It’s no secret that cars make a lot of noise. Things get a bit more confusing when you realize that many sounds a car makes are perfectly normal, while others are a sign of disaster right around the corner. Here are four scary car noises you should never ignore (and what they might mean).
Squealing When Braking
Slowing down for a stop sign shouldn’t come with shrieking, squeaking, or squealing sounds. If you hear anything of the sort when pressing on your brake pedal, it’s a sign that your brake pads have worn down and need a once-over by a mechanic.
This issue isn’t a do-or-die emergency, but don’t wait too long to have them serviced—if you leave worn pads on for too long, they can damage brake rotors and other components.
Squealing Under the Hood
Many drivers can’t seem to escape a car inspection without needing to change their serpentine belt. When you hear squealing under the hood, auto repair shops check the serpentine belt first, and often, that’s the cause of the problem. Don’t put off this replacement, either—a serpentine belt is essential to engine function.
Growling While Driving
You shouldn’t look for a hidden lion if you hear a growling or roaring sound when driving. Instead, get your tires and wheel bearings checked. Your treads may have worn down far enough that you need new tires. If it’s a wheel bearing problem, fix it immediately. A broken bearing can quickly result in an inconvenient tow truck call.
Whistling While Accelerating
If you’re one of the Seven Dwarves on your way to a fulfilling day of work, the whistling might be you. Otherwise, whistling while accelerating can indicate a problem with your exhaust leaking. If you hear this sound, especially coupled with a vibrating gas pedal or reduced fuel efficiency, take your car to the shop as soon as possible.
Now that you know these four scary car noises you should never ignore, keep an eye out for these telltale signs and address them before they leave you stranded on the side of the road!