Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


Listen to Noise from Your Car - Vol.129

One of the best ways to protect your prized possession is to listen to the noise from your car. Your car can tell you a lot about what is going on with it. If you listen to noise from your car, you may learn about any potential problems and help you take care of them before they cost you even more money.

Many car parts can make noise. It is important to know what you should be listening for and what it could mean is happening with your vehicle.

If your tires are screeching when you are turning corners, you may have under-inflated tires. Be sure to check your tire pressure. If you are unsure what the tire pressure is supposed to be, check your owner's manual to see the weight recommended for inflating your tires. If you hear a humming or whining coming from your wheels while turning corners, your car may be telling you that the wheel bearings are failing. Have this checked out right away. A clicking noise coming from the wheels can indicate a lose hubcap. You may have to remove one at a time to determine which hubcap is loose.

A high pitched noise coming from under the hood, especially accompanied with steam coming from around the radiator cap, can mean that the radiator cap has blown or needs replaced. If your car is running at normal operating temperature and you hear the high-pitched noise around the radiator then you may want to have you radiator checked to ensure it is working properly. A high-pitched noise can also be indicating that a fan belt needs replaced. If you do not see any steam coming from your radiator, you will want to check out your fan belt as well.

If you hear a loud knocking coming from your engine, you will want to have your rocker arm checked out. If the rocker arm is loose, it can cause a knocking in the engine. Additionally, carbon buildup inside the engine can cause a knocking sound so you may need a professional to determine why the knocking has occurred. Either way, if you hear a knocking sound in the engine, you will want to have it checked out right away.

Air Conditioning
While you have the air conditioning running in your car, listen for screeching noises that seem to be coming from the engine area. This could indicate a loose serpentine belt. The same noise may be indicative of an AC pulley belt that is slipping.

Timing Belt
Listen for a noise from your car that sounds like a popping sound when you accelerate or brake. This can be indicative of a timing problem, which could be caused by a bad timing chain tensioner or a loose timing belt or chain.

While driving under normal condition, listen for whining noises from your car that increase or decrease as the transmission automatically shifts. A whining noise can mean that the transmission fluid level is low or, worse, that the fluid has become contaminated in which case it needs to be flushed. A faulty power steering pump can make a similar noise, however, in comparison, the howling is must louder when it is the power steering pump.

It is important to listen to the noise from your car and understand what it is trying to tell you. Your car may make many very distinct noises. If you take the time to listen to your car, it can tell you exactly what is wrong and what needs attention. Once you learn to listen to the noise from your car you will find that you can save yourself a lot of time and money by getting your car maintenance done before there is any serious damage.