Some time ago we were talking about some of the most common symptoms that a car can show and that are indicators of a possible incipient breakdown, but today we are going to focus that early detection with only one sense: the ear.
Before entering into the matter, it is convenient to remember that for this mission it is not necessary to be a scholar in mechanics, although it is convenient to have some experience with our car to know some details.
With the passing of the kilometers, we will know every sound and every feature of our car, which would make any change in its operation something easy to detect. Surely you have heard sometimes the phrase ‘my car makes noise …’, well, that noise may be saying something and if we can understand what happens before it happens, we will save money.
The first thing we must check is if it was something punctual or continuous, if it is with the engine in cold, in hot or if it is during all the time. Then we must locate the area from which it comes and finally, if possible, find out what part is causing it, although this is more complicated and requires knowledge of the operation of the various elements of a vehicle.
We can find several types of sounds depending on the parts they come from: rubbing noises, impact noises, clearance noises, or mechanical noises, to give an example of the most common ones. Knowing what the sound is like we can get a better idea of what can go wrong. In order to put ourselves in the situation, we are going to comment on the possible symptoms that we can hear and their solution.
Sounds from the engine
The propeller is one of the most complex parts of a vehicle, formed by a huge number of components that work with each other. If there is a failure or a breakdown, it is important to know what it can be, because if it is caught in time it can be a small problem that only affects one part of a huge breakdown that ends up influencing many parts.
There are many things that can happen and that, although it seems to be of the engine, it is of another element that assists the engine or performs some parallel function. Many of the peripheral components can be the problem instead of the engine and detecting them can make things easier. Some cases may be:
- Sounds like it’s in slow motion: the easiest thing is that we are running out of battery. It can happen if we haven’t changed the battery for a long time, if we haven’t used the car for a long time, or if it starts to get cold. To solve this, we can take the battery to be charged, and if it does not recover, we will have to put a new one.
- Unstable idle: we call idle the engine running at no load, ie, engine running but the car stopped and not accelerated. It has to be stable, without ups and downs. If we hear it goes up and down, which is not regular (you may not see it in the needle of the frame), solve it by changing air and diesel filters so that the engine breathes well and check that there are no obstructions. It can also be momentary and not to be repeated, so you should not worry.
Diesel engines can have unstable idling when the engine is very cold
- Noises when the engine is cold: Sometimes the noises are produced because the oil is not lubricating the parts, a sound that ends up disappearing after a few seconds. If we open the engine hood and hear it coming from the top of the engine, the problem may come from the valves and we must take the car to adjust its clearance. This is something that happens in cars with a few years behind them, it has been a long time since a valve regulation is needed.
- Loud and high-pitched noise with the engine running: This is one of the most easily identified by the irritating sound and usually comes from a belt that is worn and skids on the engine pulleys. Usually, if we follow the proper maintenance periods, modern belts do not have to sound but can always go through changes in temperature or humidity, so the same does not touch or spend money. Usually, it is the service belt, because the timing belt is not slipping (if it slips, say goodbye to the engine).
- Whistle when accelerating: In turbo engines, when the compressor takes the pressure and starts to do its job, a whistle is usually heard coming from the compressor. It is something normal and we should not worry about it. If that hissing sound is higher than normal, it could be a leak in some hose, which has an easy and cheap solution. The bad thing that can also come from the turbocharger itself, something that is not so cheap.
Vibrations, noise and crackling when braking
That some type of noise sounds when braking does not have to be bad, the brakes work by friction and sometimes they sound. But that doesn’t mean we should let it go, because if it is repeated or accompanied by other things like vibrations or crackling, there will be nothing left but to go through the workshop.
- High-pitched sound when braking: It is more than possible that the brake pads are worn out. When the brake pad ferrule is finished it starts to rub the iron with the brake disc. Some cars are equipped with a sensor that will warn us on the panel when they run out, but not even all modern cars have it. It is also possible that there is dirt between the pad and the disc or that the pads have crystallized. In the first case, it will be removed, although with a good ‘hose’ it will be solved. In the second case, the pads must be changed, as there is a risk that they will not break as they should and that they will make marks on the discs and touch them before they are changed.
The sound when braking can be occasional, produced by dirt that with the passage of kilometers or even meters, disappears
- High-pitched sound and vibrations: Everything mentioned above can happen to us here, but the vibrations should make us alert. We should never notice vibrations (when we brake there are many vibrations, but they are at a frequency that we do not notice) and may be due to pills in bad condition or a deformed disc.
- Cracks when braking: The brake system is composed of several elements, all of them held by screws and clips, it is possible that when braking you can hear some crackle that is either momentary for any reason or on the contrary, that there is some loose part. It is possible that if the brake pad is incorrectly mounted, it may be possible to hear a sort of crackle when braking, or that the pad itself may have broken. It may sound like a crackle but it is not from the brakes, but from the suspension, as it compresses when we break.
Blows from the suspension when taking corners
It’s a typical “injury” from driving on bad roads, dealing with potholes and holes at high speed, hitting curbs, overcoming speed bumps, and ‘lying guards’ without much care. This type of isolated dry bumps gives away the existence of play in some elements of the suspension/steering. The origin is varied: stabilizer bar stubs, shock absorbers, or cups, for example. As there can be several culprits, it is necessary to look for the element that has begun to have played and tighten it, in case the noise persists it will be necessary to proceed to its substitution.
We must not “leave it for another day”, the suspension and steering are key elements in our car, directly affect the safety and if for any reason, any of them fail, we can have a very unpleasant scare in the form of an accident.
Hi, I’m Liam. I’m the initiator and writer of this blog. Cars were and will be my first love, and my favorite hobby, that’s why I decided to start this blog and write about my discoveries and techniques to improve my cars or repair them.