When you’re driving down the road and you hear something rattling every time you step on the gas pedal, it’s never a good sign. Your mind goes straight to the worst-case scenario, even though it’s likely that there’s a simple solution you’re missing.
So, we made this guide to tell you everything you need to know to find out what’s making the rattling sound in your car, before you start taking things apart. No matter how big or small the problem is, we’ll help you solve it here.
Pinning Down the Rattling Noise
Before we can help you figure out what is making your car rattle, you need to find out where the noise is coming from. Start by trying to figure out where the rattling sound is coming from when you speed up slowly.
This will help keep the noise from other parts, like your engine and transmission, to a minimum. If you can’t hear the problem when you speed up slowly, speed up faster.
Keep the windows closed and ask a friend to sit in the passenger seat to help you figure out where the noise is coming from. If you can’t figure out where the problem is coming from inside the car, have someone stand outside and see if they can hear it as you drive by.
Under the Vehicle
If the noise is coming from under your car, there are only a few things that could be causing it. Still, this is the best time to put your car on a lift to get a better look. Start from the back of your car and move forward.
Loose Exhaust Components
A lot of parts can come loose around your exhaust, from heat shields to clamps and hangers. Over time, these parts will rust, which will cause them to fall down and make noise as they move.
Look closely at everything around your exhaust to make sure everything is still where it should be. Don’t be afraid to reach up and move things around to see if they’re secure, but make sure the exhaust isn’t hot when you do this.
Catalytic Converter Is Broken
As a catalytic converter gets older, the parts inside may start to wear out. When this happens, it can make a rattling sound as you drive. It makes a sound that is easy for any mechanic to spot right away.
If your catalytic converter is making a rattling sound, you need to get a new one. There is no way to fix this problem.
If you have some clever friends, they may have put zip ties around your driveline so they can watch you freak out every time you drive because of the noise. This is very easy to check when you’re underneath your car. Just look at the driveline. If you see anything wrapped around it, take it off and the problem will probably go away.
From a Wheel Well
Take the time to figure out which wheel well the noise is coming from if it sounds like it’s coming from the wheel well. Even though there are a few possible causes in the wheel well, it’s a small area, so it’s easy to rule them all out at once.
Loose parts in the steering or suspension
If you hear a rattling sound, there are a lot of steering and suspension parts around each wheel well that you need to check. Take the time to check each part closely, from the tie rod ends to the struts.
You need to make sure that each part is securely attached and that none of the parts are broken. If there is any wiggle room in the parts, you may have found the problem.
Wheel bearings that are broken or loose
There are bearings inside the hub of each wheel. When the bearings are in good shape, you don’t hear anything from them. When they’re broken, however, you can hear a rattling sound as you drive.
To check the bearings in your wheels, jack up one wheel and leave the tyre on. If it’s the front tyre, have someone hold the brakes while you shake it from the outside. If the tyre moves, the wheel bearings need to be repacked and checked.
If it’s the back wheel, you check it the same way, but if you don’t want someone to hold the brakes for you, you can also use the parking brake.
Remember that if your wheel bearings make a rattling sound while you’re driving, they’re very damaged and you shouldn’t drive on them anymore. You will have to replace these wheel bearings because of this.
Brake Parts Not Installed Correctly
Everything in the brake system needs to fit together perfectly. But if someone put something together wrong, you might hear some chatter when you’re driving. So, when you check the brake parts, make sure that your car has all the right parts and that everything fits together smoothly.
If your brakes are making noise, you need to fix it right away. Some owners think of this as a small problem, but it actually means that your brakes are working properly, which can make the difference between stopping safely and getting into an accident.
In the Engine Bay
If you open the hood of your car and hear rattling, the problem is in the engine bay. But it’s not likely that you’ll only hear the rattle when you speed up. Most likely, as you speed up, the noise will just get louder. But what could be making that shaking sound? Here, we’ll talk about the three most likely reasons.
A loose pulley is often the cause of a rattling sound coming from the engine bay. It’s pretty easy to find a loose pulley. You just need to spray the pulley with WD-40 while the engine is running.
First, as the WD-40 works its way in, the noise should get a lot louder. At some point, the noise will stop, and it might even stop for good. But just because the noise stops doesn’t mean the problem is solved.
Check again to make sure the pulley is tight. If so, you might need to replace the pulley if the noise keeps happening. But if it was a little loose, you’ve found the problem, and tightening everything should do the trick!
Part of an accessory that is broken
There are a lot of extra parts for your engine. When they break, a lot of car parts, like the A/C compressor, alternator, and even the power steering pump, can make a rattling sound.
If the noise is coming from a specific part, you should be able to figure out where it is coming from, which should help you figure out what the problem is.
Problems Inside the Engine
Even though this happens less often, it can still happen. The easiest way to find out if the noise is coming from the engine or an accessory part is to take off the drive belt and any other accessory belts and then start the engine.
Even with all the belts off, if the noise is still coming from the engine bay, it’s an internal problem. If it goes away, you got lucky and the engine is fine. But don’t let the engine run for a long time like this. Since the water pump isn’t hooked up, the engine will quickly overheat if the drive belt isn’t on.
The Driver’s Seat
The last place the noise could be coming from is inside the car itself. If the sound is coming from inside the cab, it’s probably not a big deal, but it can still drive you crazy. So, what is probably making the noise in the cab? Here is where we’ll tell you.
Inside the Cab
If you hear rattling inside your cab, it’s probably because something is rolling around under the seat or because loose change is stuck in a cup holder or on the dashboard. You’d be surprised at how often this happens.
When you hear a rattling sound in your car, your mind goes straight to the worst thing that could happen. But after you take a deep breath and calm down, you might find an old Gatorade bottle or something else rolling around where you can’t see it.
Once you figure out where the noise is coming from, all you have to do is keep your cool and look around. This guide should have given you a better idea of where to start your search and helped you find your rattling noise in the end.
If not, you should take your car to a repair shop. A rattling sound could be something small, but it could also be a sign of something more serious that you shouldn’t ignore.