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Salutations my fellow Chevy lovers!

I bought a used 2016 Chevy Malibu LT on June 2, 2020. It was purchased as is and there was no additional warranty. After driving it a few days I noticed a really annoying rattle sound coming from the dash behind/underneath the steering wheel area. The noise is intermittent, it usually starts around 30 mph while accelerating. Sometimes it gets louder the faster I go, if I let off the gas the noise quiets. However, it comes right back as soon as I accelerate. Other times its quiet, no rattle sound. I've done a bunch of research and found that a lot of folks say it its the Cowl Grille on the exterior of the windshield that gets loose and causes the vibration sound. I'm skeptical of this because the sound seems to come from the interior and not the exterior. I also speculate it would be more consistent of a noise if it was the cowl. I did check this on my car and the clips are in place and only wiggles a tiny bit, but the motion is with the rubber gasket around the cowl that slides against the windshield itself.

In addition to that suggestion, I found other information about a hose under the hood, near the tranny fluid reservoir, that another consumer said theirs vibrated like crazy and so they took a makeshift clip of some kind and attached it to another hose nearby and stopped the vibration--They said that fixed their rattle sound.
I decided to check the hose on my car and found it was "loose" or rather not secure to anything nearby. So I carefully used some adhesive to attach a magnet to the hose which allowed it to be held in place by the metal frame of the engine. It almost completely stopped the hose from vibrating visually. However, that did not fix the rattle noise problem inside the vehicle.

So today I took some recordings and am creating this thread in hopes someone can assist me with diagnosing the problem.

Here are the recordings I took:
2016 Chevy Malibu Rattle Sound
(Part 2) 2016 Chevy Malibu Rattle Sound

These are the links to all the websites I visited trying to figure out what the heck is causing this sound:
DASH RATTLE 2016 Malibu
2016 malibu interior noise | Chevrolet Malibu Forums
2016 dash noise - Chevrolet Forum - Chevy Enthusiasts Forums
I have this rattling noise behind the dashboard - 2006 Chevrolet Malibu
2006 Malibu LT Dash Rattle.
2006 Chevrolet Malibu Rattle Noise In Dash: 16 Complaints

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Sincerely,
If I wanted to hear a rattle sound in my car, I'd get knocked up and have another baby.
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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20,672 Posts
Salutations my fellow Chevy lovers!

I bought a used 2016 Chevy Malibu LT on June 2, 2020. It was purchased as is and there was no additional warranty. After driving it a few days I noticed a really annoying rattle sound coming from the dash behind/underneath the steering wheel area. The noise is intermittent, it usually starts around 30 mph while accelerating. Sometimes it gets louder the faster I go, if I let off the gas the noise quiets. However, it comes right back as soon as I accelerate. Other times its quiet, no rattle sound. I've done a bunch of research and found that a lot of folks say it its the Cowl Grille on the exterior of the windshield that gets loose and causes the vibration sound. I'm skeptical of this because the sound seems to come from the interior and not the exterior. I also speculate it would be more consistent of a noise if it was the cowl. I did check this on my car and the clips are in place and only wiggles a tiny bit, but the motion is with the rubber gasket around the cowl that slides against the windshield itself.

In addition to that suggestion, I found other information about a hose under the hood, near the tranny fluid reservoir, that another consumer said theirs vibrated like crazy and so they took a makeshift clip of some kind and attached it to another hose nearby and stopped the vibration--They said that fixed their rattle sound.
I decided to check the hose on my car and found it was "loose" or rather not secure to anything nearby. So I carefully used some adhesive to attach a magnet to the hose which allowed it to be held in place by the metal frame of the engine. It almost completely stopped the hose from vibrating visually. However, that did not fix the rattle noise problem inside the vehicle.

So today I took some recordings and am creating this thread in hopes someone can assist me with diagnosing the problem.

Here are the recordings I took:
2016 Chevy Malibu Rattle Sound
(Part 2) 2016 Chevy Malibu Rattle Sound

These are the links to all the websites I visited trying to figure out what the heck is causing this sound:
DASH RATTLE 2016 Malibu
2016 malibu interior noise | Chevrolet Malibu Forums
2016 dash noise - Chevrolet Forum - Chevy Enthusiasts Forums
I have this rattling noise behind the dashboard - 2006 Chevrolet Malibu
2006 Malibu LT Dash Rattle.
2006 Chevrolet Malibu Rattle Noise In Dash: 16 Complaints

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Sincerely,
If I wanted to hear a rattle sound in my car, I'd get knocked up and have another baby.
I want to commend you for not only doing the research, but for sharing it in such an organized manner so that others may benefit. Great job!

I've had noises inside various cars over the years. I was "certain" that it was coming from a particular direction, but when it was finally corrected, it was elsewhere. Noises tend to travel and reflect.

The idea about the cowl cover being the cause of the noise seems plausible.

When your speed increases, there's more air pressure acting on the cowl cover. There may be a time when it deflects under the increased pressure, and the rebounds, only to repeat the process. If it does it at a frequency in the range of 100 to 2000 Hz, it stands a chance to be audible.

What could it hurt to put some sort of felt or rubber between the cover and the surfaces it touches, or find a way to more firmly press it into place, and then take it for a drive?
 

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I f it's only on light acceleration, it sounds similar to what many of us hybrid owners have experienced.
I'm not sure if the exhaust system runs the same route on the straight gas version, but I suspect it would. On the hybrid it runs down the center of the car in what looks like the same type of channel an old rear drive unit would have used for the. Under about where the center console is, there is a shield that is bonded into place. The shield is so thin that it vibrates against the body. Like yourself, I could have sworn it was behind the dash, but once I was under the car probing around, and I was able to reproduce the vibration/noise by tapping on the shield. Once I folded the edges to give the shield a little lateral strength, the noise mostly went away. Every now and then it still vibrates a little till it heats up and expands, but the noise is mostly gone.
I took pics and posted them, but since then the format of the site changed. I'll see if I can post a link to the thread.
 

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I just came across this thread because I am having the same exact problem. I bought my 2016 1.5l Chevy Malibu LT used with 71,000mi on it back in June of 2020. Ever since then, I have always noticed a rattling sound coming from the interior and not the exterior (unless it is somehow vibrating so extremely loud on the underneath of my car that it’s coming in to the interior).
The rattling is NOT behind the dashboard, it definitely seems to be coming from the footwell area or maybe far back underneath on the steering column. It ONLY happens when I am accelerating at speeds above 20-30mph and under 70-80mph (unless I just can’t hear it because of the wind noise lol) while under normal acceleration. It does not do it when I press down harder on the gas peddle and the car quickly speeds up.
It is the sole reason I have rarely ever driven my car without the music turned up. I wish I could find a solution but it seems there still isn’t a fix :(
 

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2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5T
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Nothing more than an amusing data point here…

Increasingly awful fowl smell coming from cabin air ducts after a wilderness excursion in my 2018 LT. Ended up taking the entire dash out to access tubing near the firewall where we found a very stinky dead mouse. Putting dash back together took me and a buddy three times as long as taking it apart lol. Finished and realized we had 8 bolts left over… oops. Now my dash rattles quite a bit while accelerating mostly in sub 50°F weather.

Lesson learned here. Less beers while wrenching. Still worth it vs $3k in labor at dealership or $2k at an indy. Plan to own this vehicle till the wheels fall off so occasional squeaks or rattles dont bother me much.

Aside from this self-made dash rattle, i have not noticed many odd noises that are unexplained. Rear suspension knock/pop is the knuckles; also squeaky end links and various bushings. I’m already pushing 108,000 miles so suspension refresh will happen closer to 125k.
 
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