Girl, with warmer weather here, if you’re hearing strange sounds coming from you car there’s something wrong. Period.
1. Hissing under your hood
If this happens wile driving, or after turning the engine off, the odds are this is NOT snakes trying to get out from under the hood, venomous or otherwise. Your car could be overheating. Do not pop the hood and try to take the cap off the radiator. It could pop like a hot champagne cork. Don’t do that. If you have roadside assistance, make the call. Another cause could be damaged vacuum hoses and leaks. Over time hoses wear out and must be replaced. Bring the car in and get it taken care of.
2. Metallic scraping, squeaking, squealing, grinding or growling
If you hear a squeaking or squealing noise, or a high-pitched grinding, your brake pads or shoes might be at the end of their life and must be replaced. And you didn’t know your brakes had shoes. Stilettos? If they’re whining, grinding or growling (sounds like something you hear at the dinner table, doesn’t it), get your brakes checked out immediately. It could be a sign the pads are so worn that metal is grinding on metal—a problem not to be ignored. It could lessen braking efficiency. This is dangerous.
3. A sound like a quarter, or a dollar in coin in a clothes dryer
Women know this sound. If you hear that sound rattling around inside a wheel at low speeds (and then not so much, or not at all as you drive faster) it could be a loose lug nut inside a hub cap. That might mean your wheel wasn’t tightened properly the last time it was removed and replaced. Woman! Take your car to a mechanic ASAP!
4. A rhythmic squeak that speeds up as you accelerate
If you have rear-wheel or four-wheel drive (read your manual if you don’t know, seriously) and hear this sound, the culprit could be one of the universal joints or both (U-joints), which are found in pairs and are components of the driveshaft. Get it checked by a mechanic IMMEDIATELY. I’ll bet many women know the universal joint is important. It sounds important, doesn’t it?
5. Shrieking, howling, whining or even “singing”
If it’s howling, we know this is bad, but why? It’s usually a sign your bearings (tiny metal balls that help parts rotate smoothly) aren’t working right. If you have front-wheel drive (again, check your manual if you don’t know), and the sound changes as you turn from side-to-side and back again, it could be your front-wheel bearings. A gradually growing, but steady howl might mean rear-wheel bearings. If you have rear-wheel drive and the whine gets louder as you accelerate, it’s likely to be your differential, which allows your wheels to spin at different rates when needed. Yup, could be your differential’s leaking fluid. That pesky differential. Get it fixed immediately. Squealing under the hood could come from loose or worn or accessory belts that drive things like your power steering pump, air conditioner compressor, and alternator. In newer model cars, it could point to the serpentine belt, which drives multiple accessories at once, and is relatively easy and cheap to fix. Okay, if you DON’T GET all that, just take the car in if it starts shrieking and howling at you. Got it?
6. Rhythmic clunking, tapping or banging from under the hood
There could be a serious problem with valves, connecting rods or pistons. Get to a mechanic ASAP. Don’t wait for it to get to clunking. If you didn’t change your oil when you were supposed to, pull over and DO NOT DRIVE. Your engine could seize up and that will be the end of your car, unless you replace the engine. If you changed the oil, take it in when it’s just tapping. It’s not likely to get better with time. The sound will only get louder and your engine could seize up. Ladies, that’s bad, real bad. If you have roadside assistance, the best thing to is is call them immediately.
Tips: 1) Pay close attention to changing your oil. You mechanic will have placed a sticker at the top of the windshield with the mileage when it needs to be changed. 2) As stated above repeatedly, read your car’s manual. Seriously! That’s why the manufacturer provided it.