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Knowing a Bad Sound When You Hear One

You hear hundreds of different sounds a day from all different angles. You’re constantly bombarded from every direction and with how much time you spend driving each day, it’s impossible to ignore the sounds your vehicle may make as well. While we get accustomed to these sounds and treat them like the daily occurrences that they are but it’s important to remember that when something begins to go wrong with your vehicle, oftentimes the sound it makes is a telltale sign that if noticed early, can save you a fortune.

These are some of the most common sounds your vehicle may make and what kind of trouble they may signal.

High-pitched squealing- A loud whine or squeal can signal an issue with a number of the belts or pulleys under the hood. Most belts and pulleys wear out over time so it’s important to regularly check and replace them to avoid larger damages should one break while you’re driving.

Screeching- Where the noise is coming from is just as important to pay attention to as similar sounds can mean wildly different things. While a screeching/squealing sound from under the hood can mean old pulleys and belts, your brakes will also squeal and screech if either the brake pads are older and wearing thin.

Sputtering or Rattling- This is important to listen for and even more important that if you do hear your vehicle making sounds like this, you seek mechanical help immediately. If your vehicle sounds louder than normal than it’s possible that there’s a hole in your exhaust system somewhere though rattling sounds can also signal trouble in the catalytic converter. If you hear a sound like this it’s extremely wise to get it taken care of sooner rather than later as maintenance or replacing the catalytic converter is an expensive and time-consuming process.

Humming or Growling- When your tires are old and wearing down, they can produce a growling or a roaring sound but sometimes it’s not that simple. It can also indicate a far more severe and costly problem; a bad wheel bearing. It’s easy to determine which issue you’re having on your own though. Drive as you normally would and change lanes like normal but listen to the sound your vehicle makes. If the pitch of the noise changes when you’re changing lanes and then changes back when you start going straight again, then it’s more likely that the brake bearing is bad.

Hissing- If you hear a hissing or a sizzling sound when you turn your vehicle off, then there is a chance that your vehicle is leaking coolant or oil onto a part of the engine that’s heated like the manifold. It can also signal that there’s a leak in a vacuum line so it’s important to check for fluids leaking out of your vehicle. Sometimes though it’s just as simple as the engine overheating if you’ve been traveling long distances or driving harder than normal, to cool your engine, take a break from driving and give it a little rest.

Clunking- Not every sound is the signal of an automotive catastrophe, some happen simply due to the age of your vehicle. If you’re driving an older vehicle you may hear a regular clunking type of sound. This is not as urgent as the rest of the noises listed and is usually attributed to something like a loose or sagging suspension or the shock absorbers. While it isn’t as urgent, getting any loose parts tightened should still be a high priority as loose parts under the vehicle or under the hood can lead to more significant damage down the road.

Regardless of what the noise may be, if you notice an unusual noise or a strange sound, take it to a nearby service center and have the sound checked by a certified professional. It’ll save you a great deal of both time and money and will help you drive with more confidence and with peace of mind knowing that any potential issues have been already been taken care of.

If your BMW, Mini, Porsche or Land Rover is making any of the above noises or a different noise that sounds unusual to you, get it fixed fast before any severe damage can occur by bringing it to the professional auto mechanics at Bay Diagnostics. To call and schedule an appointment to have a strange sound diagnosed, please call us any time at 718-615-0705 or visit us online at www.baydiagnostic.com.

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