motorcycle exhaust pipe

5 Strange Motorcycle Noises and What They Mean

Just like cars and other vehicles, motorcycles require attention, care, and regular maintenance to ensure they are in proper working order. As many of us know, motorcycle accidents can cause some of the most severe injuries on the road.


Unfortunately, many of these accidents are due to the negligence of other drivers. If you are a rider yourself, this is why you must take extra precautions to ensure your safety. This includes being mindful of your surroundings and listening for sounds that could mean your bike needs repair or maintenance. Here are some signs you may want to look out for.

1. Tick Tick Tick

You may be cruising along and hear an odd, rhythmic “tick, tick, tick” that comes and goes at certain speeds. This is one of the most difficult sounds to diagnose because it could mean many different things. Something as simple as low oil levels to loose cam chains or other valve train problems could cause this noise.

2. Grinding

One of the most ominous sounds that can emanate from your bike may be a grinding sound. If you ever hear this sound, it will most likely get your immediate attention, which is good, because it will probably require maintenance. This grinding noise is often very inconsistent and could mean the front or rear brake pads need to be replaced.

3. Creepy Krink

If you have a bike with a metallic chain, keep your ears open for this sound, which can be either regular or irregular. This could mean a few things, one being that your chain is corroded because the bike has not been ridden in a long time; lubrication may fix or diminish the sound. It could also mean there are kinks in the links or misaligned sprockets after a chain tension adjustment.

4. Boo Hiss

If you drive any sort of vehicle with a tire, you may have heard the “boo-hiss” sound of a tire deflating. The good news is that, if you’re on a motorcycle and hear this noise, you are probably coming to a stop anyway, in which case you should pull off the road to avoid a potential crash. Other possible causes of this noise could be a blown gasket, radiator leaks, or exhaust system leaks.

5. Snap Crackle Pop

While riding, you may hear a short snapping sound that is either regular or irregular. This noise could indicate that the ignition could be “short” of energy. If this is the case, the sound may also be accompanied by the engine hesitating or taking longer than normal to ignite. Careful inspection of the caps and wires can determine if this is the case.


The variety of sounds that motorcycles can make is essentially unlimited. Remember that if you hear a sound that doesn’t sound quite right, take your bike in for maintenance. It’s always better to be safe, especially when you’re on a motorcycle. While breaking down in a car may be a nuisance, breaking down on a motorcycle can leave you vulnerable and increase your odds of being involved in a motorcycle collision.


As avid motorcycle riders ourselves, our attorneys know all too well the dangers that motorcycle riders face on a daily basis. Injuries that are sustained in motorcycle accidents are usually very severe. This is why we want to provide as much information possible for how riders can ensure their safety on the road.


If you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, don’t hesitate to turn to McNabola & Associates for experienced legal representation. Our attorneys will help determine liable parties and fight for your full financial recovery.


Contact McNabola & Associates at (312) 888-8700 to schedule your free consultation.