The only noise that a healthy car should ever make is the soft purr of the engine as it revs when you turn the key. There isn’t one driver out there that hasn’t experienced some kind of weird noise when it comes to their car, but it’s not always easy to tell what noises are ones that are normal and what noises mean you should be heading to the nearest auto shop.
Usually, drivers will listen to noises and ignore them, feeling hopeful that nothing is wrong with their car and it’s just a kink in the system. They ignore it rather than pay the cost needed for auto repairs, because sometimes these repairs come out of the blue and really don’t match up with the budget. They also ignore it because while one day you hear a noise, the next, you won’t. This can be confusing, and it can also be a good reason to bury your head in the sand and refuse to believe anything is wrong with your car. There are three places in the car that the most unnatural noises come from: the steering column, under the hood and the front wheels. If you’re hearing noises from any of these areas, there is cause for concern. Here’s why:
Steering Column. The steering column isn’t a place in the car that should be making any kinds of noises, at all. If you start to hear a click that becomes more prominent over time, then you need to think about getting in to see a mechanic. It can mean anything from a worn-down CV joint, worn bearings that are in the steering column itself and you can even hear the click because of low steering fluid levels. None of these are easy to pinpoint unless you’re an expert. If your car is power-assisted with its steering, you may hear a screech as the belt slips.
Engine Noises. To the untrained ear, all noises are bad noises if they raise above that earlier mentioned purr. If you’re hearing loud screeching when you accelerate your car, the fan belt has probably slipped. Clicking noises can point to a low oil pressure in the engine and rapping noises can be the result of bearing wear or damage.
Front Wheel Noise. The front wheel assembly of your car has more moving parts than the steering column does. Not every noise is a bad one though, so you need to learn which are good so that you don’t panic and rush to the garage, costing yourself money when you don’t have to. A grinding sound can point to worn brake pads, and this is a noise put there on purpose, so the car can warn you when they’ve worn right down.
Noises in cars aren’t always bad ones, but they are always there to tell you that something is different than what you’re used to. Always get an unknown noise checked – just in case.