Common automotive repair complaints.
Today we will touch upon some common complaints that will have the customer bring the car in for repairs and their most likely causes. These are the types of complaints that many times have the customer trying to imitate the noise when explaining what they want check, this can be quit entertaining at times. Remember a complete inspection of your car will be needed to verify the exact cause of your complaint. This list is just intended to give some insight on the common causes of these problems.
1. Noises from suspension. Suspension noises are mostly noticeable when going over bumps. One of the most common is a broken or worn anti- sway bar link pin. Sometimes the sway bar frame mount bushings also fail. Both will produce a rattle of clunk noise. Broken springs, worn out control arm bushings, worn shocks and struts are also high on the list of probable suspects when looking for suspension noises.
2. Rumble noise that changes with your speed. An easy check here that you can do yourself is check tire ware. You are looking for a cupped rough ware pattern on the tread of the tires. Tire cupping can be caused by worn struts and shocks, but most likely it’s from poor tire design. Have your suspension checked as well as the alignment. If all is well suspect poor tire design.
Bad wheel bearings can sound very much like cupped tires, this is why you should eliminate the tires first as a potential cause of this kind of noise. Does the rumble noise change pitch or get a lot quieter when turning left or right? If so, a closer look at the bearings are in order. Weight transfer of the car during turning or pitching the car side to side will make the loaded side (the one on the outside of the turn) noisier if it’s the culprit.
3. Rattling or buzzing noise from under the car. This one will change or go away as you rev the engine in neutral. Take a look at your exhaust heat shields. Most of the time you will find one that the mounts or clamps have rusted out on and the tin shield is now just hanging on the pipe or converter just waiting to drive you nuts. Most techs will just cut them off to eliminate this annoyance. These shields should be kept in place if at all possible as they do serve a purpose. They don’t just shield the surrounding areas from the exhaust’s heat, they also are intended to keep the heat in allowing the converter to reach light off (operating temp) faster lowering cold start emissions.
4. Grinding or rubbing noise. If you hear a grinding noise when you apply the brakes you have worn the pads down to the metal backing of the pads and require brake service immediately. You would think this is a no brainer, but I see brakes worn through to the middle vented part of the brake rotor more than enough times to wonder how such a noise can be ignored. If you have grinding brakes don’t put off a brake inspection any longer! A squeak on the other hand may be an indication you have worn brake hardware of just glazed pads, squeaks are almost normal on some cars and are very difficult if not impossible to completely eliminate. Some brake pads have a ware indicator built into them that will cause a squeak when the brakes are applied to warn you that you are in need of service very soon. Remember, when in doubt have your brake system inspected.
5. Fluid leaks. Leaks when small can be very hard to locate. If you think your engine is leaking something, but unsure of what it can be, start by identifying what fluid it is. Place some white or light colored paper or cardboard under the car overnight. Once the car makes it’s deposits on the paper look at the color of the fluid. Green, yellow or orange can be coolant. Brown or black is oil and red is transmission fluid. Also take note of the location of the deposits so you can get a general idea of the location of the leak.