If you drive your car frequently, you know it well enough to notice when it sounds different. Knowing what abnormal noises mean will help you let your auto repair shop know what’s going on and provide you with an accurate estimate. Below are several unusual sounds your car might make and what auto repair you’ll likely need for each.

What Noises Mean You Need an Auto Repair?

1. Squealing or Grinding When Braking

If you hear squealing when you hit the brakes, it’s time to have your pads replaced. Ignoring this sound could lead to you wearing through the indicator so that the caliper is rubbing against the rotor, which is when you’ll hear grinding when trying to stop.

If this continues to happen, you could warp the rotor, have problems stopping, or cause the brakes to lock up, all of which are hazardous.

2. Odd Noises When Starting the Car

A whining sound or slow starting when you turn the key in the ignition usually indicates a problem with the battery. Even if you get it started the first time, it may not start the next time, leaving you stuck.

While an old battery or lights that were left on may be at fault, it could also mean that your alternator is failing and not charging the battery as it should.

3. Loud Roaring or Rumbling

auto repairWhether idling or accelerating, if your car sounds louder than usual, you may have a cracked or leaking exhaust manifold system or a problem with your muffler.

While it may not seem like a big issue that prevents you from driving, it requires immediate attention. A failing or damaged exhaust and muffler system could be allowing carbon monoxide into the car with you, which is toxic and dangerous.

4. High-Pitched Whining During Operation

A high-pitched whining or squealing during normal operation of your car -- not when coming to a stop -- indicates a slipping or loose belt. The serpentine belt helps run several major parts of your car, including your alternator, power steering system, AC compressor, and water pump.

Not having this issue checked out could cause your power steering to fail and your engine to overheat, both of which can be dangerous and cause even more damage. You may also experience AC problems.


If your car is making odd noises, Kalispell Alignment & Auto Repair in Kalispell, MT, will perform thorough car diagnostics and skilled auto repairs to get you back on the road. With over 25 years’ experience, their techs are ASE®-certified, and whether you get car diagnostics or a part replacement, each service is backed by NAPA’s 24-month, 24,000-mile warranty. Read more about their services online and call (406) 755-0234 for an estimate or appointment.