Toyota Highlander rattle in the rear

It is an 02 and when driving over rough pavement or a stone driveway, there is a pronounced rattle from the rear. Perhaps a suspension component.
I Googled and found dashboard rattles, but not the problem here so I guess it is uncommon. Anyone else have this problem with their highlander? What was the actual souce of the rattle? Thanks, John
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Rear rattles in hatchbacks and station wagons generally come from these sources:
Something loose in a compartment, like the jack, tools, jumper cables, etc.; Rear hatch mis-adjusted; Spare tire loose (either not screwed down tightly if in a well or not winched up all the way if hanging underneath); Wire loom or wire harness connector rattling (pad with foam or secure with duct tape or zip ties).
If the sound is coming from the top of the strut mount, loose, deformed, or hardened suspension bushings.
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Ray O
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JohnR66 wrote:

John,
My Highlander is only 1 1/2 years old and I too have noticed that rattle coming from the rear, but I haven't spent that much time yet looking for the cause. Let me know here if you find out what it really is. Thanks
J
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Check your license plate screws.

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To clarify, I'm assuming that Art is suggesting that loose license plate screws can cause the license plate to rattle. While you're back there, make sure the license plate frame is not rattling.
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Thanks for the replies. I listened more careful while another person drove. It kind of a rattling/knoking sound right around the rear wheels. Perhaps a loose suspension component. John
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If you can feel/hear the knocking sound from the top of the strut towers, check the top strut mount bushings.
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replying to JohnR66, joe devoe wrote: I have the same prob in my 06 highlander hybrid. Changed rear strut, sway bar links n bushings and still there only when I rake a slight left turn over 40 mph. What is it?
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replying to Art, Dave Hayes wrote: We have a 2018 Highlander with 6,000 miles. The rear rattle was SO bad we were going to trade it in even though we would have lost a fortune! We loved the vehicle, even more than the last two Lexus we owned. I accidentally hit the rear quarter panel and heard that tinny rattle and followed it around to the rear, pounded on the back hatch and found the culprit....the rear license plate and advertising frame from the dealer. Put four plastic bumpers on from Walmart and the problem was solved!!! Check this first!!!
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replying to JohnR66, Art Zendejas wrote: My 2012 Highlander Hybrid is also making a rattling noise which is coming from the rear. It began a few weeks ago when I had the scheduled maintenance service. A knucklehead at the dealer overinflated my tires to 44psi, which is what I thought caused the rattling. However, after reducing the air pressure to the appropriate 33 psi, the rattling softened by didn't go away. And now it's back again but the air pressure is still at 33 psi, so it's not the air pressure. I also checked the spare tire, thinking it might be loose, but that's not the problem. At this point, I'm totally mystified by this problem. Have you learned anything new since your post?
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replying to JohnR66, Joe Devoe wrote: It's the rear control arm bushing. Park the Highlander on an uneven bank with the two drivers side wheels about 6- 8 inches higher than the passenger's side. Then get out and pus the rear side of the vehicle . Rock it side to side very hard and fast. If you hear it get somebody to rock it while you look under it to see what's moving. If you don t hear it, park it the opposite way. It's always the lower side you rock. I just doing mine that way by accident after spending hundred s replacing wrong parts and struts.
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