Some of you may notice that we have touched on a few of these topics before, but we received so many questions on these subjects, that we came up with the concept of tackling some of the major points in a nutshell. While we’re not going to go into extreme detail, we’ll at least give you some working knowledge that may save you some serious money down the road. We’ll be doing this post in two parts – so here we go!
1). A chirping or squealing sound from the wheel – A cyclic (a noise that happens as the wheel rotates) chirping or squealing noise that’s coming from the vicinity of the wheel can sometimes mean a wheel or axle bearing is starting to fail. Usually the noise will change with the speed of the vehicle, and it may even disappear at certain speeds. The reason why you should not ignore this is because if the bearing fails, it may the wheel to lock up or come loose from your vehicle – not a pretty picture!
Do not confuse this noise with a scraping, groaning or creaking noises that can be associated with the brakes. During damp weather, moisture can cause the brake pads to swell a little, which can cause them to drag., which can cause an annoying groaning or grinding noise until they heat up and dry out – then the noise goes away.
A clicking noise from the front wheel that only happens when turning usually means an outer constant velocity (or CV) joint / axle is starting to wear out.
2). Speaking of brake noises, as a general rule, brake pads should maintain relatively quiet operation when braking for the life of the pad. However, if you hear a metallic scraping or grinding noise while braking, you need to schedule a brake job asap. Any metal to metal contact is also grooving and scaring the rotors. And don’t wait too long to have this work done – if the brakes are really worn, there is the chance that whatever material is left for a brake pad will separate from the pads backing plate and simply fall off… in other words, you won’t have any brakes left.
3). I believe we’ve all heard that dreaded hissing sound that comes from under the hood of the vehicle, either while driving, but most commonly after we’ve shut the car off. When you hear this particular noise, carefully open the hood and most likely the engine has either overheated or is leaking coolant onto hot engine or exhaust components. A coolant leak may not make the temperature gauge go into the red, especially if it’s a small leak – but just enough to be really annoying. If there is an overheating or leak issue, any steam will have a sweet odor to it and there may be several engine components that are wet with coolant. If you need to add water and/or more coolant, please wait until the engine cools off to do so!
More sounds that should not be ignored coming up in the next post!