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Weird Car Sounds That You Should Not Ignore

Friday, 23 September 2022

Scraping. Grinding. High-pitched whistling. Squeaks and squeals. No one wants to hear these sounds while driving.

But if you do hear them at some point, it's probably time to take it in for an inspection. Unusual car sounds might cause you to panic because it could mean costly repairs or even buying a new car. While you are bound to hear something unusual from time to time, there are car sounds that you definitely should not ignore.

Here is a list of distinct car sounds that should prompt you to bring your vehicle in to be seen by a licensed mechanic. We hope this guide will help you identify the sound and be able to explain it to your mechanic when you bring it in; this will help them diagnose the issue.

These 6 Car Sounds Could Mean Trouble

  1. A constant rattling sound coming from your car. 
  2. Brakes scraping, grinding, or squealing. 
  3. A sharp, high-pitched whistle. 
  4. A squeaking car noise while driving or a squeal that happens when you change speed. 
  5. A low rhythmic hum.
  6. A hiss that comes from the engine. 

Rattling Sound Under the Car

If you hear any type of rattling coming from your car undercarriage, it could indicate a misalignment of your exhaust system. Another reason you may hear rattling could be a damaged or loose heat shield, especially if your car is a bit older. 

Scraping Sounds When Braking

Brakes can be a costly fix, so ensure you are taking good care of them and maintaining them regularly. If you hear a grinding or scraping sound when you hit the brakes, you should check to see if your brake pads are worn. This should be done quickly so you can stay safe on the road and stop safely. Brake pads wear down for a variety of reasons, a big one being a pattern of heavy or fast braking. Pro Tip: Remember to keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you to avoid sudden braking. A good rule of thumb is to leave at least 3-second between you and the vehicle in front of you. 

Whistling Sounds Throughout the Car

This car sound can be particularly annoying and often hard to pinpoint! A high-pitched whistle can often be solved quickly and at a low cost. Check to see if your car is low on transmission fluid. If not, you may need to clean the car's dual injectors. Now hopefully, you can start your day off listening to a podcast, not your car singing to you!

Squealing Sound from the Tires or Wheel

A squealing noise from the wheel can indicate an issue with the axle or wheel bearing. Listen closely to the car's sound as you change the vehicle's speed. 

If you are prone to hitting curbs or potholes (no judgment!), you may have a bent wheel or damaged wheel hub bearing. This can be extremely unsafe and lead to even further, more costly tire damage

Low Humming Sound from Underneath 

A steady and low hum that comes from the undercarriage car could mean a few serious things. 

Hissing Sound from the Engine

If it sounds like there’s a hiss coming from the engine compartment while driving or even after turning the engine off, get your car checked as soon as possible. A hissing car sound could indicate that your engine is overheating or there is an issue with the coolant. 

Looking to level up on your road safety? Read our blog for more safe driving tips

If you're a car owner, you likely spend a lot of time in your car and are familiar with its nuances. If something seems off, take your car in so you can get back on the road quickly. Not only is good car maintenance integral to being a safe driver, but it can also be a game changer when it comes to car longevity. Proper vehicle care can prevent breakdowns on the road and help you avoid costly claims and dangerous accidents.

How Often Should I Take My Car in for Maintenance?

Good question. There are many different recommendations, and it's hard to pinpoint without knowing all the car's factors. How often is the car being driven? How old is the car? What is its make and model? What are local driving conditions like? The list can go on!

A good rule of thumb is the 50-100-150 rule recommended by many car mechanics. This puts a car in the shop for maintenance scheduled at every 50,000KM (30,000ish miles). Don’t panic if you miss the hard deadline, but ensure you get the routine maintenance your mechanic recommends. This is a standard formula but don’t worry if you fall outside of this recommendation. A well-maintained car can go hundreds of kilometres past those three service intervals. 


Of course, if you hear any of the car sounds mentioned above, take your car in for a maintenance check as soon as you can to address any much-needed repairs. Once your car is fixed, you can drive with peace of mind again.

Remember that in the unfortunate event of an accident, BIG has your back. The BIG insurance claim line is open 24/7 to assist you at any point during your claim. If you want service you can trust and an incredible price for car insurance, start your quote now.

By: Elizabeth Stephenson