We seldom think of auto repair when our car is driving as it should. And why would we? It’s inconvenient, and sometimes expensive. The truth is today’s cars are incredibly reliable. However, if you’re a frequent driver, it’s likely you’re more in tune with your vehicle than you think and can easily pick out a foreign noise. So, turn down those tunes, and lend an ear as we break down the most common noises associated with auto repairs. And if you hear any of these problems be sure to get it checked by a certified mechanic in Downriver Michigan.
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Let’s be frank; an unusual noise from under the hood will cause many a motorist to panic. A modern engine relies on countless parts working in unison to get you to your destination. However, the most common noise from under the hood is typically your serpentine belt. When running properly, it shouldn’t make any noise at all. But as it wears, it produces a chirping or squealing noise that’s sometimes at its loudest when you first start the car.
The serpentine belt is responsible for powering many of your car’s vital systems; including the power steering pump, and the alternator. Fortunately, the serpentine belt is easily serviced and not terribly expensive – often lingering between $75-$200. If neglected, a worn serpentine belt can snap or fray, causing major headaches later.
Exhaust Your Options
Your car’s exhaust system consists primarily of sections of pipe designed to efficiently carry exhaust gasses away from the engine and emit them from the rear of the car. Rumbling, rattling, or any sputtering noises that come from either the rear, or beneath the car are common signs of faulty exhaust components.
The catalytic converter; the part responsible for scrubbing the exhaust of polluting hydrocarbons, generally sits mid center of the vehicle. If faulty, it may produce a rattling noise more evident at idle or low speeds. Although it’s not critical to the car’s function, the catalytic converter is legally required to function on all roadgoing cars. The cost for a repair or replacement is broad, ranging anywhere from $200 to over $1,500. If you suspect your catalytic converter is at fault, it’s best to get it checked as soon as possible to avoid more costly repairs down the road.
Sometimes exhaust noises are simple, as in the case of a loose heat shield. This piece serves to protect debris under the vehicle from the extreme heat emitted by the exhaust system. Overtime, they can loosen or sometimes even fall off. It tends to make a loud rattling noise during the early stages of failure, and fortunately it is a cheap, easy fix.
Peculiar noises often begin with the braking system. In fact, some components are designed to produce a noise when they wear past a certain point, serving as an alert that it’s time for maintenance. Such is the case with worn brake pads, which will produce a screeching, squealing, or sometimes a mechanical grinding sound once they wear beyond their service limit.
Sometimes rotors will warp and create patches that don’t fully contact the brake pads. This generally results in an intermittent scraping noise that becomes more pronounced at higher speeds or under heavy braking.
Like pads, rotors have a service life as well, despite it being much longer. Replacing pads can range from $150-$400 depending on the make and model, with new rotors adding significant premium to that figure. In some cases, rotors can be resurfaced, negating the need to purchase new ones.
In other instances, with badly worn pads, or malfunctioning calipers, the caliper’s piston will itself touch the rotor when you step on the brakes. If this is the case, you’ll notice dramatically reduced braking effectiveness accompanied by a obvious metallic grinding sound. The calipers and rotors will quickly fail under these circumstances, and it is best to get to a service center immediately if you feel there’s a problem with your calipers.
Tires and Wheels
Equally important to your safety and your car’s longevity, tires and wheels speak loudly when under distress. A heavily worn tire that is beyond its service limit will produce a roaring or rushing sound that becomes more pronounced at speed. Fortunately, tires come in a wide range of prices, including many affordable options. They are easily installed; a job most service centers will complete in short order.
The wheel bearing, however, is a moderately more complex assembly that functions to ensure your wheels roll smoothly and resistance free. Faulty bearings will usually emit a humming noise while driving. If the pitch of the noise changes as your change lanes, and then returns to normal once you’re driving straight again, there’s a good chance it’s your bearing.
Depending on the make and model, some cars will use a press-in bearing, while others will require replacement of the entire wheel hub assembly. Because if this, it’s difficult to give an exact dollar figure, but expect it to range anywhere from $100-$800, with the former being for those with press-in assemblies.
Car problems seldom come at a convenient time. Here at Good Care Auto we’re staffed with ASE-certified professionals utilizing the latest equipment in clean, modern service bays. The holidays can be hard on a car; extra miles, snow, and sleet can bring out your vehicle’s worst. That’s why we’re standing by, ready to do our best no matter the job. If your car has the shakes or rattles, then roll on down to Good Care Auto or give us a shout at (734) 285-1188 and let us the squeals out of your wheels!