What is that noise and why is my car making it?

By David Sholicar

All cars make noises and most of the time, the sounds of the engine whirring, the exhaust burbling and the tyres rolling happily over tarmac are rather pleasing. But very often, an audio cue will let you know when something is amiss.

man stressed in car

If you suddenly find strange noises coming from your vehicle and you don't know whether you should be worried, this quick guide to common complaints and how to identify them will be a big help.

Odd tyre issues

When a car is completely stationary with the engine off, it should be effectively silent, save for the quiet ticking sound caused by metal contracting when the engine is cooling down after a period on the road. If you can hear quiet hissing in this scenario, it is likely that one or more of your tyres has a puncture. Getting a repair or replacement is simple and affordable with the able assistance of our tyre professionals, backed by our huge stock of leading tyre brands, such as; Pirelli, Bridgestone, or Falken.

Other tyre issues can be identified if you are behind the wheel and in motion. Any unusual rumbling or flapping noises coming from the tyres will almost certainly indicate a problem, ranging from improper pressurisation to a puncture or the presence of a foreign object in the tyre. Once again, if anything sounds amiss, get professional assistance as soon as possible rather than risking continuing with a journey that might end in disaster.

Unexpected engine noises

Engine issues can soon become complex and expensive, so if you start to hear any strange noises emanating from under the bonnet, act quickly.
If you hear squealing coming from your engine, especially shortly after it has been started, then it is likely that a loose or worn belt is the issue. Belt failures, particularly the cam belt, can be catastrophic. Getting this replaced will pre-empt any major problems and your manufacturer will have a predetermined replacement schedule to follow in most cases.

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There are plenty of other exceptional engine noises that are deserving of your attention. If you hear a loud clicking when you accelerate, for example, this could be a sign that ignition is occurring prematurely or there is a problem with the fuel / air mixture ratio. Once again, damage could ensue if this is not addressed.
An overheating engine block will also result in a range of strange sounds, so keep your eye on your dashboard temperature gauge and any warning lights that might suggest that this is occurring. Engine whine can be caused by worn-out bearings, whilst any knocking or slapping noises suggest potentially significant mechanical issues requiring immediate attention.

Get your vehicle checked out by experts

You can rely on our qualified fitters to identify the underlying cause behind any strange noises. So if your car is making any odd noises, why not get in touch and book a free vehicle check online with Protyre as soon as possible. Our friendly team is waiting to help you with all sorts of automotive issues.

Protyre offer free tyre checks at all of our garages. Click the button below to book your vehicle in and let our technicians advise on the best tyres for you.

Free tyre check

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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