8 Engine Noises You Should Absolutely Not Ignore

 Nobody likes to hear strange noises coming from their car’s engine. But, there are times when you can safely ignore them and other times when you can’t. What does whirring or whining indicate? How about loud brakes? While you’re optimizing your vehicle’s performance, don’t stop there. Having the best financial protection in case of an accident is another way to maximize your assets. Find affordable car insurance quotes so you can discern the best policy for you and your family.

Whining or Whirring

Generally, if you are hearing a whining or whirring noise coming from your engine, it likely indicates an issue with one of the car’s belts. Since belts (which are really circular straps constantly rotating at high speed) wear out over time, it makes sense that eventually, they will stretch, crack and need replacing. Replacing belts isn’t expensive but if ignored it can create more serious problems in the future.

Other issues that these sounds can indicate include:

  • Low power steering fluid
  • Deteriorating power steering pump
  • Failing water pump
  • Alternator problems
  • Air conditioning system issues


Whistling noises indicate something leaking somewhere. If the whistling is happening only when you are driving, it could very well be the weather stripping around the doors and windows. It’s used to prevent water, debris and wind from getting inside of the car, but over time it can wear out and provide the opportunity for wind to rush through.

If you have roof racks, they may also be the reason you hear whistling. They tend to be very difficult to position correctly and if they aren’t, they will cause a whistling noise.

A whistling noise coming from the engine area could indicate a bigger issue, especially if you are hearing it while the car is stationary or even turned off. There might be a leak with the engine’s cooling system, the radiator pressure cap could be damaged or other hoses might be cracked or loose.


The most likely issue you’re facing with a ticking noise is that your oil levels are running low. The engine pistons rely on oil to help them run smoothly, and if there isn’t enough oil to lubricate the pistons, you’ll hear clicking noises as they dry out.

The ticking could also be an indication of bad spark plugs, misaligned valves, and worn out valve train components. If you’ve checked the oil levels and know the ticking is not because of low oil, take the vehicle to your trusted mechanic to get it checked out.

Noise When Turning

If you are noticing your car making strange noises only when you turn – and sometimes it’s either just to the left or to the right – there could be a number of causes behind it. The first thing to check is the tires. Are they worn out? Deflated? If they are, get them fixed. This is a serious possibility because bad tires could mean it is dangerous to drive your car.

The other issue that could be happening is that the wheel bearings are worn out or the wheel balancing is incorrect. You’ll need to make an appointment with your mechanic to resolve these issues.

Loud Brakes

Your will pretty much know immediately if there is something wrong with your brakes. They might be loud when you’re applying them, they might feel spongy or they just don’t feel right. Whatever the case is, take your vehicle to your mechanic right away to have them checked out. Bad brakes should never be ignored.


If you’re hearing a noise from the undercarriage that is similar to when you’re driving over rough terrain or a speed hump, chances are good that there is something wrong with the suspension. Before taking it to your mechanic, however, take a look under the vehicle and see if there is a loose tailpipe or if the muffler has detached, which could also cause this noise.


If your car sounds like it’s about to run a race, you could have a hole in your muffler. This issue doesn’t affect the vehicle’s performance at all, but it could allow toxic fumes to leak into the interior of the car, so the issue should be fixed right away.


Everyone knows what their car sounds like on a good day – and if you’re experiencing something different, it’s worth looking into. If your car sounds a little off when you’re idling, it could be cracked, broken or burned out spark plugs. Another issue could be cylinder compression, where egregiously high pressure is taking place in the cylinder. This is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

Don’t turn up the radio to mask the sounds your car is making! Listen to them carefully and with some deductive reasoning, you can figure out the issue.

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