Strange Noises Your Car Makes — and What They Might Mean

The purr of a well-tuned automobile engine is a wonderful sound. Of course, many of us take it for granted as we turn our ignition keys and head off to work each morning. But in today’s cars, which have so many moving parts that require regular tuning, lubrication and replacement, a strange noise can be seen as an early attempt by your vehicle to tell you that something is wrong.

When you pay attention to abnormal noises and know what to do about them, you can help keep your car in optimal operating condition, prolong its overall road-life and help prevent higher repair bills due to maintenance neglect. Here are a few common noises, and possible causes:

Squeaking Under the Hood

The sound of a loud squeak coming from under the hood of your car is often due to slippage of a worn or damaged accessory belt, according to Tech-Cor Research. The squeaking is caused by aging belts becoming loose and losing traction. Sometimes you can even see that the sides of old belts have become shiny or glazed” — the mechanics’ term for this issue.

Squeaky belts may need to be replaced, so if this noise is coming from under the hood of your car, you may need to visit a mechanic.

Hissing Under the Hood

If your car produces a hissing noise when it’s on — especially when it’s idling — you may be facing a vacuum leak, meaning a vacuum line may be damaged, according to Popular Mechanics. This problem may also cause your “Check Engine” light to go on.

Hearing a hissing noise from under your car’s hood may be an indication that it’s time to take it to a mechanic. The solution may be as simple as having lines reattached, or you may need new ones.

Squealing Wheels

A squeal coming from any of your wheels can be a brake pad issue, Tech-Cor Research says. Remember: brake pads wear down through usage, and today’s pads are designed with a band of metal that becomes exposed at the end of a pad’s life cycle. When these metal tabs come into contact with your rotors, you hear that squealing noise — which is a high-pitched reminder that it’s time to get your brake pads inspected, and likely replaced, by a professional.

If you don’t heed this noise, the rotors can be damaged — which may mean a larger repair bill. Read on to find out what happens when a squeal turns into a grind!

Grinding Brakes

Worn brake pads, if not fixed, will eventually wear away completely, and the sound of metal on metal will result in a horrible grinding noise. This also means that along with your brake pads, your brake rotors may need repair or replacement.

Hopefully, you’ll never hear this sound coming from your wheels. But if you do, it’s time to make sure your brakes are inspected by a professional.

So the next time you’re out enjoying a drive, turn down the music and listen to your car instead. It might be trying to tell you something that will keep you safer and help save you money down the road.

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