Hearing noises




I really need help!

For the last 6 months whenever I drive my car in 1st gear up the little hill on my street, I hear a noise that sounds exactly like when you put a card in a bicycle spoke (well, at least, when I used to ride my bike, I’d do this because I sounded cooler riding my bike)…

When I’d get to the top of the hill, I turn, switch to 2nd gear, and hear a little bit more of the noise, and then after that it’s gone… or maybe I can’t hear it.

I’ve also noticed that when I go uphill in reverse, I hear the noise…

it’s always when I haven’t driven the car overnight - but it’s happened in summer too - so not too cold out.

The only problem is that my trusted mechanic can’t hear the noise - by the time I get to his shop, my car’s warmed up… and there are no hills near there to demonstrate.

So, he basically thinks I’m hearing things.

I know every time in the past when I hear anything, sure enough months will pass, and once it’s totally obvious will my mechanic say ok now they see what the problem is…

And, actually, the second problem is that the noise is a little louder now - but still at the same spots - uphill and in 1st or reverse gear…

and I have to drive out to Atlanta soon and I’m worried that when the problem finally decides to be more obvious, I’ll be out in nowhere land - aka no mechanic-I-Know land!

Does anyone have any suggestions for what I can look for to figure out what’s going on?

(Ps - my car is a 2001 Honda civic)

Thank you!!


Can you tell if the sound is coming from the front or the rear? My guess is the front and a cv joint that makes noise under stress.


You are right… I feel like it is coming from the front.

Thank you for this suggestion - I will take a look at that!


Is the sound a clack-clack or more a buzz that changes with engine rpm. Do you ever hear it at the same rpm but different speeds? Cv joints usually start making noise during turns and not so much at low speed if they dont also make the noise at high speed regardless of the engine rpm. Catalytic converter heat shields however are dependent on engine load or rpm. Particularly one steady note or tone. Also a bad cv is less likely to be bad in both forward and reverse.


How does the engine transmit power to the transaxle in that vehicle? The way you describe it, it’s almost like the stretched “bike chain” on my mother’s 80’s Citation. You would hit a hill or have too much load on it and the chain would skip. I just couldn’t place the sound at the time.


Why don’t you leave it at your mechanic’s shop overnight?


This is definitely at low speeds - only in first gear (or beginning of reverse), and a little in the beginning of second gear…
It’s also the same whether I’m going straight as when I make a turn in first gear…
I don’t hear any noise after third gear, but I’m also going a little faster and the car is noisier
so I can’t tell what’s happening at this point.


I actually did a couple times, and the mechanic said he didn’t hear anything…
although I think he didn’t hear my description that it’s only in that first gear/second gear right when I get started in the morning…
because he would take it out and start driving and then say he didn’t hear anything “while driving”…

So this has happened to me before when I heard a noise, they didn’t, and months later I have a check engine light, pay a large sum to fix it, and the noise was from the problem, only an early indication… I just didn’t want the problem to become worse when I have to drive across the country for my new job and don’t know any mechanics I can trust yet…


I feel like this is what it must be related to - to me it instinctively feels like something relating to the movement of the car/wheels (axle stuff?) and pressing of the gas/getting the engine going in first gear…
except, it doesn’t sound like something is skipping - it is a very consistent repetitive sounds exactly like a card stuck in a bike spoke…