Car Care

The Sounds of Trouble Brewing Under the Hood: a Symptomatic Approach to Vehicle Care

Nothing could be worse than driving home after a long day at work and hearing a strange knocking or pinging sound coming from under the hood of your vehicle. Well, it could be worse…you could be driving on a deserted highway around 10pm at night and hear the sound. Wherever you may find yourself, this is not music to your ears. Your next thought may be to erupt into a full-fledged panic because you are sure this is an eminent sign that your vehicle is just about to break down.

While this may be a bit melodramatic to take this approach, there are reasons to be concerned if your car is creaking and groaning. Your vehicle is not throwing a temper tantrum, but it is clearly trying to get your attention. Although you may maintenance your vehicle regularly and track its progress on an online e-log, there are things that can still go wrong between service visits.

It is good to be proactive about these early warning signals and address them as soon as possible rather than hoping that the sound does not return. By addressing these potential problems early, you can save yourself the hassle of bigger repair bills in the future.

There are Rumbles and There are Grumbles

While some noise from cars makes us happy and excited, such as the rumble of the engine or the hum from the shifting gears, there are other sounds that are not what we want to hear. It could be a rattle, scrape, squeak, groan, pinging, or a thumping sound. Some sounds speed up as the vehicle accelerates while others are steady or rhythmic.

Whatever the reason, it is a clear signal that there is a problem.

Any of the aforementioned sounds means that it is time to get your vehicle serviced so the noise can be diagnosed and fixed before the problem gets worse.

Other Signs and Symptoms

While noise may be one of the most obvious signs that something is wrong with your vehicle, there are other symptoms to keep in mind and look into if they appear. There are other sensory experiences that tell us something does not “feel” right about our vehicle.

You may sense a change in the way the car is handling or if it is pulling to one side. You may see strange stains under the car. And you may smell something that gives off an unpleasant odor. Here are some signals that you will need to follow-up on with a service visit if they happen:

Recording the Good and the Bad

While you may feel apprehensive about tracking any vehicle breakdowns and repairs, it is a good way to gauge performance and identify other deeper issues about the vehicle that should be addressed. Additionally, and prospective buyer might appreciate the detailed notes that you have kept on your maintenance log about what was right and what went wrong.

Many of the signs and symptoms mentioned in this article could be avoided if you stick to a regular maintenance plan or work with a company that provides you with reminders about service through your email, PDA, or cell phone.