Rattling Noise When Accelerating (Causes & Solutions)

Does your car make a rattling noise when accelerating? If your answer is “yes,” then you’re not alone.

Complaints about rattling noise when accelerating are one of the most common automotive problems. However, it’s difficult not to be alarmed when you hear a sound like that.

Truthfully, your car’s mysterious rattling noise could result from different problems. Luckily, these problems are not very severe and can be fixed easily. Unfortunately, it’s usually more tedious to locate the rattle’s source than to fix the problem.

Continue reading to learn more about common locations in your vehicle that makes the rattling noise when accelerating and how you can solve such a problem.

Possible Causes of Rattling Noises When Accelerating

Rattling Noise When Accelerating

Where is the rattling noise Coming From?

These sounds could be coming from any part of the car, with most of such sounds significantly varying in intensity and tone. Therefore, to solve this kind of problem, you must accurately find its origin to make inspecting the car any further possible.

Sources of this rattling can be divided into many different categories. The categories include interior rattles, underbody rattles, wheel well rattles, and the hood rattle. When you categorize your car’s rattling noises as described, you’ll be able to focus on your diagnostic efforts better.

Also Read: Grinding Noise When Accelerating (Causes and Solutions)

Rattle From Under the Vehicle

rattling noises from under your car are mostly common. Most of these sounds could be traced to problems related to the exhaust. The sounds are most noticeable if you’re accelerating or you place your car’s engine under a huge load.

1. Loose Exhaust Clamps and Hangers

As time goes by, the exhaust system’s clamps and hangers start deteriorating, mostly due to corrosion. When this happens, its important components could decay or loosen to the point of breakdown.

This could lead to excessive vibration, producing sounds that change due to accelerating intensity.

Solving this problem would involve component replacement. For example, failed hangers are supposed to be replaced, and their equivalent parts (OEM) may be needed. The same with rusted or other damaged exhaust clamps.

2. Damaged Catalytic Converter

Recent cars use catalytic converters as a means to dissolve emissions-related pollutants and turn them into less toxic chemicals.

Unfortunately, the devices could fail in the hand of impact or overheating, breaking away pieces of their internal structure and leaving them to rattle. It usually sounds like shaking marbles inside a can.

When there’s a failed catalytic converter, it’s necessary to replace it. Often catalytic converters operate without problems unless there’s damage from an underlying cause. Find out the main cause of the problem before replacing the unit.

Also Read: Catalytic Converter Repair Without Replacing It

3. Heat Shield that is Damaged

Car exhaust systems are typically clad with many heat shields, protecting the rest of the components from heat radiation effects. Unfortunately, even though heat shields look like they’re trouble-free, they are prone to the effects of corrosion and rust.

In this case, heat shields can break away from their weldings and vibrate against exhaust components nearby.

If a heat shield separates from its mount, you can either replace, reattach or tack it back by welding it into place. If the rust has completely compromised the heat shield, it should be replaced.

Rattle From the Wheel Well

Sometimes, the rattling noise could come from your car’s wheel wells or front end. Most times, damaged or worn-out suspension components, brake, or steering could be blamed. But in many cases, careful visual inspection is necessary to help locate the sound’s root cause.

4. Poorly Fitted Brake Components

When you bring a truck or car to a halt, it places the car’s brake under high force. Based on this, the individual components of the brake tend to move if it’s not fixed in a relatively snug manner.

When the anti-rattle clip of one/more brake pads misses, it usually results in brake chatter.

Inspect your brakes immediately if you notice they are producing unusual sounds. If you can’t do the diagnosis yourself, call a professional for advice.

Also Read: How Much Does Brake Line Replacement Cost?

5. Damaged or Loose Suspension/Steering Components

A car depends on its suspension and steering components to provide enough comfort when riding and superb handling. However, as time goes on, the components age, leading to wear-related issues.

Bushing could become shocks, worn, and struts and can lose their efficiency. In contrast, linkages display free play at the end of their sockets. Additionally, a similar issue can be caused by any kind of prior impact damage.

You must conduct a thorough inspection to diagnose failures of each suspension and steering component. In most cases, you’ll have to apply pressure on each component to check for free play accurately.

Also Read: Can You Drive Without Power Steering? (Answered)

Rattle From Under the Hood

Rattling Noise When Accelerating

Rattling noises could sometimes originate from your car’s engine compartment, leading to a significant worry. However, the noise’s root cause can vary based on severity and significance.

Investigate any engine noise that sounds irregular immediately to avoid further problems.

6. Issues related to Engine Accessories

When an odd sound comes from the car’s engine, the owners fear it might be a critical problem, but most times, the actual issue is far less serious than they can imagine.

In most cases, those sounds result from issues with the engine accessory’s components instead of the actual internal issues they fear their engine might be having.

Bearings of most drive belt-driven components are open to failures which can produce ranges of noise, which includes rattling. A loose hold-down bracket is also common where engine rattles come from.

When you believe a rattling noise is coming from the car’s engine bay, it’s important to isolate the locations of your offending component properly.

Because doing this can be tricky, you can take several steps to simplify what you’re searching for. Start with checking if all the mounted hold-down bracelets on the engine are tight.

If you think you’re to blame a belt-driven accessory, you can remove the belt and start your car, then rev the engine lightly. This lets you know if the noise persists.

The test should be conducted only for a few seconds because a car’s drive belt aids the functions of important engine equipment, like an alternator and water pump.

7. Issues with the Internal Engine

Issues with the internal engine can produce rattling noises, although it’s rare when related to the alternative source of sounds your car produces.

The three main culprits for internal engine-related rattles are lifter-related issues, piston slap, and rod knock. They all produce distinct noises.

  • Lifter-related noises are most commonly described as a “ticking,” which also mirrors the speed of an engine.
  • Piston slap tends to sound like a muffled, metallic rattling noise that changes in frequency with engine speed.
  • Rod knock produces an unmistakable metal-on-metal clatter that slows in frequency at low speeds.

The three issues mentioned are really expensive to fix, and most times, they need extensive work in the internal engine or engine overhaul.

When the sound you hear is suspected to be from your car’s engine bay, stop at the first opportunity you get, and put off your car’s ignition.

Rattle From the Interior

rattling noises from your car’s cabin are common, yet least concerning of all the rattles. The noise is not serious, although the noise they make can be aggregating.

You can solve the problem of an interior rattle in minutes, using the necessary efforts, and that is using your ear to track down where the noise is coming from.

8. Loose Compartments or Trim

In most cases, the interior rattle can be caused by a poorly fitted glove compartment doo,r or a bit more than a loose piece of interior trim. As a driver accelerates his car, those loosened components vibrate very fast, making a loud sound.

Finding the main cause of interior rattle can be no harder than placing hand pressure on different components inside the car’s cabin. When doing that, listen to stifled offending rattles.

Doors, kick panel trim (latch assembly, window, regulator, lock cylinder, etc.), glove compartment door, center console lids, and dash bezels are common origins of rattles.

9. Vibration of Spare Change and Other Small Items

Spare change vibration and other smaller items in a car’s ashtray or cup holder are other common origins of interior rattle. Unfortunately, those items are usually forgotten in a car’s interior and only remembered while driving.

This noise could be stopped when you remove the loose items or offending changes rattling about.

To prevent the noises from occurring in the future, empty all ashtrays and cup holders and change your receptacles weekly.

How to Fix Rattling Noise When Accelerating

Rattling Noise When Accelerating

Let’s say you still experience rattling noise after trying all the solutions we listed above, and you most likely have to consult a professional mechanic to check out the problem.

If you experience a rattling noise from your engine, take your car to a professional mechanic as soon as possible. Engine problems like ignition timing are capable of causing huge damage to the car’s engine.

In addition, unnecessary contacts with metal can cause metal shavings to enter your car’s engine oil, making the lubrication system act up like sandpapers against sensitive parts of the engine.

When you want to explain your rattling noise problem to your professional mechanic, the explanation should be well detailed. Let him know things you’re supporting to be the cause of the problem, like if it’s undercarriage rattling, engine rattling, interior rattling, or suspension rattling.

This description will aid their diagnosis of the problem, and they will know areas to look at. Explaining the type of sound you hear could also be helpful. For example, you could describe the noises as squealing, ticking, rattling, or squeaking. Again, being very specific could help in speeding up the repair process.

Also Read: Clicking Noise When Braking (Causes & Solutions)

Frequently Asked Questions – Rattling Noise When Accelerating

What would cause a rattling noise when you accelerate?

The noise can be caused by prematurely igniting fuel/air mixture in the engine’s cylinder by compression heat as the piston moves up on compression stroke. The sound is usually heard when accelerating your vehicle, and many people call this sound a rattling or pinging sound.

When I press the gas, I hear a rattling noise?

There are times when loose bracelets on exhaust systems or other mechanical components cause the rattling noise during acceleration. The problem can also be traced to a small manifold leak from the exhaust or an entirely different thing.

How much does it cost to fix a rattling noise when accelerating?

The engine noise will surely be loud when accelerating, which should be easily noticed. It’s not advisable to keep driving after discovering that the engine is making noise because of your acceleration. It will cost between $500 and $1,500 for the timing chain or belt tensioner to be replaced.

Can a transmission make a rattling noise?

This rattling could occur both in unloaded or neutral and loaded or drive conditions. However, it usually happens during idle speed. Tensional vibrations that induce impact among gears often cause gear rattle, which is a complex problem.

Can low transmission fluid cause a rattling noise?

There is a rattling noise because of the drop in the fluid your car engine needs. His problem can be fixed easily, but it brings more trouble when taken lightly.

Conclusion – Rattling Noise When Accelerating

Every car has several different components which can start rattling over time. It can be very helpful to diagnose the source and causes of the rattling noise when doing the repairs; this could equally help when you hire professional mechanics to fix the problem.

If you notice rattling noises, the chance of future/further damage will reduce drastically if you have your car checked by a professional mechanic immediately.

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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