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My car has been having a hard time starting, making an awful sound when I do so, also when I’m idling at a the lights. It sounds as if something close to under my seat is rattling. I’m thinking it could be the exhaust. A couple months ago I hit a pot hole, the next day I started hearing the noise. Had a couple people look at it saying it was just a piece of metal that broke off that held the exhaust in place, but that it was still on nice and tight. Thinking it could be the exhaust heat shield rattling. Also has been having a hard time getting up hills and getting to up to speed somewhat fast. I think that’s due to the spark plugs needing to be changed. Also has been sounding more like a truck while driving. Any ideas of what else could be happening?
 

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If you could provide the mileage on the car it would be very helpful. As far as the rattling sound, the exhaust heat shield would have been my first guess. As far as the piece of metal that broke off, if it was an exhaust hanger, it should be replaced. The hangers not only hold the exhaust system in place, they also stop the components from vibrating at certain rpms. Another suspect might be the catalytic converter. If it is clogged or an internal baffle came loose, it can block the exhaust, and cause your engine to really lag when it comes to putting out power. Next in line might be the muffler itself. Again, it might be an internal component that has come loose, and also can cause noise at certain rpms.
 
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