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by Eddie Carrara
Is your car making noise? Do you need help trying to find it? I'm sure with the tips outlined here you'll be able to figure it out. Keep in mind that car sounds are difficult to figure out sometimes, and car sounds and noises vary with temperature, road conditions, incline and decline, vehicle speeds, etc. In order to figure out where the car noises are coming from, you have to ask yourself a few questions, so I will give you a list of things to pay attention to, and it should get you closer to figuring out what's causing the noise.
· When is the car making noise? when the vehicle is moving or when it's stopped?
· What speed does the noise occur at?
· Is it coming from the inside or outside of the vehicle?
· Is the noise in the front, middle, or rear of the vehicle?
· Is the car noise a knock or a rattle?
· Does engine speed matter?
· Does the noise get louder or softer with speed?
· What is the temperature outside?
· Is the car making noise on a hot day or cold day?
· Is the noise coming from the engine?
· Does the noise happen while turning or going straight?
· Is the car making noise while accelerating or braking?
The list of questions can go on forever, so the best diagnosis is to pay attention when the vehicle is making the noise and make a mental note or write it down so you don't forget.
Here are a few tips for how to diagnose a car sound while the vehicle is moving. Look for an abandon or empty parking lot, use the parking lot as a testing ground, if your car makes noises while turning, drive the car in slow circles, if your car makes noises going over bumps, finds a bumpy part of the parking lot and continue to drive over it until you figure out how to reproduce the noise (then test drive it with your mechanic so you can prove the car really does have a noise). If you can reproduce the noise with the mechanic in the car, it will/could save you a lot of money in diagnosing time.
Drive along side of a guardrail, Jersey barrier, or building wall, like in a shopping mall when the car is making noise. Roll down your windows on the object side (building, guardrail) of the car, the noise will bounce off the object and the vehicle noise will be much more pronounced.
If the vehicle makes noise only while driving on roads that make the body of the vehicle bounce, try bouncing the vehicle while it's parked. Have a friend bounce the vehicle while you sit in it, can you reproduce the noise? If you can reproduce it, bring it to your mechanic and have them check it out, show the mechanic how to reproduce the noise, it will save them time, and it will save you money.
Noises can get tricky because car sounds travel down the metal frame and suspension parts, also noises bounce around inside the vehicle cabin like an empty can, sometime you will chase a noise for days and not figure it out, but with these tips, you should have a better understanding of how to start the diagnosis process, so don't get discouraged, even top mechanics get stumped sometimes.
Body creaks and suspension squeaks are some of the toughest noises to chase. Body creaks change with ambient temperatures and sometimes you have to disassemble half the vehicle to find where the noise is coming from. Suspension creaks are also very difficult to figure out because it's not easy being under a vehicle while it's moving. When we have suspension creaks we can't figure out, we use a tool called The Chassis Ear.
The Chassis Ear tool is a bunch of alligator clamps with sensors that send an amplified noise back to a control box, and a set of headphones, you can clip the alligator clamps onto different parts of the vehicle and road test it while listening for noises. The control box then sends the noise to a set of head phones, being able to drive the vehicle and use the chassis ear can save you a lot of time and frustration, but it's a bit pricey for the DIY guy, but if you do this kind of work a lot, it's worth the investment.
Have you ever driven a manual transmission vehicle and heard an awful noise when starting out in first gear? It will usually sound like cards in your bicycle spokes, and you can almost feel a vibration in the vehicle.
Watch the video below and listen to the noise, if this is the noise you have in your transmission, then you may need to have the main input shaft bearing replaced.
If this is the case, the transmission will need to be removed from the vehicle and taken apart completely, because the main input shaft bearing sits at the bottom of the transmission case.
If you have questions about a car noise, leave it in the comment box below and I'll be happy to answer it for you.
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