You’re driving down the same road you take every morning when you hear a funny noise. You turn down the radio to hear better. Yup, it’s definitely the car.
When you hear something coming from the front of your car, it can definitely be terrifying. You know engine repairs can be costly, and most of us aren’t prepared to spend an unexpected grand on our cars. Still, you know this is something you have to address.
Here’s what you should do when you hear something terrifying under the hood:
Don’t ignore it
Some people “fix” problematic noises by turning the radio volume up so they can’t hear them anymore. If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, most problems get worse if you don’t fix them. This is especially true with auto repairs. Something that may have once been an easy repair can lead to a major expense if you keep driving and ignore it. You don’t want to wait until your engine stops before you get it fixed – not unless you’re looking to junk this car and buy another!
Try to replicate the sound
Everyone feels silly going to the auto mechanic and making the same sound their car makes – but it really does help! If you can identify the sound as a whooping, whirring or grinding, that will tell the mechanic more about what’s going on under the hood. Your description of the sound can give the mechanic a head-start in identifying the problem because it can help them figure out where to start troubleshooting.
Look for patterns
Your mechanic will want to know as much as possible about this sound, so pay close attention. Does it only happen when you accelerate? Does it get louder as you drive? When do you hear the noise and does it ever stop? Also, try to pinpoint where the noise is coming from. Is it on the driver’s side, passenger side or is it centralized? The more information you can give, the easier it will be for your mechanic to troubleshoot. And we all know that a mechanic’s time is money, so this is a good idea to keep your bill as low as possible.
Understand normal engine noises
If your car has been sitting overnight and makes a tapping or ticking noise when it starts, this is usually not a problem. This happens when the oil settles to the bottom of the engine. When you start the car, it can take a few minutes for the engine to build oil pressure and that causes the sound you hear. However, if the sound doesn’t go away after a minute or two, you may have a problem.
Head to the auto mechanic
Because you must pay for your mechanic’s time, no one wants to head to the mechanic for nothing. But if you’re hearing troubling noises coming from under your hood, it’s time. Better to have it checked now than to have it turn into something worse. Give your auto mechanic as much information as possible and then give him some time to evaluate the problem. He may give you his opinion upfront, but then he’ll have to take a look at your car to see what’s really happening.
Once you get the estimate, talk to your mechanic about the repair. If you’re concerned about cost, let him know. A good auto mechanic will tell you if something can wait or if you need to have it repaired right away to avoid getting stuck on the road.
Remember to maintain regular servicing to help keep your car in good shape so you can avoid future surprises. This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever have problems, but your mechanic can help keep you informed about what’s happening with your car. He can tell if something is beginning to look like a problem well before you hear a terrifying noise under the hood.