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Listen To Your Car: Learn To Identify Those Noises

Driving requires that all your senses be alert, not only for safety measures but because your hearing can help you identify sounds that may be symptoms of mechanical failure. Hissing in the engine, the vibration of the pedal, a chirp or a pounding can indicate a mechanical failure that could leave you stranded in the middle of the road if it is not attended quickly.

You don't need to be an expert in mechanics to be able to use the ear as a diagnostic tool, you just need to familiarize yourself with the usual sounds of the car, how it sounds in different circumstances: when turning on, when you have some time running, in curves, in different weather conditions. This will allow you to recognize any other noise out of order that could indicate a problem that you will have to attend, especially if the noise is frequently repeated. Some of the sounds that should alert you are:

Slow start:

The engine sounds as if you were waking it up from a deep sleep. That is usually an indicator that the battery is running low or has a problem. You must replace it if you have more than three years or take it to review in case you have little time.

Hissing or sizzling:

If it is heard under the hood and when the engine is turned off, it may mean that something is leaking. Oil, antifreeze or any other fluid can fall into a hot part of the engine, producing a sizzling noise.


If you suddenly hear a flapping sound under the hood and the car is in motion, you should stop and check immediately, because this sound often reveals that a strap has broken, is loose and hits but it may also be that something is interfering with the fan.

Whistle when accelerating:

It can indicate a fault or leak in the turbo power system; you should go to check it as soon as possible,

Sounds when turning in a corner:

There is a problem with the steering system. It may need maintenance (lubrication and balancing) or is damaged and requires replacement.

Screech when braking:

This is simple and well known because it indicates that the brake system pads need to be replaced. If recent maintenance has been done, there are likely to be problems with the installation, as the pads may be resonating inside the caliper.

Rattles from beneath the vehicle:

It may be that the exhaust is loose or that the brake pads have come loose.

Knocks in the engine area:

Usually, these sounds are related to low oil levels. If it is at the correct level, then the problem may be in the oil pressure in the system, or maybe it is related to the valve train.

Manual transmission grinding:

If the gearbox makes a grinding noise when changing speed, it is probably due to a clutch problem, which may be worn or require adjustments. It is worth reviewing because it can be a significant problem in the transmission that could get worse.

Serious buzz under the car:

Different problems could produce this noise, so you should take it to a check. If it sounds louder or changes as the speed increases or decreases, it may be problems with the transmission, the differential may need lubrication, or the universal joints may be worn, among other causes.

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