VauxhallVauxhall Corsa Rattle on Startup: Common Causes and Fixes

Vauxhall Corsa Rattle on Startup: Common Causes and Fixes


Does your Vauxhall Corsa rattle on startup? If so, you’re definitely not alone. I know from experience that this issue is pretty common for Vauxhall Corsas.

Before we start, I’ll list some of the models that this article will be relevant for:

  • Vauxhall Corsa 1.0
  • Vauxhall Corsa 1.2
  • Vauxhall Corsa 1.4
  • Vauxhall Corsa d

The Corsa rattle when starting usually lasts for a few seconds and can get worse over time. One of the most common causes is a weak tensioner, and the rattle only stops once oil pressure kicks in.

So, what’s the solution? Well, if the timing chain is worn or stretched it’s recommended to replace the timing chain and tensioner, as well as clean the sump to prevent any damage to the oil pump and dowels. Genuine timing kits can be a bit pricey so it is best to figure out the exact cause of the rattle and the best course of action.

Your engine management light may have also come on alongside the Corsa rattle noise. If so, check out our related article:

>>Vauxhall Corsa Engine Management Light: Causes and Fixes<<

Engine rattle on startup

Worn Timing Chain

The timing chain is responsible for synchronising the engine’s valves and pistons, and when it becomes worn, it can cause the engine to make a rattling noise. The infamous Corsa chain rattle can be concerning as it may indicate potential engine damage and costly repairs.

To address the Corsa chain rattle, it is recommended to replace the timing chain and tensioner. It is important to use genuine parts or a reliable aftermarket kit. Additionally, a timing tool kit is essential for the job.

Get rid of the Corsa chain rattle once and for all!

If you’re experiencing a Vauxhall Corsa rattle on startup it’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage to the engine.

Noisy tappets

The tappets, also known as hydraulic lifters, are responsible for maintaining proper valve clearances in the engine. Over time, these tappets can become worn and lose their ability to properly adjust the valves, resulting in a rattling sound on startup.

To address this issue, it is recommended to have the tappets inspected and replaced if necessary. This can be done by a qualified mechanic who will disassemble the engine and replace the worn tappets with new ones.

It is important to address this issue promptly as worn tappets can lead to further engine damage if left unattended.

Worn Components

When engine components become worn, they can create a rattling noise on startup. Here are three common culprits to look out for:

  1. Serpentine Belt: A worn-out serpentine belt can also cause a rattling noise on startup. As the belt ages, it can become loose and slip, resulting in a noisy engine. Replacing the serpentine belt should solve the issue.
  2. Engine Mounts: Worn engine mounts can cause the engine to shake and create a rattling noise. Inspect the engine mounts for signs of wear or damage and replace them if necessary.

By addressing these worn components, you can eliminate the Corsa rattle on startup and enjoy a smoother, quieter engine. Remember to consult a professional mechanic for proper diagnosis and repairs.

Low Engine Oil Level

When the oil level is low, the moving parts of the engine are not properly lubricated, causing increased friction and wear. This can lead to a rattling sound when the engine is started, as the components are not able to move smoothly.

To address this issue, it is important to regularly check and maintain the engine oil level. If the oil level is low, it should be topped up with the recommended oil. It is also advisable to check for any oil leaks that may be causing the oil level to drop.

Broken Oil Anti Drain Back Valve

An oil anti drain back valve is responsible for preventing oil from back into the engine when it is turned off. When the valve is broken, oil can flow back into the oil pan, causing a delay in oil pressure buildup during startup. This can result in inadequate lubrication and cause the engine to rattle.

To determine if the oil anti drain back valve is the issue, you can perform a visual inspection or consult a mechanic. If the valve is indeed broken, it will need to be replaced to restore proper oil flow and eliminate the rattle.

Piston Slap

Piston slap occurs when there is excessive clearance between the piston and the cylinder wall, allowing the piston to move from side to side and make contact with the cylinder wall. This results in a knocking sound during startup until the pistons expand and the clearance is reduced.

While piston slap is not necessarily harmful to the engine, it can be annoying and may indicate excessive wear or damage to the pistons or cylinder walls.

If you are experiencing piston slap, it is recommended to have your engine inspected by a qualified mechanic to determine the extent of the issue and take appropriate action if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Corsa making a rattling noise on startup?

Your Corsa , making a rattling noise on startup is mostly commonly due to the worn timing chain or an issue with the timing chain tensioner. Other potential causes are piston slap, a broken oil anti drain back valve, noist / sticky tappets or a low level of your engine oil.

How much is it to replace a Corsa timing chain at a local garage?

The cost to replace your Corsa timing chain will vary depending on your location and your garage’s labour rates.

How to fix my Corsa rattle noise?

How to fix your Corsa rattle noise will depend on what the cause is. A simple oil and filter change may be enough to get rid of the rattling noise on startup. On the other hand, your Corsa might need a timing chain replacement.


The Corsa rattle on startup is a common issue among Vauxhall Corsa owners. It is often caused by a worn timing chain and tensioner. This can result in a loud engine noise that lasts for a few seconds and may worsen over time.

Other causes include low engine oil level, so make sure that you keep on to of your maintenance routine by regularly checking your engine oil levels. In some instances, replacing the oil & filters has resolved the rattling issue!

It’s always best to diagnose the root cause of the issue before going ahead with any replacements, so consulting with a professional mechanic is advised.

Dave Marlow
Dave Marlow
Dave has been a petrohead since he can remember. He worked as a mechanic for 12 years before transitioning into automotive content writing. His dream car is a classic Red Ferrari 458.

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