How to Pinpoint the Source of a Whining Noise When Driving

Especially if you are considering your automobile as one of your most, if not the most, prized possession, nothing can give you a mini heart attack more than hearing a whining noise when driving your car!

Your vehicle is a sophisticated machine. As a matter of fact, your car is made up of about 30,000 different parts, ranging from the screws to the rims. It’s for this reason exactly why determining the origin of the noise, as well as the problem behind it, can be easier said than done. All sorts of issues can come into being especially if your car is aging or is in a terrible condition, and different noises, such as one that’s whining, can come from it when it’s running.

Before you panic and feel like it’s the end of the world because you are hearing a whining sound when driving, continue reading this article. Below we will talk about how to figure out what’s causing your automobile to produce a weird whining noise other than the usual sweet humming of the engine.

Check the Transmission

Does your car give off an unusual sound only when speeding up? Chances are that the culprit is the transmission. There are a couple of reasons why your car’s transmission could generate a whining noise or any other type of sound. It’s either the transmission fluid level is low or the gears are already worn out.

Here are some of the telltale signs of low transmission fluid:

·          Problem with shifting gears. As the level of transmission fluid drops, dirt and debris can cause a problem with the gearbox. This is true no matter if you are driving a manual or automatic vehicle.

·          Unusual shift timing. If the car that you are driving is automatic, you may notice that the shifting of gear can happen either too late or too fast. You may also hear a knocking noise if the transmission fluid is low.

·          Surging transmission when changing gear. Rather than pulling backward, your automobile will move toward with a sudden jerk if there’s not enough fluid in the transmission.

The following are some of the usual symptoms of worn-out gears:

·          Burning smell in the vehicle. One of the telltale signs that your car’s gears are close to conking out is that they emit an unmistakable burning odor that can fill the interiors of your automobile.

·          Unusual sounds when shifting gears. There is definitely something wrong with the gears if, other than a constant whining sound, you also hear grinding noises each time you shift gear.

·          The gears change on their own. No, it’s not a ghost driver that is changing the gear while you’re on the road. If that keeps on happening, make sure that you report the weird behavior of your car to a mechanic.

Sometimes, whining noise when driving due to a transmission-related matter can be dealt with by something as simple as refilling the transmission fluid. Doing so will not only solve the unusual sound but also keep further issues from striking. If the issue is due to worn out gears, replacing the problematic parts is a must. 

Inspect the Power Steering

With the exception of some sports cars, most automobiles of today have power steering. So if it’s not too long ago when you purchased your vehicle, it’s very much likely for it to be already installed with power steering. And the presence of it may sometimes be the culprit why your car seems to whine, especially if you’re turning around a corner.

Just like your car’s transmission, the power steering also depends on fluid for it to work without a hitch. You may hear whining noises if your power steering is low in the fluid.

There are a couple of ways for you to figure out if low power steering fluid is the root cause:

·          Drips under your car. Immediately take a good look at the steering rack or steering gear if you can spot some drips under your automobile as that’s where a leak usually takes place.

·          Inspect the power steering pump. This is located toward the car engine’s front. Use a dipstick to check that it still contains enough power steering fluid. Also, check for the presence of leaks.

Worry not if it’s apparent that there is a leak going on and you cannot get in touch with a car mechanic right away. Most drivers facing such a problem simply add a leak-stopping solution to the power steering pump’s reservoir. After filling up the reservoir with power steering fluid and the unusual noise when driving is no longer present, give yourself a pat on the back as you just solved the problem.

In some instances, whining noise when driving may also be related to the steering mechanism even if your car doesn’t have power steering. The problem may be coming from the steering belt, in particular one that’s already loose.

You can tell that the unusual sound is due to a loose steering belt if it occurs only when you are turning the steering wheel. Needless to say, to put an end to the problem, you should tighten the steering belt. Consider purchasing a brand new steering belt if your current one is already in terrible shape.

Examine Engine Components

The engine of your car is a complex machine that is made up of thousands of components. When damage happens to some of its parts whining noise may bug you each time you drive your automobile. Most of the time, unfortunately, you have to report the problem to an experienced mechanic to determine the cause of the problem.

Before you do so, it’s a good idea to first make sure that the issue is indeed due to an engine-related matter. It’s a good thing that a little troubleshooting can give you an idea if the whining noise is originating from the engine or elsewhere in your car. Here are the simple steps to take:

1. Change the gear into the neutral mode.

2. Gently crank the engine.

3. Observe the noise coming from the engine.

Does the noise seem to change in relation to the speed of the engine? If so, there’s a huge possibility that the whining sound that you are hearing when driving is due to a faulty engine. Is there no noise generated when your vehicle is not in gear? It’s very much likely the noise that you cannot stand is not due to an engine problem.

There are bearings in various places in your automobile, and a lot of them are in the engine. There are cases wherein the cause of a whining noise is one of these bearings. If you’re not the DIY mechanic type, it’s a much better idea to contact an expert who could do the job of having your car’s engine inspected.

Just Before You Go

A driver’s heart can easily break if his prized possession is suddenly making whining noises when driving. Luckily, before thinking of the worst-case scenario there are certain steps that may be taken to figure out what’s causing the problem. If you cannot seem to identify the source despite trying the tips above, get in touch with a mechanic.

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