5 common noises that should put you on edge as a car owner
Driving a vehicle can never be all dead silent, even electric vehicles are being fitted with acoustics to give the drivers the experience of driving a vehicle. There has to be a sound, and that sound can be the only thing that indicates your car is not dead. Sounds and noises are part of operating a vehicle which explains why our cars can make some pretty alarming noises such as whining, grinding, clanking, wheezing, screeching, squealing, rattling or banging; in fact, revving the engine and hearing it roar can sound like music to your ears. So, when should you get worried, rather put, what noise should get you worried?
Most drivers are known to never pay attention or notice these noises because when driving, they are quick to turn on their radio, blasting it all the way which oftentimes prevents them from hearing any strange sound or noise from their vehicle. It is important to listen for these noises by lowering the windows and turning the radio down completely or off at least once weekly. Do not ignore any thumping, banging, clicking and squealing sound, they can spell trouble.
Not all noises that emanate from your engine or vehicle are harmful but since it’s not always easy to tell if a sound is harmless or harmful, it is safer to take your vehicle to a mechanic instead of trusting your guts. There are different noises you can experience while driving but a few stand-out the most, they include:
- EXHAUST POPS: A common cause of exhaust pops are leaks, particularly in the fuel injector. That popping sound from the exhaust usually indicates a leakage which will eventually lead to engine damage, increased fuel consumption and poor emissions control. At times, this popping noise can also be heard when the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal quickly or if there is a gear change. Still, whenever you hear something popping in there, for the sake of optimum performance, it is better to get it inspected. Any pre-catalyst leak will drastically increase fuel consumption and could also trigger on the engine malfunction indicator lamp.
- GROANING YAWNS: The steering wheel is a vital component on a vehicle. When in use, it must not appear stiff or be unresponsive so as soon as you turn the steering wheel and the car groans wildly like it just woke up from a deep slumber, it suggests a fault in the power steering system that is causing friction. As the problem worsens, you’ll slowly lose control over the car’s steering or even damage the entire power steering system. A quick check and top-up of the fluid level in the power steering reservoir could do the magic. If you have to do this frequently, there definitely is a leak in the power steering system. This must be fixed immediately to avoid damage to pump and or rack-and-pinion/ or box.
- ENGINE HISSES: Ideally, when humans hiss, they are probably displeased or troubled, so a hissing engine is not only ominous, it may also be a sign of trouble. That hissing may suggest that your engine is overheating or the exhaust system/catalytic converter is plugged. If the hiss comes directly more from the engine you probably have an air leak in the intake tract. Excess air intake or air loss from the engine will upset the stoichiometry (ratio of air fuel mixture) causing the engine to run rich or lean. Either of this could lead to total engine damage.
- STEERING CLUNKS: A clunk that occurs from under the vehicle when going over bumps or cornering usually means a suspension or steering joint has developed some excess play or has lost most of its lubricant. Either way, it’s a sign of impending failure and if a ball joint or steering tie rod end breaks while you’re driving, it can be very hard to maintain steering control. Most suspension parts show signs of wear before eventually failing. It takes a very observant driver and or regular check-up at a repair shop to avoid a steering o suspension failure related accident. Noisy, not enough play, excess play or momentary loss of control is all symptoms that suggest you need to visit a repair shop immediately.
- TRANSMISSION CRUNCHES: If your vehicle makes a crunching noise while it shifts gears, it’s very likely there’s a problem with your transmission. The transmission consists of a series of gears, friction materials (clutches) and other components and ensures the correct amount of power goes to your wheels. Considering the fact that your vehicle’s transmission is vital to its operation, when the transmission is malfunctioning, your vehicle can lose its fuel economy or even become inoperable. It is safer to have this checked in time in order to avoid replacing the entire transmission. Proper and routine maintenance can prolong the life of any transmission; the most important factor however is the use of the right specification of fluid.
A car does not have the ability to communicate orally with its owner because it is an engineered machine, making sounds is the only way it speaks with you.
The more reason you should become more familiar with every noise that may indicate a serious problem if you want to keep your vehicle running well into the future.
Although it’s understandable that one might ignore these noises assuming they are minor problems, the truth is, some noises that come from your car need immediate attention.
By taking a more proactive approach to regular car maintenance, you are likely to avoid enormous and unexpected repair bills.