2008 Nissan Altima - Ticking noise when cold

I hope that someone can guide me in the right direction. My son owns a 2008 Nissan Altima with about 110,000 miles. The engine has a ticking noise that is louder and faster when the car accelerates. It is worse when the car is cold. Once it warms up, the noise will get less and even goes away. Valves? Doesn’t seem to be tire related and we recently had the belts checked and replaced when needed.


May be the lifters. I think Altimas have hydraulic lifters so there likely isn’t an adjustment that can be made. Has the oil been changed according to a reasonable schedule in the past? Sometimes going with a slightly lighter weight oil helps reduce that noise.

We bought it about 8 months ago and found out that they probably did not keep up with the regular maintenance. So you don’t think that it may be the valves? Why only (or worse) when it is cold? Thanks for your help!

Valves and lifters are certainly related but often, when noise appears when cold and disappears when warmed up, it often is related to lifters. I think Nissans uses hydraulic (ie oil) lifters so that would make sense, with the oil being cold and having been drained from the area where the lifters are, it making a lot more noise than when it is hot. It usually only lasts a couple of seconds but it gets worse as the car wears or a passage may be partially blocked.

You could get a cheap automotive stethoscope at harbor freight or any car parts place (usually $10 or so) and poke around to see where it is coming from.
It could also be related to the timing chain where the tensioner has loosened some over age - usually that noise just stays, though.