A knock on your door at 3 in the morning can surely put any person on edge. But you know what’s scarier? Hearing a random knock coming from your engine while you are traveling at high speeds. Strange engine sounds are considered one of the “scariest” things a driver can see or hear while driving. It can come as a knock, ping, clicking, or low, muffled sound. The thing is, when a weird sound comes from your engines, it’s a sign something is wrong, and you should probably stop.
But not all strange engine sounds are the same. Which one are you experiencing, and what’s the probable culprit? As we list the most common engine sounds you might hear, let’s find out what they mean.
Strange Engine Sounds And What They Mean
- The culprit: Loose serpentine belt
A squealing sound is never good in any situation. But when it hails from under your car’s hood, it becomes a bit more serious. The most common source of a squealing sound from your engine is the serpentine belt. It can be either loose or worn. When the serpentine belt is having issues, some engine accessories will get affected.
However, if you think the squealing only happens when you turn, it could also be your steering system. Squealing when you hit the brakes can mean your brake pads need to be changed.
- The culprit: Possible worn-out bearings, worn clutch, or bad CV joint.
A grinding sound coming from your engine compartment can be the result of a lot of things. If you hear the grinding sound while driving and even when idling, there’s a big chance your bearings are worn out.
Hearing a grinding sound when you shift is a sign you have a clutch that needs replacing. Lastly, hearing grinding noises when you make a turn can mean you need to replace a CV joint or look at the health of your car’s suspension.
Sound: Tapping and clicking
- The culprit: Low oil
When your engine starts to emit a tapping or clicking noise, the most common reason will be that it is low on oil. To verify this, just add more oil to the engine. If the sound stops, it’s caused by low oil.
However, this is not a solution, as the low oil levels may be a sign that there is a much bigger problem. It’s important to take your car to a mechanic to verify the reason your car has low oil.
Sound: A loud bang
- Culprit: Backfire
If you hear a sudden loud bang from your engine that sounds like the 4th of July, you might have just heard your car backfire.
A backfire happens when the fuel does not get appropriately burned inside the combustion chamber. When the fuel-to-air ratio becomes too rich or too lean, it can cause a backfire. It’s always wise to stop the car and call a tow truck in this situation.
- The culprit: Detonation knock
While a detonation knock can sound like a cartoon character’s finishing move, it’s a reasonable cause of strange engine noise. A metallic knock or ping sound results when the cylinders detonate in more than one place simultaneously.
Knocking sounds can be caused by several things, including loading your car with gas with the wrong octane rating, poor timing, or a broken knock sensor.
Don’t Put Up With Strange Engine Sounds
When running properly, you shouldn’t hear anything unexpected from your engine. Call a mechanic right away if you think your engine is making a weird or strange noise.
Better yet, give T3 Atlanta a ring. Our trusted team of expert mechanics can diagnose any strange engine noise coming from your vehicle. With over 25 years of service, you can rest assured knowing your Lexus, Infiniti, Toyota, or Nissan is in good hands with T3 Atlanta.