Q: My 2003 Saturn L300 makes a knocking noise only in reverse. Any idea's?

asked by on July 09, 2017

Knocks with a "sputter" while in reverse only. It doesn't do it in any other gear.

My car has 166683 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

This may be a sign of a faulty MAP sensor as the vehicle responds adversely to a load put on the motor (i.e. putting it in gear, making turns (which makes use of the power steering pressure switch) turning on AC or engaging the brakes). The Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor senses engine load and generates a signal that is proportional to the amount of vacuum in the intake manifold. The engine computer then uses this information to adjust ignition timing and fuel enrichment. When the engine is working hard, intake vacuum drops as the throttle opens wide. The engine takes in more air, which requires more fuel to keep the air/fuel ratio in balance. When the computer reads a heavy load signal from the MAP sensor, it adjusts the fuel mixture to slightly more rich than normal so the engine can produce more power. The computer will then retard (back off) ignition timing slightly to prevent detonation that can damage the engine and decrease performance. This may also be caused by other closely related components such as a dirty or failing mass air-flow sensor, a faulty throttle position sensor or potentially a vacuum leak. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

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