Troubleshooting Odd Noises

Noises are among the most difficult automotive symptoms to diagnose. They are even more difficult to describe. However, noises are also among the most prominent, and helpful, symptoms to help diagnose a malfunction. If you stay alert and use common sense, you can effectively prevent serious malfunctions from turning into catastrophes.

There are three things to note about any given noise: its nature, its location, and how it changes over time. These three aspects can help pinpoint the cause of a malfunction and preserve the health of the car and its passengers.

If a noise increases in frequency or volume with speed, it is likely caused by a faulty rotating component. If the noise occurs after your vehicle hits a dip or bump, it is likely caused by a suspension component. If the noise sounds like a loud hiss, you probably have an air or fluid leak. All of these issues should be diagnosed by a professional, but some—namely, those that may be life-threatening—should be attended to immediately.

One of the most common and dangerous malfunctions that can occur in a vehicle is a wheel or tire malfunction. A loose wheel will shake and vibrate until it falls off. A flat tire will be chewed up by the wheel slowly until there is no tire left, leaving a bare metal wheel pressed against the ground. Both malfunctions will cause the vehicle to swerve uncontrollably, which could result in serious injury or death.

To prevent this from happening, watch out for sounds that:

  • Sound like rubber or metal rubbing or tapping;
  • Originate from one corner (near a wheel);
  • Are accompanied by shaking or vibration; or
  • Are loud, or increase quickly in volume.


If you hear a noise meeting any of these criteria (especially more than two), pull over immediately and contact roadside assistance. Have them tow you to our shop, and we’ll repair any issues. Call 727-823-5951 to schedule an appointment to bring your vehicle in today.

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