Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Gurgling sound

I have a 2003 Camry. When I start it, I hear a “gurgling” sound, like bubbling water.
Sounds like it is coming fom under the dashboard, but can’t be sure.
Heater core is my first guess, but heat is fine and it seems to be coming from the driver’s side - not the passenger’s side where the heater core is located.
Any ideas?

Air in the heater core is often the cause of gurgling under the dash. Air can be “burped” out but if you aren’t careful you can get scalded.

+1 with Rod
Not sure whether a Camry has it, but some cars have bleeder valves on top of the engine that let you bleed the air as you add some coolant.
Or park your car on an incline or ramps so its front points up. With the car cooled off, take the radiator cap off. Start the car and goose the engine a bit. Watch for air bubbles to come out through the radiator neck and, when they do, add some coolant.
Do this until the bubbles stop. Close the radiator back up and consider the car burped.

I bought my 2003 Camry new. It had a really loud gurgling sound under the dash when I drove it home that first night. It sounded like I had a lake under the dashboard. I had to take it back to the dealer three times, but they finally fixed the problem. There was air in the cooling system. I still have the car. It’s been fine all these years now.

The safest method for a DIYer to burp the heater is to loosen the hose clamp that is at the highest position and insert a jet nozzle from a can of WD-40 under the hose far enough to let air escape and start the engine. It may be necessary to raise the idle to 1,500+. As soon as liquid comes out the nozzle pull it out and slip the clamp back in place. I use an ice pick bent to 45* and connect 10psi air pressure to the overflow outlet and to fully burp the cooling system it often requires opening several connections. I hope everyone who attempts to burp their cars does so when they are cool to the touch.

Neat trick with that nozzle. Thanks.