Rattle at start up

Hi. I have a 2002 Maxima SE with 95,000 miles on it. It runs great. However, on cold starts I have started to notice a rattle that sounds like a chain. It’s only when it’s cold. I know with this engine I need to make sure there is enough oil on the chain so I have been checking the level of that and it’s right in the middle. In addition, it has just recently begun to ping. I use 92 octane. Timing chain failures are not common in this car, although I know it can have issues with the tensioners or guides. I am just wondering if any one else has any ideas on what it might be?

You Can Have Somebody With Access To Nissan TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) Check To See If Repair Procedures Apply To Your Vehicle.

Certain 2002 Maximas, depending on engine ID and VIN (Vehicle Identificaton Number) have problems with a cold start rattle that lasts about a second at start up. They outline diagnostic procedures to determine which VTC (Valve Timing Control) sprocket(s) to replace.

Was Your Car Part Of The Crank Sensor Position Recall?

It looks like 2002 & 2003 Maximas were included.


Thank you for the info. I like the sound of valve control sprocket better than timing chain… although I know every repair on this vehicle seems to cost a small fortune! I will check with the dealer about this. Thanks again!

I will add that I believe you need an oil filter with an anti-drain back valve.

The filter specified for that car should have it. There will be another filter that lacks the valve that will also fit it. Some places (think quick change chains) may not bother having both.

I would make sure I had the right filters. One filter with a bad or non-existent valve should not cause any measurable damage.

Could Be. I Believe This Car Is On The Sludge List, Too.

wrong/faulty oil filter?


Thanks for the list of ideas. I wish it would be as simple as the wrong oil filter. I am going to get an oil change again this weekend and find out about the filter. The car runs great otherwise… the sound is not every single time amd of course since I started inquiring about it, it has stopped altogether! It knows it’s going in for a check up so it’s going to behave!

Is there any way to get the sludge out?