A car is equipped with a lot of moving parts. When these moving parts come to life, you will hear its symphony of sounds and sweet purr. If you have been driving your car for a while, you will know if the sounds you hear coming from it are normal or healthy. If you suddenly hear strange noises such as engine grinding sound, it is an indication that there is something wrong and it needs immediate attention. You might ask, can you drive with engine grinding? Although it is still possible to drive your car when you hear this sound, experts are not recommending it. It is best that you don’t drive your car in this state.
Engine grinding sounds are always associated with the engine’s rotating components. When you hear the grinding noises coming from your engine, consider it as a warning sign. Do not ask, “can you drive with engine grinding?”, because the answer is no, you can’t. The engine grinding noises can be caused by problems with several parts of the engine, including the water pump, alternator, power steering, brakes, and many more. It is best to have your car checked immediately before it turns into a very expensive problem. Want to know more? Continue reading!
Can You Drive With Engine Grinding? – What Does it Mean When Your Engine is Grinding?
If you have been driving your car for a long time, you probably have an idea what your engine sounds like or what it’s supposed to sound like. You have already got used to your engine’s particular sound and when you hear a new, strange sound coming from your engine, it can be very alarming. May it be a grinding, tapping, hissing, squealing, or clicking sound, it should always be treated the same, which is a sign that something is wrong somewhere in your car.
The moment you hear a grinding sound coming from your engine, don’t just ask, “can you drive with engine grinding?”. You need to investigate, maybe pop your car’s hood, listen closely to each section, and try to determine the location or source of the grinding sound. Knowing the common causes of engine grinding sounds can also help you determine what repairs your car will be needing or what parts to replace.
You might ask, what does it mean when your engine is grinding? As mentioned earlier, any unusual sound coming from your engine such as the grinding sounds can be an indication that there are some issues within your engine that need immediate attention. The common causes of engine grinding sounds include problems in the following components.
Your car’s alternator has a task of charging the car battery and supplying your vehicle with the power it needs when the engine is running. It works together with the car battery, with the battery supplying power to start your car and the alternator supplying power to your vehicle once it is moving. As your car hits some mileage and becomes older, the bearings inside the alternator will become damaged or worn, and its pulley will become loose enough which can enable it to move side to side while rotating.
When this happens, the grinding noises which you can hear under the hood can occur. This is why when you hear engine grinding noises, you might want to check your alternator first to determine if it is the one that is causing the problem. If you can rule out this problem first, then you can check the other possible causes too.
To check if it is your alternator that is causing the engine grinding sound, turn off your car’s engine, remove the fan belt, and try to gently turn your alternator by using your hand. If you notice that the bearings feel rough to turn or are making strange noises, it can be an indication that they might be due for a replacement. Another thing you can do to determine whether the grinding sound is coming from there is by using a rubber tube to listen for it while the car is running. You will just have to put one end of the rubber tube near the alternator and the other end to your ear.
The alternator can be replaced for somewhere between $500 and $1,000, or maybe even more, depending on your car’s make and model. While it can be expensive to replace, you can choose to replace the alternator yourself to save some bucks. You will just have to pay for the parts and not the labor costs.
Whether you do the replacement yourself or have a professional do it for you, one thing is for sure. You should not delay having your faulty alternator replaced, especially when it is making the grinding noises since it is a crucial part in the overall operation of your car. Without a properly working alternator, your car battery won’t be charged, which powers your electrical system, and you might end up stranded on the side of the road due to a dead battery.
- Water pump
If after checking your alternator and you find no problem with it, the next thing you can check is your car’s water pump. The water pump is responsible for circulating the coolant through the engine block and radiator. The coolant flow is needed to make sure that the engine maintains a safe operating temperature and keeps it from overheating.
This water pump has been equipped with pulleys, but when you hear grinding sounds from the water pump while the engine is running, it is usually an indication that you have worn bearings. It is said that when the grinding noise is caused by water pump problems, it can be difficult to hear it while driving. However, the sound will become more obvious when your car is idling.
Although the worn bearings can be replaced easily, it is possible that you also have worn or damaged seals. If this is the case, the water pump should be replaced as a whole to make sure that it won’t cause some issues again. To have a water pump replaced, it will usually cost you between $450 and $650, depending on the make and model of your car.
If the engine grinding noise is caused by a failing water pump and it calls for a water pump replacement, you should go ahead and have it performed. A functioning water pump is necessary since without it, your car or your engine will most likely overheat, which can lead to more damage and a more expensive repair bill. If your engine overheats, it can result in irreversible damage. You might have to have your engine replaced, rebuilt, or even sell your damaged car if its market value is lesser than the total repair bill.
- Power steering
After checking the alternator and water pump and you find out that these two components are working fine, then the engine grinding you hear might be associated with your car’s power steering. The power steering is responsible for reducing the force needed to turn your wheel with the use of hydraulic pressure.
This hydraulic pressure is generally powered by a rotary vane pump which pushes high pressure fluid through the system. This process makes the driver steer easily, requiring only a little effort. In many cases, the grinding sound can be heard due to problems associated with the power steering fluid. Problems such as small air bubbles in the fluid which can result in the pump making strange noises and vibrate, or when your system has gotten old and dirty, losing its protective properties and is not pumping efficiently. The problem can also happen when your system has an insufficient amount of fluid in it.
Aside from these three causes of engine grinding, some grinding noises that can be very alarming, leading you to ask, “can you drive with engine grinding?”, can be caused by these issues:
When you hear grinding noises when you apply the brakes, it can be an indication that your brake pads are already due for a replacement. Grinding noises can be heard when the brake friction material has worn away due to normal wear and tear, and the steel brake motor is making contact against the metal brake pad backing. This metal to metal contact is the one producing the grinding noises whenever you apply your brakes.
- Wheel bearing
The wheel bearing is one of the wheel assembly’s components. It is the one that connects the wheel to the axle and helps the wheels spin without producing too much friction. If one of the bearings is damaged or worn, you might hear grinding noises, especially when you are turning or accelerating. You may also notice poor steering or uneven tire wear if you have this problem.
If you notice this problem, you need to have it checked and repaired immediately since failing to do so might result in your wheel bearings locked up which can endanger your life and the lives of all your passengers. If you ignore this problem and you continue driving your car, you might cause more damage to your CV joints, wheel hubs, and transmission.
- CV joint
The CV joints or constant velocity joints are the parts that connect the transmission to the wheels. The CV joints are generally used on cars equipped with a front-wheel drive. When they become worn or are failing, it can result in your car producing grinding noises, especially when you are making tight turns at slow speeds.
If you notice this problem and continue to drive your car, completely ignoring the issue, it can leave you with a car that is stuck in Park position and you won’t be able to shift out of it. When this happens, it can be very dangerous since it can cause loss of control. So it is important to have this problem checked and repaired as soon as possible.
- Motor mounts
A car’s engine is a big and heavy component and the motor mounts are the ones responsible for holding it in place. Motor mounts are usually made of metal so over time, corrosion can start to build up. When this happens, the mounts will become weak and eventually break down.
If the motor mounts can no longer do its job holding the engine in place, your car might give off grinding noises while you are accelerating from a stop as the engine shifts. This can lead to your serpentine belt, if your car has one, to rub against the underside of the swirl pot hose. If you notice this problem, it is best to have it repaired immediately since an engine without something to hold it in place means it can cause damage to other components since the engine’s weight might be placed on them.
- Air conditioning
Air conditioning compressors can also be the cause of the grinding noises you hear in your car. Although you might only hear this noise when you turn on your AC, you still need to have it repaired immediately and not ignore the problem.
Can You Drive With Engine Grinding? – Is it Safe to Drive with a Grinding Noise?
Grinding noises can be caused by a number of issues and if you are asking, “can you drive with engine grinding?’ the answer can vary. The answer depends on what caused it and the severity of the damage. Although it is still possible to drive your car even with the grinding noises, the experts are not recommending it. You should never attempt it. It is best to have your car checked and have the faulty component repaired or replaced immediately.
Driving a car knowing it has some issues is not safe. It can compromise you and your car’s safety, the safety of your passengers, and the safety of the other drivers or even pedestrians. If you continue to ignore the grinding noises your car makes, which is an obvious sign of warning that something needs immediate attention,it can make the problem worse and become something that can be very expensive to fix.