What’s That Sound? When to Take Your Car In for Servicing

Car Maintenance, Tips

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Car Making Sound

Sometimes our cars make noises we can’t explain, or they just don’t sound right. It can be unnerving and embarrassing to drive a car around that’s making an unusual noise. Let’s see when to get it serviced and when you can let it ride.

Normal Sounds Cars Make

Under normal circumstances your car shouldn’t make any unusual sounds. The engine should hum and sound good, and while you’re driving down the road the only thumps you should hear are the ones when you go over a crack in the pavement or a bump. This makes for an enjoyable driving experience, and generally means all is well with your car.

That’s what makes a new, unexplained sound so disturbing.

Things That Go Bump While Driving

Cars can make a wide range of sounds, but here’s a breakdown of when to take your car in, under different circumstances:

Turning – If you’re turning a corner and you hear a new sound, you should get that looked at. Making accurate turns is rather crucial while driving, so it’s best to fix any problem before it become hazardous to yourself and others.

Braking – Any new sound your car makes while braking should be checked out. We all know just how important braking is while driving, so there’s no reason to let this sound continue. Grinding, scraping, clunking, or squealing are all worth bringing it in for a check-up.

Accelerating – When you step on the gas, and it makes a roaring, squealing, or chirping sound you should have it looked at. These are often the most overlooked sounds, but should not be left unchecked.

Under the Hood – Knocking, sizzling, or hissing coming from under the hood should all be checked out and serviced. These could all be early signs that something is wrong, maybe a hose is loose or a belt is loose. Fixing these early could prevent larger, more expensive problems later down the road.

Under the Car – A low-pitched hum coming from under the car should be checked out. Most other sounds like a flapping or scraping sound can be figured out on your own by looking under your car near the spot where the sound is emanating from.

Is It Nothing or Something?

Some sounds are harmless, and you can either get used to them or turn the radio up. Other sounds are the sign of something that needs to be fixed sooner rather than later. Unless you’re a car guru it’s hard to know the difference, which is why you’ll want to have it inspected by a pro.

Loudness Isn’t Everything

Some noises are louder than others, and if your car is making a noise that’s so loud you can hear it over the radio, you’ll want to visually inspect the underbody of your car to see if you’re dragging something, or bring your car in if you can’t see the obvious cause of the noise.

But even a soft noise can mean trouble, or become louder over time. If it’s loud enough to hear and bugs you while driving, it’s worth getting it looked at.

The Joy of Explaining Car Sounds to Mechanics

We’ve all had the experience of trying to replicate a sound to the mechanic, and how it can sometimes be embarrassing. But a lot of car problems have very distinct sounds and the quickest way to narrow down the problem is a getting a good idea of what the noise sounds like.

Mechanics are used to seeing people try to contort their face the right way to get a sound just right, and they might even take a shot at it themselves in order to confirm.

The difference between a thump, bump, ba-dump, ka-chunk, and many more sounds will help the mechanic know where to begin looking, and what to rule out. So even though it’s a bit silly, take the time to differentiate between the slight nuances of the sound it’s making.

Playing It Safe

It’s best to bring in your car if you hear something unusual, even if you think it might be nothing. Sometimes nothing can turn into something if left untreated.

At Ride Time we’ve got professionals that can figure out just what’s making the noise, make the needed repairs to stop the noise, and also let you know what needs fixing now, and what can wait. Come in today and let’s figure out what that sound is all about.


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