Car noises to look out for

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

BE­LIEVE it or not, a car can talk to you. Those strange noises from un­der the bon­net or some­where else in the ve­hi­cle all have dif­fer­ent mean­ings and, if you pay at­ten­tion to them, are send­ing you a clear mes­sage.

Jeff Os­borne, Head of Au­to­mo­tive for Gumtree SA, says, “Those un­usual sounds are a form of early warn­ing sys­tem and you need to learn what they mean, es­pe­cially if you are test driv­ing a ve­hi­cle for pur­chase. ”be­low are sev­eral com­mon and ob­vi­ous noises to look out for:

Loud ex­haust noise while driv­ing? You could have a leak­ing ex­haust pipe. Newer cars are de­signed to make as lit­tle ex­haust noise as pos­si­ble but, as a car ages, the ex­haust sys­tem be­comes worn and could de­velop a leak. This needs be checked as it af­fects the en­gine per­for­mance.

A sound like a tin full of nails be­ing shaken un­der your bon­net ev­ery time you start your car? Th­ese are called pink­ing sounds and could in­di­cate that dam­age is be­ing done to the pis­ton or the valves. Pos­si­ble rea­sons in­clude the ig­ni­tion tim­ing be­ing too far ad­vanced; the car us­ing fuel with too low an oc­tane value; over­heat­ing; or the spark plugs hav­ing the wrong heat value.

On older cars, pink­ing is of­ten caused by too much car­bon build-up in­side the en­gine due to too many short trips, in which case spend at least an hour on the open road ev­ery few weeks to burn away some of the car­bon.

Your en­gine emit­ting tap­ping noises? The valve-train com­po­nents might be worn or the en­gine tap­pets are loose. This may not cause any im­me­di­ate dam­age, but they must be re­set at some point as the tap­pets may be too tight and cause the valves to burn. If an en­gine is fit­ted with hy­draulic tap­pets, of­ten th­ese will be noisy when the en­gine is cold but qui­eten down as the en­gine warms up. Click­ing sounds when idling? Your pis­tons could be worn in a con­di­tion known as pis­ton pins. An im­me­di­ate fix is sel­dom needed be­cause the wear will take a long time to be­come se­vere enough to war­rant re­place­ment.

A light knock­ing sound com­ing from your bon­net? Big-end bear­ing dam­age usu­ally ex­poses it­self as a light knock­ing that is more prom­i­nent when the en­gine is pulling or slow­ing down. This could be an ex­pen­sive noise as it points to­wards an en­gine over­haul.

Your car squeak­ing when you take a turn?

A squeak­ing noise un­der the bon­net is of­ten the re­sult of a mis­aligned fan or al­ter­na­tor belt. The power-steer­ing pump’s drive belt will screech on full lock if the ten­sion is even slightly too loose.

An in­tense rat­tling or slap­ping noise when idling? This could be the tim­ing chain. This is nor­mal on some older cars but you should seek a tech­ni­cian’s ad­vice to help you de­cide whether you should have the chain re­placed.

If the en­gine has a tim­ing belt in­stead of a chain, the noise will sound more like a slap than a rat­tle, but th­ese belts usu­ally break be­fore they be­come noisy.os­borne ad­vises “if in doubt, check it out” be­cause tack­ling a prob­lem early can avoid a much big­ger ex­pense down the line. He also stresses the need for reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing of ev­ery ve­hi­cle to pro­long its life and to keep it in mint con­di­tion.

— Al­l4­women

Strange en­gine noises all have dif­fer­ent mean­ings and, if you pay at­ten­tion to them, are send­ing you a clear mes­sage.

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