One of the greatest fears that most car buyers have is to find the vehicle they love – only to have it fall apart on them the moment it is driven off the lot.
Whether your vehicle is brand new or just new to you, one of the best ways to avoid this nightmare is to detect any potential issues as early as possible. If you are purchasing a new or certified pre-owned vehicle, there should certainly be nothing wrong with the mechanics.
But just taking a peak under the hood isn’t always the best way to spot mechanical issues; sometimes, your ears are actually the best tools to use.
Here are the five most common car sounds that could be indicative of major issues that you will want to address before things get any worse.
- Squeaking or Grinding Breaks
Properly working brakes is easily one of the most important safety features on any vehicle, so you definitely want to identify any potential issues as soon as possible. However, many cars have squeaky brakes – and it doesn’t always mean that something is terribly wrong.
Sometimes brand-new cars will make a squeaking sound simply because the brand new brake pads haven’t been worn in yet.
Overtime, brakes may start to squeak or make a high-pitched whistling sound. This usually just means that the pads need replacing or more oil needs to be added, which are important maintenance procedures.
Brake noises can also sometimes be dependent on factors like the weather. For example, if you are looking at cars for sale in Albuquerque, NM, you may notice loud noises due to brake pad expansion in the heat. Cars in Colorado during the mid-winter, on the other hand, could make loud squealing noises in the freezing cold.
If you are taking a car for a test drive or you have recently purchased it, any squeaks or grinding noises are major red flags. It could be a sign that the caliper pins in the car’s braking system are stuck, causing the pistons to hit the brake pads at the wrong angle.
You are better safe than sorry here if there are any noises when the brakes are employed. Be sure to ask a trusted mechanic to take a look, and test out the brakes on your test drive to detect any weird sounds before you buy.
- Engine Knocking or Pinging Sounds
Any time you hear an engine make a noise that doesn’t sound “normal”, you should be cautious and get things checked on immediately. If it sounds like something is loose inside of the engine and creating knocking or pinging noises, it could be a sign that there are some serious problems with the internal mechanics.
These types of sounds could be a sign that there are faulty spark plugs, issues with the fuel injector, defective ignition coils, or an issue with ignition timing. If any of these issues persist, it could destroy the engine so report any of these issues to a mechanic or to the dealer immediately.
- Whining Transmission
The transmission is one of the most important components of a vehicle. We all know that once the transmission blows, it is either impossible or extremely expensive to salvage it. Therefore, any unusual noises should be checked on right away.
Thankfully, there is a pretty simple trick to help you narrow down what the potential issues could be before you take a vehicle in for inspection. If the whining sound gets louder when you are accelerating or putting the vehicle in gear, then it is most likely a problem with the torque converter.
If the whining gets louder when you are reversing, it may actually be a sign that the transmission fluid line is clogged. This is a very severe issue and should be fixed by a professional mechanic immediately.
- Rod Knocking
Hearing rod knocks can mean that there is something faulty with the internal engine mechanisms. This kind of noise could be caused by numerous issues, including:
- High combustion pressure
- Low oil flow or pressure
- High oil temperature
- High piston inertial force
- A leak
- Defective pump
If this knocking noise continues, it could cause severe damage to the rods, crankshaft, or pistons, resulting in some extremely expensive repairs. Any knocking sounds in the engine should be addressed right away before things get worse!
- Whining When Steering
Any properly maintained vehicle will make no sound and have no issues when it comes to steering. If there is a whining or creaking sound when you turn the wheel, it is most likely caused by an issue within the steering column.
This might be bad power steering mechanics, or an issue with the struts, shocks, bushings, or ball joints. Over time, this could cause major issues and cause the steering to lock up – so be sure to have things checked out immediately if you hear any whining sounds.
The only sounds you want to hear from your new car is a purring engine and your favorite song on the radio. Keep your ears perked for any of these strange sounds and have it looked at right away to avoid any disasters with your new car!