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2006 Rav4 "rumbling" noise

My 2006 RAV4 Sport 4WD, 80K miles, is making a light rumbling or light vibration noise as I drive down the road. It’s intermittent, and will generaly stop making the noise when I let off the gas (auto trans). It happens at different speeds and will always quit if I let off the accelerator, but doesn’t always quit if I step on it. It’s just faint enough I can tell it’s there, and doesn’t sound or feel very severe. I probably would never notice it if my stereo was on. I thought it might be my Bridgestone tires, which have less than 10K miles on them, but I would think the noise would continue even if I let off on gas.
Any thoughts?

One possibility is the inner CV joints.
When these are badly worn, they tend to set up some vibration in the car whenever power is applied.


Does the pitch of the noise change when the steering wheel is turned off-center (i.e. changing lanes)? If yes, this may indicate a bad front wheel bearing(s).

Ed B.

I have a 2006 Sport V6, and this same noise started around 85k miles. Our local shop said I need a new transmission. However, I took it to a trusted Toyota-only independent shop and the mechanic drove around with me and immediately identified the noise as the torque converter. This is an element in the transmission. He says the noise is annoying, but unnecessary to remedy. He changed the transmission fluid and I’ve been driving with the noise since then, now around 90k miles.