How To Troubleshoot Unusual Car Noises

When people are sick, there are many cues that our body uses to tell us that. But, what about cars? How do they communicate to us when something is wrong with their internal mechanisms? The answer is often through sounds. While your car might not start coughing or sneezing or complaining of back ache, it will however give out noises that if interpreted correctly, will be able to help us figure out what exactly is wrong in its internal mechanisms. Use the guide below to identify what ailment your car suffers from –

1. Whistling – If you start hearing a whistling sound from inside your car while driving, your car most likely has a problem with its weather-stripping. This is an uncomplicated problem with fairly easy solutions which you can either take care of yourself or with the help of an auto repair store.

If the whistling noise is coming from underneath the hood while you are driving, this could be an indication that there is an issue with the engine’s hose. Hoses are a weak but important part of the engine. Constant circulation of the cooling fluid and air could cause small cracks in them, leading to the vacuum seal being broken and air escaping with a whistling sound.

you are hearing the whistling sound regardless of whether your car is running or not, then the noise is most likely originating from the car’s radiator pressure cap. This cap’s function is to release excess heat from the overheated coolant, but sometimes air will leak out due to breakage in the seal of the part’s rubber gasket, creating a whistling noise.

2. Rumbling – This is a sign of there being either a hole or multiple holes in your vehicle’s muffler. This is a condition which could lead to dangerous fumes leaking into the passenger compartment and therefore warranties an immediate trip to the servicing center.

3. Noisy Brakes – If you start hearing abnormal noises while breaking, this is most likely an indication of faulty brakes and need to be addressed as soon as possible, since having malfunctioning brakes is a sure fire way of getting into an accident.

4. Sputtering – If your car continues to run even after removing the keys from the ignition while making sputtering noises, the odds are, you are hearing the effects of “dieseling”.  Dieseling is a condition where the gasoline will continue to get ignited by compression alone in the cylinder without the aid of the spark plug. Older engines with carburetors are more susceptible to this condition and it can be fixed with the help of a mechanic.

5. Uneven Idling – If you feel like your car’s rhythm is strange or unusual, it could be due to an issue with the spark plug. The sparkplug is responsible for igniting the fuel in the car’s engine, but if they burn out, short or experience break, it will lead to uneven idling.

6. Loud Idling – While a functioning engine is expected to roar, it is a problem if the sound is too loud. An unusually noisy car is a symptom of there being an issue with the cylinder compression. If the cylinder has uneven air-fuel ratio, this will lead to combustion occurring at a lower or higher ratio than it does normally, leading to the engine sounding louder than usual. If this problem is not taken care of, it will lead to lasting engine damage.

7. Whirring Or Squealing – If your car starts giving off a very attention seeking whirring or squealing noise, then there is a possibility that there is something wrong with your car’s belt. All cars have several rotating belts which circulate at high speeds around a system of pulleys. Over time, these belts can stretch or crack causing unpleasant whirring or squealing noises. Replacing worn-out belts are cheap and can easily be done at the nearby car repair shop.

8. Ticking – If something sounds like it’s ticking or clicking in the engine, that’s your cue to check your engine’s oil tank. Since oil tanks depend upon lubricating oil to run smoothly, noisy pistons are often an indication of low oil levels.

9. Noisy Turning – The presence of strange noises while turning the vehicle is an indication of some kind of problem with the vehicle’s wheels or tires. This issue could be as simple as low inflation or tire wear or more serious issues like worn wheel bearings or incorrect wheel balance. Therefore, it’s best to consult a professional in this case.

10. Clunks And Clangs – Hearing clangs at speed bumps etc. is a sign of there being an issue with the car’s suspension. A quick look under the car for a loose tailpipe or muffler before going calling in a mechanic could save you a lot of time as well.


While all these noises can help us diagnose what’s wrong with the car, the best thing to do is to conduct regular maintenance and checks to avoid having to deal with malfunctioning parts and to stay safe on the road.