5 Concerning Engine Sounds

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again– your car is trying to tell you something. Are you listening? If not, you’d better perk up because it may just be trying to warn you about a costly engine problem down the road if left unattended.

Here are 5 concerning engine sounds you should keep your ears bent for:

1. Clicking and tapping
Unfortunately, this sound isn’t as endearing as your daughter’s tap dance recital and it is certainly a lot more concerning … at least, we hope — for your daughter’s sake. These sounds can be indications of low oil pressure or too much valve lash (AKA too much distance between the valve tip and the rocker in the valvetrain… AKA go to your mechanic). We’d recommend checking your oil level to see if it is low. If that’s not the problem, check the pressure. If you are unable to fix the problem simply, take your car to your mechanic before the issue gets worse.

2. Popping
This sound is especially concerning when coupled with a lack of overall power when accelerating. Don’t panic: there could be a very simple fix, such as a new air filter. It could also mean an issue with your ignition, including the ignition wires.

3. Knocking
If you hear a knocking sound, trouble is certainly at your door. The sound is most likely being caused by your connecting rods. Your rod bearings may be worn or loose. This can be dangerous and should be taken care of as soon as possible.

4. Hissing
It’s not a pleasant sound and it doesn’t bode well. If you notice a hissing sound coming from your engine, it could very well be overheating. It could also mean that your catalytic converter or exhaust is clogged. You’ll want to get this taken care of quickly.

5. Squealing
You thought the excited squeal of your teenagers was an ear-splitting noise, but the squealing from your engine is far worse, trust us. This sound could be the result of a loose fan belt. If it’s not too worn, you may be able to tighten the belt and be on your way, but if it’s experienced too much damage, it could need to be replaced.

You’ll be grateful you listened to your car. Paying attention to the sounds your engine makes will keep you safer on the road and might even leave you with a little more money in your pocket.


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