Rattling noise

Hello. I own a 2000 Mercury Cougar. About 2 weeks ago i ran over a piece of debris and i heard it hit the undercarriage of the car. At the time i got out and inspected to see if i could see any damage and couldn’t see anything. I still am having no problems but whenever i run over a bump i can hear a rattling sound under the car that stops once the car is on smooth ground again. Do you know what this could be? I was thinking the debris maybe shook the muffler a little loose. Is this something that i should have looked at?

ive looked around on here and noticed that it could be the bushings that are loose. I dont know what these are exactly but do i have to get these fixed if thats the problem.

The impact may have damaged or loosened a heat shield or some other part of the exhaust system. The car needs to be put on a lift so the underside and the exhaust system can be inspected.

Worn bushings do create rattles over bumps, but that would not be triggered by debris on the road. I agree that the most likely culprit is a heat shield or exhaust component broken loose. Depending on the nature of the debris you hit, you may have damaged a suspension component.

If it is a high pitched, tinny sound, it is likely a heat shield. If it is a heavier clunk, that is either the exhaust pipe itself, or a suspension component like a shock or strut.

If you cannot see anything hanging down and the car handles as it always has, it is probably not a critical problem, so you probably could wait until your next oil change and ask the tech to look for the problem and tell you what might be rattling. Note that I said “probably”. If you are the cautious type, get some ramps and drive the car up on them and take a look, or have a shop (like a muffler shop) look at it.

yah its kinda of a knocking sound. and i can tell its from something not secured enough down there. i think ill wait for my next oil change to check it out. thanks for all your help though!!!