Cars and trucks are noisy things. It doesn’t matter what you drive, or where you drive it – the automobile is a noise maker on wheels. That being said, not all noises emanating from your car are altogether healthy. In fact, some of those noises tell you when things need to be changed, and others tell you to get your car to 5 Points Automotive Center right away. One of the most important things you can do to help keep your car healthy is to listen for changes in sound. When sounds change inside your car, that’s usually an indication that something has started rubbing against something else, something has stopped rubbing against something else, something which was tight has come loose, or something which was loose has tightened up. All these scenarios tell you that something may be wrong. The following are a few different kinds of sounds and what they could mean.
Common Sounds Which Tell You Something’s Wrong
- Humming or rumbling – Consistent low frequency sound often comes from worn tires. Bad tires will often create a constant hum as you drive, indicating a need for inspection. Many accidents are caused because of bad tires. Tires are the only things which keep you in contact with the road, so don’t mess with them. In general, tires need to be rotated every 5-8000 miles, and usually replaced at about 40,000 miles. If your tires are making noise, get them looked at right away.
- Creaking when turning – These sounds typically come from bad joints, wheel bearings, and tie rod ends. Note which tires the sound comes from, when it happens, and whether it stops after a turn or continues afterwards. These areas can be catastrophic if they fail at high speeds. Bring it in and we can diagnose it for you.
- Squealing, Part 1 – This kind of squealing happens when you try and stop. Brake pads are equipped with
warning sensors which scrape against the rotor when the brake pads get too low. It lets you know to replace the pad, not turn the radio up. Don’t let these go for too long, or you will begin cutting into the rotors which gets considerably more expensive than just pads.
- Squealing, Part 2 – This kind of high-pitched squealing occurs whenever the motor is running. Typically, this is usually a belt or one of the other components attached to it. Most belts are attached to any number of pulleys, wheels, tensioners, and other things which turn with the belt. Often one of these will become locked into place or become too loose, causing the belt to slip, causing a squealing sound.
- Grinding – That sound is made when metal scrapes against metal and it shouldn’t. If you’ve ignored the squealing sounds for a while, it could be your brakes grinding on your rotors. Grinding problems, no matter where they are, usually do a lot of damage rather quickly, so if you hear grinding, make note of where the sounds are coming from, and when they occur, and then give 5 Points a call and we’ll help you diagnose and fix the problem.
When the Noises Stop…
Waiting to see if the sound will correct itself is probably not a good idea. Often the sound will get worse, or will disappear altogether. Keep this in mind – If the sound disappears, that is not a sign that the problem has corrected itself but rather that the problem has progressed. Typically, noises will only disappear once the parts which were making the noises have worn significantly enough to no longer make the noise. The key to lower repair bills is to address the problem once the symptom is noticed. One advantage of the annual PA inspection system is that it keeps many of these problems from becoming bigger. Regular routine maintenance and attention to the changes in your car’s performance can go a long way toward helping avoid larger problems. Obviously, these points are only designed to help you get some ideas on where your problem could be. If you hear something that wasn’t there before, remember, 5 Points Automotive Center is here to help. Give us a call or schedule an appointment on our website, and we’ll take care of you.