Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car is making a metal scraping sound - 2001 Saturn L200

asked by on

The car started to make a metal scrapping sound out of the blue. It is quite loud. And it is only when I am in drive. If in reverse or braking it does not make the sound. If I pull over and turn off the car. Then turn it back on. It sometimes stops making the sound. What is causing this?

My car has 175000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

There are really only a couple possibilities: if the noise started "suddenly" or abruptly, as you describe it, you may have picked up something from the road that is somehow "lodged" somewhere rubbing a wheel, shaft (axle), or other rotating part. That possibility also could include something metal ON your car that has moved out of position (gotten loose) and is rubbing on a rotating component or suspension.

The second possibility is you have a part failure in the braking system (possibly worn out pads, but what you are describing is not consistent with that) or an internal part failure potentially in the transmission, torque converter, differential, axle (CV joint) or similar "moving" part.

For the first possibility, you might be able to track it down using a visual inspection but you have to get the car pretty far up off the ground. The second possibility would involve applying wireless "chassis ears" to various parts of your car and driving it to pinpoint the exact "area" (or component) which is generating the noise.

Once the area is pinpointed, it is fairly easy to go from there and identify the exact problem. Prior to using tools such as chassis ears, of course, it is possible that YourMechanic can pinpoint the noise just based on actually hearing the sound and its apparent location. Sometimes noises are so "diffused" throughout the vehicle that chassis ears make the diagnosis much more efficient though.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: It turns over but wont start

Hi there. Are there any codes stored in the ECM? You would need to start diagnosing in the direction that the codes lead. Does the check engine light work? Is there spark? Does the engine crank? Is the airflow meter...

Q: Air conditioning leaking inside car

Hello. The evaporator tube is clogged or the evaporator itself is clogged up, which would cause it to leak. Usually the evaporator tube can be unclogged and that solves the problem. If that doesn't solve the problem, the evaporator itself...

Q: Muffler clogged

A muffler can become clogged from catalyst material breaking loose and working it's way down the exhaust or an internal failure. Some mufflers and resonators are filled with fiberglass that absorbs some of the noise in the exhaust system. If...

Related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.