Why Does My Car Sound Like A Helicopter?

Wondering why does my car sound like a helicopter? Car makes high-pitched whirring noise due to exhaust system leak, flat tires, warped brake calliper, or loose pulley. You may hear helicopter sound while driving over 40 mph, when accelerating, or even at parked. 

The noise may also come from the front, rear, or bottom of the car. So it needs deep and proper diagnoses to determine the exact root and solve the issues. 

5 Major Reasons Why Does My Car Sound Like A Helicopter

A car makes a helicopter sound when the tires can’t grip the road or the engine starts to fail. The faulty parts that are responsible for the car’s helicopter noise are:

1. Leaking Exhaust System

The exhaust system directs exhaust gases to the rear of the vehicle and muffles the engine sound. But if the exhaust system gets loose, cracks, or leaks your car may start making noise. So, you can hear the sound like a helicopter while driving the car. 

Leaking Exhaust System

Since the leaking exhaust can let gases enter into the vehicle’s cabin, you should fix the problem immediately. The exhaust system consists of a complex design. So it’s better to hire an expert technician to repair the exhaust system. 

2. Flat Tires

If your car has flat tires, these can make uneven and changed motion against the road surface.

Hence you can hear a flapping noise which may sound like a helicopter. Flat tires can cause sound and excessive vibration. It can mostly happen after changing or rotating the tires. If so, check the tire pressure. 

You can prevent the tires from getting damaged or blowing up, by inflating the tires or patching up the holes. 

3. Warped Brake Calliper

If your car’s brake caliper gets misaligned, it can start grinding against the disc when you drive.

So you can hear a grinding noise like a helicopter. If so, the noise will become noticeable during pulsating the brake pedal hard. It can also lock up the wheels when applying brakes and reduces the braking effectiveness ultimately. 

Warped Brake Caliper

4. Loose Pulley or Belt

A car’s serpentine belts can make winning noises like a helicopter due to bad bearing, insufficient tension, a damaged alternator, or a worn-out belt. If so, you have to tighten the belt or replace it to remove the noise. 

5. Worn-out Wheel Bearing

If your car’s wheel bearing is worn out, it can make various noises including squealing, chirping, and grinding noises like a helicopter. If so, the noise will become louder along with the car’s speed. If your car sounds like a lawnmower or helicopter when accelerating, worn-out wheel bearings can be the reason. 

Worn-out Wheel Bearing

Wheel bearings may also fail due to damaged seals and cause increased noise. It can also cause uneven wear on the tires. 

When Car Sounds Like A Helicopter?

Below are some situations along with their internal reasons when the helicopter sounds may become more obvious:

When Driving Over 40 MPH

If your car makes helicopter noise, particularly during driving at or over 40 mph, it can be the result of uneven tread on the tires. If so, check your car’s tire condition and replace them. If you still hear the noise and if it becomes louder with speed, the bad wheel bearing can be the problem. Faulty wheel bearings can also make the noise louder when swaying or turning the vehicle. 

When Driving Over 40 Mph

After Rotating The Tires

If you hear helicopter noise after tire rotation, the rough tire wear patterns, damaged tires, or imbalanced tires can be responsible. Excess debris on the tire can also cause this problem. If so, stop driving the car and pull it over on the roadside. 

Then firmly tighten the tire lug nut and balance them out. If you still hear the noise, install soundproofing materials like mass-loaded vinyl or acoustic foam to reduce noise and use high-quality tires. 

Car Sounds Like A Helicopter When Parked

The car can create sounds like a helicopter even when not moving or at idle due to accessory drives or transmission problem. The reason is that the torque converter runs at idle. To find the exact root of the noise, inspect the vehicle carefully. 

Car Sounds Like A Helicopter When Parked

If the helicopter noise isn’t very obvious, disconnect the drive belt take out all the belt-driven accessories briefly check the whole thing, and fix if you find any. Dissembling the belt driving accessories should reduce the noise. If the sound still exists, hire a mechanic to check the transmission and engine.

Car Makes Helicopter Noise When Accelerating

Your car can make helicopter noise particularly when accelerating due to a twisted brake calliper. The other potential reasons are bad wheel bearings, torn brake rotor, exhaust leak, damaged catalytic converter, and faulty tires. 

Before repairing or replacing any faulty part, replace the transmission fluid as it can fix the problem. If it doesn’t work, replace the wheel bearings. If you still hear the noise, correct the CV axle should solve the issue.

Locations From Where Helicopter Sounds Come Out

The side of the car that may make helicopter noise along with their potential reasons:

From Car Engine

If the helicopter noise coming from the car engine, check the engine cooling fan. The excess movement of the cooling fan or the fan clutch may generate the noise. The wear-out fan clutch or damaged mounting bolts increase the forward and backward movement of the cooling fan. 

From Car’s Engine

The wobbling movement of the cooling fan may cause a sound like a helicopter. To verify the problem, move the top of the fan back and forth and check if there is any play when the engine is off. If the cooling fan spins freely, it doesn’t have any problem. But if the fan doesn’t move or move very slowly, check the fan, and engine compartment and back.

From The Car’s Front

Helicopter noise may come out of the car’s front when accelerating or braking due to worn-out wheel bearings. If so, the frequency of the noise should increase along with the vehicle’s speed or when accelerating.

To determine the root of the source, listen for the sound in the right and left curves. Increased noise in any of these points indicates bearing failure. However, you can check the bearing’s condition by performing a test. 

Drive the vehicle straight on a windy road and make curves to the left and right without touching the brakes. Notice when the noise gets quieter or louder, in one or both directions, left or right curve. After determining the exact root, hire a mechanic to diagnose and fix the issue. 

From The Car’s Back

You may also hear helicopter noise coming from the back of the car due to plenty of reasons. For example, bad rear wheel bearings, brake drums and shoes, and tire rotation. If so you may hear helicopter noise while driving the vehicle over 30 mph. You can remove the noise by changing rear wheel bearing, troubleshooting, and fixing the tire rotation. 

If the noise still exists, check the rear window. Whined buffeting can generate a sound like a helicopter while rolling down the rear window when driving particularly at highway speeds. The outside air may interact with inside air during passing over and compressing and decompressing repeatedly.

From The Car Bottom

If you hear helicopter noise coming from the vehicle’s bottom, it can be due to a tire inflation problem, bad wheel bearing, or faulty braking system. If the chopper noise becomes obvious at 10 to 20 mph, check the tire if something is stuck in it. 

From The Car’s Bottom

Then make sure the tires have proper inflation. If you still hear the helicopter noise at low speed, inspect brake pads and make sure the parking brake is working correctly. You may also need to test wheel bearings if the noise resists. 


Why Does My Car AC Sound Like A Helicopter?

The faulty electric connection can burn the car’s AC compressor. Hence the AC can make a helicopter-like sound to be aware of the damage. A loud whine noise coming from the AC also indicates a damaged compressor.

What Does it Mean When Your Car Sounds Like An Airplane?

If your car sounds like an airplane, it can be the result of an exhaust system leak. If so, the noise will become louder when accelerating. 

Can You Drive A Car That Makes A Helicopter Noise?

You shouldn’t continue in a car that makes strange noises. The reason is that you do not know which faulty part is making the noise and you can’t assure that you’ll reach the destination. Even the faulty part can make it difficult to control the car and increase the risk of accidents. 

Final Words

Hope you understand why does a car sounds like a helicopter and from where the noise can come out. Now it’s your turn to test drive the vehicle and identify the car side that making the noise and which activity triggering it.

Then hire an expert mechanic and inform him so he can accurately solve the problem. But don’t ignore the sound as it’ll bring worse consequences.

My name is Tom Vanderbilt. I am an automotive expert and renowned for my profound knowledge of automobiles. I have made significant contributions to the industry through my experience and expertise. I have a natural curiosity and fascination for cars. My journey is to explore the intricate dynamics between people, their vehicles, and the ever-evolving transportation landscape.

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