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Feel, Hear, See, Smell 2e

When you have a problem with your car you detect it with one of your senses. Either you feel something wrong, hear something, see something or smell something wrong. This is one of a series of articles that will help you interpret what you are sensing and come up with some possible cause of the problem.
» Part 1: Thump & Clunk
» Part 2: Brakes Squeal
» Part 3: Windshield Wipers
» Part 4: Pop & Knock
» Part 5: Popping Noise
» Part 6: Whirring & Buzzing
» Part 7: Too Loud
» Part 8: Transmission Noise
» Part 9: Rattling Noise

  • Popping noise from exhaust:
    Every time you step on the gas you hear a popping noise from the exhaust. For the most part the engine seems to be running well, but you notice a decrease in gas mileage. The louder the noise, the worse the problem is.

    Possible causes:
    1. You have a vacuum leak: Locate vacuum leak and repair.

    2. One or more of your fuel injectors are leaking: Locate leaking injector(s) and replace.

    3. There is a hole or leak in the car's exhaust: Repair or replace exhaust as required.


  • Engine makes a ticking noise:
    As soon as you start the engine, you hear a ticking noise from the engine. It sounds like a loud clock. The speed of the noise increases with an increase in engine speed. In fact, when you reach a particular speed, the noise is occurring so fast it seems that it is gone.

    Possible causes:
    1. The valves in your engine need to be adjusted: Adjust valves or replace hydraulic lifters as required.

    2. There is a lot of sludge in your engine that is stopping oil from circulating properly: Flush engine and replace oil and oil filter.

    3. The engine's valve lifters are collapsed: Replace valve lifters.

    4. One or more of the engine's valves are stuck: Remove valves and repair or replace valve guides and/or valves as required.


  • Clicking noise from the transmission while in four wheel drive:
    Everything is fine until you shift into four-wheel drive and you hear a lot of clicking and clacking from the transmission. You may even feel the noise through the floor or through the gearshift. The noise goes away when you put the transmission back into two-wheel drive.

    Possible causes:
    1. The fluid level in your transfer case is low: Fill transfer case to proper level with the correct type fluid.

    2. The final drive chain in your transfer case is stretched or damaged: Replace transfer case chain.

    3. You have an internal problem in the transfer case: Overhaul or replace transfer case.

    4. Your front drive shaft or axle needs repair: Repair or replace front drive axles as required.


    Hissing, Whirring and Buzzing

  • A hissing sound is heard from the engine:
    The engine may or may not seem to run fine. Normally, the hissing noise becomes apparent soon after the driver notices that the engine is not running properly. This problem can occur suddenly.

    Possible causes:
    1. The engine is overheating: Stop engine and determine cause of engine overheating.

    2. The exhaust system and/or catalytic converter is plugged: Replace catalytic converter and/or exhaust system parts as required.

    3. A vacuum line is disconnected: Locate and reconnect vacuum line.

    4. A vacuum device is leaking: Locate and replace leaking vacuum device.


  • Whirring from the engine that gets worse as engine speed increases:
    Although the whirring noise is evident at all engine speeds, it is the change in volume as engine speed increases that make the noise most noticeable. The noise may or may not develop gradually or get worse over time.

    Possible causes:
    1. Low power steering fluid: Fill power steering fluid to proper level.

    2. The alternator bearings are bad: Replace alternator bearings or alternator assembly.

    3. A bad water pump: Replace water pump.

    4. A bad power steering pump: Replace power steering pump.

    5. A bad air conditioning compressor: Replace air conditioning compressor.

» Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3       » Part 4
Part 5       » Part 6       » Part 7       » Part 8
Part 9
Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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