Sounds That Indicate Problems

Squeaks, squeals, rattles, rumbles, and other sounds provide valuable clues about problems and maintenance needs. Here are some of the more common noises and what they indicate:


A shrill, sharp noise related to engine speed:
Loose or worn power steering, fan or air conditioning belt.


A slight sharp noise, related to either engine speed or vehicle speed:
Loose wheel cover.
Loose or bent fan blade.
Stuck valve lifter or low engine oil.


A high-pitched, piercing metallic sound; usually occurs while the vehicle is in motion:
Caused by brake wear indicators to let you know it's time for maintenance.


a low-pitched rhythmic sound.
Defective exhaust pipe, converter or muffler.
Worn universal joint or other drive-line component.


A high-pitched metallic tapping sound, related to engine speed:
Usually caused by using gas with a lower octane rating than recommended. Check your owner's manual for the proper octane rating. If the problem persists, engine ignition timing could be at fault.

Heavy Knock

A rhythmic pounding sound:
Worn crankshaft or connecting rod bearings.

Loose transmission torque converter.


A random thumping sound:
Loose shock absorber or other suspension component.
Loose exhaust pipe or muffler.

You can find other helpful advice and information regarding symptoms that indicate engine problems.