What Grinding Noise Means When You’re Accelerating

If your car makes a grinding noise when accelerating, your transmission, differential, wheel bearings, CV joints, or motor mount may be responsible.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Updated on Apr 27, 2022
If you notice your car making a grinding sound when it accelerates, your issue is likely to do with your transmission, a problem with your differential, a bad wheel bearing, a damaged CV joint, or a worn engine/motor mount. 
Noises when you’re driving
are never a good thing—but a grinding noise? That can seem downright scary. Getting it checked out by a mechanic for a proper diagnosis should always be your first course of action. 
To learn more about those grinding noises when you’re accelerating, keep reading.
will explain each issue, how to fix it, and how much such repairs will likely set you back.

An issue with your transmission

Your car’s transmission is responsible for controlling the amount of power transferred from the engine to each wheel.

The problem 

The grinding noise when you accelerate likely has to do with your car’s planetary gear system. This system ensures that the speed of your car’s wheels match the speed of the engine. 
If your wheels and your engine are not in sync (hence the grinding), this can cause significant damage to your transmission. You may notice this grinding during acceleration or just when your car is in a specific gear.

The solution

Unfortunately, if you’re noticing grinding and the problem turns out to be the transmission, you’re past the point of fixing it—it will likely need replacing.
Though we all like to be self-sufficient, do not attempt to fix or replace your transmission yourself. Transmissions are complex, intricate machines and should be repaired or replaced by professionals only.

The cost

Replacing your transmission with a new one will set you back $4,000 to $8,000, depending on the vehicle. If you’re able to replace your worn-out transmission with a rebuilt one, this will likely cost between $2,500 to $4,000—but again, this will depend on the type of car you drive.
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An issue with your differential 

The differential is the part of your car’s drivetrain that allows your wheels to rotate at various speeds by taking power from the engine and delivering it to each wheel.

The problem

Grinding or whirring sounds can mean the internal gears of your car’s differential system are worn out, and thus not working as intended. You’ll likely notice it when speeding up or turning your vehicle.

The solution

If you notice the grinding and the differential is found to be the culprit, you’ll have to replace it.
However, if you notice more of a whirring sound rather than grinding, the differential could just be low on fluid. Differential fluid lubricates gears so they don’t scrape together (which you’d notice when turning).

The costs

Depending on your car, replacing a differential will cost $1,500 to $4,000. If a fluid leak is the problem, this costs only $70 to $150 to remedy.

A bad wheel bearing

A wheel bearing is part of a wheel’s assembly and connects the wheel to its axle. Wheel bearings allow your car’s wheels to spin with a minimum amount of friction.

The problem

A grinding noise when accelerating can mean a wheel bearing is damaged or worn out. This can impact and hamper steering, handling, and cause uneven tire wear on your vehicle. You’ll most likely hear the grinding sound when turning.
A worn-out wheel bearing can cause issues for your transmission, CV joints, and wheel hubs. It can also cause wheel bearings to lock up, which can put you and your passengers in grave danger.

The solution

You’ll need to replace the worn-out wheel bearing. If you’re handy with cars, you can do this yourself.

The cost

If you can DIY, replacing a worn-out wheel bearing will cost roughly $60 to $150, depending on the type of car you drive. If you get a mechanic to replace a wheel bearing, it will cost around $300.
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The CV joint

Constant velocity joints connect the transmission to the car’s wheels—mostly on front-wheel-drive vehicles.

The problem

If you hear grinding, clicking, or knocking as you accelerate, one of your car’s CV joints may be failing.
If ignored, your car can get stuck in park—not good if you’re planning on going… anywhere. Another tell-tale sign of CV joint failure is grease on the inner edge of your tires. 
If you feel vibrations when driving, this could also be the CV joint. It can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.

The solution

If a CV joint is worn out, it must be replaced. Luckily, you can save some money and do this yourself.

The cost

If you take your car to a mechanic to get a CV joint replaced, the part itself will cost around $150 to $500 and labor will cost roughly $500 to $800. If you’re able, doing it yourself will cost much less, roughly $95 to $210, depending on the type of car you drive.

The motor mount

The motor or engine mount is what holds an engine in place. A motor mount is a sturdy piece of equipment—the average engine weighs a hefty 300 lbs. Motor mounts are made of metal, so they can corrode, break down, or become separated from the engine.

The problem

If you hear a grinding sound when speeding up, your engine mount could be the problem. If so, this usually means that the motor mount has shifted or come unmoored, and the engine is shifting around inside the engine bay.
A loose or unmoored motor mount can also impact your car’s serpentine belt, which can cause further damage by rubbing against the underside of the car’s swirl pot hose.
An engine that is loosened or separated from its mount can end up resting on and damaging other components—and that can be expensive to fix.

The solution

Fixing a worn or loose motor mount can be done by yourself if you have the knowledge and tools—specifically, you can spot weld it back into place.

The cost

Taking your vehicle to a mechanic to re-secure your motor mount will cost roughly $800. If you’re doing it yourself, it can be done for roughly $100 to $300 for the parts.

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