Car Maintenance And Repairs

Why Is My Car Making A Whining Noise?

Mike Cross
Updated Sep 7, 2022
Why Is My Car Making A Whining Noise?

New, strange noises from your car are always concerning. Unless you're a professional mechanic, you won't know what's causing the noise or if there's cause for concern. Unfortunately, we all know how expensive it can be to take your car to mechanic and have it checked out.

Even a simple check to see if anything is wrong can be expensive, and it seems like they'll always to try push some service or repair on you that you aren't sure you even need. For things like an unexplained noise, they may not even be able to tell you what the problem is if the car doesn't make the noise while they're looking at it.

That means you end up stuck with a bill from a mechanic who just tells you they can't see anything wrong with it. And then you still hear the noise, and you're still worried. If your car is making a whining noise, here's what you need to know.

Why Is My Car Making A Whining Noise?
Why Is My Car Making A Whining Noise?

Whining Noise But the Car Still Drives Fine

If the car is making a whining noise while you drive, but it doesn't seem to be affecting the way it drives, there are a few different things that could be causing the noise. Some of these are easy fixes that anyone can do at home. Others will require a mechanic to diagnose and repair. Before you take your car to a mechanic, check the easy at-home fixes to see if they solved the problem.

Low Power Steering Fluid

If the whining noise is coming from the engine, none of the lights on the dashboard are lit up, and the car is driving fine, the culprit is likely your power steering fluid. You will need to check the power steering pump, which is usually located near the front of the engine. Your owners' manual should have a diagram showing where this is.

If the power steering fluid is low, simply add more. There should be a line on the tank that indicates the proper amount of fluid. Fill to that line, and take a drive to see if the whining has stopped. If it has, then that was the cause.

Pay close attention, though. If the whine stops, and then comes back in a day or two, you probably have a leak in your power steering line. Leaks like that must be repaired immediately, and you'll probably need a mechanic.

Transmission Problems

If your power steering fluid was not low, or if refilling it did not get rid of the whining noise, you may have transmission problems. Worn gears and low transmission fluid can both cause a whining noise. Unfortunately, if you suspect transmission problems, you have to take your car to a mechanic. Tell them to check the transmission fluid and look for worn gears.

Faulty Bearings

If it isn't the transmission or the power steering fluid, you may have worn or damaged bearings somewhere in the engine. There are bearings all over the engine and in many different parts, but the alternator, power steering pump, and water pump are what you really want to have checked. A faulty bearing in these parts could cause serious problems if it isn't fixed.

Worn Brakes

A worn brake system can cause a whining noise even when you are not trying to engage the brakes. Have the brake checked; you may only need to replace the pads but the rotors might also need replacing.

Car Whines When I Turn the Steering Wheel

If the whining noise is only happening when you turn the steering wheel, it's a sure bet that the power steering system is the culprit. A loose belt in the steering wheel can cause a whining noise, and this is a simple fix. You will need to find and tighten the belt of have a mechanic do it for you.

It could also be a fluid leak in the power steering system. If that's the case, it could lead to a catastrophic failure. A mechanic will need to repair it as soon as possible. Fortunately, this is also a relatively simple and inexpensive repair if it's caught early.

Whining Noise When Accelerating

Whining Noise When Accelerating
Whining Noise When Accelerating when oil level low

If the whining noise happens only while accelerating, check your oil. Do this by locating the dipstick (again, your car's user manual will show you where this is) and checking it. If the oil level is below the "add" line, add oil and see of the whining sound goes away. If the level is between "add" and "full", or if the whining sound does not go away after adding oil, you likely have a transmission problem. if you car using 5w20, you can check my article about best synthetic oil 5w20, you will find the suitable one for you.


In general, the most common causes of whining noises when you drive are transmission problems, power steering problems, and low engine oil. The very first thing you should do when your car starts making a whining noise is check your engine oil. If the noise is caused by low engine oil, you're in luck. That's an easy, cheap fix you can perform yourself. Just add more oil and you're good to go.

If the oil isn't low, and the noise only happens when you turn the steering wheel, it's a power steering problem. These are usually easy repairs and if you're mechanically inclined you can try it yourself. If not, it shouldn't break the bank for a mechanic to do it.

Unfortunately, transmission problems seem to be more likely than either low oil or power steering problems. If the noise is happen anytime you accelerate, or anytime the car is on, and adding oil doesn't fix it, you're going to have to take the car in to a mechanic. Low transmission fluid is an easy fix but worn gears or other problems can be costly. Still, if you don't have them fixed, they will cause even more damage to your car.

Nobody likes having to spend money on car repairs, but it's better than spending money on a new car, which is what you will likely have to do if you don't have your transmission repaired quickly. Transmission problems are serious, and are the most likely cause of a whining noise

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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