Why is my Engine Making Noises?

Diagnosing Common Engine Noises

Engine making popping, ticking and knocking noise

Strange engine noises are bad news. Do not ignore them—get it fixed or try to make DIY repairs.

Your car engine is making unnatural noises and you don’t have the slightest idea what it could be. The unfortunate truth is that engine noises can mean anything from a simple quick-fix to a complete engine overhaul that may not be worth the money if your car has some gnarls in its beard.

We've got likely explanations for the following common engine noises:

  1. Squealing Noises
  2. Knocking or pinging noises
  3. Ticking or clicking noise
  4. Popping sound
  5. Noises while accelerating
  6. Loud roaring noises when idling

This quick guide seeks to point out some of the most common engine noises and explain what causes them. So, don’t panic just yet. You may simply need to make an adjustment or two without ever having to take your vehicle to an overpriced mechanic. If you need replacement engine parts, we have them for cheap!

Most Common Vehicles with Engine Problems

There are several different car makes and models that are renowned for having engine issues. It’s an unfortunate truth, but it's better to know it's not just your vehicle.

Some of the most common cars that experience the most engine problems include:

  • Dodge Ram
  • Chrysler Intrepid
  • Subaru Forester
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Hyundai Elantra

Auto issues got you downright frustrated? Our auto junkyard near Milwaukee will take your trashed vehicle and give you CASH. Don't wait another day - call our vehicle parts dealer at Sturtevant Auto today!

Used Engine Parts from Milwaukee Junkyard

You may be able to pick up some cheap engine parts from Sturtevant Auto near Milwaukee, WI and make some simple repairs on your own. Whether you have a Chevy Impala or a Honda CR-V, we carry used engine parts for most makes and models.

1.  Squealing Noises

When you accelerate and hear a squeal, a squeak, or a whine, odds are the cause is a worn belt. Your timing belt might whine while idling, and actually stop whining after you continue accelerating, only to return once you slow down. Your engine’s whining noise can be addressed relatively easily. It can be caused by:

  • Worn serpentine belt (a frayed belt is about to fail completely)
  • Worn pulley causing the belt to slip
  • Pulleys are loose and need to be tightened

A quick stop to the mechanic should easily clarify the cause of the problem. They might offer to fix it then and there, but you can save yourself money by fixing it yourself. Replacing a timing belt is pretty straightforward in most models, but depending on what you see under the hood, it could be problematic.

Sturtevant Auto carries used parts from popular Chevy, Ford, Honda, Chrysler, and other brands. Be warned though: if you find the belt is worn, a used belt isn’t much good, but a used pulley will work just fine.

2.  Knocking or Pinging Noises

If your engine makes a pinging or knocking noise it is likely caused by an ignition problem. This knocking and pinging occurs when fuel ignites inside the cylinder, only to have more fuel enter the cylinder immediately after. This second ignition could be caused by several things:

  • Bad fuel filter
  • Bad fuel injector
  • Damaged spark plugs
  • Bad distributor cap

Before you attempt any repairs yourself, we recommend taking your car into the shop so you can get a tune-up. This should help you identify the problem and find the best course of action. Sturtevant Auto carries a huge selection of parts from popular Chevy, Honda, and Ford models. You can find the correct replacement part and solve your knocking engine problems.

3.  Ticking or Clicking Noises

VW Engine Making Loud Noises

Engine noises can be hard to trace. Talk with a trusted mechanic to figure out what's wrong with your car.

Rotating parts, like belts or brakes, make grinding or whining noises, but reciprocating parts, like pistons or tire rods, make an annoying ticking or clicking noise during operation. Listen to these noises carefully and you should be able to identify the cause. A noise when you go over speed bumps could be the sign of worn struts or sway bars. Try checking your oil if the ticking comes from the engine, it could be an incredibly easy fix. The most common causes of engine ticking are:

  • Low oil
  • Worn struts
  • Worn fuel injectors
  • Bad pushrods

You can usually stop your engine from making a ticking or clicking noise rather easily. Most ticking noises can be fixed by replacing your oil or even swapping out a single part. Sturtevant Auto carries a selection of parts from popular models like Honda, Chevy, Ford, or Toyota.

4.  “Popping” Sound

A popping sound could be one of several problems, so try these “simple fixes” or DIY options first. Before you do anything, it’s wise to take your car to a mechanic for a quick tune-up. This will cost you $100 or less, your car will receive a tune up making it run more efficiently, and if the sound ceases afterward, you have saved yourself time and money by fixing the problem. However, should a tune-up not solve the noise issue, it’s time to troubleshoot the sound. A popping sound could be from:

  • A dirty air filter. Replace it.
  • Worn or corroded spark plugs. Change them.
  • Bad spark wires.
  • Internal ignition malfunctions (wiring, etc.)
  • Clogged fuel filter.

Sturtevant Auto has a wide variety of salvageable vehicle parts for all of your DIY automotive fixes. So if you find yourself with a popping noise and in need of a specific part there is a good chance we have it in stock. Currently, we’ve got auto parts for Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Nissan, and many other makes and models.

5.  Noises While Accelerating

If the noise only exists when accelerating and is nowhere to be found when in idle, you can be certain that sort of friction issue is going on. The most common fix is to tighten or replace your engine's various belts. Place a tiny bit of water on them and see if the noise temporarily subsides. If so, grab a wrench and get to work.

However, there could be a much more serious problem:

  • Bent piston (this is very bad and usually requires an overhaul)
  • Low power steering fluid.
  • Bad alternator bearings.
  • Bad or faulty water pump.
  • Malfunctioning air conditioner compressor.

Remember, if your mechanic suggests costly repairs do not be afraid to politely ask to go get a second opinion. Make sure that the work does need to be done before you start spending thousands of dollars on what could be something incredibly simple.

6.  Loud Noises when Idling

Car engine making strange noises

Fixing a noise you hear when the car idles can be as simple as filling up on oil.

All engines begin to make some unnatural noises over time. Wear and tear on engine parts are unavoidable, and sometimes, even idle engines can make noises that aren’t quite right. Ideally one would only be able to hear the pistons going up and down. However, keep an eye out for other noises - such as clunking, grinding, or screeching - so that you can fix any issues before they get progressively worse. Persisting engine noises that are present while the engine is idle can include:

  • Try adjusting your valves. They could be stuck.
  • The engine is low on oil. Check the dipstick. If this is the case add some.
  • Low oil pressure.
  • Your engine is overheating.

7.  Strange Buzzing Sound in my Engine

If there’s experience a strange buzzing noise coming from the engine of your car, especially if it’s an older model, there could be several causes. While the issue may be minor, it certainly shouldn’t be ignored.  A buzzing or low-pitched humming sound can be the result of a bad bearing in the steering system, water pump, or alternator. It could also be something more serious like a worn-out exhaust system or a suspension issue though.

Sturtevant Auto is your source for salvage or replacement auto parts at the best deal.

8.  Loud Rattling from Under the Hood

A loud rattling noise coming from under your vehicle’s hood is a problem that needs immediate attention. Since the cause could be so many combinations of malfunctioning components, it would be impossible to list them all. Unless you want to make the problem considerably worse, you should begin the troubleshooting process right away. Common causes of loud rattling noises can be issues with the air conditioning clutch, a malfunctioning belt, a scored piston, and more!

If you are searching for replacement parts, used car components, or salvage auto parts to fix a loud rattling noise from under your hood, browse through our extensive inventory of salvage vehicles before you spend money on replacements that are direct from the factory.

9.  High Pitch Banging Noise

Any sort of banging noise is often the number one sign that your car needs some serious repair work.  The most common culprit behind a high-pitched banging noise is an engine issue, however, it can often be something as simple as a minor belt replacement.  Other common contenders are failed bearings, loose u-joints along the shaft, or, if the sound is not coming from under the hood, there is a good chance it could be in your tires. 

Regardless of your mechanical skills, if you decide to do any DIY fixes and need salvage parts or other used auto components - including engine parts - Sturtevant Auto has the best automotive solutions for the most available makes and models.  Salvage parts are typically a fraction of the costs of factory replacements, and our staff will help you to identify and remove any components you might need.

10. Obnoxious Screeching Noise

If your car is screeching, but only when you accelerate, there is an extremely high chance it is merely a worn or loose fan belt.  However, if the sound is coming from your wheels, your breaks may be the problem.  Your breaks are quite possibly the most important safety feature on any car and should be repaired as soon they are showing signs of malfunctioning.

Sturtevant Auto has a large selection of brakes and brake parts for Ford, Honda, Chevy, and other popular makes and models of vehicles and trucks.  Our salvage yard is always free to enter, and we will diligently help you locate any auto components you may be searching for.

Why is My Engine So Loud?

If you notice your engine is suddenly louder than normal it could be caused by several issues, not all of them bad. Pay attention to the sound your car is making, and where it is coming from. Any new hissing, groaning, whistling, or other nuisance sounds should be investigated right away. A loud blowing sound could be nothing, but a constant roar could be a problem.

A loud, blowing or high-pitched chirping sound in the summer is perfectly normal. During the warmer months, you are probably driving with the A/C on, and your engine is struggling to stay cool during the heat. Your car is trying to drive the A/C motor, and your radiator is working overtime to combat the excess heat. When your engine temperature reaches a certain point your radiator will kick into overdrive to cool things down. If you notice this happens more than normal, you might need to replace a thermometer or just add more radiator fluid.

If your engine is loud, louder than a motorcycle, and the sound seems to come from behind the engine, you likely leak into your exhaust system. The closer the leak is to the catalytic converter, the beginning of the exhaust system, the louder and more high-pitched the sound tends to be. Buying a whole new exhaust system is expensive, but finding an identical system from the same model can save you hundreds.

Don’t waste money ordering a brand-new replacement part from the mechanic. Shop Sturtevant Auto and find the perfect replacement part for a fraction of the price. We carry parts for Honda, Toyota, Chevy, Ford, and other top models.

Eliminate the Most Obvious Problem—Check Your Oil!

If your engine is constantly overheating and making noise, it is best to take it to a mechanic as overheating can be potentially hazardous. Before you do anything, check the oil. This is super easy:

  1. Find the hood release and raise the hood.
  2. Remove the dipstick and wipe it with a clean rag.
  3. Replace the dipstick and quickly remove it.
  4. Check the oil level and ensure it’s in the correct range.
  5. Add oil as necessary, but be careful to not overfill. Only use the oil recommended for your vehicle.

Engine Parts and More Used Car Components at our Milwaukee Junk Yard

If you’ve figured out what’s wrong with your car, and why it’s making an obnoxious noise, consider purchasing used parts from our pick-and-pull salvage yard before forking over an arm and a leg for brand-new parts from the nearest auto parts chain. If cost wasn’t an issue, you probably wouldn’t be trying a DIY fix in the first place. Whether your car is vibrating, howling, fluttering, banging, or buzzing, Sturtevant Auto has quality used and replacement parts at the most affordable rates.

Come on down and search the yard for yourself. Our supply expands every day. We’ve got auto parts for some of the most common makes and models of cars and trucks.

For secondhand vehicle parts at an unbeatable price check out our salvage yard. It is 100 percent free to enter, so contact one of our staff members at your convenience.