Why Does My Car Make Noise When Accelerating?

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If your car makes noise when accelerating, it may be harmless—but sounds like knocking, squealing, or grinding can point to serious issues with the transmission, brakes, or even the engine.
Depending on the kind and location of the noise, putting off a trip to your mechanic could cost you. Learn to listen closely to your car and you’ll be able to act quickly to prevent dangerous and expensive car troubles.
To help you figure out the right course of action, car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry is breaking down the different noises you should listen for when your car is accelerating and what to do about each of them.
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Rattling and roaring can be caused by exhaust issues

A rattling noise coming from underneath your car might be a simple loose bracket making your muffler vibrate. It can also indicate a bigger problem with the exhaust system, such as a failing exhaust pipe gasket causing a leak.
You might be able to see some of these problems by getting under the car, but a mechanic can give you a sure diagnosis.
A roaring noise that increases when you accelerate can also signal an exhaust problem. That deep rumbling noise means that the exhaust pipes are working extra hard to deal with a leak somewhere. But look out—that same noise could mean that your transmission needs work. Check with your mechanic so you can be confident you’re fixing the right problem.
Key Takeaway If the noise comes from under the car, check the exhaust system.

Squealing can mean belt trouble

If your car sounds like it’s screaming whenever you put on speed, chances are you have a loose belt. That squeaking or squealing noise might mean that the belt is worn out or slipping due to a loose engine component. Either way, make sure you take the car to your mechanic to avoid further issues.
Belt issues usually cause noise when accelerating—but if your car is squeaking or squealing at slow speeds or while braking, it’s probably a problem with the brakes. Loose or worn brake pads can cause squealing, scraping, or grinding noises during driving.
Key Takeaway You might notice this problem as soon as your engine turns over, especially if it’s cold outside.

Knocking or popping could be an engine issue

Loud knocking or popping sounds from the engine compartment can mean a lot of things. One cause of engine knock is using a lower-grade fuel. Follow the owner’s manual requirements for your car to make sure you’re using the right fuel.
If that’s not the issue, that knocking or popping sound could be caused by a clogged fuel filter, dirty or damaged spark plugs, or worn-out pistons. Get the car to the shop to make sure you’re not overlooking a serious problem.
Key Takeaway Pay attention to where a knocking sound is coming from. It may just be a heavy object in the trunk or glove compartment, and double-checking could save you a costly trip to the mechanic.
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Clicking? Check your oil levels

A strange clicking or tapping sound can be scary, but it might be the easiest problem to fix: it usually means that your car is low on oil. Follow the instructions in your car’s owner’s manual to check the oil level.
If the oil level is okay, it’s time to head to the garage. Your oil pressure may be reduced, and your mechanic will be able to identify the source of the pressure loss. Clicking can also indicate problems with the valve train, which tends to cause louder noise when the car accelerates.

Grinding could be a transmission problem

If your car has a manual transmission and you hear a grinding noise when shifting between gears, you might have an issue with the clutch or transmission. Head to a mechanic as soon as possible to find a fix for the problem.
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Why you need roadside assistance

To make sure that mysterious noise never leaves you stranded, Jerry’s roadside assistance program has your back. For just $6.99 per month, you’ll get up to 10 miles of towing plus tire changes, locksmith services, jumpstarts, and more.
Drive with confidence knowing that you’re covered, no matter what happens on the road.
Jerry blew my mind, honestly. From start to finish, using the app took me 10 minutes and I ended up with $100 of savings a month. Best of all, customer service answered all my questions about rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance.” —Savanna R.

FAQs

How do I fix a rattling noise when I accelerate?

It’s important to understand the source of the noise, so the best thing you can do is to listen closely to what your car is doing. See how the noise changes when you apply the gas and make a careful note of where the noise is coming from.
This information will help your mechanic diagnose the root cause of the problem and keep you driving safely.
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