Car Makes Noise When Stopped In Drive – 7 Causes - Car Super Care (2023)

Quick Navigation

  • 1. Failing Catalytic Converter
    • How To Quiet A Rattling Catalytic Converter
  • 2. Loose Heat Shield
    • How Do I Stop My Heat Shield From Rattling?
  • 3. Low Oil Pressure
    • How To Fix The Problem
  • 4. Squeaky Breaks
    • Popular Methods To Stop Squeaky Brakes
  • 5. Failing Water Pump
  • 6. Loose Parts
  • 7. Items Stored In The Car
  • Conclusion

If you own a vehicle, it’s normal to hear various noises coming from different parts of your car. But other times, those noises can be a cause for concern.

Most people often worry about rattling sounds, especially when they stop their vehicles. Here are some common causes of car rattling at stops and possible solutions.

Car Makes Noise When Stopped In Drive – 7 Causes - Car Super Care (1)

1. Failing Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is a vital part of the exhaust emissions system. It plays a crucial role in reducing pollution by transforming most toxic compounds and elements into less harmful components.

With time, the catalytic converter core breaks down and disintegrates. Small pieces drop inside the catalytic converter housing, causing the rattling sound when a car is stopped.

How To Quiet A Rattling Catalytic Converter

Buying a new converter is expensive. Prolonging the lifespan of an existing one will save you some cash. Below are great methods to help you fix a rattling converter.

  1. Stop the Rattle – Place screws in the holes to hold up the loose pieces to prolong the lifespan of your catalytic converter.
  2. Clean it – Acatalytic convertercleanerhelps to removemild oil fouling or carbon buildup, which usually damagescatalytic converters.
  3. Gut it – Gutting the converter helps relieve the backpressure in the exhaust, making your vehicle drivable without rattling until you get a new converter.

When these methods fail, you should replace the catalytic converter before it clogs and ceases to function.

If you fail to replace the rattling catalytic converter, your car will not run properly and will fail the proceeding smog tests.

2. Loose Heat Shield

Heat shields protect other car parts from overheating. They are designed to reflect, absorb, and dissipate excess heat that might damage a car’s engine.

Heat shields also prevent the car from starting or turning on if the catalytic converter overheats. Sometimes, the exhaust system’s heat shield can loosen and separate, causing rattling noise when a car is stopped.

Some people usually remove and discard rattling heat shields. While your vehicle will still function normally, deleting a rattling heat shield could damage other car components or even cause a fire.

How Do I Stop My Heat Shield From Rattling?

The most efficient way to fix a rattling heat shield is by reaffixing or replacing it. However, other recommended ways to fix your noisy heat shield efficiently. They include:

  • Welding – Welding can fix a rattling exhaust shield. It would be best to approach an experienced welder who can carefully takethe heat shieldtothe exhaust pipe.
  • Bolt – It may be possible to stop the heat shield from rattling in some cases. You can install new nuts and bolts to reattach the loose heat shield.
  • Clamp – If the exhaust shield was clamped or welded to the exhaust pipe, a stainless-steel screw clamp could be used.
  • Tie – You can also tie the loose heat shield with a stainless-steel cable tie strap which won’t rust after installation.

3. Low Oil Pressure

Engine oil ensures all moving parts within the engine are lubricated and protected. When the oil flows through the openings, the pressure ensures that the oil reaches all parts of the car’s engine.

When you stop your vehicle, tickling noises from your engine indicate low oil pressure. Low oil pressure is a poor maintenance issue rather than a failed pump.

Car parts will corrode, wear out, and deteriorate due to inadequate lubrication if left unsolved. In the process, damaged parts will produce rattling sounds when the car is stopped.

Car Makes Noise When Stopped In Drive – 7 Causes - Car Super Care (2)

How To Fix The Problem

Clicking or tapping sounds in your engine could signify low oil pressure. Low oil pressure is an expensive issue that requires a complete engine rebuild.

To avoid severe damage and high repair costs, it’s essential to regularly check if your engine has the proper oil pressure level. Look for oil with a suitable viscosity rating.

Sometimes your car might be experiencing leaks, reaching a low oil level. External oil leaks can be indicated by hissing or sizzling under the hood. You can address external oil leaks by replacing hoses and pipes.

If you suspect an internal oil leak, consult an automotive repair expert. Have the part replaced if your pressure gauge or the oil pump is damaged beyond repair.

4. Squeaky Breaks

When your car breaks are functioning correctly, you will stop your car safely and confidently. However, when the breaks are faulty, you will hear an annoying squeaking noise when you stop your vehicle.

Popular Methods To Stop Squeaky Brakes

If your brakes are guilty of squeaking every time you stop, here are some standard methods to keep them quiet:

  • Apply grease to the brake pads – If your brakes are squeaking while still new, you can fix the issue by applying brake grease to all the contact points. It reduces friction, preventing squeaking sounds.
  • Install brake shims – Brake shims have a small layer of rubber that absorbs any vibrations resulting in a squeak. They can be installed on the reverse side of the pads to prevent brake noise.
  • Replace the pads and rotors – The pads and rotors wear out when your brakes are worn out. Friction in the breaks produces squealing noise when the car is stopped. To prevent the annoying squeaking sound, you should fix worn-out brake pads and rotors.

5. Failing Water Pump

Your car’s water pump ensures that your motor remains at a constant temperature, preventing the engine from overheating. When the water pump fails, a grinding noise is produced.

The grinding sounds are produced when water pump bearings grind together when subjected to pressure from the drive belt.

If you suspect that your water pump is failing, you should replace it. Consult a mechanic before further damage is done to your vehicle.

6. Loose Parts

Some vehicle parts might become loose over time, producing a rattling sound while driving and when you stop your car.

Parts that might rattle due to loose-fitting include panels, doors, headlights, or window panes. Such complaints are pretty common and can often be fixed easily.

7. Items Stored In The Car

It may seem like a noticeable and negligible issue, but it is a possible cause of car rattling when stopped. The car has a lot of storage compartments where car owners usually store personal items and other car tools.

When the vehicle is suddenly stopped, the items are likely to move and collide with each other, producing some irritating sounds.

Check the door cargo compartments, glovebox, door cargo, and other things clipped to the visor and the rear cargo area.


With several moving parts, your vehicle is prone to sounds and movements. From when you start driving to when you stop, you can tell between normal and strange car noises.

Rattling sounds that you could hear from your vehicle are produced when you stop your car while driving, which could be an important indicator of serious underlying problems with your vehicle.

Rattling, knocks, and other strange sounds can identify early faults within your car system. It will allow you to resolve any issues and replace parts where necessary.

If your car starts making strange noises, get it diagnosed before it becomes a more significant issue.

Car Makes Noise When Stopped In Drive – 7 Causes - Car Super Care (3)

Patrick started his love affair with cars in his childhood. Over the years, he claims a sturdy hold on his driving skills, along with a thorough understanding of cars. We can expect some interesting, holistic, and pleasurable blogs with his flair for writing and his love for cars.

Being a car enthusiast, Patrick has experience comprising of two decades in which he has ridden some of the meanest and strongest machines in the automotive industry. His previous avatars include an automotive professional, photographer, and journalist, and you will certainly experience the roundness of experience in his piece on this site.

In his second decade of reviewing cars and analyzing tools, Patrick is all set to give you convincing, reliable, and the latest information regarding what’s happening in the automotive industry. Currently, he owns a BMW Z3 but cannot get his eyes off Aston Martin DB5. He is a car enthusiast; he loves cooking and listening to music, especially jazz. Here are some of the pieces written by our ace author.

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