If you hear an unfamiliar rattling noise that sounds like it's coming from under your car, you most likely have a problem with your exhaust. There can be several causes for this problem, and it's important to identify the exact cause before trying to fix it.
Identifying the Noise
A rattling sound in the exhaust area of your vehicle alerts you that something is wrong, but pinpointing its cause if tricky. Different noises are behind different exhaust issues:
- A hissing sound could mean the exhaust pipe is cracked or that there is a leaking gasket near the exhaust system.
- A chugging sound could indicate that the exhaust system is blocked.
- A rattling sound coming from under the car could indicate that the exhaust system has become askew or misaligned. If the rattling sounds like small rocks hitting metal repeatedly, it could mean your heat shield is loose.
- A vibration could indicate that there is friction in the exhaust pipe area. This is usually caused by something touching the exhaust pipe.
These are just a few concerning noises that indicate something is wrong with your vehicle. Once you have identified the noise and learned what it could mean, can you fix it?
Common Fixes for a Rattling Exhaust
The first step to fixing the problem is to look at the exhaust area and visually check to see if anything is obviously wrong. If there are any pieces hanging off or broken, the fix might simply be to reattach or replace those pieces.
If there are signs of rust on the exhaust pipe or if corrosion of any kind is present, the simple fix may be to clean the area with baking soda and water. Once the area is clean, check to see if the pipe is structurally sound. This this is accomplished by poking at the pipe to see how it holds up. If it seems weak and corroded, it should be replaced or at least looked at by a professional mechanic.
Fixing a rattling exhaust could be as simple as these home solutions. If none of these solutions seem to fix the noise that you are hearing, you will need to take your vehicle to a mechanic (such as one from Collins Service Center) for a thorough real inspection. Whatever you do, do not ignore the sound. Odds are if your car is making noise, it is trying to tell you something and should not be ignored!