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Never Ignore These 5 Dangerous Car Noises

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Many car noises indicate minor problems that can be fixed easily. However, some noises indicate serious issues that may pose risks to your safety. These are some examples of noises that can be serious and should always be addressed immediately.

1. Grinding Or Scraping While Braking

As a rule, your brakes should be mostly quiet. If your brake pads are damp, you may hear creaking or groaning noises when you are slowing down. They may also make squealing sounds in cold temperatures. If you hear a scraping or grinding sound when you come to a stop, your brake pads need to be replaced immediately. People who make the mistake of ignoring this problem can wind up with destroyed brake pads. Also, your rotors may be ruined. If this happens, you will be paying much more than you would have paid to get new brake pads. Worn pads can cause friction on the brakes that results in them failing and becoming a safety hazard.

2. Engine Clicking Or Tapping

If the clicking or tapping noise sounds metallic, it may indicate a low oil level. However, it can also indicate an issue with oil pressure or the oil pump. First, try adding some more oil if the dipstick indicates a low level. Never overfill the crankcase. If this does not solve the problem, have a repair specialist look for oil leaks or pump problems. Do not keep driving the vehicle if the oil pressure warning light stays on even after adding oil to a low tank. Driving with low oil pressure causes severe and expensive engine damage.
Another serious engine sound is clattering or tapping when you speed up and drive up a steep hill. This often indicates engine detonation. Built-up combustion chamber carbon, defective knock sensors, low octane fuel and several other issues can cause this. Detonation is a serious form of combustion that can cause extensive damage to your engine.

3. Engine Hissing While Driving

If it sounds like your engine hisses while driving or after shutting it off, it may indicate an overheating problem or a coolant leak. Watch for the temperature warning light. Also, look to see if the temperature needle rises up close to the danger zone after driving for a short time. If your car overheats while driving, pull over. Overheating causes severe engine damage. Never try to open the radiator cap while the engine is hot. If you check under the hood and notice a sweet odor, this indicates a coolant leak. You can add a can of cooling system sealer if you are traveling and need a very short-term fix. Take the car to a repair specialist as quickly as possible since the leak will only worsen.

4. Squealing Wheel While Driving

If the wheel is chirping or making a high-pitched squeal, this often indicates an axle or wheel bearing that is about to fail. The noise comes and goes at different speeds, and it may become louder upon acceleration. If a bearing fails, the wheel could come loose from the car or lock up. This noise is often confused with wet brake pad noises. However, wet brake pads cause more of a creaking or groaning sound, and the noise goes away as the pads heat up and dry out.

5. Exhaust Roar While Accelerating

If the sound comes from under the vehicle and is loudest upon acceleration, it could indicate an exhaust system leak. It is usually in the exhaust manifold, gaskets or pipe connectors. Rusted pipes and mufflers are at risk for leaks. You will probably need at least a new muffler and may need new pipes.
Leaks in the exhaust system are dangerous because of the possibility of gas entering the passenger compartment. When this happens, passengers are exposed to carbon monoxide. Since it is odorless and colorless, there is no way of detecting when it enters the vehicle. Only a few minutes of exposure can alter alertness. A small concentration can also cause nausea, dizziness and headaches. Higher concentrations can be fatal. This sound is especially important to address quickly when the weather is cold and windows are always rolled up.
Many people put off going to a repair specialist when they hear these noises because of time constraints, budget worries or not realizing the seriousness of a car noise. The good news is that many noise-related repairs are more affordable when addressed early. If a vehicle noise indicates a safety issue and is ignored, it can lead to a serious accident. The cost of your own medical bills or liability claims for harming someone else or their property can be far more expensive than fixing the original issue. If you notice a strange noise, contact Creech Import Repair at 919.872.1999 and talk to a mechanic immediately.