Does Your Car Make Noise When Starting Then Go Away?

a car start button

Last updated: June 30, 2023 at 20:36 pm

It’s quite common for a car to make a certain noise for a few minutes when first starting the vehicle or turning it off. You have a problem on your hands if the noise persists or occurs at irregular periods while driving.

There are a number of potential problems that would explain different types of noises. Usually, there’s a simple fix for each of these issues. The most important task is to figure out where exactly the noise is coming from within the vehicle, and what kind of noise you can hear.

Starting Process of Your Car

Before we understand what certain noises can be, we first have to understand the starting process in a car. The basics of the starting process in a car is that in order for the engine of a car to start, the engine has to be turned in order for it to suck air and fuel into the cylinders and therefore, compress it.

The ignition key is what is used to operate the starter switch. This switch has a return spring. Because of this, it will spring back when you release the key and turn the starter switch off.

Common Causes of Noise when Starting a Car

Starter Motor Engagement

starter motor

The role of the starter motor is that it turns the engine during ignition. Therefore, allows everything else to operate. Once you turn the ignition on, the starter motor is engaged and the engine turns over, allowing the engine to suck in air.

If you hear a grinding noise when start the car, you’ll need to replace the starter. While you may still be able to start the car after a few tries, the noise means that the starter is very close to failure and should be replaced as soon as to avoid failure.

The reason for the noise can be due to misaligned gears, broken gear teeth, or a poor solenoid. The noise of a faulty starter is quite like the sound of gears when the clutch is misused.

Engine Components

A vehicle’s engine can be started with the help of the starter system, as it converts electrical energy from the battery into mechanical energy. The mechanical energy is then used to rotate the vehicle’s engine for the engine to run.

There are a few potential problems associated with noise and engine issues. These include incorrect fuel octane, the engine could be overheating, incorrect ignition timing, issues with the computer/knock sensor, or the EGR valve not functioning properly.

An extremely common engine issue that will result in a pinging or rattling sound can occur when any of the above issues are taking place in the vehicle. All the issues listed above can cause the air-fuel mixture in the cylinders to ignite much sooner than it’s supposed to.

This will cause flame fronts in the cylinder to essentially fight each other, resulting in the pinging or rattling noise of the engine. One way to avoid or combat this, if it happens, is to check the owner’s manual to make sure that you’re using the correct fuel grade. Another option would be to switch to a higher grade and pay attention to see if the noise stops.

Belt and Pulley System

belt system

The belt and pulley system consists of an engine pulley (a wheel) that is mounted to the engine of the vehicle that guides the belt. The belt powers devices within the engine compartment. These devices include the air conditioner, power steering, and the fan of the vehicle.

The belt system will have several different pulleys that will have different uses such as powering the air conditioning or controlling the engine timing. All pulleys in an engine must be made from high quality metals that will be able to withstand high temperatures and normal wear and tear.

There are two main reasons why you may experience noises coming from the belt. Firstly, if you hear a squealing noise, this typically means there is not the correct tension in the belt drive system. This can occur when the belt is contaminated (e.g. oil) or even if it’s worn out.

The belt then slips, generates heat, and can lead to the failure of the belt (and the squealing noise will follow). The second potential noise problem you may encounter is a chirping type of noise coming from the belt.

The cause of this is usually due to components of the belt that are out of alignment. If these components are out of alignment by even one degree, it can cause the belt to chirp as it slides down one side of the pulley groove.

Also read: Fan Belt Noise: How to Fix a Squeaking Fan Belt

Factors Influencing Car Noise

Ambient Temperature

Vehicles deteriorate with age and use. This can lead to some of the above problems. The vehicle will produce more noise due to worn parts, loose panels that vibrate, or even poor lubrication.

These problems are more likely to occur if the vehicle is not maintained properly and regularly. If a vehicle is regularly maintained, you will be able to limit the number of noise problems the vehicle will face for a much longer period.

Additional factors that influence the noise of a vehicle are related to the design and manufacturing of the specific vehicle.

  • The number of cylinders and their arrangement within a vehicle will affect the amount of noise the vehicle omits.
  • The frequency with which the cylinders fire and the sequence in which they’re fired influence the noise that each individual make of vehicle will experience.

Importance of the Noise Going Away

There are some noises that an engine can omit that are perfectly safe and normal. Clicking sounds that occur when you start or turn off a vehicle is completely normal. This noise is simply the engine warming up and cooling down and should not be a cause for concern.


If the clicking noise continues even though your engine has been on for a while, you may be experiencing low oil levels.

When starting the vehicle, if you hear a solid and loud click, this is an indication of a healthy starting system. This noise means that the electrical current is reaching the solenoid and it’s working as it should.

If noise continues while you drive and seems to increase in tempo as you increase your speed, this usually indicates a problem with the tyres. On a similar note, if your gear stick is making noise consistently, it can signify a problem with the clutch.

The clutch could be worn out or the shift linkage may need adjusting. If any noise problems persist it’s best to get the vehicle checked out completely.

How to Address Persistent Noise

It’s important to ensure that you regularly maintain the car and ensure that the vehicle passes all inspections before it’s used. Regular maintenance and inspections will ensure your safety on the road.

While you can fix some problems yourself. But, it’s a better idea to contact a mechanic to make sure you’re doing everything in a safe and controlled way. Sometimes vehicle problems aren’t as straightforward as they may seem, and you can end up doing more damage than good.

Warranty coverage covers the item or service after the manufacturer’s guarantee period. This means the warranty may pay some of the cost of a repair if the vehicle becomes faulty in any way. They can sometimes also offer cover for accidental damage.


There are a number of noises that you may experience when operating a vehicle and some noises are completely normal and safe to hear.

Other noises are also common but need to be looked at in order to safely use the vehicle. When you start to understand the different noises and why you may be hearing them, you can start making moves to correct these problems.

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About the Author: AJ

AJ is a self-confessed soundproofing nut. He has written full-time on Quiet Living for the past 4 years, and has a wealth of knowledge about living a quieter life, soundproofing and fixing loud noises.

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