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Help! Scratching metal noise when accelerating from stopped position


My husband (yes, him not me) drove my car (2009 Subaru Forester) last night and admitted this morning to enjoying driving through numerous puddles. I’m pretty sure it was more of a rally-car type of driving, not the careful-who-knows-what-is-in-this-puddle type. The car wasn’t driven since then, until this evening. I backed out of the driveway- no issues. I started to pull forward and there was a horrible screeching noise. I stopped, backed up & pulled forward again- nothing. So I drove to the end of the block, still nothing.

Pulling away from the stop sign- screeching again. My first thought was metal was dragging on the ground- nope. Turned around & went back home, inspected the car- nothing seems loose or out of place. It seems I can get the noise to happen if I accelerate normally from a stopped position, but if I start out very gingerly its okay. It happens between 1500 & 2000 RPMs, the wheels can be straight or turned.

We pulled off the rear passenger wheel (where the noise seemed to come from) and noticed the nut/bolt thing that is in the center of the bolts for the lug nuts (on the break assembly- I think) is damaged. There is a bright blue mark on it and a divot in the metal. This is the only damage we can see. With the wheel on, it is covered by the center of the hub cap.

My car is a manual transmission and the breaks have never been in use when the noise happens. Any ideas on what could cause the noise… and how much it will cost to fix?

Thank you!

Have someone inspect the brakes.

I’ve seen pebbles wedged between the brake pads and rotors on some vehicles that caused this type of noise. And these vehicles weren’t driven in a rally race.


Also have a friend rev the engine with the hood up. Driving through a lot of puddles can get the serpentine belt wet and wet serpentine belts can screech.

Another thing to check is the bearing for the idler wheel for the belt tension. The bearings do go out and cause noise. You might be able to just replace the bearing if that is the case. I did that on a earlier model Soob.