Car Noises

A strange noise? Don’t ignore it.

For many years, modern cars have transformed into reliable machines, therefore when they make a strange noise, it’s a concern.
If you’re not so car-savvy, it can be more worrying as a noise can mean all sorts of things, but it all depends on when they happen and where they seem to be coming from.

With that being said, at CarCliq we’re going to help you understand the strange car noises you may be experiencing by discussing what they mean and what to do to get help.

How do I act when I first hear my car make a noise?

First things first, do not panic! Be sure to listen to the noise and if it sounds extremely bad, it’s best to pull over at the next safest spot and call your local mechanic to take a look over it to see what the matter could be.

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During Idling

  • Clicking: If you notice after you’ve started your car it makes a clicking sound, even if you have sat there for a while – this is a sign of low oil pressure. The solution to this would be to get professional attention as soon as possible.
  • Hissing: This sound would be coming from the bonnet whilst your car is idling and will mean your engine is overheating or you’ve got a vacuum leak. The engine overheating is a more severe problem, as with a vacuum leak, once it’s been located, it’s easy to fix.


  • Slapping: When increasing your speed, do you notice a slapping sound increasing in tempo? This could mean your tyres are on their way out, therefore you need to stop driving and get these replaced quickly.
  • Grinding: When using your gear stick, can you hear a grinding noise? We’re sorry to say, but your clutch could be damaged or your shift linkage needs adjusting. 
  • Chirping: A chirping sound coming from your wheel means that a wheel bearing or axle is about to fail, as a result, this can make your wheels lock up or come loose.

General Driving

  • Squealing: We’re going to be the bearer of bad news here, but unfortunately your accessory belt is on its last legs. For that reason, you need to get this replaced because if it snaps then your car won’t be able to run anymore.
  • Rattling: This sound can be heard from either underneath your car, to underneath the bonnet or inside the car. Either way, each one means a different issue. If underneath your car, this signals you have a loose exhaust system component or a broken catalytic converter. If under the bonnet is rattling, your issues could vary from the oil level to a bad fan clutch. Finally, if inside the car it could mean a piece of plastic is loose or something is moving about in your glove compartment.
  • Ticking: If you’re constantly hearing a ticking sound from under the bonnet, this means your engine oil is low. So, before thinking the only solution is to take it to the garage – save some pounds and check your oil levels first.

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During A Turn

  • Grinding: When running low on power steering fluid, your car will politely let you know by a grinding noise caused by air bubbles trapped in the fluid.
  • Clicking: If you’ve had to take a tight turn at a low speed, and suddenly your car is making a clicking noise, this could indicate your CV axle is damaged. This needs replacing immediately.

When Braking

  • Squeaking: When you apply your brakes and a squeaking noise appears, this could mean your brake pads need replacing. 
  • Grinding: If you’re guilty of putting off the squeaking noise and now it’s more of a grinding sound, this means you need to book into your local garage as soon as possible, as your brake pads are extremely damaged.
  • Clicking: This may be that one or multiple components in your braking system are damaged, or something is stuck in your brake. As a solution, it’s best for a mechanic to look over this to prevent any long-term damage.

After The Engine Turns Off

  • Clicking: This is just the sound of the engine cooling down – there is no need to worry!
  • Hissing: Book your car into your local garage as soon as possible, because this may mean something somewhere is leaking onto a heated engine component. As a reminder, please don’t investigate underneath your bonnet, as there is a risk of being burnt.


We hope you now understand what car noises you may be experiencing and what your next step should be to ensure you’re safe driving from A to B.

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