Diagnosing Noises in Your Car
Sometimes your vehicle sounds louder than usual. If this is the case, look for an exhaust leak. These leaks often start out small but grow larger and louder over time. An easy way to check for the source of an exhaust leak is to simply place a rag or some sort of restriction on the tail pipe while the engine is running. This will force the exhaust to leak out more in the area where the leak is, making it easier to find. Here’s a video demonstrating the process.
Rattles come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be small and annoying, while others can sound like your transmission is about to fall out. The latter is often easier to find; just look for the loose parts.
The smaller rattles might be harder to find. For those, you can use the methods shown in the Finding Noises video to help pinpoint their location. One common source of rattles is loose exhaust shields. These can be fairly easy to fix. I normally take a hose clamp or series of hose clamps and tighten them around the loose exhaust part. Here’s a video showing that process.
If you’ve read this entire article, you’re probably seeing a recurring theme here: Narrow down the source of the noise, repair the suspected components, and recheck for the noise. That’s about it really. The hardest part is finding the source. Noises can be tricky. I once spent four days tracking down a noise in a vehicle before I finally found the problem, which ended up being worn bushings in the lower control arm. Other noises might be obvious. You might have heard them before and are able to find the source quickly. The point is to take your time and find the source before you break out the credit card to buy new parts. A little time spent diagnosing can save you a bunch in the end.
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Written By EricTheCarGuy
Edited By Julie Hucke
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