Car Makes Noise When Accelerating at Low Speed (What To Do)

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No one likes to hear their car making a strange noise. Sometimes these noises are normal, even if they worry you. But other times, it could mean something is internally wrong with your vehicle.

If your car makes noise when accelerating, especially if you’re not pressing the pedal to the floor, then it might be a sign of a bigger problem. 

There are many different sounds a car can make, and this list includes some of the most common.

Car Makes Noise When Accelerating at Low Speed

car noises

You’ll hear your car make a noise when you rev the engine or peel away from a red light. But if your car makes noise when accelerating at a low speed, you have a problem on your hands.

Anytime your car makes odd noises for a reason you can’t pinpoint, it could indicate something major happening with the internal functions. It’s best to take your vehicle to the mechanic before you do serious damage.

Loud Rumbling Noise

A loud squealing sound when you accelerate might be a problem with your engine belt. When this part gets worn out or slack, it will make noise when you drive. If the problem isn’t the belt itself, it might be an issue with the belt pulley. When they fail, they won’t move the belt as they should to keep the car going.

Rumbling noises indicate there’s a problem with the exhaust. A leak in the exhaust pipe will make a rumbling noise because the car is trying to expel the fumes but can’t.

Rattling noises can mean a variety of things are going wrong, so you should try to pinpoint the source of the noise. If it’s under the car, then your catalytic converter or exhaust pipe might be loose. Check your oil levels if you hear rattles under the hood. Rattles from your trunk or car interior most likely mean you have something rolling around when you drive.

Just as rattling under the hood might mean your oil levels are low, a loud ticking could also be an oil problem. When these components dry out, they’ll make noise to alert you. If your oil levels are fine and you still hear the ticking, take your car to a mechanic. 

Grinding Noises

Grinding is a common sound to hear from a car, and it has several possible causes. This noise could originate from things like:

  • transmission problems
  • the clutch
  • a worn engine mount
  • differential problems
  • bad wheel bearings

When something is going wrong with your transmission, you’ll hear a grinding noise because it’s worn out. The wheels spin faster than the transmission can handle, so it’ll grind while you accelerate. Sometimes it may only grind at specific speeds because the engine can handle certain gears.

Grinding while you accelerate might mean that the clutch won’t release properly. It’s still locked into place while you’re trying to drive.

Engine mounts hold the engine in place under the hood. This isn’t an easy job, because engines weigh at least 300 pounds. Since they’re made of metal, they corrode over time. When you accelerate, the engine might move within the mount, causing a grinding noise.

The differential diverts the power from the engine to each of the four wheels. They rotate at various speeds to ensure you always have control over the car. If something is off with the differential, you’ll hear a grinding noise. Get it fixed quickly, or else you’ll wear out the gears.

Wheel bearings keep wheels attached to the axle. They’re round balls like other types of bearings, and they ensure the wheels spin without causing friction. When the bearings wear out, you’ll hear a grinding noise. You might also feel like you have less control over your car when you accelerate or make turns. You can replace wheel bearings on your own.

Squeaking Noise

Squeaking noises are usually signs that something is wrong with your brakes. Your brake pads wear down over time, especially when you’re driving in stop-and-go city traffic. You should have them replaced every 10,000 miles. Anytime you take your car for an oil change, you can ask the mechanic to check them.

Brakes can also squeak or squeal if the bearings wear out. Whether the problem is the pads, bearings, or something else, you can’t mess around when it comes to the brakes. Take your car to the shop to get the issue fixed immediately.

Knocking Sound

You might hear a knocking noise when you accelerate slowly, especially if you recently went over speed bumps or backed off of the curb. Something under your car could have gotten dislodged. You can stop and look under the car for the culprit, but you’ll most likely have to take it to the mechanic.

If you hear knocking noises from your trunk or car interior, it’s probably something you’re carrying around. You might have forgotten about an object that rolled under your seats and is knocking against the underside. You can also double-check your spare tire and make sure you have all the components secured in place.

Chirping Noises

If you hear a chirping noise when you accelerate, it could mean that something’s wrong with your axles. Listen to see if you can tell how often the chirp occurs. It will most likely happen each time the axle completes a revolution.

Driving on a damaged axle can lead to serious problems, so take your car to the mechanic immediately. Broken axles make tires lock up while you’re driving. In some cases, wheels have even come off the axle while someone was driving, which can cause a huge accident.

Slapping Noises

A slapping sound when you accelerate could mean you have a flat tire. Because the air is leaking out or completely gone, the rubber of the tire slaps against the road. 

Pull over and stop as soon as you can and check all your tires. You’ll most likely need to put on your spare tire and drive to the shop. Some mechanics can patch tires that have small holes. This approach isn’t very expensive.

If your tire is completely blown, you’ll have to buy a replacement. Some shops sell patched tires at a discount, or you can spring for a brand new tire.

What to Do Next

exhaust system

The solution to most of these noises is to see a mechanic. It’s possible to find the source of the noise yourself and fix it, especially if it’s a flat tire or something rolling around in your trunk. You can also replace the oil and other fluids under the hood yourself.

You might not know for sure what’s causing your car to make a strange noise. In this case, you might feel tempted to keep driving until something else happens. But it’s always better to take it to a mechanic. 

If you wait too long, you might have major problems with your car, which will leave you with an expensive bill to pay. Noises are often the first sign that something’s deteriorating or going wrong with your car. Taking it in is a proactive way to take good care of your vehicle.

Anything that deals with the engine, mechanical parts under the hood, or regarding the undercarriage is best to leave to the pros. They’ve seen it all and most likely know what’s wrong before they even take a look.

Even if the mechanic doesn’t know the problem right away, they have all of the equipment and tools necessary to find the issue. You’ll feel safer letting someone experienced handle the problem, too. When you get your car back, you’ll know it’s good to go and shouldn’t have further issues.

Final Notes

There are many strange and unusual noises to listen for if your car makes noise when accelerating. This list doesn’t include them all but describes some of the most common sounds. 

If you can’t pinpoint where the noise is coming from or what’s causing it, it’s always best to go to a mechanic. They’re professionals and have seen it all before. After they repair your car, you’ll feel much safer driving it.

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