Jigglin' Rear!

I own a 2002 Nissan Altima Sedan, 4-cylinder. Great car, but I get this jiggling sound in the right rear as though a shock absorber, tailpipe or some other bolted connection is loose as I am driving. Checked it numerous times, but can find nothing. A friend has the same model car and gets a similar sound from the same area of her car. What to do next?

I own a 2000 Altima SE. I think that I’ve had the same noise that you described slowly building up for 3 years in what sounds like the passenger-side rear tire area. It completely goes away when the weather turns cold and reappears when it warms up. My regular mechanic can’t find the noise. It started very infrequently and has built up to several times in my 2-mile drive to work. It is seldom present at highway speeds.

The car’s operation is just fine except for the noise. It’s been hard to pin down evidence because it doesn’t happen at the same/time/place/road condition. This last year as the frequency of the noise increased I noticed that it appears to occur more often at certain places on my drive to/from work. I think that it is more evident when the rear tires have to dig in when there’s a bump or a rising incline or a right turn on an incline. But then it happens at other times that don’t fit and it doesn’t happens at times that do fit the theory.

You’ve got me thinking that I should have the shocks looked at. Couldn’t hurt to check. Time for new brake pads anyway.

P.S. A friend with a 2000 Altima heard the noise while riding with me and said that he had experienced the same noise in the same location and it was a valve that was failing to close properly on the a/c. His noise went away when they fixed the a/c pressure. I had a professional shop do an a/c tune-up. The noise went away for only a few hours. it never made sense to me that there should be any a/c noise in the location. But that was his experience.

What connections did you check? Top and bottom bolts on the shock? Tapping things with a rubber mallet might help. Check to make sure the rubber bushings are in place, though most probably it is a muffler hangar causing the noise.

Thanks. A/C thing sounds strange to me; can’t imagine that. I had a rear stabilizer assembly replaced on a recall in 2006, and the sound apeared within the next few months. Returned it about 3-4 times, and, of course, the dealer couldn’t duplicate the problem, as they say. Still occurs, but usually in cold weather winter months and not warm, as yours does. My guess has always been the insulator pads on the frame where larger metal parts rub together are loosened , and once tampered with, are never the same.

Two out of three of my vehicles (one escort, one silhouette minivan) have the jack & lug for tire changing stored in the rear passenger’s side. Its worth a look. If yours are there check to see if they’re tightly secured. Pull them out & relocate temporarily to see if it matters.

We had such a noise on our Nissan, and it turned out to be a noisy seat belt retractor mechanism, which on our car is located in the trunk. I would check that out, and if the cause, the fix will be easy.