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Unwanted Nissan Altima Engine Noise When Accelerating (Rattling-Humming-Sputtering-Whining-Jerking Diagnose & Repair)

Experiencing Nissan Altima unwanted noise when accelerating is a far too common issue for Nissan owners.

This noise might be slightly audible at first, but it can turn into an annoying sound that doesn’t go away.

Fortunately, there are multiple ways to diagnose what’s causing the noise and how to fix it.

Here, you will learn all about that and the preventive measures you should put in place to avoid this problem before it even starts.

So, don’t throw more money away by hiring people that charge a fortune.

Get this matter into your own hands, and you’ll be enjoying smooth and noise-free rides again!


Diagnose & Repair Your Nissan Altima Engine Noise When Accelerating [Updated-2022]

Nissan Altima Unwanted Noises Upon Acceleration

It’s completely normal if your Nissan Altima makes some noises as you drive the roads.

These noises can be the typical hums and buzzes, which are alright as long as they don’t turn excessively annoying.

However, you might notice that sometimes the vehicle makes a sound out of the ordinary.

For example, the vehicle may produce rattling, whining, or sputtering noises when you’re accelerating.

If that’s the case, take quick action to diagnose the potential cause and repair it before it gets worst.

01. Nissan Altima Rattling Noise When Accelerating

Rattling Noises: Heat Shield Issues

The heat shield has a catalytic converter with welds that can corrode over time.

This issue leads to a rattling noise while accelerating, and it’s also likely to cause Check Engine Light illumination.

A quick repair for the Nissan Altima rattling noise when accelerating is to replace the damaged catalytic converter.

Symptoms of A Damaged Catalytic Converter

A bad catalytic converter shows different symptoms that tell you there’s something wrong.

Some of the most common issues are the following:

  • Rattling noise from the external heat shield or internal honeycomb broken.
  • Poor engine performance, such as slower acceleration, rough idling, or the vehicle doesn’t start
  • The warning light of check engine comes on
  • The gas mileage is reduced
  • Emissions test failure

The Replacement of The Catalytic Converter

Taking the car to a professional to replace the catalytic converter can be very expensive.

Fortunately, doing the job yourself is a possibility worth considering for saving time and money.

Here’s how you repair this Nissan Altima unwanted noise when accelerating.

Step 1: Get A Vehicle-Specific Catalytic Converter

Buy a direct fit converter specifically designed for your vehicle instead of a universal fit.

Universal fit cats require welding, whereas the vehicle-specific converter goes in with bolts.

Step 2: Removing The Cat

Get some penetrating oil and use it to douse the bolts.

This process will allow you to remove them with ease if there’s rust or corrosion.

After applying it, let the oil soak in for a few minutes and use a socket wrench to start removing the bolts.

Step 3: Installing The New Cat

Put the new cat into place and secure it with the bolts.

While doing this step, make sure to apply an anti-seize compound to the bolts before securing them tightly.

Lastly, wrench the bolts by following the adequate torque specification.

02. Nissan Altima Jerks When Accelerating

Jerking Issues: Transmission Issues

A bad crankshaft position sensor may produce noticeable vibration originating from the engine.

Sometimes it’s normal that a running engine creates some vibration under the hood, but that’s not always the case.

If you experience a drastic increase in vibrations, it may be due to issues with the crankshaft position sensor.

Symptoms of A Bad Crankshaft Position Sensor

  • Vehicle stalls or backfires.
  • Difficulties to start the vehicle.
  • Blinking check engine light.

Replacing The Crank Position Sensor

Get rid of the Nissan Altima jerks when accelerating by replacing the crank position sensor.

Step 1: Find The Crank Sensor

Run a quick inspection to determine the location of the crank sensor.

In a 2012 Altima, you can find it on the back of the engine around the driver’s side.

If you’re not sure where the sensor is, use a camera or your phone in video mode to get in there and see for yourself.

Step 2: Loosening The Crank Sensor

The sensor remains in place due to a 10mm bolt, which you can remove with a 10mm socket.

You may also need a short driver, a long driver, and even a swivel to make it through this step.

If it’s necessary, use a mirror to get a better look at what you’re doing.

Step 3: Removing The Components

Grab the electrical connector with the sensor and try wiggling it out.

Getting to these components bare hand is tricky because of where they are, so be cautious while putting your hand in there.

If the sensor is too tight, use a pair of needle-nose pliers to apply more pressure on it.

Once you get the sensor out, press the push tab to pull the electrical connector away from the crank sensor.

Step 4: Installing The New Crank Sensor

Before installing it, add fresh motor oil to the O-ring seal of the new crank sensor.

This type of oil keeps the crank sensor from drying out due to excessive heat.

Then, place the crank sensor and bolt it down. Finally, attach the electrical connector.

Watch the video for reference here:

03. Nissan Altima Sputtering Noise: Fuel System Issues

When the vehicle faces issues with a sputtering engine, the most likely cause is a problem with the fuel system.

This system includes filters and injectors, but also the pump, which is the most likely scenario in many cases.

This is what you need to check to fix Nissan Altima sputtering when accelerating.

Symptoms of A Bad Fuel Pump

  • The sputtering engine once you hit the top speed on the highway.
  • Overheating engine.
  • Low fuel pressure.
  • Power loss.
  • Gas mileage decrease.
  • Dead engine.

Replacing The Fuel Pump

Follow these steps to remove and replace the old fuel pump.

Step 1: Relieve Fuel Pressure in The System

Go to your fuse box and lift it. Scan the chart on the interior, and find the fuel pump indicator.

On 07-12 Nissan Altima, the fuel pump is 15 amps, so find that fuse and remove it.

Start the vehicle to relieve pressure from the fuel system.

After doing that, reinstall the 15 amp fuse and cover the fuse box.

Step 2: Remove The Negative Battery Terminal

Head up to the battery and use a wrench to remove the negative battery terminal before continuing with the process.

Step 3: Find The Fuel Pump

Step into the vehicle’s backside and look for the small tabs along the bottom portion of the seat.

Pull both tabs, and lift the seat to take it out of the way.

Step 4: Remove The Fuel Pump

After removing the seat, you should see a plate protecting the fuel pump.

Use a Phillips head screwdriver and turn the tabs clockwise and line them up with the holes.

The plate has a plug attached to the interior, so make sure to remove it by pressing the push tab.

Then, you must remove the connectors by pressing the blue tabs with a wrench.

Fuel may come out, so be ready to soak it with absorbent pads.

You also have to remove the lock ring, which you can do with a brass punch and a hammer.

Don’t use metal because it can create sparks, and it’s dangerous.

Step 5: Installing The New Fuel Pump

With the lock ring loose, take it out and remove the old fuel pump.

Make sure there are enough absorbent pads to keep oil away from the car’s interior.

Then, place the new seal, insert the new fuel pump, and connect the hoses with their respective tabs.

Now, all you have to do is retrace your steps, and that’s it!

Watch the video for reference here:

04. Nissan Altima Whining Noise: Engine & Accessories Issues

Whining sounds while accelerating are most likely a problem caused by a bad accessory connected to the Altima’s engine.

This section covers several components that you would have to check out, so we’re covering them briefly.

01. Bad Alternator

A bad alternator can produce a high-pitched whining sound while also turning on the battery light.

If none of these conditions apply, then the alternator may not be the culprit.

02. Power Steering

Another potential reason why the car whines while accelerating are the power steering pump.

When it gets too low on fluid, it will produce a whining sound, and you must check the fluid level to see what’s going on.

If it’s low, fill it back up until it reaches the factory fill line.

One method to identify if the issue is coming from the steering pump is to turn the wheel left and right while the vehicle sits.

Is the sound getting louder as you turn it?

Then that’s a giveaway that the power steering pump is causing the noise.

03. Water Pump

A water pump gone bad makes a squeaking sound, making it the third accessory you must check out.

This sound is a bit different, as it sounds like a deeper whine when compared to the sound emitted by a bad alternator.

05. Worn Serpentine Belt

The serpentine belt takes care of the motion in the crankshaft, and it uses that power to power all of the other accessories.

If it goes bad, a serpentine belt produces a high-pitched whine.

This problem is not entirely noticeable while accelerating, but it’s audible when starting the vehicle.

Luckily, serpentine belts are pretty affordable, so buying a new one won’t break your bank.

05. Nissan Altima Humming Noise When Accelerating

Humming Noise: Mechanical Issues

One last thing to consider is the humming noise potentially caused due to mechanical issues.

Here’s what you need to know to deal with the Nissan Altima humming noise when accelerating.

01. Bad Wheel Bearing

Symptoms of a bad wheel bearing include noises, poor wheel alignment, loud noises whole turning, and louder humming during acceleration.

You can diagnose the wheel bearing by doing a test drive to see if the hum is more noticeable while accelerating and wiggling the wheel with the vehicle secured on a jack.

Here’s how you repair this problem:

02. Bad CV Axle

When the CV axle is causing the humming, you’ll notice the sounds while accelerating from a stop as you take turns.

A quick way to diagnose this issue is by taking a ride and turning the wheel left and right.

Fix this issue by following this tutorial:

03. Transfer Case

If the previous parts are not causing the humming, you may want to check the transfer case.

This part consists of a differential that has a ring and a pinion set of gears.

The howl-like or whine sound usually comes from worn rings, damaged pinion gears, or a bad gear setup.

Unfortunately, many parts can be the reason behind this issue, which means that taking the car to a professional is almost inevitable.

How Costly Are The Repairs?

Catalytic Converter Replacement Cost

$98 plus for the new part, and around $700 or more for professional labor fees.

Crankshaft Position Sensor Replacement Cost

Between $71 and $113 for new parts, while the estimated labor cost is around $46 and $58.

Fuel Pump Replacement Cost

Between $594 and $794 for parts and  $73-$92 for labor costs.

Whining Noise Repair Cost

A new alternator is between $454-$559, with labor costs around $71 and $90.

The power steering pump is about %745 and $1,042, with the labor costs estimated at $111 and $140.

Water pumps are $116-$174, and labor costs are $160-$202.

Finally, a brand-new serpentine belt is approximate $40-$51, and labor costs around $36-$46.

Transfer Case Cost

Nissan Altima transmissions may be available at $3,500 and more.

Fluid changes and fluid flush can be less than $150.

How To Prevent Your Nissan Altima From Making Unwanted Noise/Sputter/Jerks While Accelerating?

The most effective way to prevent noise while accelerating is by taking good care of your Nissan Altima.

1. Maintenance is Important

Many of the parts responsible for this issue are expensive and cost a fortune to replace, which is another incentive as to why you should perform regular maintenance.

Bring your car for maintenance periodically and do a thorough inspection.

Tune-ups and inspections can alert you if something’s wrong, allowing you to act accordingly to keep the issue restrained.

2. Be Alert To The Signs

Don’t dismiss the importance of the check engine light either.

If it comes up, take the car to a mechanic as soon as possible.

3. Don’t Let the Car Sit Inactive For Too Long

Lastly, we recommend that you actively drive the car.

Letting it sit inactive for a long time can cause these problems as well.

Ideally, you should drive the Nissan Altima for at least twenty minutes at highway speeds.

Do it once a week, and it’ll have a positive impact on its long-term performance.

The Common FAQs of Nissan Altima Engine Noise When Accelerating

01. Why is My Car Making A Weird Noise While Accelerating?

The car might be making a weird noise when you accelerate because of different reasons, like problems with the heat shield, transmission, or in fuel system.

02. Why Does The Engine Whine?

The engine usually produces a whining noise when one of its components wears out.

If one of those parts breaks or wears down, they cause some damage, and it’s time to run a diagnostic to identify the issue.

03. Why is There A Motorboat Sound in My Car?

If the car sounds like a motorboat, it’s probably due to a significant leak at or near the muffler.

Heat and moisture create small holes in the muffler over time, keeping it from doing its job.

04. Do Nissan Altima Models Have Transmission Problems?

2007-2012 Nissan Altima cars are prone to CVT failures and poor performance.

This is why Nissan designed a special powertrain warranty for Altima vehicles that cover CVT issues up to 10 years.

05. What Are Common Problems With Nissan Altima?

  • Catalytic converter failures that activate check engine light.
  • Engine cranks and the vehicle doesn’t start.
  • The engine doesn’t start despite turning over.
  • Fuel pump issues.

Last Words

Don’t panic if you notice Nissan Altima unwanted noise when accelerating.

Narrow down the list of potential causes, and you’ll be ready to tackle this issue and repair it by yourself.

No longer will you have to pay large sums of money for something that DIYers can do, and you will also get to know your car a little bit better.