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Not Constant Rattle?

Hi, I have a 2007 Vibe. My niece strattled a dead deer on the highway and I have a rattle noise coming from the rear right tire. Only think is that it’s not constant? 9 out of 10 times it’s there when I start the car but as drive for 30 or 40 minutes, or longer, it goes away? I had my Uncle look under the car and all he said was that he saw deer hair. Help. Please. Susan

A deer is a pretty big thing to run over, and may have bent something under the car.

I suggest you have your mechanic put the car up on a lift and examine the undercarriage and suspension.

Looking under the car while it’s sitting on the ground is unlikely to reveal anything.

If you’re lucky it’s something minor like a heat shield, but I’d want someone to inspect everything. If the suspension is bent it will cause excessive tire wear and is a potential safety hazard.

As mcparadise stated, a deer is a pretty big object to try to straddle. Hopefully, your niece has learned an important driving lesson from this experience.

While it is possible that there is damage to suspension components, your description of the symptoms provides a clue that the noise is not coming from your suspension. Since the noise is present when you start the car (presumably before actually driving the car), and that the noise disappears after the engine warms up, it really sounds like the noise is coming from a damaged heat shield on the exhaust system. A suspension problem would not produce a noise while the car is stationary.

However, it is possible that there has been more damage to the exhaust system than merely the heat shield, so this definitely bears checking by a competent mechanic. If there is an exhaust leak, that constitutes a major safety hazard. Only by putting the car up on a lift can someone determine the full extent of the damage, which could include the entire exhaust system, the suspension, splash shields, and God-only-knows what else.

Thank you to the both of you for taking the time to help me out. It’s very much appreciated.

I will get my Vibe over to a mechanic and ask to put it up on a lift.