What is my car telling me when it makes a knocking noise as I accelerate?

Question:

Why does my car engine knock, and should I worry?

Answer:

As with most auto issues, various noises can indicate multiple possible problems. It’s hard to say for sure which ones are worrisome until you determine the cause. So let’s talk about the likeliest three problems in connection with the that knocking noise:

  • When the fuel grade is below manufacturer’s specifications (e.g. an 85 rather than an 87), many older engines will begin to knock at a relatively rapid pace. (This is called “pinging.”)
  • You might have carbon build-up in the combustion chamber. This one really needs a mechanic’s attention.
  • A deep knocking noise can be an indication of a possible catastrophic failure. First check your oil – then bring it in and have it evaluated.

The solution to the first problem is to spend a little more money on a higher octane level at the pump. Try it and see what happens – it’s a relatively inexpensive fix!

Bottom line: For the second and third problems, you will probably want to bring your vehicle to Lake Arbor Auto. The carbon build-up can cause other issues that you don’t want to have to deal with, including loss of engine power and frequent stalls.