Intermittent Car Noises That Signal The Need For Repair

It only takes an instant for an automobile driver to notice an unusual sound coming from their vehicle. If the suspicious sound persists, the source of the noise can usually be pinpointed fairly quickly. Intermittent noises, however, may take longer to diagnose. The conditions under which an intermittent noise occurs may need to be recreated several times before the cause of the noise is discovered.

Some unusual car noises indicate that a repair is urgently needed. Other vehicle sounds are less of a cause for immediate concern. As a result, automobile owners should determine the cause of any unusual noise created by their vehicle. There are a few mechanical problems that can produce a distinctive noise on an intermittent basis.

Belt squeal at engine startup

A squealing sound from under the hood of your car may be due to a loose engine belt. The engine belts utilize the power of the engine to rotate components such as the alternator and the water pump. When your car engine is first started, a loose belt can slip for a moment before the components reach their normal turning speed.

If your engine belt squeals only momentarily at startup, tightening the belt may solve the problem. However, the belt should be inspected to determine its condition. If the belt is noticeably worn, your car will likely need a new replacement belt to stop the squealing noise.

Clicking from front wheels during turns

Owners of vehicles with front-wheel drive should pay prompt attention to any clicking sound coming from the front wheels when turns are navigated. A clicking noise could be indicative of a failing constant-velocity joint. Also known as a CV joint, the constant-velocity joint is part of the axles that link the engine to each of the front wheels.

The CV joint allows the engine to deliver a constant velocity of power to the wheels, even as the turning angle of the vehicle changes. If you suspect that you may have a faulty CV joint, your vehicle should be professionally inspected as soon as possible.

Whining under hood during sharp turns

Another intermittent noise that may be heard when a vehicle is turning sharply is the sound of the power steering pump. The power steering pump is one of the components driven by the engine belts. If you hear a whining sound when your steering wheel is turned sharply to either side, the power steering pump may be low on fluid or possibly leaking.

Vehicle sounds are not conclusive evidence of a problem. Therefore, further inspection or testing is sometimes necessary to minimize the cost of a repair. Contact an automotive service facility such as Newton Tire Company for more advice on automobile repair.