Why Your Car Is Making Usual Noises

Couple on road trip with car making noises

If you’re a car owner, it’s likely you’ve experienced the feeling of dread when your car starts to make an unfamiliar noise. Modern cars are engineered to require as little upkeep as possible, but it’s inevitable that every once in a while, something goes wrong under the hood.

Below, we’ve put together a few of the most common noises issued by cars in a helpful list, along with what’s likely to be causing them, so you can figure out the best next steps for your vehicle.

Noises When Accelerating

Grinding

If you notice a grinding noise coming from your car when you accelerate, CV joints could be the culprit. Constant velocity joints connect the transmission to the wheels, and if they fail, they can cause a grinding noise or vibration when driving. If you’ve checked your CV joints and they’re not faulty, the noise could also be caused by a worn out clutch.

Whining

There are several reasons why you might hear a whining noise during acceleration – the most likely of which are worn-out gears, or low transmission fluid, which could be caused by a leak. This is by far the most common cause of a whining noise, but if your transmission isn’t to blame, it’s worth checking your steering belt; if this is loose, that could explain it.

White car accelerating on road

Noises When Idling

Rattling               

This is one of the trickiest noises to pinpoint, depending on where the rattling is emanating from. Rattling underneath your car usually indicates a problem with the exhaust system, like a loose component, which will require a professional repair. Meanwhile, rattling under the bonnet could be due to low engine oil, but if topping up doesn’t fix it, you’ll need to visit your local garage.

Clicking

Many cars issue a clicking or ticking noise when idling. It’s worth noting that this doesn’t always mean there’s an underlying issue, as plenty of vehicles emit this kind of noise due to their engine’s design. That being said, if the noise is new, it could be a signal of low oil pressure, or a faulty part like an engine valve.

Noises When Braking

Squealing

Squealing brakes are fairly commonplace – this noise is a useful indicator that your brakes have been compromised, and it’s generally caused by brake pads that have worn thin. Most brake pads can last a few thousand miles after they begin to squeal, but it’s always safer to get them replaced as soon as you notice the noise, for your safety and that of other drivers on the road.

Grinding

A grinding noise when you brake often signals that you should have had your brake pads replaced a while ago. This sound is the result of friction caused the brake caliper, rubbing against the metal disc of your brake pad in the absence of any insulation.

Steering Wheel Driving Car

Noises When Steering

Clunking

If there’s a noticeable clunking or creaking noise when you turn or steer your vehicle, this can often be explained by worn (or broken) suspension joints, which play an important part in keeping your car stable, and enabling a smooth ride. Loose or broken tie rods can also be the cause – but if either of these components are the blame, you’ll likely need to enlist the help of your local mechanic to fix them.

Screeching

An unpleasant screeching noise when you steer is pretty distracting, and there are several likely causes for this symptom. If your car is running low on power steering fluid – or the fluid is contaminated by dirt or debris from the road – the lubrication of your steering could be affected. However, if your power steering fluid looks fine, it’s worth checking the power steering pump itself, which could also be responsible.

Next time you notice a strange noise emanating from your car, simply check through this list to see if you can diagnose the problem – and don’t forget, you can get several, simple repairs carried out with our handy Fit It For Me service.