Car Sounds to Listen For

Over its lifespan, your car makes a lot of different sounds. What sounds mean you have a looming car repair? Some are certainly more urgent than others but any of these sounds are cause for caution. You don’t want a simple auto repair to turn into something more serious – and costly. Hearing a strange sound, whether it’s hissing, knocking, grinding, or squealing, means you should get your car to a mechanic to ensure nothing is wrong, and if a repair is necessary, to make sure a simple repair is fixed before it turns into something more serious.

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Hissing or Sizzling

Depending on the timing, it could mean several different issues. If you notice it when accelerating, it could be an exhaust leak near the engine. This could also lead to a burning smell as extra heat from the exhaust hits nearby wires and plastic parts. If you notice this sound just after parking and turning off your engine, it could also signal coolant or oil leaking onto part of your engine that’s hot from running.

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Hearing a knocking sound from your engine can accompany issues with power and acceleration. If you notice this, it could be a sign you’re using the wrong type of fuel. Pay attention to your car’s recommended type of fuel. If your car doesn’t require premium fuel, you won’t benefit from using it, you’ll just cause engine knocking and potentially serious engine damage. 

Tapping or Clicking

Notice tapping or clicking while the engine is running? It could mean you’re low on engine oil. Luckily, it’s easy to check your oil level using the dipstick. If it is low, you can easily top it off with the correct type of engine oil. If it isn’t, this sound could also signal a loss of oil pressure somewhere in the system, which will have to be checked out by a mechanic.

Knocking from the Rear

Hear knocking from the back of your car when you go over bumps? It may be time for new struts. As struts wear out over time, they’ll start to knock and clunk each time you drive over a pothole, speed bump, or any other dip or bump. Luckily, this suspension repair is easily fixed by a trusted mechanic.

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Banging from the Rear

Press on the gas and hear a loud bang from the back of your car? It could be a backfire. This can be caused by a too-rich air-fuel mixture or possibly a failing catalytic converter. If your catalytic converter has failed, there’s likely also another underlying exhaust repair that should be handled by a mechanic to prevent further engine damage.

Hissing from Below

While it may seem like no big deal, hearing a hissing sound coming from beneath your car can actually be a very serious car repair. Most likely, you’re dealing with an exhaust leak, which can be tricky to find. It can also pose a serious safety risk. Exhaust leaks on the underside of your car can cause toxic exhaust fumes to enter into the passenger cabin, so pay attention to any unusual smells and make an appointment with your mechanic.

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AAMCO Colorado is here to help. Count on us to help you with any car issues you are experiencing.

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Shift Gears

If you drive a vehicle with a manual transmission and notice a grinding sound when trying to change gears it may indicate your clutch is wearing out. You’ll probably also have difficulty getting your car into gear and maybe even keeping it in gear. Avoid driving too much, especially stop-and-go city driving, in case your car’s clutch is about to fail. It could put you at risk for causing an accident if your clutch fails while you’re on the road.

image of transmission gears close upimage of transmission gears close up

Turn Your Steering Wheel

If you start to notice a squeaking or squealing sound when turning your steering wheel, it points to your power steering system. Most likely, you need a mechanic to check out your power steering fluid because it may be old or low, meaning you’re due for a power steering flush. It could also be part of the steering linkage being damaged. 


Hearing unusual sounds while accelerating can point to a couple different problems but both are serious issues. If you hear a roaring sound that increases with acceleration, it’s likely an exhaust leak under the hood that will have to be found by a mechanic. On the other hand, squealing or chirping points to a loose or worn belt. If that belt wears out and breaks, it can cause serious engine damage.

Worried About What You’re Hearing? Let AAMCO Colorado Help

Strange sounds can be cause for concern. If you’re worried about sounds your car is making, schedule your appointment with the AAMCO Colorado mechanics so we can help diagnose and repair any underlying problem with your car.

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