Just What Does That Noise Mean?

carCars can be like people—cold weather can bring about aches and complaints in vehicles, too. So, if you’re hearing some strange noises from your car, it may be time to bring it in for maintenance or repair

Common Winter Noises and What They Indicate

Here’s a list of the most common wintertime complaints you may hear from your car:

Squealing

What it means: Belts are loose or worn
Explanation: There are number of rubberized belts in your car. They lose elasticity as they age, making them loose and more likely to slip off its assembly. This is often more noticeable in the winter because colder temperatures also zap elasticity, making belts more brittle.

Squeaking when going over bumps

What it means: Bushings are worn
Explanation: Bushings are rubberized components in the suspension system that keep metal parts from rubbing against each other. Like belts, they lose elasticity with wear and exposure to elements.

Squeaking when you brake

What it means: Brake pads are worn
Explanation: Brake pads are designed to squeak when they are worn to a certain thickness as a safety measure. As the brake pads continue to disintegrate, the squeaking will get more pronounced. If brake pads aren’t replaced, the squeaking may be replaced by a grinding noise as the brake disk starts to grind against the metal rotor (a much more expensive repair).

Chirping from the Wheels

What it means: Wheel bearing(s) is bad
Explanation: Bad wheel bearings create a high-pitched chirping that can get louder or disappear at certain speeds or during turns.

Some noises are easy to diagnose. Others can be deceiving because of how sound travels in wheel wells and along the drive train. The ASE-certified technicians at Quanz Auto Body can diagnose the issues and perform the recommended repairs. One caution: do not ignore the noises! Putting off maintenance and repairs just leads to more costly repairs down the road.