3 Automotive Noises You Shouldn't Ignore

30 January 2023
 Categories: , Blog


If you drive a vehicle that's been around the block a few times, you're probably used to listening to a variety of different noises. Squeaks and rattles are common in older vehicles, and they develop with frightening speed even in newer cars. However, not every sound that your car makes originates from a piece of cheap interior plastic or some other harmless source.

In many cases, unusual sounds may signal serious trouble and indicate that you should get your car to a service shop sooner rather than later. While there are many sounds that your car may produce, here are three that you won't want to ignore for too long.

1. Continuous Squealing

Modern cars use accessory belts to provide mechanical power for components such as alternators, power steering pumps, water pumps, air conditioning compressors, and more. While some cars may now use electrical versions of these components, all vehicles will, at a minimum, have a belt-driven alternator.

Typically, squealing originates either with a worn accessory belt or a failing pulley. A brief squeal on start-up indicates that you must have your belt serviced soon. However, a belt that squeals continuously is severely worn and potentially ready to fail. Since a snapped belt can leave you stranded or damage other components, it's critical to take care of this problem immediately.

2. Brake Grinding

Just as your accessory belt will go through stages as it fails, so will worn brakes. A little squeaking when you step on the brake pedal is a normal indication that your brakes are about ready for a change. Brake pad manufacturers install wear bars in their pads that produce this noise, alerting you that you'll need to change your brakes shortly.

However, grinding from your brakes usually means that you've ignored this early warning sign and continued to drive on your brakes well beyond their minimum safe thickness. Once the friction material wears away, the metal backing plate will begin to dig into your rotors, producing a loud grinding sound. Not only is this condition dangerous, but it can potentially damage other braking components.

3. Exhaust Leaks

Exhaust leaks may initially sound like a light ticking noise, but they'll eventually progress into a loud, almost deafening droning sound. Exhaust leaks usually occur as parts of the exhaust system rust, creating holes in your exhaust pipes. They may also form due to failing hangers or gaskets, creating gaps between sections of your car's exhaust system.

While noise may be the primary feature of an exhaust leak, this problem is far from just a minor annoyance. An exhaust leak can allow harmful exhaust fumes to drift into your cabin, creating a potentially hazardous situation. If you can hear the telltale sound of an exhaust leak, you'll want to get it fixed as soon as possible. 

For more info about auto services, contact a local company.