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Roadside Tips

6 Vehicle Noises You Shouldn't Ignore

Every now and then our vehicles make noises - but what do the sounds mean?

woman checking engine under hood
Knowing what these vehicle noises mean is difficult and while sometimes it’s nothing severe, other times it’s an indication that something is wrong with your vehicle. If your vehicle has started to make a strange noise, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and bring it into your local auto repair shop.

Here are the top six vehicle noises you really shouldn’t ignore:


1. Squealing or grinding when braking

One of the most common vehicle noises - squealing brakes. This is usually an indication that your brakes are starting to develop an issue. The sooner you have them checked out the better, as this is an issue that can grow and become costly the longer you let it go. Try to have things checked out before the squeal turns into a grinding sound, as new brake pads are more affordable than new rotors.

2. Rattling or scraping noise from the middle of your vehicle

This noise could indicate a number of things, from a loose heat shield to a hanging muffler. The first step is getting down to see if anything is hanging down from under your vehicle. If your heat shield or muffler has come loose, you may see something hanging low enough to touch the ground or rattle against other parts of your vehicle. It’s not a good idea to drive with loose or dangling parts, so take it into your auto repair shop as soon as you can.

3. Knocking or thumping noise while accelerating

This is one of the few vehicle noises that should be addressed as soon as possible. It’s often your vehicle telling you there’s an internal engine problem or a failing belt tensioner. Auto repair on engines isn’t always as costly as you’d think, especially if you have the problem addressed before the damage becomes too severe. Play it safe and have it looked at before you drive much longer.

4. Unusual noises when starting the vehicle

Vehicles naturally make noises when they start, but if you’ve noticed a noise that’s out of the ordinary, it might be time for a trip to the mechanic. If the noise only happens when you start the vehicle and it’s not a noise that you’ve never heard before, it could be the starter or the flywheel. The sooner you can have it repaired the better.

5. Hissing or sizzling noises from the engine area

These vehicle noises typically indicate an issue with engine fluids, whether it be your oil, coolant, or power steering. If the noises are accompanied by smoke or steam, you need to go to an auto repair shop right away. If your vehicle’s fluids are leaking onto hot exhaust parts, it could result in a fire hazard, so don’t hesitate in having it looked at.

6. Thumping noises while the vehicle is driving

Thumping noises while the car is in motion can mean a number of things. Try to make a note of when the noises occur. Is it when you’re turning? Driving straight? Slowing down or speeding up? The issue could range from a tire that’s coming apart to a CV axle that needs replacing. It could even be an issue with your brakes. Regardless, it would be wise not to let it go on for too long before having it checked out.
Strange vehicle noises make most drivers concerned, and rightfully so. The key is having your vehicle reviewed and repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage and more costly repairs. If your vehicle is making a questionable noise, give us a call or visit us at any Mufflerman location. We’ll work to determine the cause and complete the appropriate repairs so you can get back on the road with confidence.


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