Tip: Identifying car problems by sound


These are nice tips I’ve found on one Website. If this is not a joke, and these rules really work (I can’t verify that right now) they may be useful to someone!

WHERE: From one or more tires.
WHEN: At low speeds, especially in the morning. Speeds up with car.
WHAT: Flat-spotted tire. As the tire rotates the flat spot thumps on the ground. Nylon-cord tires will flat-spot overnight and make this sound until they warm up. It’s usually worse in colder weather. You can permanently flat-spot the tires by locking up the wheels, grinding massive amounts of rubber off the tread in one spot.
FIX: Replace your nylon tires with steel-belted tires. If you’ve ground down your tires like a pencil eraser, you can either live with the vibration until wear reduces the flat-spotting or buy new tires.

FFFFffff ttttFFFF ffff ttttFFFFffff tttt
WHERE: Under the hood.
WHEN: Most noticeable at idle.
WHAT: An exhaust manifold gasket has failed, venting hot exhaust gases to the air.
URGENCY: It’s not getting better on its own. The blowtorch of corrosive gases will eventually damage the manifold. Oh, by the way: Carbon monoxide from the leak may make you drowsy or dead.
FIX: Replace the exhaust manifold gasket before the leak eats a hole in the manifold.

WHERE: Under the center of the car, toward the rear.
WHEN: While in motion and varying with road speed.
WHAT: U-joint (rwd or 4wd only). A U-joint in your driveshaft has finally run out of grease, is getting loose and is about to fail.
URGENCY: That’s really just an urban legend about cars polevaulting over broken driveshafts when U-joints fail at speed, right?
FIX: Replace all the U-joints and keep the new ones greased regularly.

WHERE: Inside the wheels.
WHEN: Slowing down; it’s sometimes worse on damp days.
WHAT: Your brake pads are stroking the discs like a violin bow.
URGENCY: Sometimes they do that. Your brakes still work fine.
FIX: Try new pads, adhesive to hold pads to the piston or shims to insulate the piston from the pads. Another option: earplugs. (Sometimes the sound is difficult to eliminate.)

WHERE: Under the hood.
WHEN: Anytime the engine is running, but it’s most noticeable at idle speed.
WHAT: Vacuum leak. A rubber or plastic vacuum line or fitting has split or fallen apart.
URGENCY: If you’re wondering why your Check Engine light is on and why your car idles poorly, this is probably why.
FIX: Reconnect or replace the line.

WHERE: Under the center of the car or truck, near the middle.
WHEN: Starting off at traffic lights. Most often heard on pickups with automatic transmissions, not manuals.
WHAT: The splines that allow the driveshaft to change length where it connects to the tailshaft are binding as you slow down and then releasing when you start off.
URGENCY: Annoying, but They All Do That—or at least some of them do it some of the time.
FIX: Packing the spline area with special grease helps for a month or so. Or just sell the car or truck.

WHERE: One or both front corners of the vehicle.
WHEN: Going around slow, sharp corners under light throttle.
WHAT: A CV joint that allows your front wheels to turn and still be powered is loose. The boot has failed and let out all the CV joint’s grease, or maybe it’s just time for it to wear out.
URGENCY: Don’t leave town. Don’t use a lot of throttle around sharp turns. Your car will stop suddenly when the joint completely fails.
FIX: Replace the entire off ending half-axle.

WHERE: Front end.
WHEN: Initially, when parking; eventually, over small bumps.
WHAT: The ball joint that connects the suspension arm to the upright has lost its lubrication and the metal-to-metal contact is wearing it out.
URGENCY: Make an appointment. Avoid bumpy roads, curbs and potholes.
FIX: Replace the ball joint.

WHERE: Front of the car.
WHEN: At idle. (Check for weeping coolant at the bottom of the water pump, too.)
WHAT: Water pump bearings.
URGENCY: When the bearings fail completely, the fan will pull forward and slice a nice big smile-shaped chunk out of the radiator, making it leak profusely.
FIX: You need a new pump.

WHERE: Under the hood. WHEN: Whenever you rotate the steering wheel all the way to the left or right steering stop and hold it there.
WHAT: The pressure relief valve inside the pump is dumping excess power-steering hydraulic fluid back into the reservoir. It’s supposed to do that, although maybe a little more quietly.
URGENCY: No big deal.
FIX: It’s normal. Actually, you should check the level of powersteering fluid in the pump. Don’t hold the wheel hard on the stop like that; it annoys pedestrians and is tough on the belt.

WHERE: Under the hood.
WHEN: Right after startup until you rev the throttle a couple of times and the rubber warms up.
WHAT: Belt squeal. A loose or glazed belt, bad tensioner or misaligned pulley.
URGENCY: Make an appointment, and don’t take a long trip. This won’t go away on its own—until just before the belt fails.
FIX: Check belt tension and pulley alignment; replace the belt.

Taken from: http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/repair/1833626

This looks like it was written in the wee hours of the morning by two guys who’ve just finished a 16 hour day and are relaxing over one too many beers.

If my car goes “Yyyyoooooowwwwrrrrrrr” you can bet your buttocks I’ll not ignore it.

Every other paragraph/description in this list is a farce. I don’t even know where to begin elaborating.

All I can say is that if you subscribe to the diagnostic recommendations in this list you’ll find yourself in serious trouble. Maybe the kind of trouble that results from ignoring something very dangerous.

Or, it might not be dangerous. It might just be hammered cam lobes because you thought the ticktickticktick was a U-joint and spent you monthly paycheck having the U-joints replaced instead of getting that needed valve lash adjustment. Or perhaps you’ll spend your monthly allowance getting your U-joints replaced on your FWD car… which doesn’t even HAVE U-joints.

Or maybe you’ll spend $800 replacing perfectly good nylon-belted tires with steel belted tires (virtually ALL passenger tires are radial now) when that “thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump” sound was actually a defect in only one tire.

Or perhaps you’ll have your ball joints changed when that clunking sound was actually only a worn $5 sway bar bushing, a common source of thunking.

I could go on, but you get the idea… I hope.

yeah, every other one is complete bunk. I ll just address the first one. it could also be a burst steel band in your radial tire which could cause a blow out and possibly cause a deadly wreck

Yeah I like the gumble grumble water pump sound. Never had that noise for a pump and when was the last time the fan was behind the radiator-1975? 30 years ago this would have been interesting filler on a Mr. Fixit column or something but not to be taken seriously.

I’ve heard all those noises…in a two day period too.
We took our daughter and three of her school friends on a trip from Wisconsin the Dallas one summer. We had a big old 9 pass wagon and the girls insisted on us laying down the middle seats so they could all lay down on the trip.

Every time I went around a sharp curve and i’d hear
"Yyyyoooowwwwrrrrrrruuuuuuu on my side…get off of me!!!

Tick, tick, tick, one girl tapping on the window by my ear with a pencil

Grumble, grumble, grumble “I’m hungry when are we gonna eat”

Pssssttttt, Psssstttt, “give me back my hair spray”

creeeek, creeeek, one of them trying to wipe their lipstick off the side glass

Splattt, “oh I spilled my big gulp on the floor”

It was a real TRIP though, as these girls were all 14-15years old and just at that age of make-up and wanting to look good for the boys. They each had packed their entire bathroom supplies… four sets of hot curlers, at least one curling iron per girl…some brought two. every bottle of perfume and makeup they could lay their hands on and each had enough clothes packed to supply a womens shelter for a month.

Yes that’s when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure


Spilling my coffee laughing.

My oldest Granddaughter just turned 14. I feel your pain.

Those are pretty good ideas to use to diagnose car sounds. Not a guaranteed diagnosis, but what is? Good place to start, to use as something to ask about when talking to the mechanic when you take the car in to the shop. Thanks.

BTW, my Corolla has all those sounds. It’s like a sort of symphony all the time I’m driving. But none of them are very loud. Yet. So I’m taking a wait and see attitude … who knows, if a sound can start by itself, it can stop by itself … lol …

We used to lie in the back of my dad’s Pontiac station wagon (he’d put the rear seat down) as we cruised to the beach on the old concrete highway. That’s all we’d hear all the way to and from the beach; THUMP THUMP, THUMP THUMP, THUMP THUMP… If you’ve ever traveled on the old concrete highways with the expansion joints, you understand.

I cannot see one diagnosis in the list that I agree is the most likely of the many possibilities for the sound. Some are downright ridiculous. Some might be downright dangerous.

That automotive article is on pretty shake ground. Ignore a potential failing tire? Earplugs to tune out a brake problem? Jeez.

To go along with that article I might add one tip that I remember from an old Playboy magazine humorous article from many years ago about a new car model being offered to the public. In the troubleshooting section…

COMPLAINT: Foul smelling purple fumes being emitted from the exhaust pipe.

SOLUTION: Quit pouring cheap Zinfandel into the gas tank.

yeah mountain, I remember that thump thump well, it meant we were going to the beach or to the go kart track on rt 50. my dad would say, "you ll find out when we get there, but when I heard the thump thump, I would know it was someplace fun