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You Should Never Ignore These 7 Car Noises!

Hmm. Purr. Vroom. Driving a car has never been easier on the ears thanks to modern innovation.

However, some car noises should be avoided because they may indicate trouble. Roll down the windows every now and again and listen for "any strange sound," suggests Mike Peth, director of vocational instruction at Ohio Technical College in Cleveland. "Because you know your car, you can often spot something that could turn into a problem."

These seven car noises could be a hint of impending trouble:

1) A sound similar to a coin in a clothes dryer

What it all means: It could be a loose lug nut inside a hub cap if you hear something rattling around inside a wheel at low speeds (and then stops as you drive faster). That could indicate that your wheel was not properly tightened the last time it was removed and replaced. Take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible.

2) Squealing, grinding, or growling brakes

What it means: If you hear a squealing noise, it means your brake pads or shoes are nearing the end of their service life and need to be replaced. If they grind or growl, have your brakes checked out right away. It could be an indication that the pads are so worn that metal is touching metal, which is a serious problem that could impair braking efficiency.

3) When you turn, you hear a finger-snapping, popping, or clicking sound.

What does it imply? If you have a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive car and hear this noise when turning or cornering (but not when driving straight), one or both of your front axle's constant velocity (CV) joints may need to be replaced.

4) A rhythmic squeak that gets louder as you speed up.

What it all means: If you have rear-wheel or four-wheel drive and hear this noise, it could be the universal joint (U-joint), which comes in pairs and is a component of the driveshaft. Get it checked out by a mechanic right away.

5) A howl, a whine, or even "singing"

What it means: This is usually a sign that your bearings—tiny metal balls that allow parts to rotate smoothly—are failing.

6) Rhythmic clunking, tapping, or banging from the engine compartment

What it means: A serious problem with the valves, connecting rods, or pistons could exist. Get to a mechanic as soon as possible.

7) Squealing under the hood when starting up or accelerating

What it all means: This could be caused by worn or slack accessory belts that power items such as your power steering pump, air conditioner compressor, and alternator. It may point to the serpentine belt in newer vehicles, which drives multiple accessories at once and is relatively easy and inexpensive to repair.


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