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My car has a mileage of approximately 130,000 miles. The car is well maintained. However, there is this rattling noise that is noticeable half the time I drive the car and happens sporadically. The rattling is similar to the sound of the exhaust manifold. It happens only around 5500 RPM during idling or driving, but it disappears in neutral, park as well as with the increase of RPM. What should I check first? Thanks.
I would recommend first making sure that an exhaust heat shield is not the issue. This can be done by having a professional get under your vehicle and check for any loose parts on your exhaust system. Replace any faulty exhaust parts as necessary to help resolve this issue.
If the exhaust system has no issues, I would recommend having a professional remove your valve covers in order to check that all the valve train bolts are tightened to the manufacturer's specification. It is possible for internal engine bolts to loosen over time causing excess play between valve train parts. This isn't supposed to happen but it can.
I'd recommend having the vehicle inspected by a certified technician, they will be able to diagnose the source of the rattling noise and make the necessary repairs to get your car running normally once again.
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