Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Engine grinds something in the cold

asked by on

Every time I start the engine in my 2009 Honda Accord cold, i.e. in the morning and after work, there is a kind of grinding noise coming from the engine. This sound goes away after driving for a moment with the transmission in drive. What could cause this, and is it a real concern? This car only has 60,000 miles on it, so I hope there are no major repairs needed at this point.

A: Any abnormal noise coming from a car always...

Any abnormal noise coming from a car always gives me an uneasy feeling, so I can understand the concern here. In fact, this is an issue I am quite familiar with. Our first step would begin with checking the level of the vehicle’s engine oil. It’s always best to check the oil level with the vehicle cold and on a very flat, level surface. Low and/or dirty oil can replicate a grinding condition upon startup, which may be what you are hearing. The noise tends to come from a part known as a Variable Valve Timing Control actuator (VTC). This VTC actuator allows the camshaft to adjust, as needed, at different RPMs to maximize engine performance and fuel economy. When oil is dirty or low, there is not enough pressure to allow the VTC to do its job. This is a known concern with Honda and they have issued a technical service bulletin to guide your certified mechanic on how to resolve this issue for their customers. I recommend that you have a certified mechanic diagnose the noise your vehicle is making to confirm that this is indeed the problem that you are experiencing. This repair is not considered major and can be done in a couple of hours.

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: How do you open the trunk in a 2012 Honda Accord?

You’ll find two different ways to open the trunk on your Honda Accord. One from inside the car, and one from the remote. The trunk does have a keyhole and can also be opened from the outside. Use the...

Q: Replace oil pan gasket in 2009 Lexus RX 350

This would indicate either a major oil leak or the car is potentially burning oil which is a much more critical issue. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your home to diagnose the low/leaking oil level...

Q: Power steering leak at hose

The price is full retail dealer prices to replace the pressure hose and replace the pump with a new one. A new pump dealer retail is $475, pressure hose $168, labor to replace both is about 3.5 hours. You should...

Related articles

How to Renew Your Car Registration in Oklahoma(DELETED)
Having your car registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission is an important part of driving legally in this state. You will need to do this within 30 days of moving to Oklahoma...
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...
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.