Diagnosing Car Noises

The sounds that a car makes when something has gone wrong is pretty much the single best way to determine when something has, indeed, gone off the rails with your automobile. Knowing what to listen for is not enough to troubleshoot car problems, however. You must also be willing to keep your stereo volume at a manageable volume, keep off the phone, roll up the windows and stop the incessant babbling from your co-pilot or the kids.


A vehicle that is making an audible hissing sound is really something you don’t want to hear when driving. The reason for this is because a hissing sound usually leads to solving the problem courtesy of finding out there is a leak in your tire, a hose or the exhaust system. A hiss loud enough to be heard while driving that is the result of any of these automotive issues is definitely a sign to get to a mechanic as soon as possible.


When you hear a buzzing sound while driving, make a mental note to yourself to check the dashboard for heater system for looseness at the next red light. You may want to be pull over and make sure that one of these is the real problem. Otherwise, you may find out you’ve got a bee inside the car while speeding along at 50 mph and that’s not the time to try to swat a bed out the window.


When you hear what sounds like a gunshot, the first thing to do is conduct a visual inspection for any damage to the windshield and any obvious danger that is coming your way courtesy of the good folks at the National Rifle Association and the politicians who put those people ahead of your safety. If no gun appears to be the cause of the backfiring sound, it was probably caused by a faulty ignition. The problem could be with the timing system or it could be a result of bad valves. Let a mechanic check at your first convenience.

Roaring Sound

A vehicle making a roaring sound when the car speeds up is often a sign of a muffler that has gotten damaged or rusted. It could also be a problem with exhaust pipes. Either way, get the car inspect fairly soon.

Rattling During Acceleration

When you depress the gas and the car speeds up and is accompanied by a rattle, the first thing to do is remember the last time you put in gas. If it was at a station you never visited before, then stay away because you may have bought the wrong grade of gasoline. If the rattling continues, try a higher octane next time and see if that helps. If the roar continues, get a tune-up.


When your car makes a squealing noise when you turn the steering wheel, it may be a problem with the power steering belt coming loose. You can tighten this belt yourself, but if the squealing continues, get it replaced.


The car that clicks is at the mercy of the quality of your hearing. First, you must determine exactly where the clicking is emanating from. For instance, if the click is located beneath the hood, you’ve probably got a fan blade that is banging against the radiator that needs to be replaced. If the clicking noise is coming from beneath your wheels, check your hubcap for looseness or take the hubcap off to see if a small stone somehow got lodged beneath it. Otherwise the problem of a clicking wheel points to a faulty wheel bearing. If you can’t find a stone and there is no looseness in the hubcap, take the car in for service.

Screeching Brakes

One of the most common noises produced by a vehicle in need is that gut-wrenching sound of squealing when the brakes are applied. Unless you are very well equipped to inspect your brakes yourself, take the car in to a professional because somewhere in the braking system is going to be a part that has gotten work or defective and that needs to be replaced.