Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Deone asks: I have a late-model Nissan that sounds like it may have an engine problem. I noticed it when I removed the engine cover to get at something. It “ticks,” like there’s a valve clearance problem. But my car has only 23k on it and the manual does not say anything about making adjustments along those lines. Any thoughts?
My reply: You’ll be happy to know this is probably normal.
And that the only reason you even noticed the sound is because you removed the acoustic cover. That is primarily what those ugly black plastic overs they drape over the tops of engines are for. Specifically, to mask the tick-tick-tick of direct-injected engines. Which – without the covers – sound like engines with valve problems.
If the sound can’t be heard with the cover in place and the hood lowered, I would not worry about it. But if the sound can still be heard with the cover in place and the hood down, then you may, indeed, need to worry. Check the oil – and the oil gauge – as a first step. If it’s low, add oil. If the pressure reads low, do not drive the car. Have it towed to your shop – and let them figure out what’s up.
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