Step 6 - An automatic transmission can produce a howling noise when the filter has plugged or the fluid level is low.

Plugged Transmission Filter

Step 7 - A standard transmission can make howling noises when a bearing or gear has worn and is failing.

Manual Transmission Gear (Cut Away)

Step 8 - The serpentine belt and related pulley and tensioner bearings can create a howling noise when failed. It check these bearings remove the belt and spin each accessory to locate the failed bearing.

Serpentine Belt Tensioner Pulley

Helpful Information

A howling noise can be related to minor and major problems. As with all car related noises, detecting the origin of the noise can be difficult. A backseat passenger can sometimes help by providing a new perspective on the origin of the noise. Some Ford vehicles are equipped with an idle air control valve (IAC) which can produce a howling or honking noise when failed. Some engine air injection systems can create a howling sound that is audible even though there is no malfunction, just an undesirable noise.


Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2014-02-24)