Describing the Noises Your Vehicle Makes to a Mechanic

Vehicles make a lot of strange noises – some of them good, some of them great, and some of them very, very bad.

When you bring your car into World Class Auto in American Fork, your Main Street mechanic, our goal is to learn exactly what is wrong so that we can repair it as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We are proud to have invested in hundreds of thousands of dollars into top-of-the-line diagnostic equipment that allows us to pinpoint the cause of problems your vehicle may be experiencing.

However, the better you are able to recognize and describe the sounds your vehicle are making to your mechanic, the better we will be able to get to the root of the problem.

Unfortunately, bad noises don’t normally go away on their own, and it usually gets more expensive the longer you let it go.

We’ve come up with a comprehensive list that will help you better describe what’s going on with your car to improve the success rate of the mechanic finding the problem.

Another tip: Be sure to be able to tell them WHEN the noise happens and under what circumstances. it will save diagnostic time – and money!

Here is a list of common noises cars can make:

BACKFIRE – Similar to a gunshot sound coming from the engine or tailpipe.

BANGING – Any brief, loud and sharp sounds almost like a gun firing. A backfire is a great example of a bang sound.

BUZZING – Any buzzing sound is a constant sound that can also be felt through the steering wheel or vibrations through the floor.

CHIRPING – Repetitive bird-like sounds.

CLANGING – Any metallic ringing that reverberates.

CLANKING – Another metallic sound that is more of a strike without the reverberation.

CLICKING – Light, high-frequency tapping.

CLUNKING – Any heavy thump or bump sound without reverberation that can often sound a little muted.

FLAPPING – Any repetitious noise that sounds like a flag in a strong wind.

GRINDING – If any sound your car makes could be painful, grinding is it. A harsh metal-on-metal scraping noise.

HESITATION – A brief loss of power upon acceleration.

HISSING – It sounds like air or steam escaping from somewhere.

HOWLING – A strong wind noise even if the windows are completely rolled up.M

MOANING – If you’re hearing a low-frequency sound that’s consistent. May change tone depending on speed of the car.

PINGING – If your vehicle sounds like someone is dropping marbles in an empty can, that’s pinging.

POPPING – Sharp, explosive sounds can be described as popping and usually aren’t as loud as banging.

RATTLING – The same sound as marbles rolling around in an empty can can be described as rattling.

ROARING – the sound a jet makes when it accelerates to take off. Definitely not a light noise.

RUMBLING – Almost a roar, but sounds like it’s far away.

SCRAPING – Usually a high-pitched jeet-jeet sort of noise that speeds up as the vehicle speeds up. Kind of like a chirp, but more metallic.

SCREECHING – A high pitched noise like the bad guy’s tires in a cops-and-robbers chase.

SQUEALING – High-pitched and long lasting. Alvin the Chipmunk screaming?

TAPPING – A heavier noise than a click but similar, like tapping on a board with a hammer.

WHINING – No, not like your kids, but a drawn out higher-pitched noise that usually changes with engine speed.

WHISTLING – Shrill, loud, high-pitched noise.

When it comes to describing the sound your vehicle is making, using terms a mechanic can understand are helpful.

And if your vehicle is currently trying to talk to you with some of the noises we’ve listed, let us know and we can help diagnose the problem and help you get your vehicle taken care of before it turns into something really expensive!

If you don’t have all the information or answers, that’s ok! We’ll step in and take it from there. For all your automotive needs, World Class Auto – your Main street mechanic in American Fork – would be happy to get to the bottom of your car issue. We provide the highest quality service for all vehicles, both foreign and domestic. If you have a question about any service we offer, or if you would like to make an appointment, please don’t hesitate to call us at (801) 756-2661 or stop by the shop!