Often engine noises are normal. However, when the noise is extreme, precisely one mistaken for a helicopter, it indicates serious issues with your car. This can be alarming yet scary, and critical questions run through your mind, “how long can I drive this car with such sound?” “What will I fix, and how much will it cost me?”
Let’s explore the possible causes of such sounds in your car and how to fix them.
Why Does My Car Sound Like a Helicopter?
Below are four reasons why your car sounds like a helicopter:
One of the possible reasons your car makes loud noise resembling the sound of a helicopter is having a loose tire while driving. Often a loose tire makes uneven motion against the road surface when driving at high speed, thus causing a “whump whump” noise like that of a helicopter. Additionally, such a scenario indicates that your car tires aren’t gripping the road correctly.
Usually, loose tires result from driving over road debris (like potholes), damaged wheel nuts, and excessively worn suspension springs.
Notably, you should also check your tire pressure because when it is much lower than it should be, it’s likely to cause some extra noise.
How to fix it
Tighten the lug nuts immediately. You can do it yourself or visit the nearest tire place. Additionally, you may opt to replace the tire if it’s worn out.
However, note that it’s hazardous for you to drive your car with a loose tire; therefore, get the problem fixed as soon as possible. Loose tires can easily lead to an accident and damage your car’s suspension.
Problems with the braking system
Various faulty braking system parts may cause a helicopter sound in the car. Among them include the caliper and rotors.
Warped brake caliper
A warped or twisted brake caliper would cause its rotor to grind against the disc, thus creating a grinding or squealing noise that sounds like a helicopter. Also, you may notice a similar sound if the brake pads are worn out.
Worn brake motor
Worn-out brake rotors easily scrape against the disc’s interior compartment due to the increased space between the motor and the caliper. Consequently, the brake pad comes into contact with the rotor’s external rears, causing a helicopter-like sound when braking.
Additionally, crude and rust on the braking surface lead to ineffective rotor grips causing your car to sound like a helicopter.
How to fix it
You should never ignore the noise from your braking system for long. When you notice a squeaking or grinding sound, you should stop driving that car and call for a tow to an auto technician to inspect your braking system and repair it.
A failing wheel bearing
When your wheel bearing is failing, you’re likely to hear a sound like an airplane noise from a whirring propeller, especially when accelerating or turning. Usually, the sound becomes louder as you speed and with time. That kind of noise is a symptom of a failing or worn-out wheel bearing.
Usually, wheel bearings make much noise due to a lack of grease, excessive strain on the bearing from the suspensions, and contamination from salty water. Additionally, if your car sits for long without use, the wheel bearing may dry out and lose effectiveness, thus making a helicopter noise when you drive.
How to fix it
Failing wheel bearing isn’t a minor issue, and driving on a bad wheel bearing is unsafe. Therefore, listen carefully to determine which side of the car is making grinding sounds on the wheel bearing. If you’re knowledgeable about cars, this a problem you can easily fix at home if you have the right tools.
However, if you’re sure of the exact problem with your car, you should professional fix the issue. More importantly, you may opt to change to new wheel bearings.
Problems with the exhaust system
Faults in your car’s exhaust systems may cause a helicopter-like sound while driving. Frequently, such problems include faulty catalytic convertors, leaks, and glitch exhaust systems. Here are more details:
Exhaust leaks could be one of the common causes of your car’s sounding like a jet engine. Leaks create another exit for fumes other than the tailpipe. One sign of an exhaust leak is an increased engine noise (a loud rumble) or hissing noises while the engine is running. Over time, exhaust leaks could lead to major engine damage and inefficiency.
Glitchy exhaust system
A lousy exhaust system may also generate a helicopter-like noise from the tailpipes when accelerating your car. Among other signs of a glitchy exhaust system is an emission of black smoke from the tailpipe and an unpleasant gas odor when you start the vehicle.
Faulty catalytic converter
Another cause of helicopter-like noise in a car is a faulty catalytic converter. When your catalytic converter is broken, you experience a loud rattling sound when accelerating. Additionally, you might notice patches of oil or water under your car after parking.
How to fix it
The exhaust system holds critical parts that can easily change the sound of your car when they’re faulty. More importantly, exhaust fumes pose a safety risk for you and other passengers if they’re making their way inside the car. Therefore, it’s essential you take your car to a garage where an auto mechanic can look at it and do necessary repairs or replacements.
Note: minor exhaust leaks can be sealed, but significant problems like a broken catalytic converter will need replacement.
When your car sounds like a helicopter, often the problem is associated with a faulty braking system, bad exhaust system, a loose tire, or a failing wheel bearing. However, other issues, such as poor motor mounting, a broken clutch motor, and faulty ignition coils, may also contribute to a helicopter-like sound in an accelerating car.
You should never allow any of the above-listed problems to prolong because it could to more damage. Notably, a car owner with the skills and proper tools may fix these causes at home. Similarly, if you’re unsure why your car sounds like a helicopter, it would be better to have a professional inspect your vehicle and handle other necessary repairs as soon as possible.