Car sounds to beware of

Is your car trying to tell you something? How to listen out for signs that all is not well with your motor.

All drivers know to keep an eye on the road. But it’s also well worth keeping an ear to the road as well. The popularity of MP3 players and expensive in-car entertainment systems mean that many drivers are losing the skill of listening to their cars. But unusual sounds can be a way to diagnose potentially nasty problems before they do serious damage.

Here are three warning sounds to listen out for.

  1. If you hear a metallic pinging noise when you’re driving along this is most likely ‘pinking’ or ‘knocking’. This is when fuel detonates early, before the spark plug fires. If you have a high performance car this could mean you are using a fuel with too low an octane rating. Fill up with premium unleaded. Otherwise it may be a problem with the car’s engine management system.
  2. Squealing is almost always a belt. If you can hear a characteristic, continuous squeal, it is usually the rubber belt of a fan belt that has become dislodged. Tightening a fan belt is usually a job you can do yourself, but squealing might also be from the alternator belt, drive belt or timing belt, and these can be big jobs.
  3. If you hear a regular clicking sound – that can also be felt through the steering wheel or pedals, particularly when cornering – you may have a worn CV (constant velocity) joint. This is what transmits power to the wheels of front-wheel-drive cars, so it’s an essential repair.

Prevention is always better than cure so keeping your car fully and regularly maintained could help nip these problems in the bud.

If you want to avoid the most annoying noise of all, being asked incredulously: ‘How much did you spend on car insurance?’, ask Churchill for a car insurance quote today.