This noise started about 2 months ago in my '05 Camry - it sounds like dirt being kicked up under the car from the tires but it happens after I have driven long enough to dislodge any residue (also like water trickling briefly through a steam pipe). Here’s what I learned:

1. It doesn’t happen at driving speed, only on starting up or slowing down, as at a stop sign;

2. It’s happened when turning on the engine without touching the brake or accelerator;

3. It happens within the first 20-30 minutes of running the car and usually after the car has been standing a long time (first thing or leaving work at lunch time);

4. Not much warm weather yet in NH but it doesn’t seem to happen when the air temp is ~ over 70;

5. The car runs fine.

Any help would be appreciated.

Without actually hearing the sound…it’s difficult to diagnose…However are you sure it’s tire related???

I’m wondering if what you’re hearing is engine knock??

Hi - I doubt it’s tire related as I have heard it when starting the engine and the car was not moving, I wasn’t touching the brake or gas.
The only time it happens on acceleration is starting up from a start, not while driving and speeding up. I don’t think it’s engine knock - my son had heard it but had assumed it was dirt kicking up (we have a dirt driveway) until I pointed it out to him. He’s not a mechanic but does work with equipment so he must be familiar with knock.

Does the Camry have the original serpentine belt. An aging belt can make all sorts of funny noises. Try spraying some water from a squirt bottle onto the belt with the engine running. If the noise stops or changes, then it’s probably the belt or one of the pulleys. I change the belts on my vehicles every 3 or 4 years or when they start getting noisy.

Good luck,

Ed B.

You might also just have a loose heat shield or splash cover.

Thanks - I’ll try that.

Thanks - we’ll check it out.