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Nissan Altima Hybrid Engine Questions

cptcmpostcptcmpost Member Posts: 25
I just wanted to make sure this is "normal" for this engine and others are experiencing it.

A lot more noticable when the engine is cold but still there when it's warmed up. The engine makes a "ticking" sound, especially at idle. It almost sounds like the old Isuzu Rodeo engines (also Honda Passport) that had problems with the lifters sticking.

Does anyone else's make this noise? The car has 8000 miles now and we've had it since May.


  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    it happens with the QR25DE engine. when the engine turns off, you get that sound. I don't think I've noticed it as much with my hybrid, but with my 2002 sentra, it always did that after I shut the car off.
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Member Posts: 25
    I guess I should clarify. This is when the gas engine is running/idling and not when it's shut off. The only noises I get with the car shut off normally are those wierd electronic noises the Altima Hybrids make.
  • townboy325townboy325 Member Posts: 37
    i think i have that sound too when is cold or first few min could be the timing chain. also if u heard somthing like click thats the ABS self tested
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    so i assume that it is when your engine is still warming up. currently, there is a sputtering/rattling issue for the Altima QR's that, I think, has something to do with the engine mounts. currently, it's being researched by Nissan on how to get rid of it...but it's probably worth your while to tell your dealership that you have an issue.

    i've read about this from my other forums
  • hiwaymanhiwayman Member Posts: 98
    We do hear that noise in our car as well. It's reasonably quiet, but noticeable, especially in the very quiet hybrid car environment. I don't have any specific evidence, but it sounds to an old gear head like me like a ticking lifter. Ticking lifters have a lot of causes, but the most common one is lack of oil pressure (which is not the same as NO oil pressure). My guess is that the ticking is because of the extremely thin oil used in these NAH's which will result in a lower oil pressure until some revs are on the engine and the oil pump can generate some good pressure. At idle, this generally is not hurtful to an engine. If you hear it at speed, you have a problem you need to have investigated by a good mechanic.
  • chrisr007chrisr007 Member Posts: 2
    I'm thinking of purchasing the Altima Hybrid and I'm hoping you guys can help me with some information. When driving the Altima Hybrid and you are at a stop does the engine shut off (like an auto-stop type feature)? Does the car run solely on battery power up to a certain speed (like 25 mph) and then does the engine kick in? If so, is the transition between the electric motor and the gas motor a smooth tranisition (which isn't noticeable) or is it a noticeable one?
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    assuming that the car has warmed up and has adequate battery life left....

    the engine does shut off at stop lights (probably before your complete stop)

    the car can run solely on battery power up to 42 mph.

    the transition is sorta noticeable, but I think you get used to it. Personally, it doesn't bother me unless your engine is still cold, that's a bit more abrupt.

    I think some cars may be better than others on the transition. Make sure to test drive the exact car you are buying before committing to it.
  • emgremgr Member Posts: 109
    Chris... on a cold start, the engine will usually run for a few minutes even at stop lights if the engine or the tempreature of the cabin is not warm enough. the computer looks at it this way in terms of order:

    1. Get engine to operating temperature
    2. Get driver to the temperature he desires
    3. Then go into EV mode if there is enough battery power and below 42 miles per hour.

    That may be overly simple but that is what I notice.

    As far as the transition from gas to electric, when it happens and the car is moving it is rarely noticable. But when it happens at the stop sign or red light, you do notice the transition. As someone said, you get used to it easily and should not be the reason you would not buy it. They all do it.
  • hiwaymanhiwayman Member Posts: 98
    I concur with Chris007 and others. In regard to the bump of the engine starting, I think it's mostly noticeable in cold weather, but really, at the end of the day, the car is so quiet and smooth, you probably wouldn't even notice the bump in a normal car. The transmission is a particular gem of engineering. Since it is a CVT, it doesn't have gears like a normal automatic, so you'll never get a downshift on hard acceleration, and you'll never get that annoying shifting back and forth when you're on certain types of hills. We just got back from a drive down to Santa Barbara (we live in the Bay Area). The car cruises all day at 80 (or more, depending upon your willingness to risk a road side chat with a cop), and gets 34 MPG at that speed. Hills are no problem; plenty of power. Around Santa Barbara, we rolled in stealth mode, up to about 42. To STAY in EV mode takes careful gas pedal management, but the car is forgiving and will drop back into EV as soon as you lighten up on the pressure...
  • 09muranosales09muranosales Member Posts: 16
    When the Hybrid is "ON", it's deafening silent. There is a light sound of the clicks, but that is normal when the engine goes on. When you have the radio on lightly or a fan, you will not notice anything. When you are on the road, you will not notice it because of road noise. You might just be over analyzing and your hearing acutely increases with your senses, so it's normal. This is the best mid-size hybrid out there. I cannot believe how fast and quick the car is. What I like about the Altima hybrid is that it will blow the doors off a Prius, Accord, Camry, Civic and so on. The 35-41 real life MPG in the city saves a lot of people a ton of money, and they do not have to compromise. Best of all, the Altima Hybrid qualifies for the Tax credit of $2350 - Honda and Toyota's get nothing now.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    honda still gets something. they will soon have nothing though after 1 more quarter?
  • indiananuindiananu Member Posts: 1
    I bought a new NAH 2008 on Feb 9th. It drove pretty good the first few days. Less than a month later, when I drove back from work, when the car transitions from gas to battery or from battery to gas, the car would significantly jerk. Also, when I push the gas pedal lightly, the car who jerk forward. This continued till I got home. I thought of taking it to the dealership in the morning. At the first light out of my apt, the car stalled! It just would not move. The engine showed as on (the panel was lit up) but the car just would not move. I had to push it off the street. Once I got it towed to the dealer, they kept it there for a week and this is their final analysis:
    1. When the connected to the error machine, the car displayed an error code, which implied that I either drove the car on low gas for a long time (which has never happened, I filled it up even before it reached the quarter mark) OR the car tried to run while in neutral. Both sound like lame excuses. So now they claim the engineer from Nissan ran tests and drove the car for almost 100 miles over a three day period and the car runs just fine. They are returning the car today. I am very concerned. No noteable cause was identified, no parts were replaced, and the battery is the same one that died down on me.
    Any idea what might have happened to my car? Any suggestions on where I can show the car to someone who really cares to find out why the car broke down?

  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    that doesn't sound good at all. you can try to go to another dealership or you can try to call nissan corporate. at the very least, the dealership should probably flash your ECM
  • emgremgr Member Posts: 109
    I have had a constant argument with my Nissan dealer. I insisted on 0W-20 as the manual recommends and he wants to put in 5W-20. Now I know that it is ok to use 5W-20 but that is not what is recommend and what I asked for. I set an appointment date for a week in advance to allow them to order it. That appointment is tomorrow. I didn't hear anything and since the round trip alone is about 1.5 hours I thought I would call and make sure. "No we didn't get it in but we will put 5w-20 in. What didn't they get? Am I fussy. Damn right.So I told them I would go out and buy the 0W-20 myself and let them put it in at no charge. They said that would be ok. I drove up to Wal-Mart 10 minutes from my home and bought 6 qt of Mobil 1 0W-20 for less than $6 a qt.

    It will be interesting to see what they say tomorrow.
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Member Posts: 25
    The dealer said it was the type of fuel injectors they use and they've had others ask about it. Said that expecially when it's cold you can hear them. I'll take their word for it as the car runs just fine.
  • dell06dell06 Member Posts: 7
    Had the same problem had car for 2 days it would jerk and would not go in to ev mode and when ideling would idel very high 5 days they had my car and they said they thought it was the connection to the battery pac
  • karolpl7karolpl7 Member Posts: 40
    Hi emgr

    Had my oil change fiasco recently too;
    First time I was changing it I had a whole conversation with the mechanic to make sure I get the right oil, he said no problem, of course they'll put in 0W-20 which they did, everybody's happy. Second time I came in with my previous bill and told another sales person to get my information from the paper and get the same oil. They did the oil change but the new bill is only $30.. ? They put in the regular cheapest oil possible. Called the mechanic who worked on the car to the front desk and the guy basically said "what's the difference?" even though he new it was a hybrid!!! Front desk manager wasn't happy, they had to redo it.

    I think I'll remind them every time now to make sure they put in 0W-20.

    Other then that after 9K miles the car is running just fine (except cracked windshield I had to replaced due to flying road debris :sick: ).

  • emgremgr Member Posts: 109
    I hear you. When they told me that they would put in 5W-30. I said no and went to the Wal-Mart and bought it. Took it with me and told them to use it. My mileage with the warm weather is out of sight. At a half a tank left on the current full, I put 400 miles on.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    my dealership doesn't have 0w20. oh well i guess, I think it's more important in the winter time anyways
  • tomscot2tomscot2 Member Posts: 33
    You need to put in the 0-20w for the sake of your warranty and the life of your engine.
  • emgremgr Member Posts: 109
    Wal-Mart is loaded with 0W-20 to the embarrassment of my dealer who said he couldn't get it. I told him I would have it in his hands in less than one hour. They were very quiet and sad they couldn't put in the 5W-30 they usually do for Altima Hybrids if the customer says nothing.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    untrue for the warranty part. if it was for the sake of the warranty, then Nissan Corp would force all of the dealerships to stock 0w20. Nissan states in the manual that 5w20 and 5w30 can be used.

    as for the life of the engine, that's a better argument.

    If my dealership had it, I'd probably use it, but I would extend my oil change intervals more (probably from 3750 to 5000+)
  • emgremgr Member Posts: 109
    Yes...5w-30 can be used but it is not the primarily the one recommended. I think my dealer just doesn't want to stock 0w-20. Also you should ahve seen my mileage difference with the latter.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    well, getting 5w20 would probably be better. I'm not sure what's in my car right now though. But anyways, 0w20 would be better in the winter whereas in the summer, it shouldn't matter too much between 5w20 and 0w20.
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Member Posts: 25
    Great, my car is starting to do this as of today. Two trips. I have an oil change tomorrow so I'll mention it and see what they'll say.

    I noticed it was mostly when going down hill. Speed was not an issue as it was below 30 MPH. It would alternate between electric and not back and forth while jerking.
  • tomscot2tomscot2 Member Posts: 33
    Another possible cause is inadvertantly leaving the car on with the headlights in automatic. When it gets dark the headlights come on and when the 12v gets low the ICE comes on to recharge the battery and eventually runs the gas down to the E and then the ICE no longer comes on and the 12v goes to 0 so you can't start it.

    This has happended to us twice because my wife likes the headlight automatic mode but when she is in a hurry will forget to make sure the car is off when she gets out. It really kills your computed mileage too.
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Member Posts: 25
    If indiananu's car was doing the same thing mine did today, it wasn't an issue with leaving it on. I've not left mine on and had actually used the car this morning and it didn't do the problem.

    I wonder if they'll tell me an error code says it was ever low on gas, because I rarely if ever let it get below a 1/4 tank.
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Member Posts: 25
    Well, dealer checked the hybrid system for error codes and there were none, but the problem is getting worse and more frequent. I'm kind of afraid I'll have to make the 3.5 hour drive to Jersey to get it fixed.

    Other than not staying on EV when going down a hill without brakes (staying around 30 mph, so it's not that we are going over 42 or even close to 42 and the battery is full as well), the car is now not really charging the battery with the brakes. I can be exiting a highway with a downhill off ramp and the charge meter on the dash will barely get into the blue, like maybe half a centimeter. It is supposed to pretty much bury the needle at that point. Every once in a while it'll work correctly, but most of the time it's giving me a problem.

    Gas mileage is WAY down as it also won't go into EV easily at all. If I'm coasting down from 45 or so, it usually won't go into EV until the lower 20's, even if I'm braking. Fairly full battery meter and the car is warm, it'll even do this after driving on the highway for 20 minutes.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    is it really hot where you are? i find that the system doesn't charge as much if it's 90+ degrees out. i actually have better luck charging with the AC on
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Member Posts: 25
    The first time a few weeks ago it was really hot, like close to 100, but it hasn't been hot every time it's done it. The past couple days were noticeably bad and it wasn't over 90, but upper 80's.

    Air on or air off hasn't made a difference.
  • esagesesages Member Posts: 4
    I live in MN and purchased a used NAH with 1600 mi on engine from dealer in TX on line. Took for a short drive the day I received it & the red temp light came on. Took it in to local dealer and was told aparently coolant system had been flushed and refilled prior to purchase and system had a bubble. They topped off but light came back on a week later. They finally had to top off and vaccuum out remaining air and light has not come back on since. Told dual cooling system extremely difficult to burp.

    Also since receiving car have noticed more than just a little jerk with initial motor start up after car has rested for more than an hour. It is more like a shutter, rattle, sometimes shakes steering wheel and shift handle. Very alarming and frankly embarrasing if anyone is around. It doesn't seem "normal", but have heard some rattle is ok? Could it be related to oil type as others have mentioned? Should I have this checked out? The car also seems to "twitch" or hesitate when I maintain 70mph. Is this just a quirk in the transmission?

    So far have avgd between 35 and 38 mpg so guess I can't complain too much. Just second guessing myself for not buying "new", but couldn't beat the deal and car not available for purchase in Midwest.
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Member Posts: 25
    Got the car back today after the dealer having it for two days. They said they spoke with the tech line and they stated the car switching between gas and EV every two seconds coasting down a hill is normal. BS. I've had the car over a year and it's never done this until now.

    Also he stated he drove and drove the car and everything seemed normal although he doesn't have any other hybrids to go by as a comparison. I guess drove and drove means the ONE mile they put on the odometer. Normally I like that they don't put any miles on the car, but not in this case. Also, don't tell me that you spent a lot of time driving the car if it's obvious you didn't.

    Does anybody have a number for a technical line to Nissan? I know what they call is probably a dealer only line, but is there a number for a consumer to call?
  • jsyarussjsyaruss Member Posts: 50
    Greetings all -- Got my NAV about 2 1/2 weeks ago...worked great until 2 days ago. Then, it started the "shudder." Plus some revving up and down on occasion. Ugh.

    Was reluctant to take it to a local dealer because of the lack of hybrid experience in my area. Found a hybrid certified technician who said that the problem was that the engine was set to rev to high (1200 vs. 1000 rpm). Said he recalibrated it and all was well.

    EXCEPT for the fact that even though the gas engine runs smoothly, I can't get it to go into EV mode at all! Even just when I turn it on, it sits in EV for about 10 seconds then the gas engine turns on and stays on. The dealer didn't have a clue (the hybrid certified tech had already gone home). Said it was because the battery wasn't fully charged, but it never is. It's typically just about 1/2-way and fluctuates a little up and a little down from there. I drove it a bit to ensure a full charge but still no EV.

    Anybody else had this? More than a little discouraging. The dealer where I bought it is 4 1/2 hours away. By coincidence, I'll be there next week anyway but I would hope this is an easy fix.

    I hate doubting a purchase like this - i've been very happy with it otherwise. Help?
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Member Posts: 25
    How long are you driving it after starting it up? I've found that once you turn the car off it doesn't switch into EV easily for a while the next time you drive it even if it never had time to cool down.

    I doubt that is your issue though, but just a thought.

    Just curious, what state are you in? I am also not in a NAH state and I'm running into dealer problems.
  • jsyarussjsyaruss Member Posts: 50
    Unfortunately, I get the same situation whether I drive short distances or long. Right now, it seems to be operating as a regular old 4-cyl car with an electronic motor booster... everything seems fine except no EV. Another appt with the dealer on Monday, so with luck, they'll figure it out.

    i'm in PA -- near pittsburgh. There is a hybrid certified tech about 30 mins from me, but sadly, mine is the first hybrid he's worked on...
  • esagesesages Member Posts: 4
    As of 7/3/08 my car is officially undriveable. It started shaking violently, especially while accelerating. The "check engine soon" light came on and off. I was able to limp it in to the dealer, but because of the holiday, they won't be able to look at it until 7/7 at the earliest. I think I am approaching a crossroad here. Either the dealer makes it work (under warranty), or I get a different car, either from the dealer replacing the hybrid or trading my existing hybrid (albeit broken) in for a non-hybrid Altima. I think I would take a substantial hit financially if I had to do the later.
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Member Posts: 25
    What do your states lemon laws (or texas') say about used cars under warranty?

    Will a lemon law even apply?

    Either way, have the dealer fix it before selling or trading it in. If they won't/can't, get nissan corporate involved.
  • jsyarussjsyaruss Member Posts: 50
    Hi all - Just an update to my prior post about my NAH that wasn't going into EV mode. Turns out that there's a setting the car goes into during diagnostics for setting the idle speed (which for some reason was too high in my car...) Anyway, that setting forces the car to idle (i.e., not go into EV mode at rest). Well, we don't know why, but evidently the car didn't come out of that testing mode, so it wasn't switching into EV mode. The tech repeated that adjustment and this time the car gave appropriate lights and signals and then at the conclusion of the adjustment worked just fine. Thought I'd post in case somebody else runs into the same situation. now, i'm back up and running. hooray!
  • esagesesages Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the feedback. I had the same ?'s, but today heard from dealer that I had a bad spark plug. Hard to imagine in a brand new car, but certainly would explain that shaking and hesitation. So far owned car one month, in to dealer 3x. Hopefully the new plug will make the difference and we won't have to go back except for oil changes (which sound like no picnic either).
  • esagesesages Member Posts: 4
    New spark plug helped. No more violent skaking, just the usual start up shaking, oh and the red temp light is back on again. It came on just after I had picked the car up from replacing spark plug. I guess it's back in to the dealer we go.
    I looked up the lemon law and in MN, a dealer has 4 chances to correct the problem before the car can be declared a lemon and the owner gets a refund or replacement. I am going back for the 3rd time in the last month for the coolant/temp light. :lemon:
  • occkingoccking Member Posts: 346
    I just had my 4th Oil change done on the vehicle today. Just hit 13,000 miles. First three oil changes were "on the house" but this is the first one I was to pay for, so I never really paid attention paid any attention to what kind of oil they were putting in, and wasn't aware that the vehicle "required" synthetic oil.

    Kind or surprised when I saw a bill for $60, which included 5 quarts of "OW 20" oil at $7.95 a pop. I was told that the hybrid requires synthetic oil. Not a big deal, cost another $20 or $25 but just a little irritated that I was not told about this at the time of purchase (why would a salesman want to tell me that?)

    I continue to have a problem with my bluetooth (people receiving calls from me cannot understand what I say, very muffled) The dealer says there is nothing wrong with it, I say there is. Nissan customer service refuses to help me on this matter, because the dealer does not believe there is any problem.

    Anyone out there with any ideas to whom I can bring this grievance to? I love the vehicle, but drive a lot (13,000 miles less than 4 months) and I talk a lot & travel in NY, CT where the fines are very steep if you get caught talking with handset to your ear.
  • tomscot2tomscot2 Member Posts: 33
    Regarding the Bluetooth, I think it is a function of the microphones in the car. I believe this because we have the same problem with both of our phones (two different models) AND because we have a problem with the whole voice command system being "hard of hearing" It only works when you yell out the command and even then it is a crap shoot as to whether it understands us. We have given up using the voice command system. We are using the BT because we are in Calif and it is the law.
  • tazdoctazdoc Member Posts: 6
    Try using blue tooth at different speed. I find if the speed is over 65, the voice issue deteriates. 60 or less, it is fine. Also, talking toward the midline of the car, where the mike is, helps.
  • occkingoccking Member Posts: 346
    I have tried every which way. I don't expect these things to be perfect, but they should usable. If the car is parked, or otherwise perfection motionless, I could probably manage, but any significant speed at all, it is not. Do you know where the microphone is in the vehicle. I think maybe much too close to windshield and too sensitive thus picking up those noises.

    I always lean forward when speaking to it and talk loud enough. Maybe I need to really shout, but loud of soft, if always sounds muffled.
  • jfc31jfc31 Member Posts: 4
    The bluetooth system in my 2008 works great....people on the other end can hear me and I can hear them. I just have to speak up a litlle when I give a voice command and the window is open. Are you sure that your phone is one that is compatible/recommended by Nissan? I was due for an upgrade to my phone anyway, but before I ordered, I went to the NissanUSA website and got the list of phones that they say are compatible with the bluetooth in the NAH. I ordered the Verizon Chocolate phone and it paired up easily and has been working great. Make sure your phone is on the Nissan list.
  • occkingoccking Member Posts: 346
    My phone (Blackberry 8830) is on the approved list. It paired very easily. I almost got another phone but found out, as you must have, not all phones have been approved, and some are still being tested.

    Like I said previously, they already replaced the "control unit" (whatever that is) and they say nothing further they can do. When I called for last service appointment, as a test I called using bluetooth. Service Dept could barely understand what I was saying.
    Then I switched over to hand held, and it was fine. Back to bluetooth and even they agreed it was very difficult to understand.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    did they replace the mic as part of the "control unit"?
  • tazdoctazdoc Member Posts: 6
    I also has a Blackberry 8830. As I posted earlier, unless at high MPH with lots of road noise, mine works fine. The mic is in the midline of the car next to the map lights. I sometimes need to face the midline to talk but never had problem with being not understandable. I think you may need to have them check it when there is moderate background noise and see whether they can fix it. Good luck.
  • occkingoccking Member Posts: 346
    They claimed when they replaced the "control unit" that included the mike.
  • utahgalutahgal Member Posts: 1
    Saw the Altima Hybrid in CA so am negotiating with a dealer there to purchase one, meet him in Reno and then drive it back to Utah. Are you guys liking the hybrid? Also since they do not sell them in Utah yet there is only one certified Nissan tech about 45 minutes from where I live. How much service do these require and would it be stupid to purchase one with only 1 tech in the state?
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