Until we all start driving silent electric vehicles, it’s normal for cars to make some noise. A noisy acceleration here, a squeaky windscreen wiper there, many noises are not cause for concern. However, some noises are a sign that something is not quite right with your car.
The first step when you hear a noise is to try and determine where it might be coming from. Is coming from the wheels or the bonnet? Does it sound louder when the windows are down? Do you hear it more when going slow or fast? This will help to narrow down what might be wrong.
If you hear any of these noises, we recommend getting it checked out by a professional as soon as possible. `
Grinding when braking
Brake pads will start to squeal as they start to wear. This isn’t necessarily cause for concern. Once the sound turns into more of a grinding, this indicates the brakes have been worn past the squeal, which indicates bare metal rubbing on bare metal. Your brake pads are completely worn. Get to a mechanic ASAP, because you can’t afford to drive with underperforming brakes.
Squealing under the bonnet
A high pitched squeal coming from under the bonnet is likely an indication of a damaged or slipped accessory belt. As the belt loses traction and starts making noise, it becomes less effective. It will likely need to be replaced, so don’t ignore it.
Hissing once the car is stopped
If after turning off the engine you hear a hissing sound coming from under the bonnet, this can indicate something is leaking onto the hot engine. Be careful investigating this one yourself as the engine components can be very hot. If your car has been running hot, it could be a coolant leak, in which case you should stop driving and get to a mechanic to diagnose it as soon as possible.
Groan when going around corners
If your car is making a groaning, creaking sound when you turn the steering wheel, you may be experiencing problems with your power steering system. Some power steering issues are minor, requiring a top up of power steering fluid or a belt adjustment, but others are major and could affect your ability to safely control your car. To be safe, it’s best to get your car checked out.
Roaring when accelerating
If you notice a roaring noise when accelerating up a hill or when trying to overtake, there may be something wrong with your exhaust system. Even a small crack will stop the exhaust from working efficiently to quieten engine noise. And even more concerning, a malfunctioning exhaust can result in toxic fumes, such as carbon monoxide, entering the car. If you start hearing this noise, you know what to do; get your car to a mechanic.
You may notice a trend here; when in doubt get your car to a mechanic who can investigate further. It’s not worth driving around in a car that isn’t performing properly. There’s a risk you will lose control if your car is malfunctioning and also a risk that a small issue can rapidly get worse if you don’t address it. When your vehicle makes a new noise, as a general rule it’s best to get it checked out by a professional. If your car is trying to tell you something, don’t ignore it.
Whether you’re driving your car or keeping it stationary while you do repairs, you should take care of your vehicle with NRMA Car Insurance. There are a range of cover options including Fire and Theft and Comprehensive Insurance. For more information visit https://www.nrma.com.au/car-insurance