Rattling sound on a 2002 subaru impreza outback sport noticable at low speeds

subaru
suspension

#1

I have 124,000 miles on my 2002 subaru impreza outback sport and this car runs very well and has been maintained well however the last couple weeks I have noticed a slight rattling sound toward the right front side of the car almost as if there were pebbles inside the wheel covers when the car is driven at low speed and I begin to accelerate. It also sounds as if the rattling could also be coming from the exhaust also as if it were loose fitting but the tailpipe is on the left looking from the rear of the car. Another possibility I thought of was the fender was loose or the tire was rubbing against the wheel well or something. It is one of those small annoying sounds that does not seem to warrant bringing in to a mechanic yet but I am curious about what that is. Thanks for your help.


#2

Well, either the symptoms or your description (or a little of both) are too nondescript to make anything like a good guess. So it could be something like - well, pebbles in your wheel cover. Or a loose wheel cover. Does it have wheel covers? Or a loose splash shield or loose heat shield on the exhaust. Or maybe you do have a small exhaust leak. Or maybe you have a CV joint that starting to get noisy. Or…

If it is only when the car is moving (is it?) then I’d be inclined to ask someone who does know about cars to listen to it. If it is something loose up front in the steering or suspension, that’s not the kind of thing to ignore. Have you gone around at kicked and shaken things a little bit to look for something loose that doesn’t seem like it should be?


#3

I’ve got a 02 Subaru Outback with 206,000 and I’ve had a similar sound come from the same areas. I had the rattling sound checked out and I was told the brake calipers were loose and rattling even though they’re contained by their bolts and secure. The mechanic said the sound would be bothersome but not result in brake failure.
My heat shield is also rattling under the car and I had one mechanic put a couple spot welds on the shield in several places and it has all most eliminated the rattle while I’m stopped waiting for a light or just idling. Some spot welds haven’t held well due to the rust that seems to creep in after only 200,000+ miles.