Sounds That May Require A Trip To An Auto Repair Shop

You will hear numerous sounds, both inside and outside your vehicle, while driving under normal conditions. Most noises are benign and harmless, and some can be quite pleasant. However, there are specific sounds, often accompanied by other non-auditory signals, that should be checked by a local auto repair shop.

These sounds could indicate possible future malfunctions that could leave you stranded in an unwelcome area or lead to massive repair bills.

The sound of birds chirping

While the sounds of songbirds greeting the new day can be enchanting, a frantic chirping sound, particularly when you start your vehicle or begin to accelerate, can indicate a loose belt. In a best case scenario, a loose belt will not perform efficiently. All components powered by the belt will not work as well. The fan may not cool the engine sufficiently if the fan belt is loose. If a serpentine belt is loose, the alternator will not charge the battery sufficiently and the air conditioner will fail to cool the vehicle well.

If a belt is not tightened or replaced, depending upon the condition of the belt, it may eventually break from the friction caused by the loose belt spinning on metallic pulley wheels. A broken fan belt could mean an overheated engine and breakdown, while a broken serpentine belt will cause you to lose battery power and air conditioning, leading to an eventual engine shutdown.

Engine sounds

Valve tapping

If you hear a tapping sound that rises in frequency as the engine speed increases, it is the sound of an engine valve tapping against metal, and indicates an oil flow issue. Your engine's components need a steady flow of oil for lubrication, and if this lubrication is disrupted, metal engine parts will be worn away, causing serious (and expensive) damage.

Valve tapping is a serious issue, and requires a timely trip to an auto repair shop for inspection and repairs. Procrastination will lead to further damage and possible engine failure.

Excessive engine speeds

If your engine runs faster than normal when you attempt to accelerate, and makes a roar that doesn't match its slower speed, you may be facing transmission issues. The engine must work harder to force the transmission to switch to a higher gear.

This sound may be accompanied by a higher than normal reading on the temperature gauge, and a slight hesitation in acceleration leading to a sudden jolt forward or backward, as the transmission "slips" then jumps suddenly into the next gear.

You should have your engine checked at a local car repair shop if your engine is roaring without provocation, especially if the accompanying signs of transmission issues are present. Transmission work can be almost as expensive as engine work, especially if a problem is allowed to continue for an extended period.

Either of these issues can leave you sitting in an inoperable vehicle in complete silence, which can fill a driver with more dread than any sound their vehicle can devise.