10 Car Noises & What They Could Mean

As we drive out vehicles, over time they all begin to accumulate some wear and tear, regardless of how well we take care of them. Unfortunately, that is the reality when it comes to anything with mechanical parts! If you hear a strange noise coming from your vehicle, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong, but it can.


Here are the few strange noises and what they could mean, so that you can be as prepared as possible.


  1. Growling noise. This could mean low power-steering fluid levels.
  2. Ticking under the front bonnet. While a slight ticking can be normal, a loud ticking could be lifter or valve train noise, so you should check your oil levels as soon as possible, just in case.
  3. Loud clunking noise when you put the vehicle into gear. If you have a RWD, this could be failing u-joints. If you have a FWD, this sound could mean a worn motor mount.
  4. Squeaking sound or pop from the front end. If this is happening when you go over speed bumps, this could mean your ball joints are failing.
  5. A clunking sound when you step on the brakes. This could mean a caliper is loose or misaligned, or another piece of brake hardware is loose.
  6. Grinding when you step on the brakes. This could mean that the brake pad’s wear indicator is dragging or the pads are worn to the point of metal on metal contact or grinding.
  7. Squealing when you step on the brakes. This could mean your brake pads are starting to wear down.
  8. A continuous clicking noise while the AC unit is running. This could mean the AC unit’s refrigerant is running low. If this is the case, you should also notice that the AC is not running optimally, either.
  9. An irregular rattle coming from beneath the vehicle while driving. This could be a loose exhaust component or hanger.
  10. A hissing noise coming from beneath the front bonnet. This could be a vacuum leak.


Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find a mechanic close to home.

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