Strange noise coming from my 2006 Matrix


I have a questions and need some input!

I have a 2006 Toyota Matrix XR, bought in January of 2007, with approx. 32,000 mi on it. Last week, I started to notice a strange “whirring” or “whooshing” noise in the rear right corner, by the tire. At first the noise happened only when i was decelerating and turning left, and it had to be a dynamic turn, or a sharp curve or bend in the road, for the car to reproduce the noise. However, only a few days later, i am hearing the same kind of noise while turning at slower speeds, AND it’s now coming from the left rear as well, when making right turns…the only way i can describe it, is that if feels as if the car had no shocks,and when i turn, the weight of the vehicle and the slant of the turn cause the body of the car to “ride the tire”…that’s what it feels/sounds like.

It’s been getting progressively worse and fast. Steering is fine, no noise when driving on a straight stretch of road, and if i take the turns reaaaally slow, the noise is almost unnoticeable.

Could this have anything to do with the axle? Tires? Wheels? I am thinking of taking it to the dealership today, hoping it’s still under my warranty, but would have to look like a deer in headlights, so any input or suggestions will be much appreciated!!!



Your vehicle has rear struts as opposed to shocks. Just go back to the rear of the vehicle and press down on the right side. Compare that to the left side as you push down on it. Is it easier to push down the left side? You may have a weak or damaged strut. You can also look under the vehicle and see if the left rear tire is rubbing on the frame somewhere.

Great! Thanks. I will try that and be back with a full report :wink:

Do you have Continental tires?
It’s a common problem with tread “cupping” and uneven tread wear that gets noisy.
If so get the wheel alignment checked.

I had uneven tread wear and noise with the Continental tires on my '06 Matrix in spite of good wheel alignment.
I had the tires flipped over on the rims, moving the inside tread to the outside.
Now they are quieter and the wear is evening out.

Unless it is a warranty or recall issue you don’t need a dealer. Just find a reputable, local, independent mechanic. When you do ask them to check out your rear wheel bearings in addition to the struts/tires. (Or better yet, just describe the noise and have them drive it).

Well, i did try to press on both sides and couldn’t really tell the difference. I also don’t have continental tires and a fairly even tread wear…I was pretty sure that whatever this was, it was still going to be covered under my warranty (especially if it had anything to do with suspension) so i did stop by the dealership. It took them a while to figure it out - after riding in the car with me they thought that the problem would have something to do with tires, wheel bearings, struts, etc. Turns out it was excessive rust build up on my rear break drums. I have to say i was sort of stunned and didn’t want to buy their diagnosis at first (i KNOW i live in the Chicago climate and our roads are rivers of salt from about Nov - April, etc., BUT this car only has 32K miles on it!!!, right?). However, after they cleaned the drums the noise was gone. Unfortunately, they deemed that as a “maintenance issue”, which isn’t covered under warranty, so they charged me a 1/2hr labor (of course). Anyways, does that sound right to anyone? Did any of you ever hear of drum rust causing such an effect? The noise is definitely gone, i’ve tried to re-create it several times now. Curious of your thoughts. And thanks for all the suggestions!

That actually does sound reasonable, esp. given your location. Brake drums will build up surface rust in a matter of hours. On any given day this will be cleaned off the first couple of times you apply the brakes. But over time, especially when there’s been a lot of moisture and road chemical stuff around (as I assume there has been in your area) build up that can produce noise will be pretty normal. And it is a maintenance issue.

The thing you want to know from them is whether or not they checked the rear brakes to make sure that they are working properly, and whether or not they made sure they were properly adjusted. Most of your braking comes from the front brakes. It is entirely possible that the rear brakes are not working exactly right and you might not notice. If they don’t routinely apply properly the normal daily rust build up might be left to produce larger build up over time.

If you have any doubt about that and want to be sure, find a locally owned independent shop, maybe one that specializes in brakes, and ask them to check over your rear brakes to make sure everything is working as it should.

Or just assume it is all fine and drive on.

I could imagine snow left on the wheels melting and dripping down into the brakes drums.
If the wheel isn’t turning the water could sit there and rust the drum unevenly.

After the blizzard here in the mid-Atlantic coast snow caked up in my wheels temporarily threw off the wheel balance, making the car shake at ~50MPH.