A team of experts has shared seven car warning noises that require you to take 'immediate action'. 

Drivers are being urged not to ignore unusual noises from their vehicles or put off repairs that could end up costing them even more.

From speaking under the car bonnet to your tyres rumbling, do you know what these sounds mean and how much you might need to spend to fix them?

To help you be better prepared, the fleet management experts at Wessex Fleet have identified seven noises that could cost up to £5k if not looked at straight away, and could cost £2,500 in dangerous driving fines. 

7 car warning noises you should know

1. Squeaking under the bonnet could cost you up to £5k if not looked at early

A water pump fault causes a high-pitched squeaking noise alerting you to the issue.

The water pump circulates engine coolant around the cooling system, helping to stop your vehicle from overheating.

Another sign of a faulty water pump is fluid leaking from your car onto the road while you’re parked or liquid around the water pump. 

To prolong the lifetime and efficiency of your car’s pump, make sure to use only manufacturer-approved sealants and coolants – improper materials or maintenance can actually make the situation worse.

A new water pump can set you back £296 on average. The cost of the pump can depend on manufacturers, and what is recommended for your model.

Putting off a repair can lead to more serious engine faults so you should get the issue looked at as soon as possible.

A full engine replacement can cost between £1,500-£5,000, so best to get this issue looked at as soon as possible. 

2. Save £200 by getting your screeching wheels checked and avoid a £2,500 fine

One of the easiest and most common sounds of a car in need of repair is a squeaking noise when you brake.

The noise comes from your brake pads thanks to the indicators fitted by most manufacturers – alerting drivers that their pads are wearing down.

The noise usually means you’ll need to replace your brake pads.

On average getting your brake pads repaired could cost around £355 for smaller vehicles and around £500 for larger vehicles, but this depends on the size and can be over £700 for SUVs. 

This may seem expensive, but it’s worth the money rather than driving around with ineffective brakes.

This could set you back even more if you’re charged with ‘using a vehicle in a dangerous condition’ according to the Highway Code, which is a £2,500 fine, and three points on your licence. 

Brake pads usually last around 50,000 on the majority of cars but bad driving habits can affect their lifespan.

It’s also best to get your brake pads repaired in sets, as they should wear at similar times.

Braking when going down a hill and stopping at the last minute can cause much faster wear and tear.

If you leave getting your brake pads checked early, you could start to damage other parts of brakes, including the brake discs.

If you need to get those replaced too it would cost an extra £200.

3.  A tyre rumbling or grinding noise can set you back over £230

If you hear a rumbling coming from the bottom of the car, particularly when travelling at speed on a long straight road, this signifies an issue with your tyre or wheel bearing.

The bearing is essential in keeping your wheel moving smoothly and with as little friction as possible.

Usually, a visual inspection will show if anything’s wrong with the tyre - just look for excessive wear, bulging or a puncture.

If these aren’t visible, chances are it’ll be the wheel bearing which you’ll usually need to visit a mechanic for.

If it is a wheel bearing, the average replacement cost in the UK is £231 per bearing.

If it is the tyre, you’ll save yourself around £180, as average tyre costs can be £50.

To help cut down on the chance of your wheel bearings being faulty, try to avoid curbing your car as impact really affects their lifespan.

4. Clicking when turning could cost up to £260 to repair

A clear sign of an issue with a constant velocity (CV) joint is a clicking sound when turning.

Typically, this will be around the front wheels but on some cars, it can be in the back as well.

CV joints connect the front axle with the wheels for turning. They’re covered by a rubber boot which is where issues often occur.

When these are damaged, dirt and moisture can get in and affect the joint – grease will also be able to leak out, affecting the joint’s lubrication.

If you discover this issue early, and it’s just damage to the boot, this can be repaired and cost less, but the cost of a full replacement to the joints can be between £130- £260.

A broken CV joint may also cause shaking when going around corners so watch out for this especially if you hear the clicking sound.

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5. Squealing from near your engine could cost around £160

Squealing from under your bonnet likely means an issue with your alternator belt, also referred to as the drive belt.

The belt transfers power from the engine to other parts of your vehicle including the alternator, air con and steering.

A noise from the belt suggests it needs to be realigned or could need replacing. The belt will wear down from friction and heat from the engine, causing visible damage. 

Even with a snapped belt, you can still drive the car but some components won’t work. It’s recommended that you pull over if you hear the noise to prevent further damage.

Replacing the alternator belt costs on average £160, depending on the make and model of your car, but it's best to get this fixed quickly to avoid damage to other parts.

Most modern cars just make you aware of this fault on your dash. 

6. A rattling exhaust could cost you £130

If you hear a rattling or buzzing from underneath your car while driving, it will likely be an issue with the exhaust bracket.

The exhaust has several important functions, chiefly to reduce the CO2 produced by your vehicle.

In some cases, you may be able to resolve the issue yourself.

Look under your vehicle and try shaking the exhaust when it hasn’t been running for a while – make sure it’s cool beforehand to avoid burns.

If there’s a particular area that rattles, see if you can tighten any fittings to help resolve the issue.

You’ll likely need a mechanic to change your exhaust for more serious issues.

This typically costs around £130. 

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7. Groaning when turning could cost you £300

If you hear a loud groaning noise when turning your steering wheel from under the bonnet, you’ll likely be low on power steering fluid.

Power steering fluid makes it easier to turn your wheel thanks to pressure building up around the rack-mounted piston. Other signs are that it could be hard to turn the steering wheel.

Topping up the power steering fluid by yourself will only cost you between £10 and £15 but if you need a flush and replacement, the average UK cost is around £115 - if the fluid is black or brown, you’ll probably need a flush.

Ignoring the issue could result in damage to the power steering pump itself, which could set you back as much as £300, so make sure you have your car checked if you’re concerned.