Is your car making weird noises on your way to work? It’s a good idea to have your car inspected before something goes wrong, and you’re stranded on the side of the highway calling AAA. There are several reasons why your car might be making weird noises. Each noise creates a unique sound that can help a mechanic identify and fix the problem before it becomes an automotive disaster.

What Car Noises Mean it’s Time for Auto Repair?

Here are ten common noises vehicles emit and what parts you need to have replaced in order to get your car back into working order.


If you hear a squealing noise, it’s usually from worn belts, like the fan belt of the power steering. When you hear this sound there’s a good chance the belts need adjusting or replacing.

Leaving the problem results in the belt potentially snapping – not something you want to have to happen to your steering at you’re turning a corner.

A broken fan belt could cause the radiator to overheat, seizing the engine. A trained mechanic will identify the worn belt, replace it, and have you on your way in no time.

Humming, Whining, or Whirring

If a strange humming or whirring sound comes from under the car, it could be due to a faulty fuel pump, a dry transmission, or an unlubricated differential.

If the fuel pump fails, nothing delivers gas to the engine. On the other hand, if the differential locks or breaks, you lose traction. Meanwhile, if the transmission goes, there’s no way for your vehicle to change gears.


Creaking noises coming from under the hood usually indicate problems with the suspension or steering. These noises may also sound like groaning, squeaking, or clicking.

It might be a quick fix, requiring something as easy as topping up the steering fluid feeding the power steering pump. Or it could be a more complex problem involving worn CV or universal joints in the steering rack causing the sound.

Screeching or Grinding

A screeching or grinding noise coming from the front or rear wheels usually indicates the brake pads or drums are worn and need replacing.

It’s common for worn brake pads to produce a grinding sound as the metal on the pads contacts the metal discs.

Worn drums tend to make a screeching or rubbing noise indicating over-wearing and that they should be replaced.


A flapping noise coming from under the hood is a sign of a broken belt slapping against other components in the engine compartment.

In some cases, it might only be debris contacting the fan causing the sound. Stop and check under the hood immediately before the problem results in an extensive repair.


If your car won’t start and there’s a clicking noise coming from under the hood, it is a sign that the car battery is dead.
The clicking is the sound of the starter motor trying to turn over. However, with no current coming from the battery, it just results in a fast-pacing clicking noise.


A knocking noise from the engine usually indicates problems with the air/fuel mixture. Check that you’re adding the right octane fuel when you fill up at the gas station, and you can avoid this problem. A knocking sound could also indicate faulty spark plugs or fuel injectors in non-carburetor engines.


If you hear a hissing noise coming from under the hood, it’s a sign that the radiator is overheating. If there’s steam coming from the engine compartment, it means there’s a leak.


Rattling is usually a sign of a loose exhaust pipe clashing against the chassis. One or more of the exhaust rubbers likely snapped and needs replacing.


If there’s a shudder when driving, it usually means the wheel alignment is out. You’ll also notice a shudder in the steering wheel, especially when braking.

Schedule a service appointment here.

Dave & Rays Automotive Repair Shop in Omaha, NE

Our team has learned one thing: automotive problems are as varied and unique as the customers who bring them to us. Fortunately, our decades of experience in auto service and repair also mean that our skilled network of professionals is ready to accommodate an impressive scope of automotive issues. Contact us today.

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