Pinging is a rattle you hear on acceleration. It sometimes is a little erratic sounding-the sound is reminiscent of when you shake a can of spray paint that has the rattle ball in it. It’s also reminiscent of the noise you hear when you lug the engine by trying to accelerate while in too high a gear.
Light and intermittent pinging is harmless, and in fact, for years Toyota has specifically mentioned in owner’s manuals that light and intermittent pinging is acceptable. Chronic, heavy pinging can lead to severe engine damage. There are a number of factors that can lead to pinging: Lean-running conditions, a malfunctioning EGR system, over-advanced ignition timing, carbon buildup in the combustion chambers, and gasoline with an octane that’s too low for your particular engine.
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