Are you tired of being greeted by a jarring grinding noise when you turn the ignition of your beloved RAV4? This unwelcome sound can be alarming; understandably, you would want to identify and fix the problem as soon as possible.
Luckily, you can follow some simple steps to locate the source of the noise and get rid of it.
In this article, we will guide you through identifying the cause of the grinding noise and offer some suggestions on how to fix it.
Let’s get started.
Possible Causes Of Grinding Noise When Starting Ignition
Different factors may cause the noise; the following are the most common:
- A bad starter that does not disengage from the flywheel properly.
- A rusted or damaged drive shaft that rubs against the heat shield.
- A loose or broken heat shield that falls onto the drive shaft.
- Low battery voltage causes the starter motor to turn slowly and not engage the flywheel properly.
- A faulty or worn-out starter solenoid can cause the starter motor not to engage properly.
There are many other causes too, but these are usually the ones in case of a RAV4.
Steps To Identify Source Of Grinding Noise During Ignition
To identify the source of the grinding noise during ignition, you need to perform some simple tests and inspections. Here are some steps you can follow:
Locate where the noise is coming from. Is it coming from under the hood or under the car? Is it louder on one side than the other?
This can help you narrow down which part is causing the noise.
Check your starter for signs of wear or damage. To do this, you need to remove your battery and battery tray to access your starter.
The starter is located right under the battery tray on most RAV4 models. Look for any cracks, corrosion, or loose wires on your starter.
You can also try to spin your starter by hand and see if it makes any noise or resistance.
Next, look at your drive shaft for signs of rust or damage.
You can do so by lifting your car with a jack and jack stands to crawl under it. Look for any bends, cracks, or dents on your drive shaft. You can also try to shake your drive shaft by hand.
Check your heat shield for signs of rust or damage. You can do so while you’ve still got the car lifted.
Look for any cracks, holes, or loose bolts on your heat shield. You can also try to bend or move your heat shield by hand and see if it makes any noise or contacts the drive shaft.
Bad wheel bearings can also cause a grinding noise, especially when turning. While your car is lifted, try wiggling your wheels to see if there is any play.
You can also spin your wheels and listen for any unusual noise or resistance.
Grinding Noise When Turning Ignition On RAV4: Solutions
Here are some potential ways you can get rid of the noise. However, do note that more likely than not, you’ll end up replacing the parts causing the noise.
Check The Battery
Low battery voltage can cause the starter motor to produce a grinding noise. Start by checking the battery terminals for corrosion or looseness, and make sure the battery is fully charged.
Inspect The Starter
The starter motor may be damaged or faulty, which can cause a grinding noise. Inspect the starter for visible damage, such as cracks or broken teeth on the gear. If the issue is minor, it may be possible to repair the starter instead of replacing it.
Check The Starter Solenoid
The starter solenoid controls the flow of electricity to the starter motor. If it is not functioning correctly, it can cause a grinding noise when turning the ignition. Inspect the solenoid for visible damage, such as cracks or corrosion.
If the solenoid is faulty, it may be possible to repair it instead of replacing it.
Inspect The Drive Shaft
The drive shaft connects the transmission to the wheels, and if it’s worn or damaged, it can cause a grinding noise when turning the ignition.
Inspect the drive shaft and CV joint for visible damage, such as wear or cracks. If the drive shaft or CV joint is damaged, it will need to be replaced.
Inspect The Heat Shield
The heat shield protects the starter and other engine components from the heat generated by the exhaust system. If the heat shield is loose or damaged, it can produce a rattling or grinding noise when starting the engine.
Inspect the heat shield for visible damage or looseness. If the heat shield is damaged, it may be possible to repair it. If it’s loose, it will need to be tightened or replaced.
Get The Wheel Bearings Changed
If bad wheel bearings cause the grinding noise during ignition, a mechanic needs to replace them. This is not a DIY task, and cost depends on the car make and severity of damage.
The process involves removing wheels, brakes, and hub assembly, replacing the old bearings with new ones, reinstalling the hub assembly, checking wheel alignment before performing a test drive.
Cost Breakdown To Fix Grinding Noise When Turning Ignition
Fixing a grinding noise when turning on the ignition of a RAV4 may cost differently based on several factors such as the cause of the problem, labor fees, and quality of parts.
Below is a breakdown of the estimated costs for the most expensive parts:
- Bad starter: $70 to $420 total (parts $100 to $300 and labor $50 to $100)
- Rusted or Damaged Drive Shaft: $400 to $1500 total (parts $300 to $1300 and labor $100 to $200)
- Loose or Broken Heat Shield: $50 to $200 total (parts $50 to $150 and labor around $50)
Remember that these are just approximate costs based on standard prices and labor rates, and the actual expenses may vary depending on your vehicle’s make, model, location, and other factors.
Tips To Avoid Grinding Noise Issues On RAV4 In Future
To avoid grinding noise issues on RAV4 in the future, you should follow some preventive maintenance tips. Here are some tips you can follow:
- Check your starter regularly for signs of wear or damage. If you notice any cracks, corrosion, or loose wires, replace your starter as soon as possible.
- Keep your car clean and dry. Avoid driving through water, mud, or snow that can cause corrosion or damage to your parts.
- Check your drive shaft regularly for signs of rust or damage. If you notice any bends, cracks, or dents, replace your drive shaft as soon as possible
- Use high-quality parts and fluids for your car. Avoid using cheap or incompatible parts that can cause premature wear or failure.
- Check your heat shield regularly for signs of rust or damage. If you notice any cracks, holes, or loose bolts, repair or replace your heat shield as soon as possible.
Does a bad transmission make a grinding noise?
Yes, a bad transmission can make a grinding noise though such an issue is rarer.
Why does my RAV4 make a grinding sound when I turn?
The grinding sound when turning in a RAV4 could be caused by a worn-out wheel bearing or a problem with the power steering system.
Can the ignition switch or wiring problems cause a grinding noise when turning the ignition?
No, ignition switch or wiring problems are unlikely to cause a grinding noise when turning the ignition. The grinding sound could be a sign of a faulty starter or flywheel.
If you follow all the solutions, the noise should be gone – you won’t cringe every time you take a turn or shift gears anymore.
Remember to follow the tips to ensure your car’s longevity and performance. Stay on top of your regular maintenance and address any issues promptly.
Once you’ve done all that, you can enjoy your desired smooth and peaceful ride.
Sebastian loves convertibles and drove a BMW 335i for a long time (325 hp is just a dream). Today, with two children, he is more concerned with SUVs and family-friendly vehicles. In addition to an Audi A4 Avant, he also drives a Cupra Formentor VZ – even as a family man, you can’t do without speed. Get to know Sebastian better and visit the About Us page.