Drivers urged to listen out for ‘squeaking under the bonnet’ – could be a huge problem

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With the cost of living crisis not showing any signs of slowing down, British drivers will look to save money anywhere they can. With that in mind, vehicle management experts at Wessex Fleet have urged motorists to listen to their cars in order to prevent serious mechanical problems from happening.

Some mechanical problems could cost drivers thousands of pounds to repair.

However, serious damage can be prevented if drivers catch and deal with the problem early on.

Experts have now warned that if motorists can hear “squeaking under the bonnet”, this could be a sign of a serious issue with a water pump.

A water pump is a vital part of a car’s cooling system, especially during warm weather.

Its primary purpose is to continually circulate coolant from the radiator to the vehicle’s engine block to prevent overheating.

Motoring experts say that modern water pumps are much more robust, but there is still a chance it could fail after many years or miles.

Replacing the water pump is likely to cost drivers just under £300.

However, if motorists put it off, more serious issues can develop down the line.

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This in turn could cost car owners even more.

If drivers notice a coolant leak from the water pump, it could be a sign that the shaft seal or the gasket that sits between the pump and the engine has failed.

If it’s the shaft seal the entire pump will need to be replaced, but if it’s the gasket the pump can be removed, a new gasket fitted and the original pump replaced.

Some modern water pumps have plastic impellers (fan blades) and these sometimes break.

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This leads to vibrations which in turn cause the pump to fail.

It’s also possible for the impeller to become loose on the shaft, so although the impeller looks fine, it might not pump anything.

Wessex Fleet Director Simon Naylor, said: “The upkeep of any car can be expensive, whether you are leasing or it’s yours.

“It’s important you listen out for any concerning noises your vehicle may start to make.

“Getting any issue fixed sooner could save causing extra damage to the vehicle and keep the repair bill lower.”

To help motorists save money on repairs, the experts at Wessex Fleet made a list of sounds that drivers should listen out for.

Here are a few of them.

Squealing engine:

A faulty alternator belt or drive belt may cause a squealing sound from the engine.

Wessex Fleet said: “The belt transfers power from the engine to other parts of your vehicle including the alternator, air con, steering and others. The belt will wear down from friction and heat from the engine, causing visible damage.”

Replacing a worn belt or one that has snapped completely may cost £150.

Tyres rumbling:

A rumbling sound coming from your tyre may indicate a tyre issue or wheel bearing issue, which may cost £200.

To avoid tyre wear, try to avoid curbing your car as often as possible and check regularly for signs of wear and tear, as well as bulges or punctures.

Groaning when turning:

Being low on power steering fluid may mean there is a groaning sound coming when turning your steering wheel. Topping this up should only cost you around £15 at most, but a flush and replacement will set you back around £115.

Ignoring it could mean a cost of £300 further down the line.

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