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Q: Engine rattling, shaking and loss of power

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Hi. My car has gone around 120,000 miles. The car has some engine malfunctioning lately. When I started the car up the other day, there was this rattling sound and the car was shaking. I drove it and these issues wouldn't go away. The dashboard showed the check engine light on as well. The engine seems to be losing power and the rattling is becoming worse. It has difficulty accelerating. Right before this happened, I had the oil changed. Also, the outside temperature was low. Can that cause these problems? Thanks.

The VANOS unit or solenoid can cause a rattling sound from the engine. The VANOS is a camshaft timing system which runs off of engine oil pressure. If the oil is the wrong viscosity or the system has a buildup of sludge which causes the system to cavitate, it will make a rattling sound and store faults which will cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate.

You will want to have the fault codes read out. If there are camshaft position faults or any VANOS faults, then they would further support this theory. In some instances, an engine flush can correct sludging issues in the camshaft timing adjustment system. Replacing a VANOS solenoid or a camshaft sensor is not a difficult job, but replacing a VANOS unit could be an issue as it is an involved repair requiring special tools.

You may want to enlist the help of a mechanic such as one from YourMechanic, who has the tools and expertise to complete the diagnosis and repair, starting with a diagnostic of your Check Engine Light illumination.

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