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04 Corolla Making Strange Noise



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Hello to you all in Corolland. I have a problem with my 04 Corolla that has been going on for a few months now. Whenever I drive at any speed, or when I'm decelerating I hear this fast intermittent boop, boop, boop......sound coming from what sounds like the left front wheel area of the car. I took the car to Les Schwab tire and had them check out the rotors, bearings, hub assembly. Everything checked out fine, so I went to the Toyota dealership and told them about it and the tech took a drive with me and said it was road noise. I said that can't be because even on smooth pavement I hear this sound, and like I said it's a boop, boop sound not a grumble, like road noise.

Later on I have some service done at the dealership and I tell them the noise is still happening and can they check the undercarriage of the vehicle to see if anything is broken or damaged. So they drove the car around and said they can't replicate the noise. To me that's dealershipspeak for "If we can't hear it, there is no problem."

So I'm still driving the car around and the noise is happening much more often and now I'm feeling a sort of slight vibration when this occurs. I am very concerned and I was wondering if anyone here has any idea what could be making a noise like this. The car has only 30,500 miles on it and I have babied the heck out of it. Other people who have gone for a ride in my car have heard it also, so I'm not hearing things. Any ideas?

Try to isolate the source. Without hearing it, it is difficult to tell.

It could be anything from the tire having an imperfection, to the rim being out of round or having a dent, to the wheel being out of balance.

If it seems to be related to the wheel (noise varies proportionally to the speed of the car) those are possibilities.

If it seems to be coming from that general location, it could also be wheel bearings or CV joints.

Might even be something in the wheel well area, such as a flapping splash shield.

I would take a close look and even jack the car up and take the wheel off.

If no one else hears it (like the dealer), it sounds like an intermittent problem and those are hardest to fix.

The thing about parts going bad is that they always go from bad to worse. The sound will get louder or worse or regular as time goes on.

It will be easier to find if it is something getting worse as you drive.

Hope this helps.

Are you running the OEM tires? About how much tread is left on them? Depending on which tire came OEM and how often you had them rotated - ~30K miles, tires could be toast. If the tire is cupped at all (unevenly worn), tire worn down enough to have the portion where the belt is overlapped close to the road, out of balance, or have a bent wheel - it will make the exact sound you are describing.

I would try swapping tires around - move the front to the rears and see if the noise gets better or worse. If the noise moves with the tire(s) - then you need to inspect the tires closely - like Bikeman982 mentioned - bent wheels, out of balance wheels, excessively/unevenly worn tires can cause those noises. If the noise doesn't change - then you are probably looking at some issue with the brake rotor, wheel bearing, CV joint, axle, hub, suspension, or the transaxle.

Are you running the OEM tires? About how much tread is left on them? Depending on which tire came OEM and how often you had them rotated - ~30K miles, tires could be toast. If the tire is cupped at all (unevenly worn), tire worn down enough to have the portion where the belt is overlapped close to the road, out of balance, or have a bent wheel - it will make the exact sound you are describing.

I would try swapping tires around - move the front to the rears and see if the noise gets better or worse. If the noise moves with the tire(s) - then you need to inspect the tires closely - like Bikeman982 mentioned - bent wheels, out of balance wheels, excessively/unevenly worn tires can cause those noises. If the noise doesn't change - then you are probably looking at some issue with the brake rotor, wheel bearing, CV joint, axle, hub, suspension, or the transaxle.

Thank you for the responses. I replaced the OEM tires a couple thousand miles ago. The tires were balanced then and the noise is still there. It could very well be that the actual wheel is bent slightly. I had both Les Schwab tire and the dealership examine the rotors, hub assembly, and the bearings. They said everything looks good there.

The weird thing about this noise is that occasionally I will hear it when I go over a speed bump. I'll hear one or two boops and that's it. So I've been thinking it could be suspension related as well.

is it worse when initially accelerating?

If you hear the noise when going over bumps, it is most likely the shocks/struts.

It could also be the tires hitting the struts.

My son put some 205/70R 14 tires on his Corolla and they were hitting the strut.

He had to take them off and put 195's on. That was the largest size that would fit.

is it worse when initially accelerating?

It starts when I get up to about 10-15 mph. That's when I start hearing it going boop,boop,boop.....then if I decelerate the boops become more intermittent until I come to a complete stop. Like I was mentioning earlier when I drive in a parking lot and I go over a speed bump sometimes I hear one or two boops, but not every time. I've never dealt with a noise issue of this nature before so it's kind of frustrating to figure out what's going on.

If you hear the noise when going over bumps, it is most likely the shocks/struts.It could also be the tires hitting the struts.

 

My sone put some 205/70R 14 tires on his Corolla and they were hitting the strut.

He had to take them off and put 195's on. That was the largest size that would fit.

I've got the standard 185/65/15 size on my car. Would shocks/struts make that kind of fast boop,boop noise while driving? It seems the faster I go the faster the sound is, and as I decelerate the sound slows down as well.

If you hear the noise when going over bumps, it is most likely the shocks/struts.It could also be the tires hitting the struts.

 

My sone put some 205/70R 14 tires on his Corolla and they were hitting the strut.

He had to take them off and put 195's on. That was the largest size that would fit.

I've got the standard 185/65/15 size on my car. Would shocks/struts make that kind of fast boop,boop noise while driving? It seems the faster I go the faster the sound is, and as I decelerate the sound slows down as well.

Try raising the tire pressure to 38psi (cold) and see if this changes the noise in any way.

Just out of curiosity, has the front and rear alignment/toe been checked?

Try raising the tire pressure to 38psi (cold) and see if this changes the noise in any way. Just out of curiosity, has the front and rear alignment/toe been checked?

I have never had it aligned. Now that you've mentioned alignments I was thinking about a strange thing that happens from time to time. My steering wheel is not completely aligned straight. Sometimes when I step on the brakes the car drifts suddenly to one side and the steering wheel turns in that same direction.

You could also check the brakes. I would jack the car and move the wheel around to see if you can duplicate the sound.

Then take the wheel off and look for anything worn. Check the brakes while you are there.

Just some suggestions.

Try raising the tire pressure to 38psi (cold) and see if this changes the noise in any way. Just out of curiosity, has the front and rear alignment/toe been checked?

I have never had it aligned. Now that you've mentioned alignments I was thinking about a strange thing that happens from time to time. My steering wheel is not completely aligned straight. Sometimes when I step on the brakes the car drifts suddenly to one side and the steering wheel turns in that same direction.

You may possibly have a front brake caliper binding on the side away from the pull. The noise may be part of this problem. The alignment really needs to be checked for the best handling and tire life. The off center wheel may indicate alignment change. I tend to prefer an alignment specialty shop over a general tire seller. Many of the specialty shops are very good at brake problems also. Ask around among trusted friends and associates.

You may possibly have a front brake caliper binding on the side away from the pull. The noise may be part of this problem. The alignment really needs to be checked for the best handling and tire life. The off center wheel may indicate alignment change. I tend to prefer an alignment specialty shop over a general tire seller. Many of the specialty shops are very good at brake problems also. Ask around among trusted friends and associates.

Thanks for the advice. I'm getting my car aligned on Tuesday. I'd like to get my front brakes done before the rains start again up here in the PNW. I've been noticing that it takes me longer to stop.

You may possibly have a front brake caliper binding on the side away from the pull. The noise may be part of this problem. The alignment really needs to be checked for the best handling and tire life. The off center wheel may indicate alignment change. I tend to prefer an alignment specialty shop over a general tire seller. Many of the specialty shops are very good at brake problems also. Ask around among trusted friends and associates.

Thanks for the advice. I'm getting my car aligned on Tuesday. I'd like to get my front brakes done before the rains start again up here in the PNW. I've been noticing that it takes me longer to stop.

It's a very good possibility that your brakes do need work.

 

An alignment will help you.

Hopefully the alignment will take care of it for you. If not you may want to look at your CV half shafts. My Corolla was making noises that could have been decribed as you did. It was also much worse going over bumps and would pull really really funny when I hit the breaks suddenly. Changed out the CV half shafts and the problem was gone. Good luck!

Hopefully the alignment will take care of it for you. If not you may want to look at your CV half shafts. My Corolla was making noises that could have been decribed as you did. It was also much worse going over bumps and would pull really really funny when I hit the breaks suddenly. Changed out the CV half shafts and the problem was gone. Good luck!

I took it for the alignment and they said it doesn't need one. They put it on the rack and everything was within tolerances. The next day I took it to a independant auto mechanics place and the guy went for a test drive with me. Of course the car would not make the noise then. Figures. So I tell them to do a complete check over of the vehicle. They call it an MRI. Everything came back fine. Nothing wrong with the bearings, CV joints, brakes, transmission, etc. Everything looks perfect they said. I was sure that they'd find something. default_unsure

... I've been noticing that it takes me longer to stop.

I replaced the OEM tires a couple thousand miles ago. The tires were balanced then and the noise is still there ... The weird thing about this noise is that occasionally I will hear it when I go over a speed bump. I'll hear one or two boops and that's it. So I've been thinking it could be suspension related as well.

When you mentioned that it takes longer to stop - is it noticably longer than before? In what way do the brakes feel different - needs more pedal pressure, seems to have less initial brake bite, braking performance seem to fade quickly, any weird vibration or pulsation through the brake pedal?

 

What the noise happening before you got new tires? If the noise was there before you got the new tires, did it get better, worse, or stay the same? Did the technician remove all the old tire weights and put new ones on when they balanced the tires?

Worn brakes can make for lengthier stops - due to reduced heat capacity of the pad (less material means it cannot control temperature well) - usually ends up passing more heat to the hydraulic system, leading to the use of more pedal pressure and sometimes sponginess of the brake pedal. But at 30K miles or so - should still have plenty of brake material left, unless the car seen more stop and go traffic or heavy brake application. Also depends on the climate - as an area like the PNW can be tough on materials. If you notice any pulsing or vibration of the brake pedal - I'd look into warped rotors as a possible suspect in your noise issue.

New tires - hopefully opted for better tires than what originally came with the car. Many times, tire construction can introduce excessive tire noise that can sound like thumping or blooping noise. This normally goes away once the tire starts to wear down. Usually, you have to adjust tire pressures during this time to get the best qualities of ride confort and performance. Also how technicians mount and balance the wheels is important. A good one should remove all the old weights first before messing with the wheel. This way, they are forced to visually inspect the exterior of the wheel and pickup on any trouble areas. After unmounting the tire, they should be able to tell if the wheel is bent anywhere (some case catch it earlier than that). Rule of thumb, is that if it takes more than 1 oz of weight to balance a tire, then you remove the weights, unmount the tire, rotate it, then remount the tire. I've seen tires that have several oz of weight on there. Can still be perfectly balanced - but having that much excess weight can cause weird behavior at even low speeds.

Given that you've taken it to several different places and all seem to find the car fine - could be they are overlooking something very subtle. Given that the symptoms so far are:

- noise after suspension gets compressed (speed bumps)

- low speed noise on acceleration and deceleration

- noise is keyed to ground speed (faster you go, frequency of the noise increases)

- noise is intermittent (unfortunantly, hardest to diagnose)

Overall - this is not any easy one to solve, especially if the techs only do a quick visual inspection.

EddieS makes a good point of adjusting tire pressures - lots of times, the noise will change - looking for something that will change how the noise sounds.

Your brakes and suspension are still possible culprits - did any of the shops disassemble the brakes to get a better look, or did they do just a quick visual inspection? If they took them apart, did they re-lubricate the sliding pins for the caliper and caliper to torque plate mounting points? Wheels are come on and off this car many times - verify with the shops that they are properly torque the wheels. Most use an impact gun with a torque tube (can be way off) - have them double check it with a torque wrench. If the wheels are not properly torqued - you could end up with a bent rotor or distorted wheel hub. Assuming they also did a tire rotation - did that change the sound? Hopefully, you will find someone that will find the source of the noise and get this resolved for you. Good Luck.

Thank you for all of your helpful responses. It's been frustrating trying to find out what the noise is. I'll keep searching for the answer.