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Car Sounds Like Helicopter—What Could Be Wrong?

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Vehicles are a depreciated investment, as they tend to have problems occur from wear and tear. However, what does it mean if your car sounds like a helicopter? We have researched to help you with this issue in this article!

If your car sounds like a helicopter, it could be due to the following:

  • Warped brake caliper
  • Worn brake rotor
  • Malfunctioning parking brake
  • Bad brakes
  • Failing wheel bearing
  • Faulty blower fan motor
  • Defective tires

As you can see, your car could have several things wrong that could cause the helicopter noise. However, not to worry, you aren't going to fly away! In this article, we will look at the warning signs of each of these mechanical problems. In addition, we will discuss and answer other frequently asked car questions, so read on!

Top view of a clean car engine, Car Sounds Like Helicopter—What Could Be Wrong?

Car Sounds Like Helicopter—What Could Be Wrong?

Let's face it; cars are essential in our lives to get from point A to point B. So, it can be quite frustrating when dealing with car problems or repairs. However, it can be even more frustrating when you don't know what is wrong with your vehicle.

Car mechanic checking the CVT gear box for anomalies

For example, what does it mean if your car sounds like a helicopter? No, it doesn't mean your car is a transformer, but it does mean something is wrong.

If your car sounds like a helicopter, it could be due to the following:

Warped Brake Caliper

A warped brake caliper would cause the rotor to grind against the inside of the disc. This would create a grinding sound that resembles a helicopter, and it may even lock up the wheels when braking. If this happens, it will be easy to notice as there will be a significant decrease in braking effectiveness.

Worn Brake Rotor

A worn brake rotor would also cause the rotor to grind against the inside of the disc. This is because as the brake pad wears down, it begins to leave a more significant gap between itself and the caliper, causing the pads to hit the rotor closer to the outside. A worn brake rotor would be easy to notice because your car will vibrate during braking or when coming to a stop.

Malfunctioning Parking Brake

A malfunctioning parking brake is difficult to determine, but it can usually be noticed if the emergency brakes are engaged even when the regular brakes are not engaged. However, if the parking brake is engaging and disengaging on its own, it means that you will need to have this looked at by a professional.

Bad Brakes

If your vehicle's brakes are bad, they won't grip the rotor properly because the grooves on the surface are filled with gunk or rust. This will make your car sound like it is coming from the engine compartment.

Failing Wheel Bearing

A failing wheel bearing will cause a grinding noise that is easily noticed while the car is in motion, especially during turns. There will be an extra resistance on one side of the tire while the other remains spin freely. If you suspect this is the problem, listen carefully as you drive to determine which side of the car is making noise.

Faulty Blower Fan Motor

A faulty blower fan motor will make your vehicle sound like a helicopter when it turns on and off. It may also speed up or slow down without warning while driving if it is malfunctioning. This may be an easy fix or a pricey one, so it would be best to have a professional take a look if your vehicle does this.

Defective Tires

If your car sounds like a helicopter due to defective tires, it will sound louder at higher speeds, and the noise will go away when slowing down. If this is happening, it means your tires are not gripping the road correctly, which can be due to a number of problems.

Why Does my Car Sound like a Jet Engine?

There are several reasons like the ones above as to why your car sounds like a jet engine. Let's take a look at them below:

Car mechanic checking the catalytic converter

Exhaust Leak

An exhaust leak could make your vehicle sound like a jet engine because there is another place for the exhaust to go besides out of the tailpipe. If your muffler has a hole in it, it will sound like a jet engine, and you will also notice black smoke coming from the back of your car; this means that unburned fuel is being dumped into the exhaust pipe.

Vacuum Leak

A vacuum leak would leave a raspy sound similar to a jet engine. It will only occur during acceleration, but it may eventually cause your car not to run at all if it is left unattended due to a lack of gas being sent to the engine.

Improperly Working Catalytic Converter

If your car sounds like a jet engine, it could be due to the catalytic converter not being able to do its job correctly, converting carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. If this happens, you will notice puddles of water or oil under your vehicle after parking it.

Engine Problems

Your engine could be at fault if it makes a sputtering sound and the RPMs drop when you press the gas. This is because there will not be enough gas being sent to the engine to run correctly, which means your car might not drive very well or at all.

Bad Exhaust System

A bad exhaust system will not get rid of the exhaust properly, and you might notice a rattling sound when accelerating your vehicle. If this happens, you will also see black smoke coming from your tailpipe, which means that unburned fuel is being dumped into the exhaust pipe.

Bad Motor Mounts

A car mechanic checking the car engine for faults

Motor mounts are responsible for keeping your engine in place, and they can wear out over time due to friction. You will hear a loud knocking noise while driving that won't go away even at lower speeds if this is happening. You may also notice cracks in the motor mounts themselves if it is happening.

Bad Flywheel  

A bad flywheel will make your car sound like a jet engine or helicopter while accelerating and decelerating. The sound will be loud, and you may also notice black smoke coming from your tailpipe because unburned fuel is being dumped into the exhaust pipe.

Bad Transmission

A bad transmission can make your vehicle sound just like a jet engine when accelerating or decelerating if it is sending too much of the engine power to the wheels at one time. You may notice this while driving or need a professional to help with the problem.

Bad Wheel Bearings

Wheel bearings could be making your car sound like a jet because they are not allowing your car's wheels to spin freely, and there will be extra friction that causes your car to sound like a jet. You might also notice that your vehicle vibrates at high speeds, especially when turning.

Faulty Fan Clutch

A faulty fan clutch may sound like a jet engine while driving because the blades are not spinning correctly. This means that your car's fan will not cool its radiator off enough when it is being used, which causes overheating problems.

Bad Water Pump

A bad water pump can make your vehicle sound like a jet engine while driving because it is not circulating the coolant efficiently. You might notice this problem when your vehicle boils over or overheats after being driven for a while.

Bad Ignition Coil(s)

A bad ignition coil may make your car sound like a jet engine when you accelerate, which means there is not enough power going to the engine when you press on the gas pedal. Your car might also shake at high speeds, and it will be harder to start up in cold weather.

Bad Motor Bearings

Motor bearings might make your car sound like a jet because they are not allowing your car's motor to spin freely, and there will be extra friction that causes your car to sound just like a jet. You might also notice that your vehicle vibrates at high speeds, especially when turning.

What Does it Sound Like when a Wheel Bearing is Going Bad?

If you notice a loud whining noise coming from the front of your car, it could be due to bad wheel bearings. In addition, you may hear other noises from a bad wheel bearing. For example, you could hear a cycling chirping or a growling noise coming from the vehicle.

Putting high temp yellow grease on the bearing

How Do you Check for Bad Wheel Bearings?

One tell-tale sign of a bad wheel bearing is if the tire feels loose while driving. It might also be more challenging to turn the car because perhaps one tire is catching or binding, which means the wheel bearing has gone bad.

How do I Know if My Car Tires Need to be Balanced?

One sign of unbalanced tires is if your vehicle vibrates when driving at high speeds. Try driving with one hand on the steering wheel at 50 or 60 miles per hour. If you feel a vibration in the steering wheel, it might be time to have your tires checked for proper balancing. In addition, you might feel a vibration on the floorboard or seat.

Final Thoughts

Overall, if your car is making weird noises such as sounding like a jet or helicopter, there is something wrong. In addition, if you feel any vibrations while driving at higher speeds, then it may be time to have your tires and your car inspected.

For more maintenance guides, check out our other articles:

Hissing Noise From Car AC – What Could Be Wrong?

Dashboard Lights Flickering Car Won’t Start – What Could Be Wrong?

Antifreeze Leaking From Car – What Could Be Wrong?