7 Car Sounds that Could Mean Trouble After an Accident

Posted on: September 14, 2020


Car Sounds that Could Mean Trouble After An Accident

Hearing a clicking sound when starting your car? Maybe a rattling noise when you’re idling at a stoplight? Or perhaps your engine simply sounds louder than usual?

While various car sounds could be caused by a wide range of mechanical or body issues, many of them can also help to identify and fix the problem. Whether you’ve noticed rattling sounds in your car after a recent accident or a screeching noise when you first turn it on, it may be a good idea to find out what’s going on.

Here are some of the most common car sounds and the possible issues that may be making them.

1. Clicking

There are a handful of potential problems if your car or truck is making a clicking sound. This sound could be happening either when you are starting your car or while it is already running.

One of the most common issues that cause a clicking sound when starting a car is either a dead battery or low voltage. Your vehicle may sound like it is trying to start but ends up doing nothing more than clicking at you. You’ll want to have your battery checked to see how much juice it has left while also ensuring you don’t have corroded battery terminals or a problem with your ignition system.

If you’re hearing a clicking sound in your car while it’s running, there are a few other things that could cause this. You may have low engine oil or a valve train that isn’t properly adjusted. Most commonly, clicking is caused by reciprocating components, which move backward and forward in a straight line such as pushrods, pistons, and valves.

Serpentine Drive Belt Tensioner Problem - Knocking

2. Knocking

A knocking sound in your vehicle is often caused by a problem with the air-fuel mixture in the cylinders. They may be firing in more than one spot at a time causing the noise.

Another well-known source of a knocking sound in a car is commonly called “rod knock”. Rod bearings in your vehicle are used to assist with smooth piston movement. But as time goes on they can wear out, causing the pistons to knock against your car’s crankshaft.

You’ll also want to check for bad belt tensioners and pulleys that may be leading to a knocking noise.

3. Rattling

Rattling could either be a simple and funny fix or a serious and costly repair. Oftentimes, people will hear rattling sounds in their car, which are caused by loose items such as soda cans, pens, coins, and other things. These can often be found in cup holders, in the center console, in-door storage pockets, or your glove box, and can simply be removed to stop the annoying sound.

On the other hand, the bigger problems are typically found when the rattling car sound is coming from the engine or exterior of the vehicle. The most frequent causes of rattling are from loose parts such as your exhaust system, a water pump that needs to be replaced, or a corroded pipe section.

If you’re hearing a rattling sound under your car, it could be that your catalytic converter has to be repaired or replaced.

Car Oil Leak from Engine

4. Hissing

As you can probably guess, a hissing sound from a car usually means there is a leak somewhere. If you’re hearing the sound coming from outside your vehicle, you may want to first check to see whether any of your tires have a slow leak.

A larger problem that often causes cars to make a hissing noise comes when your engine is overheating from a leaking cooling system. Leaks can occur in the radiator, hoses, coolant, and other areas. While refilling the coolant may temporarily fix this problem, it will simply continue to leak out until you get it replaced.

If no leaks are immediately noticeable, the hissing sound from your car could be caused by either the exhaust or catalytic converter as well.

5. Whining

We’ve all seen (and heard) a car make that loud and awful whining sound. The most common cause of this bothersome noise is the vehicle’s transmission, which is typically a difficult and expensive fix.

A whining sound from a car that is accelerating may be due to a low level of power steering fluid or a bad AC compressor. The vehicle could also have bad alternator bearings, a faulty piston, or a water pump that needs to be replaced.

One of the more simple fixes for a car making a whining sound is simply refilling the oil and checking for oil leaks.

6. Squeaking

Although some people may feel squeaking or screeching is similar to whining, these higher pitched sounds could be caused by completely different issues with your vehicle.

Is your car making a screeching noise when you are braking? It’s possible that your brake or pads are wearing down and need to be replaced. If you were recently in an accident, this squeaking sound could also be happening because your vehicle’s alignment is off.

For anyone hearing a high-pitched screeching sound when they are accelerating, you may want to take a look at your fan belts or timing belts to see if they are wearing down.

Spark Plug - Damaged / Bad

7. Loud

While any of the car sounds mentioned above could be considered noisy, it is possible that your engine is simply running louder than usual. The cause of this could be a bit more general and take some additional time to diagnose due to the number of probable causes.

The most common reasons your car sounds louder than normal could be because of a bad spark plug, a damaged muffler, or a problem with the catalytic converter. Vehicles that have an automatic transmission may even have an issue with their torque converter due to low transmission fluid.

As always, make sure you also check to make sure that you don’t have low or old oil.

Get Your Car Sounds Checked By an Expert

No matter what noises are coming from your vehicle, it is always a good idea to have a professional take a closer look. The sounds could be caused by an accident or simply be from basic wear and tear. But a mechanic or auto expert will be able to get down to the root of the problem and help you get it repaired.

If you find yourself in need of auto bodywork or other aesthetic repairs, the team at Todd’s Auto Body is here to help you! Give us a call today at (217) 431-7209 with any questions or to get a free estimate!


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