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mike c
mike c, toyota master diagnostic technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 620
Experience:  toyota certified master diagnostic technician ase and hybrid certified
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My car is making a rattling noise

Resolved Question:

I have a 1998 Toyota Corolla (not sure about the engine).

The car is making a grinding/rattling noise when I push the gas pedal. The sound doesn't get any louder at higher speeds and it doesn't make the sound when I let off the gas or brake or push the gas pedal from the parked position.

The noise seems to be coming only from the left front driver side area. I was told my left inner tie rod had some play to it when I got my tires aligned. Is that what's making the sound or is it something else?

Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  mike c replied 7 years ago.

Does the noise change while turning left or right? Does turning affect the noise at all?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I haven't noticed a difference when I turn. Just whenever I apply the gas pedal while in drive, it makes that sound. When I had the car in park and applied pressure to the pedal, however, it didn't make that sound so I'm guessing it's not the engine or anything under the hood. It sounds like its coming from underneath and only makes noise while in motion (but not when coasting or braking, just when I apply pressure to the gas pedal).

Expert:  mike c replied 7 years ago.

If it was a loose rack end the noise would happen over bumps on or off the gas pedal, hitting a dip in the road, bumps, etc. So, I would rule that out by your description.

It is possible that this is a loose and rattling heat shield on the exhaust. Possibly an axle or a gas ping. Try these things:

1. If possible try driving the car into a turn both left and right turn while accelerating and see if the noise changes. You may want to do this in an empty parking lot.

2. Does the noise happen even on a cold engine right away as soon as you press the gas pedal?

3. If possible, put the car in drive and hold one foot tight on the brakes and give a little gas with the other foot and see if you hear the rattle. You may want to do this also in an empty parking lot.

Let me know what happens on any of these. If you don't feel comfortable doing 1 and 3 just let me know on question 2.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I realized that it actually doesn't happen on a completely cold engine. It takes a minute or two to start up when I first pull out at low speeds. I didn't have my foot on the brake while I was in park, but I just pushed the gas pedal and heard no rattle. Turns do not change the sound.

Expert:  mike c replied 7 years ago.

I thought you may have a heat shield rattle but generally they are worse when the engine is cold. Are you familiar with what a gas ping sounds like?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I don't know what that would sound like.

I also have a small thing to add on though it may or may not be related. Every once in a while (very rarely) the brakes squeak when I brake, but the brakes were just replaced so I don't understand this.

With both of these things though, are they anything serious do you think or can I go without fixing them?

Expert:  mike c replied 7 years ago.

Noises can be hard to try to describe and diagnose without actually hearing them.

I would describe a gas ping as sounding like marbles rolling around in a frying pan. When you are low on gas, try filling the tank with 5 gallons of premium fuel 92 octane and drive to see if noise changes.

As far as the brake squeak is concerned, usually that's not a safety issue. You may want to call the shop where you had the work done and at least make them aware of the fact that you are getting a squeak and see if they want you to bring the car in for a test drive.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I don't think that sound would describe what I hear. When I first got the car it made the sound bad, it had no fuel almost.

I filled it up and the sound then took about a minute to start up and it was quieter than before the gas tank was filled. But it still always makes the sound when I push the gas even now. Do you not think it has anything to do with the inner tie rod, which I was told has some play? The sound does seem to be coming from this area, left front.

Expert:  mike c replied 7 years ago.

I think you should take the car in for someone to at least test drive if it’s a steering issue that is causing the noise. That could be a safety issue.

I've never seen an inner tie rod end only make the noise on acceleration, but anything is possible.