12 Car Noises That Are Not to Be Ignored 

12 Car Noises That Are Not to Be Ignored 

Hani Ayesh, Ford Mustang’s exhaust development engineer while commenting on the muscle car’s exhaust sound said engineers use computer-controlled valves in the exhaust “much like a saxophone or a large pipe organ – to change the sound of the car based on the mood of the driver.” 

Hmm. Vroom. Purr. Modern engineering has not only made driving experience more fun but easier on the ears as well. 

These are all good sounds. However, once in a while, you must have heard your car make weird noises and you would have thought “this is not normal” or “that does not sound right”. While some people turn up the volume of their sound system to ignore the noise (which we highly discourage), others actively try to deal with it. 

Since you know your car the best, whenever you feel like something is wrong with your car, immediately take it to the car doctor (mechanic) to get it checked. 

Car noises are primary signals that tell you: something’s not right with the vehicle. To help you identify these weird noises, we have compiled a list of the most common sounds that you should never ignore. 


1. Your Car Starts Whistling

It is weird to imagine a non-living object whistling but surprisingly, your car is capable of doing it. You must be thinking how and where does the noise come from? If you hear a whistling voice from your car’s inner side while you are on the road driving, then it means your vehicle is having an issue with weather stripping. 

However, if the sound comes from somewhere under the hood, it may be a signal of something serious. The reasons behind this could be:

  • Hoses play an essential role in the engine’s cooling system. The constant circulation of cooling fluid and air through the engine of your car can lead to small cracks in the hoses, resulting in broken vacuum seals. The whistling sound that you may be hearing could be because of air passing through these holes. 
  • If you have turned off your car and the whistling sound is still following you, it may be coming from the radiator’s pressure cap. This pressure cap is basically designed to help the overheated coolant to release excess heat. But sometimes, the seal of the rubber gasket breaks which causes the air to leak and create the whistling sound. 

2. Squealing or Whirring for Attention

One of the reasons your car starts squealing and whirring to get your attention is that it may have a belt problem. Along with its many hoses, gaskets and wires, the engine of your car has several belts.

Over the course of time, these belts circulate and stretch because they move at a high speed around a pulley system. It is essential that you replace your belts on time and also make sure that you get good quality ones as cheap ones will cause trouble again very soon. 

3. Click, Tick, Clickity Tick

If you hear a clicking or thumping sound when you turn your car, chances are that your drive axles are in trouble. You may need to replace one or both constant velocity (CV) joints present on your front axles. 

If you hear a clicking and ticking sound from your engine, you need to check your car’s oil tank. Pistons rely on lubricating oil to run smoothly and if your car does not have sufficient oil levels, it may start creating noise. But before you take your car to a mechanic, make sure you check the dipstick. 


4. A Weird Sputtering Sound 

If you hear your car sputtering even after you take the keys out from the ignition, it may be an effect of dieseling.  Dieseling is when gasoline is ignited by compression alone without using the spark plug.

5. Brakes Grinding, Squealing or Growling

If you hear a squealing sound from the brakes of your car, it is an indication that your brake pads or shoes have completed their life span and are now demanding to be replaced. 

However, if they grind or growl, get them checked immediately because it is a sign of worn out pads which is causing metal to touch with metal. This is a serious problem which could lead to inefficient braking. 

6. Rhythmic Squeak Which Increases With the Speed of Your Car

If you own a four-wheel or rear-wheel drive and if you hear a rhythmic squeak, the reason could be the universal joint (U-Joint). Parts of the driveshaft, these joints are present in pairs. 

As soon as you feel like your car is making a squeaking or a humming noise when accelerating, get it checked. 


7. Uneven or Loud Idling

If you feel like there is something off about the usual rhythm of your car, it may be an indication that one of the spark plugs may have an issue. Spark plugs are essentially responsible for igniting the fuel in the engine but there are times when these plugs experience breaks or burn out and lead to uneven idling.

On the other hand, if your car is roaring too loud than it should, there may be an issue with the cylinder compression. If the cylinder has an uneven air-fuel ration, it could cause combustion to occur at different rates than what is normal. Loud car engine noise or a knocking sound means that there is high pressure in the engine. 

If the issue is not addressed as soon as possible, it could lead to a permanent, serious engine damage. 

8. Boom Boom Sound

If you hear a boom boom noise as soon as your car goes over bumps, know that something in your suspension – a shock or a strut – has gone bad. Struts and shocks play an essential role in giving you control over your vehicle while you’re driving. So, do not ignore this noise and get your car checked.  

But before you go to a workshop, make sure you take a look under your car to check if there is any loose muffler or tailpipe. 

9. A Howling or Whining Sound

If you hear a howling sound from your car, it is an indication that your bearings are not working properly. Bearings are tiny metal balls which help parts in rotating smoothly but the question is: “Which bearings are not working right?” 

If you have a front wheel drive car and you turn right or left and the sound changes, it means the issue is with the front bearing. However, if the growling grows gradually, it means the issue is with the rear bearings. 


10. A Rattling Sound 

Your car can make a rattling sound due to various reasons.

If you hear a rattling sound when you drive slowly (which stops when you drive faster) it could be due to a loose lug nut inside a hub cap. This usually happens due to a wheel which has not been tightened properly. 

People who have a front wheel drive usually hear a rattling sound when they accelerate or make a hard turn. This is usually because water enters into the joints of the car causing them to rot. Once they rot, they create the rattling sound that people get to hear. Another common cause of a rattling sound are loose exhaust pipes.

Rattling also indicates that there may be a problem with the brakes or muffler. 

11. A Deep Sound

If your car is making a deep sound when you accelerate, it is probably due to the presence of a hole in your muffler. Although holes in the muffler are not problematic when it comes to car performance, they are still dangerous as they allow dangerous fumes to pass into the passenger’s compartment. 

12. Is Someone Knocking?

If you hear knocking from your engine, it could be an indication that your valve clearance requires adjustment. It may also require you to check if your lifter is pumping up properly or not. 

If the knocking increases with revolutions per minute (RPM) or gets deeper, it indicates that either your rod bearing is on its way or the rod may have already spun a bearing. No matter what the case, your car will need repairing. 


Although all of these hints can help you take a wild guess about the problem your car is facing, it is always best to get it checked by a professional. It is also recommended that you get your car inspected regularly for it to run smoothly. You can avail car inspection services provided by OLX Pakistan as well. 

Do let us know if this blog helped you identify the noise your car makes.  

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