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Cluck, whine, hiss: 5 crazy sounds your car makes when its 'sick' and what it could mean

2019-10-15 04:30

Robin Classen

mechanic

Image: iStock

Just like you might get the sniffles and sneezes when you begin to get sick, cars also have its symptoms to let us know it its not in perfect running order.

Parts don't suddenly just break, they always give some sort of indication, generally in the form of a peculiar sound to let the driver know all is not well and that something will need to be fixed or replaced rather soon. In fact, hearing strange noises could almost mean its already too late.

Clucks and whines

Sometimes the cause of the sound can be something small like fastening a hose clamp, but others require a bit more work, or money.



Do you know of any other weird sounds you've heard of and what it meant was breaking? Email us and let us know.



Each mechanical component plays its part in how a car operates and some can wear down faster than others.

READ | Thunk! Whrr! 10 car noises you shouldn't ignore in SA

Below are some of the crazy sounds that come from components needing replacement:

1. Cluck sound when turning

This sound is commonly associated with worn outer CV joints when turning the wheel left or right. The affected side which houses the part will start 'clucking' as you turn.

CV joint

                                                                            Image: Getty Images

CV joints can be pricey to replace, depending on the car you drive, but should be checked for cracks or tears in the protective rubber cover where grease can escape. CV joints can break completely if not repaired and damage your front suspension and wheels.

2. Gearbox whine when in gear

You know its time to strip out or replace your manual transmission when a 'whining' sound emanates from beneath the under carriage. Your transmission is probably the most used component as it is a vital cog (no pun intended) in a car's operation.

Gearbox gears

                                                                            Image: Getty Images

There are a number of possible causes for this, one of which could be that the fluid in the gearbox is low or something more serious like burnt or grated gears. This can often make it difficult to engage gears and with its worn internal components, can cause the strange sound.

3. Belt squeal with the engine on

This sound is likely attributed to your car's serpentine and fan belt, with the high-pitched squeal giving you an indication it has seen a bit of wear and needs replacing. 

V-belt

                                                                             Image: Getty Images

It could also be down to the weather - cold conditions can play a part on the belt making the sound from start up in older cars. Some engines use one belt to drive the engine and air-conditioner while other use two separate ones.

4. Hissing from the bonnet

No, there's no snake under the bonnet (although it has happened before), but it could be the cause of a radiator hose that has a small hole in it, or perhaps the pipe has come loose or even deteriorated.

Radiator hose

                                                                             Image: Getty Images

It handles a large influx of cold and warm water on daily operation so after a while it becomes hard, or gets brittle and slowly starts cracking where water seeps out because of the water pressure. It's imperative that motorists check their oil and water levels regularly. 

5. Growl or humming sound from the wheels while driving

This sound is often attributed to your car's wheel bearings. It can also be mistaken for road or tyre noise, and normally starts out very faint, gradually getting louder the longer you drive. Besides the sound it makes when faulty, you can also feel it in the drive as the car appears to feel unstable on the road.

                                                                            Image: iStock

It is dangerous to drive with worn wheel bearings because it can seize and cause the affected wheel not to move at all, possibly affecting other suspension related components. This is also the cause of a wheel coming completely off a vehicle.

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