Team at Old Town Auto Service, Quality Car Care Pros at Eureka, CA

Old Town Auto Service Car Maintenance

The Noises a Troubled Car Make

We often get people that aren't "car people" come in and explain the problem by describing the noise that is being produced. This is a perfectly normal practice and happens more often than not.

The fact is that your car is like a pet in that you cannot have a conversation about what is troubling them so you are left to interpret your observations.

Well we speak car very well and want to share some translations with you that might save you time and money.

This might be what those noises mean:

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If you only hear whistling inside your car while driving, there is most likely an issue with your vehicle's weather-stripping. If the whistling noise originates from under the hood, however, this sound could be a sign of a problem with your hoses.

Hoses are crucial parts of your engine's cooling system, but they are also the weakest. Constant circulation of air and cooling fluid through your car's engine can cause small cracks in hoses, breaking their vacuum seal. The whistling sound you are hearing could be air escaping through these holes.

Hissing or Humming

If your car is whirring and squealing for attention, chances are you have a belt problem. In addition to its many gaskets, hoses and wires, your car's engine has several rotating belts. Over time, these belts can stretch or crack as they circulate at high speeds around a system of pulleys. Replacing worn-out belts is cheap and can save you headaches down the road.


If something is ticking and clicking in your engine, check your car's oil tank. Since they rely on lubricating oil to run smoothly, noisy pistons are often an indication of low oil levels. Before taking your car to the shop, check your car's dipstick.

Stammering and Sputtering

If your car sputters or continues running after removing the keys from the ignition, you may be hearing the effects of "dieseling." In a nutshell, dieseling is when gasoline continues to ignite by compression alone in the cylinder without the aid of the sparkplug. Although this issue is somewhat limited to older engines with carburetors, as opposed to newer fuel-injected engines, do not be surprised if you hear a couple coughs from your engine after turning it off.

Loud Idling

If you feel your car is noisier than should be there could be an issue with cylinder compression. If there is an uneven air-fuel ration in the cylinder, combustion can occur at higher or lower rates than normal. Higher pressure in the cylinder can cause the engine to sound louder than usual or even produce a knocking sound. Not attending to this issue can lead to engine damage.


If you hear an abnormal sound when breaking, have your car checked immediately as there could be an issue with your breaks or break pads.

Clunks and Clangs

Hearing a large clang at every speed bump? There could be an issue with your car's suspension. Before going to the shop, take a quick look under your car to check for a loose tailpipe or muffler.