As with most components of the modern lifestyle, many of us take our cars for granted. Unless (like your favorite mechanic in Pompano Beach) you are a petrol head, you probably ignore your wheels, until something goes wrong. Any machine requires some TLC from time to time and your vehicle is no different. At Foreign Affairs Motorwerks, we are all about preventative maintenance. One of the best ways to keep in tune with your auto is to listen to its engine noises. Internal combustion engines are quite vocal, and it’s fairly easy to diagnose a fault simply by allowing them to air their views.
That being said, let’s take a look at five engine noises that should get your immediate attention:
Timing Tick Tock
Any loud ticking sound that comes from the engine bay isn’t something that should be ignored.
If the noises stop when the vehicle is standing still, it means that something is interfering with the wheels or the drive train. In this case, check the tire pressure. If one wheel is less than all the others, you have probably driven over a nail or a screw. It might be time to patch a tire. If not, look underneath the car for obvious obstructions to the wheels. These could be anything from half a tree to plastic packets or bottles. If nothing is visible, you might have a suspension issue. The suspension is critical to safety, so we suggest you pop into our Pompano Beach shop to get that checked most ricky-tick.
If it carries on when the vehicle is stationary, the problem is usually related to the valvetrain. This could be a fault with the timing belt, lack of oil pressure, or chain tension. The easiest test for this is to check if the vehicle is quiet when you start it up first thing in the morning. If this is the case, you need some valve work done. Better to get this sorted sooner rather than later, as a failed timing belt can cause severe engine damage.
Tap-Tap or Knock-Knock
Do you hear these engine noises when you travel on a bumpy road? Does it seem to come from the underside of your auto? If you just answered yes to either one of these, it’s likely you have a suspension or braking system issue.
Worn suspension rods or bushes often cause the suspension to knock against the undercarriage. Best not to ignore this engine noise as a well-maintained suspension will keep you safe in the event of bad weather or rough roads.
Clunk or Thunk
This might sound like an engine noise, but it’s actually coming from the transmission.
Usually when you shift from park to drive or the other way around or else when the auto decides to change gear. Sometimes the noise may be accompanied by a jerk (not the male variety). This means that the transmission is in need of a service. Sometimes it’s as simple as an oil and filter change, but it could also be a sign of a failing transmission, especially on some higher mileage vehicles, or Audis.
Whistle or Whine
If this noise changes pitch with engine speed, it’s most likely related to the accessory belt.
Modern vehicles have one belt that is threaded in a serpentine pattern. This means it usually requires one or two tensioners and carries the entire load of the engine accessories. What do we mean by accessories? Oh, basically alternator, air conditioning, water pump, and power steering (on some cars). Yep, you don’t want this puppy to snap. Especially not in the South Florida heat.
If you are rewarded by something that sounds roughly equivalent to your teenager’s heavy metal tunes when you press the brake, we’ve got news for you. Your brake disks or at very least the brake pads of your auto are toast. Brake pads have a special abrasive lining bonded to a steel plate that creates the friction to stop your vehicle. With time this lining wears away and you’re left with steel on steel, hence the Darth Punk sounds…
Engine Noises You Can’t Explain? Call a Mechanic!
Not all engine noises mean that there is a serious problem. For example, a quiet ticking (only audible during idle) is normal for a working injection system. The best rule of thumb is, if it sounds wrong, get it checked. There’s a lot riding on your tires. At your favorite auto mechanic in Pompano Beach, we have your back. Call us at 954-746-0488 to schedule a check-up for your vehicle, today!