I have a 2001 Subaru outback. Recently I’ve noticed a rattle when I accelerate, especially when I take off from a dead stop. I sounds like it’s coming from the front wheel area. It also occurs sometimes when making a turn and then accelerate. It almost sounds like an object in a box and someone is shaking the box-very noticable. Any thoughts?
This could be the characteristic noise of a CV joint (either inner or outer) that is worn out. On an 11 year old vehicle, this would not be surprising.
It is also possible that this is something as benign as a loose or bent heat shield on the exhaust system. Only a mechanic who can examine the car up close and personal can determine the exact cause.
Look under the engine in the front. You’ll find two exhaust pipes that come from the engine and merge into one pipe that goes towards the rest of the muffler.
There are metal shields around those pipes. Especially on Subarus, those things have a tendency to rattle. You’ll likely find that the head shield are allowed to move a bit. On most of them, the ears that bolt the two halves together have rotted off so they are allowed to flop around. Don’t bother replacing them - they’ll rot off again very soon anyway. It is a very common Subaru complaint.
If that’s your problem, put a large plumbing hose clamp around them. That will stop the rattling yet still project whatever is under the car from catching fire (that’s what a heat shield is for).
Get the large ones from the plumbing department of Lowes or Home Depot. You may need two on each of side so four total.
Just crank it down so the heat shield is now nicely contained and is not allowed to vibrate.
It is an easy DYI project.