What Is That Engine Noise That Sounds Like A Race Car And Should I Be Worried?

You're happily driving down the street and suddenly you hear an unfamiliar engine noise that is making your car sound like a race car -  loud, annoying and definitely not how it usually sounds. What could be causing it and should you be alarmed? In this post, we will take a look at five common engine noises and discuss what might cause them as well as some possible solutions. If you hear an unusual noise and suspect that there might be a problem and you are not sure what it is, bring it to us. Our professional mechanics will have a look at it and then provide you with expert service to solve the issue.

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Ticking Sound

If you hear a ticking sound coming from your engine, it most likely has to do with the valvetrain. The valvetrain is the part of your engine which is made up of your car's valves and the mechanism which opens and closes the valves. Most cars use hydraulic lifters to move the valves up and down. These lifters need just the right oil pressure in order to work smoothly. You may notice that the ticking gets louder as the engine warms up. this is because colder oil is thicker and as it heats up the oil gets thinner and loses its pressure. Check your oil levels to make sure you have enough oil and that you are using the correct grade of oil for your vehicle.  It could also be caused by using the wrong type of filter. Make sure that you are using the proper filter. You may want to consider purchasing the manufacturer's supplied part. The oil rate of flow through a generic filter may be wrong, causing decreased oil pressure. Finally, the ticking sound could mean that you have a mechanical failure such as a dying oil pump. If this is the case you need to go to a mechanic you can trust to get a proper diagnosis and repair. The time to fix it will depend on the problem - a filter change can be done in less than an hour; other more complicated repairs will take longer.

Metallic Sounding Double Knock

This sound is most noticeable when your engine is idling. It sounds similar to the valvetrain noise, however, it is more metallic and is most definitely a double knock. This noise can be caused by a worn or loose piston pin (a steel pin which connects the piston to the connecting rod) or a lack of oil. If your oil levels are fine, then contact us and we will diagnose the problem and fix it for you. We can tell you approximately how long the repair will take depending on what is required.

Loud Knocking or Pounding Sound

A loud knocking or pounding sound can usually be traced back to the connecting rods. The connecting rods connect the pistons to the crankshaft (the part which, simply put, makes your car move). The noise will be noticeable at a steady speed (when you are neither accelerating nor decelerating). If you notice the knocking or pounding at this point then the cause could be a worn bearing, badly aligned connecting rod, or lack of oil. If your oil level is fine, then take your vehicle immediately to a professional to determine the exact cause.

Squealing When Accelerating

If you hear an ear splitting squeal when you are accelerating, then your fan belt is probably slipping or worn. Your fan belt can get loose over time, which means that it won't move at the same pace as the pulleys that operate it. You may only need to tighten it, however, if it has worn too much, it will have to be replaced. The price of replacing a fan belt will vary depending on your vehicle, but it can typically be done for under $200 and under an hour.

Rattling and Whining Sounds

If you notice any rattling or whining sounds while you are accelerating, this could mean that your camshaft (timing) belt is poorly aligned or slipping. The timing belt synchronizes the turning of the crankshaft so that the engine's valves open and close at the proper time. Have your timing belt checked over by a good mechanic. There is no way to tell when a timing belt will break so most manufacturers suggest replacing them every 96,000 to 160,000 kms. The replacement can be anywhere from $500 to $1000 dollars depending on the make of your vehicle.

If you are unsure about the exact cause of any unusual engine noise, it is always safer to get it checked out. Usually, a diagnosis can be done in less than an hour. The amount of time for a repair will depend on the type of repair required. The staff at Hansma Automotive is always more than happy to assist you. If you are busy and don't have the time to wait around while your vehicle is repaired, you can take advantage of our handy shuttle service. Hansma Automotive is conveniently located at 88 Shoemaker Street in Kitchener, Ontario.

Sources

What's that Ticking Sound Coming from your Car Engine
6 Car Sounds You Should Not Ignore
Sound Like Trouble: A quick guide to diagnosing common engine noises
5 Common Engine Noises (And What They Mean)

Posted on May 29, 2016 .