I have a 1999 Toyota Sienna. For the last year or more, at times – especially when going over small bumps – there’s a rattling sound that sounds like it’s coming from the left front wheel. The steering is tight and there’s no vibration in the steering wheel itself. My mechanic checked everything – including the brakes (and the caliper pins). I am not eager to replace the struts on the hunch this might be the cause, because it might not be, and that’s expensive, especially on an old car which we don’t drive much. Thoughts?
I had a similar problem with a 2000 Ford Windstar. This occurred just after I had new front brake pads. The problem was caused by the pads rattling against the caliper. The brake shop that did the work couldn’t seem to fix the problem. However, my independent third shop found the problem, installed some sort of kit and the rattle disappeared and there was no charge. This tire store now does all my brake and alignment work as well as selling me tires.
Rattles can come from almost anywhere. Especially on a 16 year old vehicle.
I would be reticent to replace the struts until I got under the car and looked hard at all the heat shields, brackets, hangers, etc., as well as shaking them vigorously to try to get a noise. I use leather work gloves to do this to protect my hands. Heat shields are often spot-welded at the corners, and they often begin rattling when one on the spot welds rusts through.
If you do this yourself, I recommend a good set of ramps rated well beyond the expected load with chocks, the parking brake applied, and a good flat solid surface. Safety must come first.
Mtn Bike brings up a good point (As he is wont to do) What I have found to be rather common across all brands is that when I have a rattling front end… It USUALLY turns out to be the front sway bar bushings…or whatever bushings/Systems are used to hold that front sway bar steady. I mention systems because its not as simple as every vehicle having simple sway bar bushings anymore. Vehicles use several different types of methods to accomplish the same goal.
Whatever the method used…I have found that the front sway bar is the culprit of many of the front end rattle sounds.
Give them a looksie…sometimes they are easy to spot while standing in your driveway with the wheel turned one way or the other for viewing access.
As Mtn Bike suggested I would look closer…HOWEVER… If you are looking at the front end…I would simply jack up the entire front end…Use Jack Stands…and then see what you can wiggle or thump or move on the front wheels to see if you can spot the issue. Pay close attn to the sway bar…the tie rod ends…Try to move the wheels side to side and up and down while the tires are still ON the vehicle…they will give you more leverage… then remove them and look closer if you hear something.
Good luck and let us know. My money is on the Sway Bar… Ive repaired so many rattles due to that dern thing I lost count long ago!
Thanks for all the good advice. Ended up being the struts, alas. Now all good