Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

My Chevy Malibu is making a sound like shaking a can of spray paint!

my 2003 chevy malibu suddenly started making a terrible knocking sound, like the sound a can of spray paint makes when you shake it- only much louder.
A couple of weeks the oil light went on very briefly when i used the brakes. The oil change place was closed so I added a couple of quarts after checking the level (i waited after the engine was shut off for an hour, there was a little oil on the dipstick but definitely needed more). After adding the oil and letting it settle it was at the appropriate notch per the owners guide. A couple of days ago, I bought gas at a station I dont normally use. The car was driven approximately 40 miles after fill up and before the noise started.

I took the car to get the oil change and was advised to get it checked if the sound didnt go away in a day. The auto place says their diagnostic tool won’t work if my check engine light isn’t on. Its not, and has never lit up. I have no idea what to do next…I assume I shouldn’t drive it anywhere.

I remember reading bad gas can cause this sound, or a bad Co sensor (?) I am praying the oil light doesn’t come on when it’s already too late! Any advice?

How often do you check your oil?? If you routinely let it run low, to the point the engine starts making noise, the engine could have been damaged…

Now, with the engine full of oil, is the engine still sounding like “shaking a can of spray paint?” How often do you change your oil?

It does sound like your engine has been damaged by driving with almost no oil in the crankcase. The rattling noise is metal parts that have been stretched from the heat/friction/stress of operating with insufficient lubrication, and now they don’t fit together tightly, hence the rattle. The damage is permanent, and either the engine must be rebuilt or replaced.

Usually, with low oil, (not no oil) it’s the hydraulic valve lifters and cam chain tensioners that start making a lot of noise…THIS noise will quickly go away once the crankcase is filled with oil and the air bleeds out of the system…But if the noise does NOT go away…How many miles on this car?

I could be wrong, as Caddyman has said…