Sounds Like Car Trouble

Squeaks, squeals, rattles, rumbles, and other sounds provide valuable clues about problems and maintenance needs.

Here are some common noises and what they mean:

Squeal — A shrill, sharp noise, usually related to engine speed:

Loose or worn power steering, fan or air conditioning belt.

Click — A slight sharp noise, related to either engine speed or vehicle speed:

Loose wheel cover.
Loose or bent fan blade.
Stuck valve lifter or low engine oil.

Screech — A high-pitched, piercing metallic sound; usually occurs while the vehicle is in motion:

Caused by brake wear indicators to let you know it’s time for maintenance.

Rumble — a low-pitched rhythmic sound.

Defective exhaust pipe, converter or muffler.
Worn universal joint or other drive-line component.

Ping — A high-pitched metallic tapping sound, related to engine speed:

Usually caused by using gas with a lower octane rating than recommended. Check your owner’s manual for the proper octane rating. If the problem persists, engine ignition timing could be at fault.

Heavy Knock — A rhythmic pounding sound:

Worn crankshaft or connecting rod bearings.
Loose transmission torque converter.

Clunk — A random thumping sound:

Loose shock absorber or other suspension component.
Loose exhaust pipe or muffler.

from http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0211-auto-repair-basics

The more you know about your vehicle, the more likely you’ll be able to head off repair problems. You can detect many common vehicle problems by using your senses: eyeballing the area around your vehicle, listening for strange noises, sensing a difference in the way your vehicle handles, or even noticing unusual odors.

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