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Common Car Noises and What to do About Them

Common Car Noises and What to do About Them

Banging…pinging…squeaking…screeching: these are all common noises that you may have heard at one time or another emanating from your vehicle. Sometimes you know exactly what the noise is, such as the brake system on its way out. Other times, you have no idea what the sound means or how extensive a repair it will take.

It’s important to note that all strange noises don’t indicate something serious. However, any time you hear a repeated noise you’re not used to, you should have it looked at just to make sure.

Check out some of the most common car noises, what they may mean, and what to do about them.

Tire Noise
Your tires can make many abnormal noises, and they can each signal a different issue. Perhaps your tires are underinflated or overinflated, or maybe you are dealing with unbalanced tread depths. Uneven wear from one tire is a common problem in many cars today. Alignment issues are another concern. It’s tough to know what’s what, though, so always take your car to your local mechanic to find out for sure.

  • Squealing: Have you ever heard a squealing sound as you turn the steering wheel? An underinflated tire is the likely culprit. Adding air to your tires could fix the problem. Riding around with underinflated tires can adversely affect not only your tires, but your suspension system as well.
  • Humming: It’s normal to hear a slight humming noise as you drive, but if it increases to a very loud level, this is cause for concern. Uneven tread wear is to blame, which can result from a faulty suspension system or wheel bearings. Have your tires rotated every time you get your oil changed.
  • Thudding and Slapping: These noises can signal anything from very underinflated tires to alignment and suspension issues, and should be addressed immediately. You could be about to blow a tire or damage your suspension.


Braking puts a lot of wear and tear on your car. You shouldn’t hear any noise when applying the brakes in normal conditions. If you hear any of the following sounds, you will need to get your car checked out.

  • Rattling: Some rattling is normal as your brake pads expand with heat and friction. But if you hear the rattle when you apply the brakes or hear a consistent rattle that doesn’t go away, this is cause for concern in regards to your brake pads.
  • Grinding: This means your brakes are wearing through their pads. The grinding sound comes into play when metal makes contact with metal, says Geico. You’ll need your brake pads replaced if you act quickly. If you drive like this over the longer term, you can cause extensive damage to your whole brake system.
  • Squeaking: This is a sign it’s time to get new brake pads.


Your suspension system is there to make sure your car rides along smoothly. But there are many complex systems involved responsible for controlling your wheels and the body, so any issue with your suspension system may have severe and far-reaching effects. Maybe you’ve heard a knocking or clunking noise when you drove over a pothole or speed bump.

This could signal a problem with the shocks or struts, ball joints, or control arms. You’ll need some professional diagnostics done to make sure.


Engine failure is never a good thing, and often a source of anxiety for many vehicle owners. Most engine noises signal that the engine is having problems. It’s worn out or damaged, perhaps. You may hear a variety of sounds in relation to your engine, such as popping, hissing, pinging, whirring, grinding or knocking, and each one may mean a different thing.

Sometimes you may start out driving and hear one noise, but over the course of your trip, you hear another. Maybe it goes away for a bit but then comes back, or maybe it happens when you’re pushing your vehicle to its limit.

No one wants to see their Check Engine light come on, but this is nothing to ignore. Take it to a professional ASAP.

Bottom line with any car noise is, don’t ignore it. Your car is trying to tell you something! You will save yourself a lot of money and headache later if you address small issues now.

Contact Rick and Ray’s Auto Plaza

If you have been concerned about hearing the above noises and want us to troubleshoot and repair the issue, contact us at 871-335-2073.