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If your Nissan Versa has been exhibiting the clicking noise, don’t worry. This article will provide the possible causes and solutions for this annoying problem.
A clicking noise is one of the common problems faced by Nissan Versa owners. It can be related to various suspension, exhaust system, or powertrain components, making it tricky to pinpoint its exact cause.
Different Types of Nissan Versa Clicking Noises When Accelerating
Aside from varying in length, intensity, and frequency, clicking noises will also vary in origin. The severity of the problem is typically in correlation with its source.
Top of the Engine
If a clicking noise comes from an area of the engine that’s located just under the hood, chances are your Nissan versa is having problems with one of the cylinder head components. It’s usually the hydraulic pushers, rocker arms, pistons, or the fuel injection system.
Bottom of the Engine
A clicking noise can also come from an area of the engine closer to the ground. In this case, the culprit is most likely the timing belt.
A car’s exhaust system is another possible source of clicking-like sounds. Nissan Versa, specifically, tends to exhibit an exhaust leak due to failed exhaust manifold gasket. Another Versa-specific problem can be the muffler seal that connects the muffler with the exhaust pipe. Last but not least, even a simple thing such as the exhaust heat shield can be problematic.
While suspension components can make a lot of noise, one wouldn’t expect them to emit clicking sounds upon acceleration. However, that’s exactly what can happen in a Nissan Versa when the driveshaft axle lacks lubrication.
Typical Causes of a Nissan Versa Clicking Noise Upon Acceleration
Here’s a list of all the possible culprits for the annoying acceleration clicking noise in a Nissan Versa.
Low Engine Oil Level
Engine oil is essential for the optimal operation of the powertrain. A lot of engines will burn some of it over time or even develop an oil leak, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on the oil level from time to time.
When the engine oil levels reach a critically low point, the engine components will not be properly lubricated. This, in turn, can lead to clicking noises. A similar thing happens once the engine oil has run its course.
The simplest of solutions, in this case, is an oil change.
ABS System Check
The computer has a built-in diagnostic feature that assesses the ABS upon startup. The ABS self-check occurs once a day and might be accompanied by a clicking sound – especially if it’s cold outside.
There’s no cause for concern here as it’s all a part of the car’s normal operation.
Faulty Spark Plugs
Deteriorated or improperly installed spark plugs can also be a cause of clicking noise when accelerating. The combustion gasses will bypass a cracked or loosely fitted spark plug, leading to clicking noises.
Checking and replacing the spark plugs on Nissan Versa is easy and cheap and should be one of the first courses of action when trying to identify where the clicking noises are coming from.
Faulty Fuel Injectors
A clicking sound could also mean that your fuel injectors are going bad. They’re an integral part of the engine and shouldn’t be left unchecked. Luckily, they’re inexpensive and relatively easy to replace.
You’ll know your fuel injectors are the problem if your fuel economy gets poor, if your car exhibits a rough idle, if your acceleration isn’t as smooth as it should be, and ultimately if your engine misfires.
Worn Rocker Arms
Valvetrain controls the operation of intake and exhaust valves. One of their most fragile components are rocker arms which transfer the motion of a pushrod to the corresponding valve. If the rocker arm gets worn or damaged, chances are you’ll start hearing the annoying ticking sounds.
Aside from consistent, rapid ticking noises, worn rocker arms might also lead to poor engine performance and even stalling. Because they’re cheap and relatively easy to replace, it’s best to do so before the valvetrain deteriorates beyond repair.
A piston slap will develop when the cylinder reaches a certain level of erosion, leaving too much room for the piston to move within it. Instead of moving up and down, the piston will start rocking within the cylinder, and its skirts will start slapping the cylinder walls, creating rattling and clicking noises. A piston slap usually develops in aluminum engines such as those in Nissan Versa.
The only way to verify a piston slap is to dismantle the engine, which is labor-intensive and expensive. The plus side is that a piston slap doesn’t necessarily have to be fixed. The engine will work just fine for quite a while, with annoying noises being the only downside.
Considering the high repair costs, the piston slap fix is arguably best left for the potential engine rebuild.
Worn Out Timing Belt
The timing belt can be a common cause of clicking sounds in many vehicles, not just the Nissan Versa. It’s one of the more important parts of the engine which ensures smooth vehicle operation by synchronizing the camshaft with the crankshaft and allowing the valves to open and close at a specific moment.
Whether the timing belt is nearing the end of its cycle or it’s maladjusted for another reason, you’d be advised to take your car to the mechanic. And not only because of the annoying clicking noise either. If the timing belt breaks or starts slipping, the damage to the engine can be catastrophic.
If the timing belt is indeed the culprit, you’ll likely notice lowered fuel economy before more serious issues such as engine misfire start occurring.
An exhaust leak is another common reason behind clicking sounds upon acceleration. Any vehicle can fall victim to it, and the Versa is no exception. The leak can develop at several exhaust system connecting components but most often at the exhaust manifold gasket or the front muffler seal.
The replacement gasket and seal are inexpensive and should be replaced when they deteriorate to the point the exhaust leak develops. However, replacing or refitting the exhaust manifold gasket is much more labor-intensive than replacing the mere muffler seal hence the repair costs are also higher in the former scenario.
Driveshaft Axle Lacks Lubrication
A failing or otherwise faulty suspension component will typically lead to some sort of noise upon acceleration, whether of the clicking or cluttering variety. The Nissan Versa (and several other Nissan models) are prone to emitting clicking noises when accelerating if the driveshaft axle lacks lubrication.
The process of driveshaft lubrication is straightforward and can be done at home if you’ve got the spare time. You’ll need to disconnect the outboard end of the driveshaft from the hub carrier. It’s advisable to use a quality lubricant with a high molybdenum disulfide content so that the problem doesn’t resurface after a while.
As explained, the severity of a clicking noise when accelerating can vary depending on its cause. It ranges from a benign ABS check which falls into the normal operation category to timing belt, valvetrain, or even cylinder components issues that can cause major engine damage if left unchecked.
If your Nissan Versa is emitting clicking noises when accelerating, the best course of action is to either inform the dealership if it’s still under warranty or take it to the mechanic. A professional should be able to pinpoint the exact cause of the clicking noise and take appropriate action to neutralize it.