Contrary to popular belief and what I say regularly when you do hear a noise in your vehicle, please don’t turn up the volume on your radio. 

My friend drove his Toyota Avanza to a standstill, and guess who he calls? Right the first time.

On arriving at the scene of the crime, the vehicle was not there. He calls to let me know that he could start the vehicle after 10 minutes and so drove to his intended destination. 

So, off we go to look at said vehicle. The rattle in the engine was unnatural and the first port of call was to check the oil level. 

The dipstick showed that the oil level was correct, but the noise remained. We then did what any other workshop would do and suggested that we drain the oil. On opening the sump plug no oil came out. We looked at this in horror because we’ve seen this before.

The truth finally revealed itself when my friend admitted that the last time the vehicle was serviced was 50 000km ago. 

In instances like these the death penalty should most definitely be brought back, or an extra charge of R20 000 should be levied against people that abuse their cars in this manner.


On removing the oil sump we saw that the oil had turned to grease or sludge that adhered to the inside like bubblegum in your hair. It was not in its liquid form anymore and thus there was no oil feed to the hydraulic lifters and that was the noise in the engine. 

The noise had occurred a week before but he was just “too busy” to have it seen to. So now his invoice is an eye-watering R25 000 because the engine failure had occurred.

Had he just brought the vehicle in when he had first heard the noise the cost would not have escalated to such an obscene amount.

My point, therefore, is that when one is in tune with one’s car, the slightest of noises that occur, that are not there normally, should be seen to immediately. Hissing noises could mean a burst water pipe or damage to the cooling system. 

In this instance, you would also see steam rising out the sides of the bonnet. Noises that may sound not serious, can often lead to disastrous consequences, just ask my friend.


Grinding noises when braking should never be ignored. Brakes are safety critical and noises from the brakes should be attended to immediately. 

The other more common noises or knocks that occur are often ignored because the mechanic said that it was ok. If the vehicle was designed to have a knock, that would be acceptable. 

Otherwise, have all suspension knocks or creaks checked out immediately. These knocks and creaks could mean that you have damaged suspension components and as such the vehicle is not safe.

The blowing exhaust and the cracked exhaust manifold noise are my favourites. The client almost never complains about the noise because he or she has become so used to it. 

The complaint usually is that the vehicle is using too much petrol and they just cannot figure it out. It has also got progressively worse. When you explain that it is due to the exhaust leaks the look of stunned amazement is sometimes payment enough, but I do charge exorbitantly for my explanation and use of the workshop.

There are numerous other noises that your car makes that you accept as normal, or you turn up the volume on the radio. 

These noises should be checked and repaired. This may just save you a whole lot of money and heartache in the long run. -Pretoria News Motoring

* Sagie Moodley is a workshop owner and presents a radio motoring show with Adam Ford on Midrand’s Mix FM (93.8) from 7-9pm every Wednesday. If you’re having trouble with a repair or need some used-car advice, he’ll be happy to try and offer a solution. Email your query to the motoring editor,