- If your car is making a chirping noise, you might be dealing with a worn serpentine belt, a failed belt tensioner, or a bad wheel bearing.
- Feathered or worn tires, a failed u-joint, and a bad throw out bearing can also cause your car to make chirping noises.
- Other alarming car noises you should watch out for are pinging sounds, squealing noises when braking, and grinding noises from your transmission.
You shouldn’t ignore unusual sounds coming from your engine because they give you a clue about your vehicle’s condition. For example, a chirping sound in a car can indicate several issues that should be addressed immediately.
Possible Reasons Why Your Car is Making a Chirping Noise
A chirping noise can mean there’s an issue with your serpentine belt or wheel bearings. Problems with components like the belt tensioner pulley, rocker arms, and u-joints can also cause a chirping noise.
Let’s take a closer look at each problem.
Worn Serpentine Belt
A worn serpentine belt can cause belt slippage, which means that it can lose its grip on the pulleys. If that happens, you might hear a chirping noise while driving your vehicle, which could increase when you accelerate. It’s also important to consider the possibility of coolant coming into contact with the belt, as it can also cause a similar noise.
A worn-out belt will usually appear glazed. So if you have the tools to inspect your serpentine belt, look for signs of glazing.
Some mechanics and DIYers use a type of oil or lubricant (WD-40) to verify if it’s the belt that’s causing the noise. If the noise goes away when the belt is lubricated, the problem is probably the texture or the condition of the worn-out belt.
It’s also important to consider the possibility of coolant coming into contact with the belt, as it can also cause a similar noise.–Anthony Harlin, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician
Failed Belt Tensioner
The belt tensioner keeps your serpentine belt aligned and tensioned. So if it fails, there wouldn’t be enough tension for the belt to run smoothly, which could create chirping noises when your vehicle is running.
Bad Wheel Bearing
If the chirping noise is coming from the wheel, you might be facing a wheel bearing issue. The noise might change in intensity when you slow down, speed up, and make turns. It could also go away for some time.
Wheel bearing issues should not be ignored because they can cause your brake rotors to wobble, causing brake issues. In the worst case, your wheels could come off, causing you to lose control of your vehicle.
Watch for other signs of wheel bearing issues and take your ride to an auto repair shop if you spot some.
Feathered or Worn Tires
A chirping noise coming from the rear of your vehicle can mean there’s an issue with your tires.
A worn-out tire can have uneven tire tread and depth, making it hard for it to stay in contact with the road. It will also be difficult to make abrupt turns. While tire issues are often linked to squeaking or squealing noises, there are times when the noise sounds more like chirping.
Tire feathering can also mean there’s an issue with your suspension, so it’s best to have a mechanic check your ride.
A malfunctioning driveshaft u-joint can also cause chirping sounds. The noise becomes more noticeable when you drive slowly.
It must be lubricated to work properly. If your u-joint is dry or worn out, it can make a chirping sound. You might also hear clicking or squealing.
Bad Throw Out Bearing
If your vehicle is equipped with a clutch and you hear chirping noises, consider the possibility that the throw out bearing needs replacement.
This bearing is crucial to the operation of the clutch mechanism because it pushes against the pressure plate to disengage the clutch disc. You’ll notice the sound near the transmission of your vehicle.
Other Alarming Car Noises to Watch Out for
Aside from hearing a chirping sound from the engine, here are other car noises that you shouldn’t ignore.
A ping is a tell-tale sign of an ignition-related issue. It usually occurs during premature ignition, when a pocket of air and fuel mixture detonates at the wrong time—ahead of the spark produced by the spark plug.
Squealing Noise When Braking
A squealing noise could be a sign of a brake issue. It usually means your brake pad indicator is rubbing against your rotor.
Although this isn’t an emergency, you might want to let a mechanic inspect your braking system. Worn-out rotors or pads should be replaced immediately to prevent braking issues.
Hearing a grinding noise coming from your transmission is a cause for concern. If you hear the grinding noise when you shift gears, it could mean your vehicle lacks transmission fluid.
Worn synchronizer blocking rings, shift forks, and bearings can also cause grinding noises.
Roaring and Rumbling Under the Rear
A leak or crack in the exhaust system can cause a loud roaring or rumbling sound coming from underneath the driver’s seat. Once the exhaust system fails, all the excess sounds and vibrations are funneled into the car.
Address issues in the exhaust system immediately. If left unresolved, carbon monoxide can enter your cabin through the vents and poison you.
Where to Get a New Serpentine Belt for Your Vehicle
Driving around with a worn-out serpentine belt means trouble. If left unresolved, you could face a very expensive repair bill. Replacing a damaged serpentine belt isn’t that expensive, and it’s extremely easy to buy one when you go to CarParts.com.
Enjoy shopping from the comfort of your home with CarParts.com’s mobile-friendly app and easy-to-navigate website. All you have to do is enter your vehicle’s year, make, and model into our vehicle selector to start browsing for direct-fit serpentine belts for your ride.
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Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.