Startup Noise

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Hi 2011 LE auto with 22K on it is making an odd noise. At startup....and for just a few sounds like a light knocking sound...its abit hard to describe the sound. It goes away in seconds and the car runs fine. If I turn it off and restart it right sounds quiet/normal. If I let the car sit for say 4 hours and go start it....that noise comes back again. Almost like something that needs oil doesn't have it right away.

Any ideas?


Possible that the oil drained completely out of the filter assembly, as that is not usually the lowest part of the oil system on these cars. That momentary noise is from oil being pumped around until it builds enough pressure / oil film to do its job.

Not unusual - pretty much every car will experience this no oil / low oil pressure / oil film on a cold startup. These particular cars are known to run pretty low oil pressures to start with (recommended low viscosity oils don't help either) - so you might be able to pick up the knocking noise until the pressure builds.

Variable valve timing setups are also known to cause these knocking noises on cold starts - as many times they are also driving by oil pressure.

Sounds like you are one of those owners that are blessed/cursed, depending on the situation, with above average hearing.

All in all - don't think this is an issue. As long as you stay ontop of oil changes and the car only makes this knocking noise for a few seconds, I think you are likely not going to experience any issues down the road.

That said, probably couldn't hurt to have some paperwork started on this - as you are well inside the powertrain warranty on the car - better to view this as a future safe-gauge - just incase this turns into an "issue" down the road.

Yea that's me....better than average hearing which has been a curse. Though its how I got them to replace both VVT gears. I heard this ticking sound that started out of nowhere. To me sounded like the cam area and I thought shouldn't be doing that at 16K miles. The dealer couldn't hear it....gave me the car back. I brought it back saying....hear it!?? So they did believe me and put on those "listening" sensors and said....huh....he's right. They then did some more diag's on it and said for sure the exhaust VVT gear was gone. Replaced them....all is quiet.

Until this new noise. Something has changed.....which worries me as while 90% of my Honda's were Fords were....same for my Toys....I did have an "issue" car with all of them but the Toy's. Sooner or later you get one regardless of whom makes it or the care it gets. The VVT gear going that early to me isn't a good sign. It still has that buzzyness to the power band at 3K rpms....and now this noise. Don't think this car will hit 170K like our other cars have and not need something major done to it. Might be my first Toy "issue" car.

I told the wife...I'll keep an eye/ear on it.....and when it goes in for its next oil change I'll tell them about it.

Thanks Fish!

Are you using 0W-20 or 5W-20 synthetic oil? How much of it does it consume between oil changes? Does it appear to be emitted from the exhaust VVT gear again? You still run on regular 87 pump octane gas?

Dom...using 0W-20 syn....not using any oil as far as I can tell at 5000 miles. I have to try having my wife start the car while I listen under the hood as far as the VVT gear again. Do that this weekend. Seeing how this just happened out of the blue I'm abit concerned it might be the VVT again. But let me listen to it from the motor area. Thanks!

Changing to a different weight oil than what's normally used in the motor doesn't solve what's going wrong. It might help for a while...but what ever is changing is probably going to get worse even with different oil. I'd rather chase down the issue and get it fixed before my powertrain W runs out. Hopefully this weekend get my head under the hood and try to pinpoint where its coming from.

Well got one shot at hearing it tonight....for sure it sounds like the VVT gear area. Well on the next oil change I'll let them hear it.

For sure the noise is different....but it does sound like its coming from the same area of the motor. What worries me is the first time they failed was very early though others had theirs go early too so maybe its a design issue or a bad run of them being made. Or...maybe something else caused the failure that's still there. Poor oil flow?? Or another bad VVT gear?

The bad thing is you have one chance at hearing it....then you need to wait an hour or more to hear it again. I figure that's probably oil draining out of something. It will need an oil change in a few dealer is great at listening to my issues and working on them.


Well after doing a lot of research and talking to other appears its the VVT gear....again. I'll let them see the car soon but no way they'll replace those gears again this soon. Or with my luck I'll get back that ticking sound the old gears had.

So they did replace the exhaust timing gear with a new one, instead of attempting to repair it? Why would they claim to also have replaced the inlet timing gear? It is strange and unacceptable... Then you hear about the head gasket failing over time.

Last time(few months back) they replaced both gears with new ones....probably that they had the whole top end apart why risk doing just one . Seemed like the smart thing to do and being free for me I okay'd it. But now if they need to be replaced again will I end up with the ones that tick? I'd don't want that again....what jokes I had to endure over it making that noise. Plus it drove me nuts.

But if I leave this it probably will be an issue then I'm out of the warranty period and have to pay for it. If I do....then I look like a massive fool for turning down the 2014 LE as I'll be close to the cost of that car they tried to put me in as I heard this job can run $$$$ to do. (side note....I got to drive a 2014LE for several weeks after I bought my 2011...very nice with the CVT)

From what I'm being told these VVT gears have been an issue with this generation and in other cars using the same setup. Sometimes we get to cute with adding technology that bites back....but its all a gas mileage game vs performance they have to play.

The 2ZR-FE engine used in 10th gen 2009-2013 Corolla is still used in the 11th gen 2014-2015 Corolla. It's still the same dual-VVT-i engine, so you'd think such problems would be resolved by now.

My 2004 1ZZ-FE has been great, but I'm not taking any chances... I'm going for a 2016 Civic with direct injected 1.5 turbo and 6-speed manual.

Well I visited my dealer and my buddy with his to his dealer. We both got the same reply...."its normal for that noise on startup...its the oil draining issues". I'd be okay with that IF it was doing it all along....but like with my VVT wasn't normal.

I've read on Toy nation that it could be the "pin" inside the VVT gear. Nothing I can do till it fails...if it does...probably 2 days after the PT warrenty runs