So, I'm driving to work Monday morning on Raymond Road.  The scenic back way to work as it were.

Raymond Road, like many roads--make that MOST roads in the area took a pretty good beating after the winter thaw.  But I prefer taking this route, so as to avoid the parade of prostitutes and crack dealers that line both sides of Capital N.E. from Wabash to Division first thing in the morning.  And a personal note to the "rental units"; no matter HOW much eye contact you try to make, I won't be stopping to partake of your earthly comfort.  I promise you this.

So, I'm just about to cross the bridge over the Norfolk Southern tracks.  The one area of Raymond that, for God knows what reason, has been left pock-marked with pot holes and broken pavement.  Just as I meet the bridge, BAM, I hit a hole.  The next sound is a loud CLUNK from under the truck.  Pro tip:  CLUNK is NOT a good sound to hear. Turns out, I broke a shackle that holds the leaf spring in place.   $186.00 is what CLUNK cost me.

(Now to be fair, my vehicle is a rapidly deteriorating sort, a bit of crap really, which would probably break in two if a third-grader looked cross-eyed at it!)  

In addition to CLUNK, there are a number of other sounds you should not ignore as they scream forth from your car.  And, if you're hearing one of these sounds from your car, get it checked out right away.  DON'T ignore them.  So, read on and then listen up!

1.  Diesel-like clattering in a gasoline engine.  It could be bad gasoline, or your ignition timing might be off.  Either one could cause serious engine damage if it isn't fixed.  (Suffice it to say if this happens, you WILL cuss.)

2.  Drumming underneath the car that increases with speed.  It could be a failing U-joint.  (The worst that can happen is that the U-joint breaks, the driveshaft hits the pavement--and your car flips end over end until something stops it.  And whatever that "something" is, YOU'RE not going to like it.)

3.  A sound like fingernails scraping on a chalkboard.  It's probably a loose accessory drive belt.  (It's not life or death, but everyone around you will hate you until you fix it.)

4.  Sharp tapping that increases with engine RPM.  It could be a connecting rod knock.  (In the worst case, the rod punches through the engine block--metal parts and flaming oil shoot out , and you're shopping for a whole new engine.  Better yet, a new vehicle.  One with a better stereo, maybe.)

5.  Grinding metal, like a snowplow on a bare road.  Your brake pads could be completely worn away, which could cause the car to pull to one side when you brake. (Worst case scenario--y'all don't stop until--well, see number 2 above for potential negative outcome.)

6. Whining when you turn the steering wheel.  It could be a failing power-steering pump.  If it failed completely, you'd lose your power steering . . . and you wouldn't know it until you tried to turn the wheel.  (See also "90-Degree Curve In Road", or "Last Parking Spot" for worst case scenarios.)