What is That Noise?

There are a lot of sounds associated with our cars and trucks. Some of those sounds are typical, but others give a warning. At Casey’s in Chantilly, VA, we want you to avoid costly repairs, and being in the know can help!

In this piece, Casey’s Customs Team will cover some of the most common noises heard under specific circumstances. Can we say for sure that these are what you may be experiencing? No. But these are just some of the situational noises we commonly hear and “see” at Casey’s Automotive.

What is the squealing sound? 

Let’s say it’s in November. You start your car on that first chilly morning and hear a loud squealing screeching noise from the engine area. Most times, that kind of sound is generated by the serpentine belt slipping over one of the pulleys. Possible cause? Maybe a worn tensioner, a worn belt, or possibly leaking fluid that has come in contact with the rubber belt. 

What about a tapping noise when first starting the engine? 

This sound could continue and increase with the idle speed, or it could go away after a few minutes. Most times, this is due to a low oil situation and or damaged or worn valves. You won’t be able to see the piece, but you can check your engine oil to make sure it’s full and not too dirty. 

What is the high-pitched squealing while braking? 

Often this is due to worn brake pads, but we also see this caused by debris and or rust buildup. In any case, this noise should never be ignored, and you should have a professional technician inspect the brakes to make sure there are no safety concerns. 

What is the metal rattling noises from under the car while idling?

That can often be heat shields on the exhaust system. They can be a very random noise coming and going. Heat shields start to rust and hang onto the exhaust pipe, picking up vibration from the engine.

What if there is a physical reaction associated with the sound?

If something like a clunk happens when you turn left and feel it in your feet, it is a serious issue. Something is probably loose, broken, or worn enough that it will soon break. See your mechanic sooner rather than later, and think about having the vehicle towed there. 

What is that weird sound?

Another common one around summertime is “it sounds like a mini waterfall behind the dash when I turn.” Yep, you heard that right, a waterfall. When your coolant becomes low, you will sometimes hear it moving through your heater core behind the dashboard. 

Another cause of water-related noise could be a sloshing sound around behind the dash. That can be due to the buildup of condensation from your A/C condenser. Ideally, this water drains out, but if it becomes clogged, it sounds like a water park behind the glove box. 

One we get pretty often is, “Sounds like an airplane is following me.”  While we in the Chantilly, VA area are accustomed to hearing planes fly overhead, this is different. Over the years, it’s grown into a standard description. “The faster I go, the louder the airplane propeller gets.” Many times this is from a wheel bearing going bad. As it rotates with your wheel and axle, it makes a roaring noise.

Repairs and Maintenance at Casey’s Automotive in Chantilly, VA

There are many different noises our vehicles can make, but one thing is always the same. If you hear a suspicious sound, bring your car or truck into a certified shop immediately. Getting ahead of the problem can end up saving you tons of money in repairs later. If your car or truck is making a strange sound, contact our team. We’ll hook up your vehicle with a complimentary inspection that covers everything from the fluids to the tires. Contact us to book an appointment before the sound gets worse.


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