Toyota Tacoma Rattling Noise When Accelerating – 5 Potential Causes & Corrective Action

Toyota Tacoma rattling noise when accelerating is caused by premature ignition of the air/fuel mixture within the engine’s cylinders. And this is triggered by the heat generated as the piston compresses. However, the potential causes include wrong octane fuel, engine overheating, issues with the truck’s computer or knock sensor, etc.

Premature combustion, also referred to as pre-ignition or pre-detonation, causes pressure waves. These disturbances are the reason behind the peculiar sounds of pinging and rattling.

This blog post will discuss the possible causes of this issue and what you can do to resolve it. Read on to learn more.

Key Takeaways:

Before digging deep, let’s have an overall idea about today’s discussion. After reading the guide, you will learn-

  • The most common causes of rattling noise comes when accelerating your Toyota Tacoma.
  • Other symptoms of the causes of the rattling noise.
  • The ways you can fix the rattling noise issue.

Toyota Tacoma Rattling Noise During Acceleration – Causes & Corrective Action

Many Tacoma owners have reported this issue and are looking for a solution. To help, we’ve compiled a chart of the top causes and corrective actions for these common Toyota Tacoma problems.

No.Possible CauseCorrective Action
1Improper octane fuelStick to the recommended 87 Octane
2Loose heat shieldsCheck and tighten the heat shields
3Misaligned timing beltAdjusting the timing belt
4Dysfunctional EGR valveClear carbon buildups or replace the valve
5Issues with the computer or knock sensorUse a scan tool to assess if a timing retard signal is sent

Discussion – Reasons & Potential Solutions for Toyota Tacoma Rattling Noise During Acceleration

This section provides a detailed explanation and solutions for the rattling noise of a Toyota Tacoma during acceleration.

1. Improper Octane Fuel

If you’re using gasoline with an octane rating lower than the recommended level for your Toyota Tacoma, it can cause engine knock or detonation. This can lead to a rattle or knocking sound when accelerating, which can indicate damage to the engine over time if not corrected.


  • It’s recommended to always use gasoline with the recommended octane rating for your vehicle, as specified in the owner’s manual.

2. Loose Heat Shields

Is your truck making a consistent rattling noise that’s similar to metal clanking? It’s very likely you have an issue with your heat shield – either it’s loose or completely broken. As you drive faster, you’ll notice the sound’s pitch changing.

Aside from the rattling noise, you may experience the following symptoms too.

  • The engine bay can be excessively heated.
  • You may smell a burning smell from the engine bay.


You can either tighten up the loose heat shield by using a hose clamp or replace it if it gets rusty and broken.

Steps on Tightening the Heat Shield:

  • Step 1: Wrap the heat shield completely with the hose clamp.
  • Step 2: Tighten the hose clamp until the loose part of the heat shield gets tightened snugly with an electric screwdriver or manual one.

Watch the following video with the simple tightening trick of the loosened heat shield.

Steps on Replacing the Heat Shield:

Though this is recommended to be done by a professional, here’re the process you have to go through to replace the heat shield.

  • Step 1: Remove the old heat shield first.
  • Step 2: Wrap the new shield with foil wrapping.
  • Step 3: Install the new one properly. Make sure all parts are tightened perfectly. You can use a hose clamp like the previous one to tighten up the heat shield properly.

3. Misaligned Timing Belt

The timing belt of Toyota Tacoma (actually for all vehicles) ensures the operation of the camshaft and crankshaft rotation. As a result, they are synced and ensure the operation of valves and pistons.

When the belt is misaligned or worn out over time, it is pretty common that you will hear rattling noise while accelerating your truck.

When the timing belt issue happens, you also may experience-

  • The engine not turning over.
  • Your Tacoma’s exhaust may get issues.
  • Oil leak near the engine motor.


If the belt is misaligned, properly align the belt. The steps to align the timing belt are as follows.

  • Step 1: Loosen the alternator bolt first, and press the alternator down.
  • Step 2: Loosen the timing belt cover bolts and remove the cover from the top and bottom.
  • Step 3: After removing the belt cover, loosen the timing belt bolt.
  • Step 4: Push down the pulley of the timing belt.
  • Step 5: Align the timing belt in the right position.
  • Step 6: Tighten up the bolt again by keeping the belt in place.
  • Step 7: Follow the reverse process to put the things back.

If the belt is worn-out, you need to replace it. The steps to follow to replace the timing belt of your Toyota Tacoma are given below.

  • Step 1: Follow the steps until Step 4 of aligning the timing belt.
  • Step 2: Keep the belt in a loose position and pull out the belt.
  • Step 3: Put the new belt on the system and tighten the bolt snugly. Don’t overtight the bolt.
  • Step 4: Now follow the reverse procedure to take the thing back to the default position.
Read This Important Article: Differences Between Toyota Tacoma Lunar Rock and Cement

4. Dysfunctional EGR Valve

The EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) valve reduces emissions by recirculating part of the engine’s exhaust gas back into the intake system. When the valve becomes clogged due to carbon build-up, it can cause engine performance problems.

One of the common symptoms is a rattle or shaking sound when accelerating. This happens because the engine does not receive the correct amount of air and fuel, resulting in a misfire and subsequent vibration.


Inspect the EGR valve to see if there is a buildup of carbon deposits. If so, the carbon should be cleared. Here’re the steps to follow to clear the carbon buildup in your Tacoma’s EGR valve.

  • Step 1: Unbolt the bolts and pull the EGR valve from your Toyota Tacoma.
  • Step 2: Spray EGR valve cleaner in the carbon buildup inside and outside of the valve surface.
  • Step 3: Rub the carbon buildup with a metal brush. Also, use a scraper to scrape the buildup outside.
  • Step 4: Use a cloth or towel to remove the leftover from the valve surface.
  • Step 5: Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the EGR valve gets cleaned thoroughly.

On the other hand, if the valve is broken, you need to replace it. Replacing the EGR valve is straightforward. Follow the steps below.

  • Step 1: Remove the EGR hose(if your Tacoma’s EGR system is vacuum powered), vacuum line hose from the fuel pressure regulator, and the EGR valve.
  • Step 2: Unbolt the bolts and pull off the EGR valve from your Toyota Tacoma.
  • Step 3: Take the new valve and fit it in the place correctly.
  • Step 4: Insert the bolts and tighten them up snugly.
  • Step 5: Do the reverse process to install back the vacuum lines and hoses.

5. Issues with Computer Knock Sensor

A malfunctioning knock sensor will impede spark timing from correctly retarding, leading to an audible rattling or pinging. Observe the knock sensor’s input with a scan tool to check for DTCs (Diagnostic Trouble Codes).

Wear and tear, mechanical, and heat damage can cause a knock sensor to lose calibration and render it irreparable.


  • The only viable option is to replace the computer knock sensor.

Note: This is entirely a complicated procedure to replace the computer knock sensor. So, we always recommend doing such tasks with a highly professional auto mechanic.


In this Q&A section, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about this rattling noise in the Toyota Tacoma.

Can the Toyota Tacoma transmission rattle when accelerating?

Without the proper lubrication, the transmission components will come into contact with each other, resulting in rattling sounds when the vehicle accelerates. If not properly maintained, Toyota Tacoma transmission problems could lead to a major breakdown.

What does the Toyota Tacoma rattling sound like?

It is typically a metallic or loose sound from the engine or suspension. It can range in frequency and intensity, but it is usually noticeable when driving over rough roads or when accelerating.


Rattling noise when accelerating can happen to your Toyota Tacoma truck. Fortunately, fixing either of these issues isn’t overly complicated or expensive.

Premature combustion from the heat of compression is responsible for the rattling sound heard when accelerating. Wrong octane gasoline, loose heat shields, malfunctioning EGR valve, dysfunctional knock sensor, etc., cause this. So fix them as soon as you notice the issues.

After fixing the issues, you can check out How to Improve Gas Mileage on Toyota Tacoma.

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