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How Familiarity with Your Vehicle Can Go a Long Way

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Do you have a pet name for your car? Some people have such an affinity with their automobile that they actually name it, as if it were a pet. This familiarity does have its advantages, however. You will be so used to the way that your car behaves and the noises that it makes in certain circumstances, that you automatically know if something is wrong. So, if you have detected some unusual noises coming from the engine compartment, what could these mean and what should you do?

The Benefits of Some Knowledge

Some people (who do not pay attention as much as they should) will take their car into a repair shop without any real information. It will take the mechanic a lot longer to determine what's going on, as a consequence, which will cost more. You don't have to be a qualified technician to decipher what may be wrong with your car, but a little bit of knowledge goes a long way.


The modern-day engine is supposed to be seen but not heard. Typically, when something starts to go wrong, a very specific type of noise will materialise. Sometimes, this could be a very high-pitched screeching noise whenever you move away from a standstill. This is likely to be a faulty fan belt, which connects various parts of the engine to the power source. When this wears out it can slip, causing that noise.

Playing Your Tune?

You may hear a sound that's similar to someone tapping their fingers on a desk. This rhythmic noise is probably coming from the top of the engine, underneath the rocker cover. The "tappets" are components that move up and down rapidly and in sequence, but you shouldn't be able to hear them working. This could indicate valve issues, or mean that you have low oil pressure.

Knock Knock, Who is There?

A much more pronounced knocking noise from inside the engine may indicate that an excessive amount of carbon has built up within the combustion chamber. This is a byproduct of the controlled explosion that happens when fuel is ignited. It needs to be cleaned periodically. However, it could also indicate that you may have inadvertently used the wrong grade of petrol.

Covering Your Ears

A very loud bang may be the result of a backfire through the exhaust system. This typically indicates that the ignition timing needs to be readjusted, although it could be caused by an internal leakage within the engine. The noise is the result of an ignition flame travelling through the exhaust system towards the rear.

Passing on the Information

While there may be some other indications, these are typically the most common. Impress your mechanic by telling them what you think may be going on, when you take your car in to be checked.