New car woes

I thought I’d be free of problems having bought a new Toyota Rav4 in Jan. In June, with less than 3K miles, my husband had a (BIG) fender bender (turns out his meds made him blank out, he was driving at 10-15 mph) (and he is going on 80). Repairs cost over 3K, but I was able to drive it to the dealer. Soon after I got it back a month later, I started hearing a brief grinding noise under the accelerator, at speeds of 20-30 mph. Mostly after I took my foot off the accelerator, once or twice after I took my foot off the brake. This noise sounds like brakes grinding, appears very sporadically and briefly. I took it to the dealer and of course they could find nothing wrong, said everything checks out. They said to bring it back when it’s doing the noise. Which it does maybe once a week, for a second or two. sheesh.
What to do? I actually want to start all over, I do not want to drive with my ear to the gas pedal. (My husband now only drives in town!)

Well it’s very very difficult to figure out what the problem is if you can’t first see or hear it.

Doubt it’s brakes since if it was brakes it should happen when you press the brakes…NOT when you take the foot of the accelerator. Have someone else drive it or ride in you. Try to see if there’s a pattern or a way to make it repeatable. Other then that…keep taking it back to the dealer until you’re satisfied.

It is very possible that you are merely hearing the sound of a loose/damaged heat shield vibrating against the exhaust system. These noises tend to be brief and to occur only under a specific set of circumstances, but those circumstances can vary considerably from one car to another, depending on the type and extent of the damage to the heat shield.

A collision can do damage to many parts of a car that are seemingly not related to the impact damage, and the exhaust system is one of those parts. The next time it is back at the dealership, request that they check all of the heat shields (there are likely to be more than one), and hopefully this will point them in the right direction.

If it is indeed a loose/damaged heat shield, the good news is that a loose/damaged heat shield is merely annoying, and presents no dangers.

Also, although I rarely recommend using shops like Midas and Meineke, their exhaust repair guys can frequently spot a problem like this very quickly. And, if necessary, they can do a simple repair, which a dealership will not do. Dealerships replace parts, rather than repair them.

Here is what you do. You take it to a trustworthy mechanic and say, “I have this problem, and it’s hard to duplicate, so I would like you to take my car home after work, and drive it to and from work for a few days to see if you reproduce the noise.” If he or she hasn’t identified the symptoms you have experienced after a week, go pick up the car and take it home. Then you can either repeat the process with another trustworthy mechanic, or drive the car not worrying about the noise.

Well, thank you! I suspect it is not a danger, and I have a trusted Midas guy nearby, I’m going to go there and ask. Instead of getting worse (more frequent) it appears it is ocurring VERY infrequently (once every 2 weeks). Maybe I should turn up the radio.

My vote is with VDCdriver about a heat shield rattle. That’s not unheard of and especially so when a collision is involved.