could effect the alignment, wearing out the tires prematurely. Also, could cause handling problems.

FFFFffffftttttttFFFFFFffffftttttFFFFFfffffttttt from under the hood when the engine is idling. This is caused by an exhaust manifold that has cracked or the gasket is ruptured. If not repaired, it could cause carbon monoxide gas to be released causing you to get drowsy or even dead! Could also cause the car to fail a smog test.

THUMP THUMP THUMP when driving slowly. Caused by a separated tire. Tire tread separation occurs when the tire has been run for a long time with excessively low tire pressure. Could also be caused by a flat spot on the tire from skidding, grinding a large amount of rubber off the tire in one spot. Have the tires checked out by a qualified technician and have the tires replaced as soon as possible. Keep the tires at the recommended pressure embossed on the side of the tire. Could cause a blowout and crash at high speeds.

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