What’s Wrong With My Car Now? — Sound Edition

Vishal Bhaskaran

Vishal Bhaskaran


Much like a baby who cannot verbalise the problem, cars will attempt to communicate to you that all is not well via sounds. Sometimes a variety of them at the same time. Here are the most common, and we hope you never score five for five.

1. High-pitched Squeal

Fix Your brakes or you will be going everywhere in a hurry

If this is what you get whenever you hit the brakes, your brake pads have had it. What you’re hearing is the metal on metal sound of the brake pad base against the brake discs. If your pads are new, it could be that a small stone has got itself lodged on your brake pads and is now scratching your brake discs every time you hit the brake pedal. Both of these are bad. To avoid further damage to your brake discs, get to a service centre ASAP.

2. Whirring

Use your ears and mouth in the proportion they were given to you - my mother

This could be the sign of worn-out bearings. It takes a trained ear or an obsessive car owner to pick up on this, however, as it is quite faint — you may need to switch off your air conditioning and radio to catch it. Usually not an urgent fix, just make sure you get to it on your next scheduled service.

3. Squeaking

Ice Cube's bouncing is a result of hydraulics done on purpose. Yours is anything but.

Is this happening over bumps or rough roads? Most likely a sign of worn-out shock absorbers. You can do the time-honoured bounce test by pressing down on the back or front of the car, if it bounces too easily, chances are your absorbers need replacing. This could also signal the presence of actual rodents in your car, especially if underused or regularly parked in dirty environments.

4. Creaking

"O great Hammer Gods, removes this vexatious creaking."

This is tough. Is is the chassis? The doors? The steering rack? Skeletons coming out of your closet? Get this checked by an expert. If you’ve recently had some tinting or trim work done, you might need some realignment or lubrication. The spectrum here is huge, so best not to self diagnose. Or feign deafness.

5. Rattling

If it rattles,remove it. militant weight reduction.

Good luck with this one. Various interior parts of your car are held together by clips, and over time these clips can wear out or break due to no fault of the driver. Identifying the offending part is time consuming and usually not worth it, so unless you’re planning a restoration or full interior detailing, just live with it if you can.

. . .

Is your car’s orchestra different from this, or do you have any experience with a quicker diagnosis of the above sounds? Let us know in the comments below. And just so you know, if your next car is from a Flux subscription, all you have to do is get in touch with us if your car starts making unwelcome noises and we’ll sort it for you.


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