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All cars make noises from time to time – but when you hear an odd knocking noise coming from your vehicle, should you take it seriously?

First, check to see that it’s not some random object rolling around in the car. We’ve all been alarmed to hear something rattling at the back only to find it’s a discarded child’s toy under the seat!

If the noise persists, it could be a sign of an auto system or component failure. If the sound is unfamiliar, then you should get it checked out before the problem becomes more serious.

Where’s that noise coming from?

Is the noise coming from the engine, underneath the car or outside the vehicle such as from the tyres or aerodynamic interference?

A change in road surface will alter the sound of the interaction of rubber tyres on the road’s surface while noises from aerodynamic interference may be caused when a part of your car has become loose or been impaired by road debris.

Clattering from under the car

The exhaust runs from the engine to the back of the car and can be responsible for a number of different noises. Hangers and clamps keep pipes in position to prevent rattling, and if they’re not secured properly, they can cause loud noises or clanging as you drive.

Your suspension system ensures your vehicle moves smoothly rather than bouncing up and down uncontrollably. Shock absorbers dissipate the movement of springs - absorbing vertical motion as the name implies. If your springs are sounding ‘springy’ if may be because something’s not fixed correctly.

When you apply your brakes, you should hear minimal or no noise. If you hear a high-pitched squealing sound, it could be a sign that there’s wear and tear of your brake pads. Or a metallic grinding noise could indicate that your brake pads may be damaging the brake rotors.

Strange sounds from the engine

If you hear any tapping or irregular noises from your engine, you should get to a garage as soon as possible as this could be an indication of a serious problem. When engine calibration is wrong, or you don’t have enough oil, you will notice changes in your engine’s normal sound.

And when it comes to your radiator, you should be aware of the usual noise your vehicle makes. If the belt that turns your fan blade is worn, you may experience a repetitive screeching sound on each revolution.

Vintage cars make a cacophony of different noises

When it comes to classic and vintage cars, there are a whole host of rattles, screeches and whining noises to listen out for.

Belts can become loose and water pumps fail. A number of sounds can be attributed to
accessories and their brackets. A buzzing noise can often be caused by a bracket that isn’t tight enough.

Unless you know exactly how your classic car works, it’s wise to get it checked out by an expert as soon as a problem occurs as it can often get worse quickly and cause further issues down the line.

Early action can save you money

Preventive maintenance such as changing your oil regularly and having your car checked annually – including having your brake pad and exhaust system inspected – will save you money in the long-term.

If you do find yourself in a situation where your car is making an unfamiliar noise, then don’t leave it to get worse. Failing to take action can be expensive while early intervention by an experienced engineer can save you pounds and give you peace of mind.

Foster & Heanes offers car servicing, maintenance and repair for all makes and models of vehicles including classic and vintage cars. We can arrange free collection and delivery if you live near our Fleet or Dogmersfield service centres. Please visit www.fosterandheanesltd.co.uk or call 01252 615657 for further information.

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