7 Car Sounds You Can’t Ignore

When you’re driving a car, many sounds come from many different places. Most are normal noises made from the engine, the road, tires, or something else. However, some sounds are a sign of something wrong with the vehicle. If you hear your car making particular noises, you should seek repairs immediately. These are the seven car sounds you can’t ignore.

1. A sound like a coin in a clothes dryer

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Wheel - car sounds you can't ignore, these noises could be dangerous and expensive.
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Wheel | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

We’ve all been there; you left a coin inside your pants pocket as it went through the laundry. There’s no doubt you’ll hear the coin clinging and clanging around inside the dryer. Don’t ignore it if you’re ever driving and hear a similar noise coming from the car. According to Geico, something rattling around inside a wheel at low speeds could be a loose lug nut inside the hub cap. In addition, the noise will probably subside at higher speeds. Take your car to a mechanic ASAP because it could signify that whoever installed your tires or wheels didn’t tighten your wheel appropriately.

2. Squealing, grinding, or growling brakes

Close-up of a Brock wheel - car sounds you can't ignore, these noises could be dangerous and expensive.
Water drops on Brock alloy wheels | Jan Kopřiva via Unsplash

Upon applying the brakes inside your vehicle, you might hear a squealing sound. If you hear that noise, your car’s brake pads or shoes need replacing. Moreover, a grinding or growling sound is likely a sign your pads are worn out completely. That’s why it’ll sound like metal touching metal, yielding dangerous results. Brakes are one thing you never want to ignore, so take action if you hear these sounds.

3. You can’t ignore finger-snapping, popping, or clicking when you turn

Close up of a headlight on a Honda vehicle with the hood open. car sounds you can't ignore, these noises could be dangerous and expensive.
Vehicle receiving an inspection | Lucho Renolfi via Unsplash

According to Geico, this type of pop or click when turning is likely a sign of a bad CV joint. Your car will need the constant velocity joints replaced ASAP. Ignoring a sound like this one could be dangerous. Moreover, the CV joint connects your vehicle’s transmission to the wheels. In short, it keeps the wheels turning at a constant velocity regardless of the direction the suspension moves, from hitting a pothole, for example.

4. Fast squeaking that speeds up as you accelerate

A blue 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 driving down the road with its top down and spoiler up
2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 | Mercedes-Benz

Contrarily to the CV joint, squeaking like this could indicate the U-joint (universal) needs replacing. A pair of U-joints are components of the driveshaft. That’s why this sound is another one that could be very dangerous to ignore.

5. If your car sounds like it’s howling at the moon

If your vehicle is making a howling or whining sound, it could signify the ball bearings are faulty. Vehicles with front-wheel drive will emit the sound from the front when turning, but a steadier sound is likely from the rear. Contrastly, rear-wheel-drive models will get louder as you accelerate. In addition, your differential that allows wheels to spin at different rates when necessary could have a fluid leak. This is another significant car noise you can’t ignore.

6. Banging, tapping, or clunking from under the hood

Geico says loud, clunky sounds from the front of the vehicle usually indicate an issue with valves, connecting rods, or pistons. As you might expect, any of these issues can be very dangerous. Get the noise checked out by a mechanic as soon as you can.

7. Squealing under the hood when starting or accelerating

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Circuit Edition Engine
2023 Toyota GR Corolla Circuit Edition engine | Toyota

Another car noise you can’t ignore is squealing from under the hood. More specifically, squealing upon starting the car or accelerating. Usually, this sound is an indication of loose or worn accessory belts. Furthermore, the belts drive things like the power steering pump, air conditioner compressor, or alternator. In short, a loose or worn belt could lead to many more issues. Alternatively, modern cars may need a new serpentine belt. Thankfully, this is a fast and affordable repair that will save you a lot of trouble if you don’t ignore it.

Car sounds you can’t ignore

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Those are Geico’s seven car sounds you can’t ignore. Vehicle maintenance is challenging to keep up with, especially when you’re so busy. Knowing the details about your car’s sounds is vital to it having a long, healthy life. If you hear any of these noises coming from your vehicle while driving, seek help immediately. Each one is relatively easy to repair and won’t cost much, but ignoring them will make lengthy, arduous, expensive repairs. Those are the seven car sounds you can’t ignore.

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