If you are going to drive it, you need to learn to take care of it.
These were words of wisdom from my dad when I got my first car at 16. He wouldn’t just change my oil for me. I had to be a part of the process from getting the oil out to putting oil in and inspecting my tires, and then rotating them. This has proved important for the many life experiences I have had with vehicles. Knowing what sounds your car is making may indicate if it’s time to see mechanic or not. You want your car to keep you on the road, not stranded.
Keeping your car maintained, will (hopefully) keep it from having major issues. Having normal maintenance and oil changes performed as stated by that manufacturer can help your car run smoothly. Listening for changes in noises when it’s on the road, at a stop/idle or in park can also help. This will involve you needing to turn down the radio and reduce your volume of singing (occasionally)
Disclaimer: I am not a mechanic, please consult a professional for a diagnosis of your vehicle’s problems.
Sounds That May Mean You Need to Have Your Car Repaired
1. Shimmy/shuddering – If you are feeling a shimmy it could be the tire are out of balance or a front end alignment is needed. Be sure to tell the mechanic if you feel the shimmy in the seat or the steering wheel; this might indicate if it’s the front or rear tires.
2. Screeching – High pitched screeching, like metal on metal, could mean your brakes need to replaced. You may also be experiencing difficulty stopping.
3. Squealing belts – This could indicate that the belts are getting worn out (and could break) or possibly something with a pulley bearing. Belts drive just about everything on the car. Your vehicle could eventually overheat and your electrical components could stop working, leaving you stranded.
4. Clicks – From the front of your vehicle it could mean that there is a problem with the battery (won’t turn over, no power in the vehicle), the alternator (which will usually try to turn over). A ticking/clicking could also indicate an issue with oil pressure.
5. Hissing – If your vehicle is making a hissing noise, chances are that it is on the verge of overheating or has overheated. Do you see steam? This could mean you are low on coolant or something more serious. Another reason your vehicle could be hissing is you have a serious leak in a tire. You will need to change your tire if you cannot make it a service station or call for help.
6. Knocking – Could be an indication of fuel/air mix is not right. Make sure you are using the correct fuel octane for your vehicle. Knocking can also be caused by spark plugs or fuel injectors.
7. Rattling when accelerating -Something could be loose on the vehicle. It can also mean something is going on with the engine. It could also be your exhaust. Try to determine which part of the car the noise is coming from.
How to Tell the Mechanic What You’re Concerned About – and Not Be Embarrassed
You’re not the mechanic, he or she is! It’s the mechanic’s job to figure out the issue, but the more information you can give her or him the better the problem can be diagnosed. And, the less you’ll be bamboozled with false issues.
- Tell them the sound the vehicle is making without mimicking the sound
- Try to determine what part of the car the sound is coming from (engine, tires, exhaust, rear of the car)
- Explain when the vehicle makes the sound (at an idle, driving on the highway, when on a dirt road, in park, at a light, when braking or turning)
- Whether the noise happens when the vehicle is first started or after it has been driven a while
- If the problem happens all the time or intermittently
- Any changes you have done to the vehicle (change in type of gas, other service recently done)