Screeching, Squealing And Hissing: What Your Car Is Trying To Tell You

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A healthy car should purr into life as soon as you twist the ignition, and the whole machine should operate as calmly and quietly as a sleeping kitten. Well, not quite, but you get the idea! Over time, our cars run the risk of various maintenance issues springing up, which can cause some pretty worrying sounds. Although not all of these are a matter of urgency, there are certain noises you should never ignore…

Metallic Screeching

Metallic Screeching

If you apply the brakes, and you hear a piercing, metallic screech coming from your car’s undercarriage, this is usually a sign that your brake pads have reached the end of their natural lifespan. As horrible as this noise is, it’s actually meant to happen! Modern brakes are engineered with a little metal tab, which will rub directly against the rotor once the friction material is totally worn away. The resulting screech is a kind of alarm, telling you that your brakes need attention. Leave it too long, and the high-pitched screeching will turn into a deeper, but equally unpleasant growling, indicating that the pads have been worn all the way to the rivets. This is where the issue really gets dangerous. If you’re hearing either of these, it may be time to get replacements like these EBC brakes.

Pig-Like Squealing

If you’re driving along without a care in the world, and you hear a sharp, porcine squeal coming from under the hood, it’s most likely a problem with the serpentine belt. Specifically, it can either be the rubber growing brittle and old, or the tensioner beginning to fail. If it’s the latter issue, then the belt may not have the right amount of pressure on it, which will cause some slippage, and ultimately the horrendous sound you’re hearing. Fortunately, repairing the problem is a relatively simple and cheap procedure. If you put it off, the engine will continue to try to work, despite the damage. This means that when you finally do take your car to the shop, the price you’ll have to pay for the work will be considerably higher. Furthermore, the belt could snap or pop off, causing a life-threatening accident.

Hissing Under the Hood

This could be a bitter and highly imaginative ex who decided to hide a bunch of rattle snakes under your hood. In all likelihood though, it’s going to be the sign of a leak, whether that’s in the cooling system or a vacuum line. If the cooling system’s sprung a leak, then continuing to drive will run the risk of your engine overheating. If the vacuum line is the issue, then the fuel economy and handling of the car are going to suffer over time. You don’t want either of these issues to get any worse, which is what will happen if you carry on ignoring it. Take your car to the mechanic immediately to keep your car safe and minimise the strain on your wallet!

If you hear any of these sounds while driving, don’t bury your head in the sand!