I am sure when you drive on Lagos roads or other roads across Nigeria, it is not unusual for your ear to become assaulted by other cars making funny but disturbing sounds. I have also been at shopping mall car parks when a car owner is trying to drive out, and as the steering wheel is turned, you are literally blocking your ears. An unusual car sound is not only embarrassing, it is oftentimes indicative of a fault.

Some of these sounds could be cranking, shrill, and sharp, they are certainly not pleasant.  They vary in type and intensity but are always conspicuous, and presents a definite call to immediate action. When you pay prompt attention to such sounds you save your car from a breakdown. 

First, let’s explore the possible causes of these sounds.

What causes cars to make funny sounds?

To answer this question precisely, you may need the help of an expert technician or an auto-savvy friend. However, you need to be able to identify the kind of noise your car is making to suggest possible causes of the situation. 

Common causes of car noise and their associated sound include:

Worn out car parts

This is the most prevalent cause of funny car sounds. A worn-out brake pad, caliper, or disc will always make a “metallic-grinding, clunking” sound whenever you apply the brake. Funny clunking sound in automobiles is always associated with wear; as a worn tire, wheel bearing, and steering rack will all make the same noise.

Fluid leak 

Fluid leakage in any part of a car will give out a “hissing” sound. If the funny sound is coming from under the bonnet, it may be a punctured or loose coolant or vacuum system fluid hose. If the hissing sound occurs when you turn off your engine or after a major increase in acceleration, it may be a sign that oil or other car fluid is leaking on a heated part.

Faulty gearbox

A funny “grinding or whirring” sound is the most significant, early symptom of a faulty gearbox. Such a sound coming from your gearbox would be as a result of a faulty shaft, clutch, clutch thrust bearing, gear, or a combination of them. 

Blocked fuel, ignition, or exhaust system

A faulty catalytic converter, fuel filter, spark plugs, or unburned fuel escaping to the exhaust through the engine will all generate funny sounds. When your car makes a “banging or popping” sound in the engine or tailpipe, it’s always an indication that the fuel filter, spark plugs, catalytic converter, or other parts of the exhaust system need urgent attention.

Loosened knots and bolts

This situation often ends in a catastrophe. The knots and bolts in a car could start loosening. And this may be a result of age factors, bad roads, or other car faults all leading to making a “rattling” sound. Such a sound should be traced to the car part it’s coming from, and must be checked immediately to avoid disaster.

Slipping belts

When the car engine belts start slipping on the pulleys that connect it to other parts of the car from the engine, it will make a “squeaky” sound. Do not disregard this sound. Slipping engine belts is a critical fault, and when your car starts making funny squeaky sounds, take it for repairs immediately.

Depleted engine oil

Every part of the engine relies on engine oil for lubrication. When this oil excessively goes down, the car will start making a “tapping” noise which, and if left unchecked, may result in engine breakdown.


Knocking is a significant engine problem and a major cause of funny car sounds. When the balance of air and fuel in the engine is uneven, fuel will burn in excess, creating a shock in the engine. This shock is known as knocking. However, knocking is often caused by another car problem – faulty spark plugs, carbon clogging around the cylinder, and the use of low-octane fuel. 

Engine knocking produces a “knocking” sound, whenever you hear this funny sound, don’t hesitate to seek the services of an auto mechanic.

The funny noises from cars should give cause for concern and requires immediate attention. The causes may vary from minor to extremely severe faults. However, whenever you hear an unusual funny sound in your car bonnet, under it, in the exhaust, or any other area, take the car in for comprehensive auto services. This will reduce further damage, restore safety, and save you from the embarrassment of funny car sounds.