By January 26, 20070 Comments Read More →

1999 Nissan Altima

Reader Question: Hello,

My 1999 Nissan Altima has 18,300 mi on it and I seem to have one problem after the next. When I start my car it chugs and kind of does a zzz….zzzz….zzz noise and has the same feeling.

Also, the RPM is slow to climb and it seems to be taking a long time to shift gears (it’s an automatic). In addition, at stoplights, my car sometimes vibrates and it feels like the engine. I have gone round, round with about three different mechanics and they all say different things, and the problem never seems to get fixed. One said a tune-up needed to be done but replacing the spark wires would help A LOT (I have not noticed the difference), another said nothing was wrong. I need help, as I am so frustrated!

Thank you in advance for any thoughts!


Hey Nicole,

18K miles is nothing. I would NOT expect anything drastic to really be wrong with this car BUT since the car is 8 years old, there could be a little maintenance that is in order. I would visit the dealership, get a proper diagnosis on the issue, and make sure that someone there rides with you and feels and hears your noise complaint.

The complaint of slow to build up engine RPM and the fact that you say the transmission seems to shift funny might be due to an ignition timing problem or there could be a vacuum leak under the hood somewhere causing all the problems.

You might want to go back to the mechanic who did the tune up and ask them about “advancing the ignition timing” just a little and see if that helps. This is simple to do and he can do it while you wait, and if you paid him to perform a “tune-up”, he should have checked the ignition timing for you anyway.

To check for a vacuum leak: With the hood up and the engine running you can sometime hear a hissing noise due to a vacuum leak under the hood like from a broken rubber vacuum hose or hose connection.

I hope that this is a simple problem to correct, but it sounds like you have not found the right mechanic to really take the time and drive with you and understand the problem.

If you can get a diagnosis of the problem, feel free to e-mail me back and I can try to assist you.

Austin Davis

Posted in: Running Problems

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