Unwanted Car Noises And What They Mean

Unusual car noises normally indicate that there may be something wrong with your vehicle. Some sounds point to obvious problems that are easy to diagnose, whereas other sounds can be harder to trace and you may need an expert to diagnose the problems and carry out any repairs required.

As a vehicle owner you are responsible for making sure that your vehicle is of a roadworthy standard and safe to drive. With more people slowly going back to work and using their vehicles more frequently, we have noticed an increase in drivers experiencing unusual car noises.

If you think that an unusual noise may be present and that it could mean your vehicle is unsafe or unreliable, then please give us a call on 01242 672125 or email us at info@gotheringtoncross.co.uk to speak to a member of our service reception team.

Clicking Noise

If your vehicle makes a clicking noise when trying to turn the key, then this could be a sign that your battery is flat or your starter motor is worn. More recently, there has been a higher increase in people reporting flat batteries as now that lockdown is gradually being lifted, more people are using their vehicles again.

What to do: 

Most of our customers are signed up with recovery services such as RAC, AA and Green flag. If these recovery services are not able to provide repairs to your vehicle from the roadside or from your home address, please call us for a same day emergency booking.


Clunking Noise

If your vehicle is making a clunking noise when you drive over any uneven surfaces, then it may be a sign that there is a problem with your vehicle’s suspension, or even part of the exhaust system.

A clunking noise when turning a corner could be an indication that there is a problem with your steering. If your vehicle makes a clunking noise when you use your brakes, it could mean that there is significant wear or damage to the brake discs, pads or calipers.

What to do: 

If you are driving the vehicle you should continue to drive with caution and contact us for advice on what steps to take next.

If you have anything in the vehicle or attached to the outside of the vehicle that could be the cause of the noise, make sure it is secured and if the noise persists book the vehicle in with service reception so one of our experienced mechanics can diagnose the problem for you, and check your vehicle is safe to drive.

Rattling Noise

If you experience a rattling noise in your vehicle, then it is important to check the possibilities of where it is coming from. It could be as simple as something loose in the glove compartment, to something more serious which needs attention from a mechanic.

Rattling noises from underneath your vehicle indicate something is loose or worn. It could be a part of the exhaust system that is loose or a worn suspension part. These problems should be checked by a mechanic as soon as possible to avoid any further damages from occurring.

If the rattling noise is coming from under the bonnet then it could be related to the oil level being low or a worn auxiliary belt/tensioner.

If the rattling noise is coming from underneath the vehicle it’s more than likely going to be related to a component of the vehicle’s suspension. We would advise this is looked at as soon as possible by a mechanic.

A rattling noise inside the vehicle is less likely to be something as serious – it could be that something is rattling around in the glove compartment which is simple to resolve.

What to do: 

If you are not able to identify where the rattling noise is coming from please give us a call to speak to service reception for advice.

If the rattling car noise is internal and easily resolved by yourself then you will be safe to drive. However, if you are at all unsure then it is always best to visit us so that a mechanic can check your vehicle to reassure you that your vehicle is safe to drive on the road.

Car Noises
Car Noises
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High Pitched Squealing Noise

If your vehicle squeaks or squeals when you apply the brakes it could mean that your brake pads require replacement. Brake pads have built-in wear sensors which alert drivers when they are worn down and need changing.

A typical indicator that there are one or more problems with your vehicle’s braking system is when there is a scraping or squeaking noise as you apply your brakes.

In addition, if there is a high-pitched squeal present during periods of non-braking or light braking, this is a sign that you require new brake pads and possibly brake discs.

If you detect a heavy scraping sound during braking and/or tendency for the vehicle to pull to one side or the other, avoid using the vehicle until it has been looked at by a mechanic.

What to do: 

If you are in a position to do so, then avoid any further use of your vehicle as it could cause serious issues and put yourself, and others at risk due to your vehicle being unsafe to be on the roads.

Even a minor problem with one area of your braking system can drastically reduce your vehicle’s ability to stop safely. If you have any concerns then get your brakes checked promptly by one of our mechanics.

Droning Noise

If you hear a droning noise coming from your vehicle when driving, this could be an indicator of a worn wheel bearing. A wheel bearing noise will tend to vary with different road surfaces and will get louder as the condition of the wheel bearing worsens. A droning noise could also be coming from your tyres, especially if they are worn unevenly. Uneven wear on tyres can be due to your front wheel alignment being out.

What to do: 

If you think you have a wheel bearing noise we advise you get this checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible to avoid any further damage to any other parts on your vehicle.

When it comes to tyres it is always better to be safe and get them checked. You are responsible for your vehicle being safe to drive and can be fined if it is found not to be. You should check your tyre tread depths (the legal limit is 1.6mm), and tyre pressures to ensure your tyres are safe to be on your vehicle.


Have you had a MOT extension on your vehicle but are experiencing some of the above car noises? If yes, read more on our customer update regarding MOT extensions.

The IGA (Independent Garage Association) have highly advised that vehicles which have been given an MOT extension from the Government due to Covid-19 are at high risk of being unsafe to drive.

If you would like any advice about your MOT or unusual car noises, then please contact us on 01242 672125 or email us at info@gotheringtoncross.co.uk

 car noises


 01242 672125


Gotherington Cross Garage, Evesham Road, Gotherington, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. GL52 8SA

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