Various kinds of car noise explained with solutions

Women hearing car noise

As long-time drivers, we have all been to a mechanic and tried to explain all the noises we hear. Car inspection guides do not always tell us what to look for in our vehicles when these random noises start to occur. When we try to explain these noises, mechanics often look at us funny as we make goofy noises trying to impersonate our car.

We have a better solution for you. We have put together the most common sounds and what they are related to so next time you are at the mechanic you might not need to make all the crazy sounds that your car is making… although I am sure it gives our mechanics a good laugh.

Here are some of the most common car noises and what to do if you hear them…

Grinding or screeching.

If your brakes are cold, your brakes could be screechy until they warm up. This is also common with wet wheels. If there is water between the brake and your wheel it can create a loud whining noise. There are brake pads that have “squealers” – which is a piece of metal that creates a loud squealing noise when your brakes are getting low. If you hear that, don’t worry, this is your brake’s way of telling you that you should get your brakes replaced soon. If you don’t, it’s an indication that all your pads are gone and when you brake it is going to be metal on metal. Depending on how long you let this go, you might need to replace your rotors as well. So be sure to keep a good ear and check on your brakes to save you the extra work and cost.


Knock knock… who’s there? It’s your engine!… and it needs better gasoline. There are some low-grade types of gasoline and even more commonly, using the wrong gasoline will end up sounding worse than the knock-knock jokes you have heard. If you need higher octane gasoline and you are using a lower grade, it could also cause damage to your spark plugs. Ensure you are using the right type and grade of gasoline for your engine and your engine should not be knocking.


Rattling is only cute when a baby is playing with a rattler. Your car should not be rattling. If it is, it is most commonly the tailpipes or the manifold cover. If it is either, you can have them easily repaired by replacing them or resecuring them with some bolts or screws.


LEEEEEEEEET’s get ready to rumble!!!!!! This is always fun to hear from the iconic voice we all know before a boxing match, but when it comes to your car rumbling, it is not so fun. It could mean an exhaust leak at the flex pipe or even the muffler. It could also mean an exhaust leak at a gasket.

High-pitched squeal or flapping

  • Are there birds in your engine?… or is it just your worn or cracked belts? Many different belts keep your engine running well. I have to have my timing belt replaced and just before I did, it sounded like I had a giant bird under the hood of my car.
  • An easy one to diagnose is the air conditioning. If you start your car and you hear nothing, and then the squealing starts, it could be the belt that is related to your A/C.
  • If your tires are inflated and you are hearing flapping, this could mean that your fan belt could be broken. If you hear any of these, you should make sure your belts are either replaced or adjusted.


Drones are the things you can fly around with video cameras… and see some incredible things… but these are not the kind of drones we are talking about here. A “droning noise” comes from your tires becoming feathered or they are unevenly wearing over time. Be sure to get your tires rotated and or replaced as it is important for your road safety.


No one likes the sound of hissing… and even cats or snakes make that noise when something is wrong more or less your engine. That could be your radiator overheating or liquid from your engine oil, transmission fluid or coolant could be dripping on other hot engine parts.

There are more noises and these are some of the most common. When you hear them, you can refer back to this blog, Google the noise, or have your car service experts in Calgary take a good look at your car. Happy driving!… and hopefully you don’t hear too many cats, snakes, giant birds, or bad knock-knock jokes along the way!

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