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Auto Repair Ann Arbor

Vehicle Repair: My Car’s Weird Noise – What Does it Mean?

So you’re driving along when you hear this clatter: banging, whirring, clicking, thumping, screeching, scraping – take your pick. Let’s call it car trouble. Some of us speak fluent vehicle, but others not so much. At Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor, we know what the noises mean and can handle vehicle repair.

Chances are you know what the car is saying because you’ve heard it before. Most car owners know what their car sounds like. We know which noises mean we’d better pay attention or suffer the consequences. 

Not every sound your car makes is cause for alarm. Noises such as the motor’s humming and bumps in the road from potholes that make a thump when you drive over them are normal. It’s the out-of-the-ordinary noises that cause concern.

What are some of these sounds, and what is your car trying to tell you?

Signs You Need Vehicle Repair: Braking

Generally, you shouldn’t hear much of anything when you step on the brakes, except for gravel under the tires as you come to a halt. There are sounds you don’t want to hear:

  • Squeaking: If you pull up to a stop sign and step on the brakes and you hear a squeaking sound, it’s time to get your car to the nearest repair shop. It could be your rotors or brake pads. It might mean a minimal repair cost. Then again, if you ignore it, you may wind up spending more.
  • Scraping: It could mean worn-out brake pads if you hear a loud scraping sound. It might mean you must replace your brake pads and rotors. If you hear this loud, obnoxious noise, the next stop you make should be at your repair shop. Metal-on-metal contact is not something you want to ignore.

Either of these noises means your car is warning you that your brakes are no longer safe. Ignoring these sounds could be catastrophic for you, your passengers, and other motorists on the road. 


When stepping on the gas, you can hear the engine revving. That’s normal. 

Different things can cause your transmission to fail. Water in the engine, driving rough, and even extreme temperatures can contribute to transmission malfunction. Here are some noises to watch out for:

  • Grinding when shifting gears could mean transmission troubles.
  • If you hear clicking, it could be something as simple as low oil. You can check the oil by following the instructions in the owner’s manual. If your oil level is okay, you’d best get your car to the garage.
  • But if you hear a loud whining sound, you’ve got problems. Your car is telling you your automatic transmission, automatic pump, or power steering pump are failing.

Hearing sounds you aren’t used to while driving your car can be a warning sign of potential problems, and it’s no time to keep going while you say you’ll check it later. Do yourself a favor and head to Complete Auto Service in Ann Arbor. 

Under the Hood 

Normal noises under the hood include roaring and ticking. But there are sounds that aren’t so normal:

  • Knocking, sizzling, or hissing under the hood should all be checked out and serviced. These could all be early signs that something is wrong; maybe a hose or a belt is loose. Fixing these early could prevent more significant and more expensive problems in the future.
  • Ticking: You may hear ticking in cold temperatures, but it should go away once the car warms up. You might also hear ticking if you don’t have enough oil – luckily, this one is an easy fix. 

Engine Noises

Normal engine noises include sounding like a jet when revving up the motor. But some sounds tell you your car needs servicing.

  • Banging: Is your engine misfiring? Maybe so. Or it could be the spark plugs.
  • Rattling: Another necessary trip to the auto repair is if you hear rattling. It can be anything from the catalytic converter to the camshaft belt. 

A vehicle is an intricate piece of work. Many parts play together to keep your car in good working condition. But like anything, each part depends on other parts, and they are all interconnected. That means keeping them in excellent condition is crucial to keep your repair bills at a minimum. 

Signs You Need Vehicle Repair

Most of us know the sound of our vehicles when we step on the gas or drive along the highway. The key to knowing whether or not your car is telling you that your engine is in difficulty is listening closely. 

Abnormal noises should have you dialing the phone and making an appointment to get it checked, unless your certified mechanic happens to be at Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor. In that case, you can just bring your vehicle straight to us, no appointment necessary. While others may have you spending your time waiting for an opening, we are always available to service your vehicle – no waiting! We will never waste your time. 

One word here about keeping an ear open for the sounds you shouldn’t hear while driving your car: ignoring the noises only leads to worse problems and more costly repairs. 

We understand how inconvenient it is to have car trouble. That’s why we fix your vehicle as quickly as possible. We’ll get you back on the road so you can get back to your life. And that’s the way we roll.

Give us a call today