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Strange Car Noises: What Do They Mean?


What’s that strange car noise? Even if you’ve been driving for years, an unfamiliar popping or rattling noise in your car can catch you off guard and cause worry — even more so if you’re planning a trip out from Chicago or LaGrange.

If you notice that your car is making a rattling, clunking, or squealing noise while you’re on the road, it could be a sign that your vehicle is in need of service. Don’t ignore these strange car noises; get your vehicle to The Autobarn Volkswagen of Countryside fast. Even once you know what’s making that sound — we diagnose your strange car noises below — you should still visit our service center for a checkup.

Identifying Car Noises: What’s That Sound?

Is that a clunking sound when you hit the brakes?

  • A brake caliper could be damaged, or it could be missing entirely.

Hear a flapping under the hood?

  • A belt may be breaking down, or there could be something interfering with your fan.

A startling, loud bang?

  • Older drivers might be more familiar with this one: a backfire. Most commonly, this is caused by the catalytic converter not functioning properly.

Is there a squealing soundwhen applying brakes?

  • A squealing sound may mean your brake rotors are dirty, or it could mean it’s time for new brake pads. You can peek down there and look between your spokes to check — brake pads should typically be 1/4 inch thick.
Auto mechanic performing work under car

Notice a high-pitched sound once the engine has been turned off?

  • Take a look at the radiator pressure cap. This sound could mean that a gasket is worn.

Does the transmission grind when shifting?

  • The clutch could be worn or just needs an adjustment.

Do you hear a popping in engine compartment?

  • There are several possible causes: an ignition problem, clogged fuel filter, worn spark plugs, or a compromised catalytic converter.

Does the engine squeal while accelerating?

  • Your drive belts are loose or slipping.

Do you hear a clicking noise that gets faster as you accelerate?

When Should I Schedule Service?

In some cases, you may be tempted to ignore car noises that doesn’t seem to be too serious. Although it’s often possible to keep moving forward, even when you’re dealing with strange sounds, the truth is that small problems can easily balloon into bigger ones. If you’re hearing weird sounds coming from your vehicle, you’ll want to deal with the issue before it causes a breakdown or a collision on the roads near Naperville. Ultimately, drivers who keep up with their regularly scheduled service appointments will be able to catch most potential inconveniences before they become real problems. It’s always a good idea to be proactive.


Drivers with a knack for complex vehicles might feel as though they can fix the problem on their own! Even if you decide not to take your vehicle into our service center, we’ll be happy to help you with VW service tips and advice. Remember, when you’re carrying out a DIY fix, only Volkswagen genuine OEM parts will give you the best results. Many components are available at our Countryside auto parts department today, and if we don’t have what you need in stock, we’d be happy to place an order for you.

Auto mechanic performing tune up

Rely on Our Team for Superior Countryside Auto Service

Whether you’ve noticed a rattling noise in your car or you’re dealing with some other common problem like how to unlock a steering wheel or you have a fluid leak, you can count on The Autobarn Volkswagen of Countryside for all your service needs. Whatever car noises you may hear, you’ll want to bring your car in for a full checkup at our service center. Ensure a safe drive with The Autobarn Volkswagen of Countryside, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.


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