Toyota Corolla 1999 with engine noise but not a knock?

I have a Toyota Corolla 99 that I have owned for a bit over 2 years; it has 97500 miles. After around 2,000 miles after an oil change it starts burning oil (no smoke or smell). I tried to check it often to make sure I am not running on empty. The last time I had to fill it up once and top off a bit another time before the oil change. I recently also changed the serpentine belt.

I thought the serpentine belt was the noise I was hearing when idling. Now, the noise is still there. Does not get worse when accelerating so hoping it is not a engine knock. Was told by Autozone guy that might be the iddle throttle. Hard to describe noise. No clank, almost like something spinning with a noise every 2 seconds.

Possible spark plug issue? Any ideas? Taking it for diagnose next week. Thanks!

“No clank, almost like something spinning with a noise” is way too vague. You’re going to need to be more descriptive.

"I thought the serpentine belt was the noise I was hearing when idling. Now, the noise is still there."
Mmmmm…kay. So does that mean the belt was replaced? The pulleys can also make noise regardless of the belt condition. It is possible to briefly run the engine without the serpentine belt to see if the noise goes away.

finally took a proper video of the noise (without noise from surroundings).

Serpentine belt replaced.

I heard typical old car valve clatter right up until the last 1 or 2 seconds

Then I briefly heard a whining sound, too brief to form any conclusions

No offense, but if you want us to diagnose the whining sound, please give us a better recording

Better video: the whining noise was the first time I ever heard it. I heard it slightly once again. Tried to catch it in this new recording. Seems to have gone away.

It might just be typical old car noise and I am just worrying. I think it has gotten worse in the last few months but it might just be me being too conscious about it.

I took it to the mechanic today and he still needs to do a deeper diagnose. As of now he told me to keep checking oil level often to make sure I am not running car on low oil, and to change the oil a little more often - 2k instead of 3k because it starts consuming at 2k-2.5k.

Pretty much, keep driving and adding oil until it dies. Having only 97.5K miles on this car, I hope to have it running until at least 150k (because these cars suppose to).

I found this on a Toyota forum. It looks like a lot of work but might give the car a longer life.

Thanks everybody!

There is a device called a “mechanic’s stethoscope” that sells for about $20. It’s basically a metal rod with a diaphragm and earphones. When you touch the rod to the part making the noise, the diaphragm amplifies the noise and it becomes obvious that the part you’re touching is the source.

Based on your video, and assuming you were trying to point the camera at the noise source, I’d be inclined to suspect either the tensioner or an alternator bearing. Maybe even the A/C compressor bearing. It might be worth the $20 to try checking it out. Be CAREFUL with the stethoscope. It’s easy to accidentally get it caught by something spinning, so plan your work.

Or, if the mechanic is going to be doing the work anyway, it might be better to just let him diagnose it.

The good news is that this is not engine knock. It sounds to me like a bearing on something spinning. Engine knock is a very pronounced rapping sound, like someone was hitting the engine with a hammer.

Thank you for response. I am glad to hear from more than one that it does not sound like an engine knock and possibly not the engine at all. I did learn a lot of common issues with this car that I will be more conscious about from now on (like oil consumption).

I will post the mechanics conclusions if anything different is found.

UPDATE: Yup, engine sounds like an old car and nothing else. Oil consumption issue still there. Recommended to use Seafoam to clean fuel injector and other build-up.

Researching Seafoam now.

Looks like you are on the right track. Ask your shop to check the condition of the PCV also. If your car uses a timing belt, are you due for a change-out?