What are the Potential Causes of Noises after Shutting Off Your Car?

It’s common for drivers to notice odd or concerning symptoms while driving the car, especially while performing certain functions like accelerating, braking, turning, or traveling uphill; however, we rarely pay close attention to how the car acts once the engine is off—we simply walk away and go on about our business. It’s important to remain in constant awareness of how our cars are behaving, even when they’re not running.

When something isn’t working right in your car, it will show signs that indicate where the problem is originating—this includes noises that your car might produce once the engine is turned off. This is especially important to note when you bring the car in for servicing or repair. If you’ve recently noticed that your car is making concerning noises once the engine is off, don’t panic—the noises could be completely normal; however, for safety reasons, and in the interest of saving money, it’s best to have the problem checked out. This article will give you some basic idea of what could be going on with your car and what you can do to help fix the issue.

Possible Causes of Post Shut-Off Noises

Noises that occur in your car once the engine is off can be relatively normal, depending on the location and nature of the sounds. Recording or taking a video of the problem can be helpful for your trusted automotive specialist to properly diagnose the problem. These are the most common causes of post shut-off noises coming from your car—and you’ll notice, they’re mostly coolant system-related:

No Problem At All

Determining whether or not noises are normal takes skill and expertise when it comes to general vehicular knowledge. For instance, a skilled automotive technician will know that some vehicles are equipped with coolant tanks that create noises once the car is shut off. In this case, water-related noises like bubbling are standard.

Damaged or Failed Head Gasket

Head gaskets act as a seal for the coolant system, keeping the coolant in, and other foreign bodies out—such as debris or gasses. If you have a blown head gasket, bubbling noises can be a concern either while driving or after the vehicle has been shut off. Along with concerning noises, you might also notice diminished engine performance.

Air in the Wrong Places

In the other “cooling” system, or the internal air cooling system used to control the climate inside the car’s cabin, it is possible to hear gurgling sounds coming from behind the glove box, where the main components of the system are located, including the heater core that can become contaminated with outside air.

Coolant Level is Low

Your coolant should not ever run low—as this normally indicates that your car has sprung a leak somewhere in the coolant system. When coolant runs low, then general laws of science cause outside air to enter and contaminate the coolant system. Besides blown head gaskets, other seals, valves, or hoses can create coolant leaks leading to lower coolant levels.

Coolant filler

Other Coolant Problems

Air can enter the coolant system in other ways besides just from a leak. Coolant fluid changes are required as part of ongoing maintenance for all vehicles, and when these procedures aren’t properly executed they can cause air to leak into the coolant system, creating odd noises to occur once the car is turned off.

Why It’s Important to Have Your Car Inspected Immediately

Following up with concerning noises, smells, or behaviors is essential when it comes to ensuring your car’s longevity and performance. Furthermore, it can save you money in the long run as you avoid problems worsening, leading to more extensive (and expensive) repair work. It’s best to have your car inspected by an automotive shop that specializes in the specific type of vehicle you drive for the best results.

What We Can Do to Help

In Ann Arbor, MI, the automotive experts here at Orion Automotive Services have provided quality automotive care for clients whom we come to regard as our family and friends over the years. Since we opened our doors, we have been able to ensure the safety of countless individuals and families by offering specialized automotive services at an affordable price. If you’ve recently noticed that your car is experiencing a performance issue, or is making odd noises after the engine is turned off, please give us the opportunity to properly diagnose and treat the problem—it could help you avoid engine overheating and other significant engine repairs.

Book with our certified technicians today!


Book with our certified technicians today!