Why is your car making that noise? Should your car be making that noise? What does it mean?
This is a short guide to the strange and unusual noises your car might make while you’re driving it. Some car noises are perfectly normal. Others might suggest that you’re doing something wrong, or that your car might need a service.
As you’ll see, the best thing to do should you hear almost any unusual noise while driving is to head to a mechanic as soon as you can. Strange noises suggest developing issues, and it’s best to address these issues before they become serious problems!
Car Makes Noise When Accelerating at Low Speeds
What does the noise sound like? Different noises can mean different things. Two common noises you might hear from your wheels are slapping and chirping. Both slapping and chirping can mean different things but you’ll want to take them both seriously as they could be a sign of serious damage.
- Slapping – Do you hear a slapping sound that gets faster as you speed up? You probably have a damaged tyre. It can be very dangerous to drive with a damaged tyre, especially if the damage could lead to your tyre blowing when you are driving. There are also hefty penalties for driving with damaged tyres. So if you hear any slapping, stop driving immediately and sort your tyres out.
- Chirping – Do your wheels sound like they’re chirping when you accelerate at low speeds? It could mean there’s a problem with one of your axles. Get a mechanic to take a look as soon as you can. If your axles fail, your wheels could lock up, or even come loose.
Loud Noise When Accelerating
A loud squeaking or squealing noise while accelerating could mean there’s a problem with your engine belt. It could mean the belt’s loose or worn. Or it could mean that one of the belt’s pulleys is starting to fail.
A loud rumbling noise when accelerating might suggest there’s a problem with your exhaust system. There might be a leak somewhere, and the rumbling is the sound of your system working extra hard to manage excess exhaust fumes.
Apart from this, different noises can mean different things:
- Grinding – Do you hear an unusual grinding sound when you accelerate and shift through the gears? There might be a problem with your clutch, or with your transmission as a whole. Again, head to a mechanic as soon as you can.
- Rattling – This is one of the most frustrating noises to hear, as it could indicate any number of problems. So try and identify where the rattling’s coming from. If it’s underneath your car, it could mean that something’s come loose – such as your exhaust system, or your catalytic converter. If the rattling sounds like it’s coming from under your bonnet, it could be a problem with your oil levels, or with some other component. Usually, if the rattling sounds like it’s coming from inside the car, it’s nothing to worry about. It’s probably just a loose bit of something rolling around in your boot or glove compartment.
- Ticking – A strange ticking sound usually means your car’s low on oil. So if you hear a ticking, pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so, and check your oil levels. If they’re fine, the ticking could indicate a much deeper problem. So once again, it’s time to head to a mechanic.
Squeaking Noise When Driving Slow
A squeaking noise when you’re driving slowly is very likely to indicate a problem with your brakes. Maybe your wheel bearings are getting worn. Or maybe there’s an issue with your brake pads or discs.
If you hear a squealing noise when braking, then it’s certainly time to replace your brake pads. For some brake pads, this squealing is a design feature. It’s the pads’ way of telling you that they’re worn down, and that you need to get a replacement as soon as possible.
Obviously, if there’s anything wrong with your brakes, you need to sort the issue out immediately. This squeaking sound might simply mean you need a bit of lubrication. Or it might indicate something more serious. It’s best to be sure.
Knocking Noise When Going Over Bumps
Do you hear a knocking noise when you go over bumps? If the knocking sound is coming from inside your car, then it’s probably just some heavy object clumping around in your boot or glove compartment. But if the knocking noise is coming from underneath your car, then it might mean that some vital component has come loose.
And if this is the case, then you know what to do: See a mechanic immediately!
Safeguard Yourself Against the Worst Case Scenario
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you hear any strange noise while driving, don’t ignore it! Take a note of when it happens, and of how it sounds. Then contact a mechanic as soon as you can.
Odd noises in the car are often a sign of a developing problem, so the sooner you sort it out, the better. But sometimes, cars can break down quite without warning. Unless you have adequate cover, you could be stranded for hours, awaiting rescue.
That’s why it pays to add breakdown cover to your comprehensive car insurance policy. Find out more about our breakdown cover here. It’s a guarantee that, no matter what happens, help will soon be at hand.