9 Car Noises You Should NEVER Ignore

Whatever your plans for the day, a non-running car is NEVER one of them! But from the hundreds of calls we get from clients - every month - who are looking to sell their non-running vehicles, we know that breakdowns and engine failure are a dismal and frustrating reality. A soft ‘purr’ or adrenaline-surging ‘vroom’ are music to the ears, but these can quickly evolve into strange noises that spell trouble for you and your car.

That annoying sound you think is nothing? It generally isn’t ‘nothing.’ That clunking sound you assume is something loose in the boot? It is likely signalling something far more serious. That annoying squeak? No, it's not a pet mouse gone astray, but it is probably time to book your car in for a service.

Here at sellyourdamagedcar, we are on the other side of non-running cars and car wrecks. And the fact of the matter is, if you choose to ignore strange noises coming from your vehicle, you are likely to end up with a non-running vehicle due to engine or mechanical failure, or even an accident-damaged car due to brakes failing or a burst tyre.

Tips to prevent sitting with a non-running car

To avoid landing in a scenario where your car breaks down, your engine starts smoking or your brakes suddenly start failing, you need to ‘stay tuned’ to any odd sounds when driving that could signal potential trouble.

Here is our ‘onomatopoeic’ list of abnormal car noises that you should ALWAYS pay attention to:

#1 Shake, ‘RATTLE’ and roll

If you have a front wheel drive and hear a persistent rattling noise when you accelerate or take a hard turn, you should be rattled. This is definitely worth further investigation as it could signal water in the joints that facilitate the turning of your tyres, causing the joints to rust/rot.

Further potential causes of rattling are your exhaust pipe’s heat shield which may have come loose or problems with your muffler or brakes.

#2 Things that go ‘BUMP’ in the night

Any bump, thump or clunk could indicate a serious problem with your engine’s valves, connecting rods or pistons. If you want to avoid sitting with a non-running car, you need to get to a mechanic ASAP to have these sounds diagnosed and seen to.

#3 Pip ‘SQUEAK’

Nothing lasts forever and that includes your car’s brake pads. It will start with a squeal but, if ignored, morph into a rumble which will certainly get your attention. Brakes are a vital safety component and so taking a chance and tolerating the squeak is never advised. A high-pitched squeak or a hissing noise could indicate a problem with the hoses around the engine, an air leak, an issue with the belt system or your engine might be overheating. These all affect your engine’s performance.

Car noises you should not ignore
#4 The daily ‘GRIND’

A grinding sound means metal is rubbing against metal and besides brake pads, it could be a water pump, alternator or drive belt issue. Once again, if you want to look after your vehicle and prevent any further serious problems, immediate attention is prescribed.

#5 A ‘TICKING’ time bomb

One or both of the CV (constant velocity) joints on the front axle may need replacing if you hear a ticking, popping or clicking sound when you turn a corner but not when you steer straight with your front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

#6 Turn down the ‘BOOM’ box

What if you hear a booming sound every time you go over a bump or speed hump? This is probably a suspension issue where the shocks or struts are misbehaving or even a damaged engine mounting. If not addressed, you could end up in an accident as these parts help you control your vehicle.

#7 Please stop ‘WHINING’

This may be your daily reprimand to your kids, but when it comes to a car with an automatic transmission, you really don't want any whining sounds. A high-pitched whine - that increases when you rev higher - means your engine is not operating at optimum levels. A whine could also be a sign that your bearings aren’t functioning properly. (When we talk about bearings, we aren’t referring to your sense of direction but to the special components that assist in your engine’s parts rotating properly).

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#8 ‘KNOCK, KNOCK,’ who’s there?

As soon as you detect a knocking sound coming from under the bonnet it could indicate the following:

  • your engine is low on fluids or
  • you have a problem with the rod bearings

The latter could point to getting a new engine which may be the reason you would rather sell your damaged car to us for cash instead of the financial outlay of sourcing a new engine.

#9 In for a ‘PENNY’ in for a pound

The sound of a coin clanking could be a loose lug nut in the hubcap. It could also mean that when your wheel was last changed, it was not properly tightened.

K’Ching K’Ching @ sellyourdamagedcar

A car can be an unpredictable beast and from a mechanical and electrical point of view, much can go wrong. Staying up-to-date on your service milestones and maintenance is key to preventing your car changing its status to a non-running car. And being proactive when you hear strange noises will mitigate serious issues developing.

But sometimes there is nothing you can do and the day comes when the issues are just too big to be fixed and a breakdown is a reality you need to deal with. Rest assured that we are always on hand to simplify the logistics, tow your vehicle, handle the paperwork and offer you a really competitive cash price if you need to sell your non-running or accident damaged car.


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