As road vehicle drivers, we can probably all agree that cars are not the type to give the silent treatment. But, where do we draw the line between normal and abnormal engine sounds?
Whining noises tend to fall into the category of ‘abnormal sounds’, although the cause is not always obvious. Read on to find out why your car is whining, and how you can fix it.
Diagnosing your noisy vehicle
When trying to work out why your car is whining, take note of when the noise is occurring. A whine whilst idling may be caused by something completely different to noisy steering, and so the solution will probably not be the same.
Rather than making a beeline straight to your mechanic the first time your car whines, familiarise yourself with how to diagnose some of the most common problems.
Whining noise when driving
During acceleration, you’re increasingly likely to hear strange engine noises. Not just the roar of your vehicle picking up speed, but also potential whines and squeals. These can be caused by a number of things, namely:
- Low power steering fluid
- Faulty alternator bearings
- A malfunctioning water pump
- A bad AC compressor
- A broken piston
The most likely cause, however, is a fault with your transmission. This could be due to worn-out gears or low transmission fluid.
Whining noise and loss of power
A whining noise and loss of power in a car could be caused by various issues, and it’s essential to diagnose the problem promptly to prevent further damage. Again, your transmission may be at fault, but other possibilities include issues with your alternator, a damaged or restricted exhaust, and a faulty or worn serpentine belt.
If you're hearing a whining noise whilst turning your steering wheel, the issue is most likely with—you guessed it—your power steering! Check whether your steering belt has become loose or damaged, and replace or tighten accordingly.
If upon inspection your belt appears intact, perhaps the issue is with your power steering fluid. Check for low fluid levels or a potential leak.
Whining when idling
You might find it strange if your car whines when it’s not actually doing anything. The issue here could be pretty simple. The first thing to check is your oil level. If your levels are low, top them up. If you find a leak, it’s important to get this repaired as soon as you can.
Another cause for idle whining could be an issue with your engine valves. If parts of these become stuck or worn, they won’t perform as they should.
Solutions for a whining car
A lot of these issues may seem daunting, or expensive, but some can be fixed more easily than you might think. But, there are those that cannot be fixed at home, or that you might not feel comfortable fixing yourself. In these cases, it’s important to get to a mechanic as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to your vehicle.
Here are some of the most common solutions to remedy your whining car:
Replace worn components
If you’ve found the source of your whining noise to be a worn or faulty component, such as a broken steering belt or damaged exhaust, get your car to the mechanic to replace it.
You can prevent the wear and tear of moving parts such as bearings and valves with JLM Bortec Oil Additive. This will help to reduce friction and resistance, keeping your vehicle running smoothly and quietly.
Check your oil levels
Oil levels can be named culprit for a number of vehicle issues, including whining noises. You may find that a simple top-up solves this problem quickly and easily. Proper lubrication can prevent components from grinding against each other, thus preventing the noise, as well as any further damage.
You also want to ensure you’re using the correct oil grade for your car. Using an oil of the wrong viscosity (thickness) may not provide adequate protection for your engine.
Fix fluid leaks
The three key fluid leaks to look out for when your car is whining are the power steering fluid, the transmission fluid, and your engine oil. By repairing these leaks, you ensure that the affected systems have enough fluid to operate as intended. This, in turn, reduces friction and wear, preventing the development of whining or groaning noises that often arise from inadequate lubrication or low fluid levels.
Regularly checking and maintaining fluid levels in your car can help prevent these issues, ensuring a quieter and smoother driving experience.
Forget about noisy leaks with JLM
Got an engine oil leak that’s making your car whine? Our Engine Oil Stop Leak might just provide a solution to that. With seal-swell technology, Stop Leak is compatible with combustion engines only.
Keep your oil clean and efficient by starting off with JLM Engine Oil Flush. Reduce engine noise by keeping all of the moving parts well-lubricated, and well-protected.