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Diagnosing Common Engine Noises

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Image Courtesy of Flickr

An unexpected noise from your engine can indicate a serious problem that needs immediate attention. By knowing what the different noises mean, you can determine the potential problem with your car more easily.

Whines and Rattles

High pitched whining or a rattling noise when you are accelerating can indicate a problem with your car’s cam shaft belt. The belt could be loose, damaged or poorly aligned. If you know what a faulty cam shaft belt looks like and how to fix it, you can easily make the necessary adjustment. However, if you have any doubts a qualified mechanic should be consulted.

Metallic Grinding

More often than not, a metallic grinding sound that seems to be coming from your engine is actually being caused by your brakes. The front brake pads could be worn or the brakes could be grinding against the metal cylinder.

Taps and Clicks

These kinds of sounds can be the hardest to accurately diagnose on your own, as there are a number of varying potential causes. The first thing to do if your engine is making a clicking or tapping noise is to make sure you have the appropriate amount of oil in your car and the oil pressure is at the right level. The source of the sound can also be a loose part.

Due to the range of potential causes, if you know you have enough oil in your engine and still hear a click or tap, it is a good idea to take your car in to a mechanic.

Squeals During Acceleration

A high pitched squeal during acceleration is a sure sign that your serpentine, or fan belt, is loose or worn. The teeth beneath the fan belt will drag as the belt ages and wear down, which creates the loud squealing noise. When you hear this noise the fan belt most likely needs to be replaced.

Low Knocks

A low knock coming from your engine is the most troubling mystery sound your car can make. This kind of engine noise indicates a part of the inner depths of your engine is worn out or loose. Try not to drive your car at all until the source of the sound has been found and corrected.

Strange sounds coming from your engine are always a cause for concern. It is important to identify and correct the source of the sound before serious damage is done.