Nissan Pathfinder Makes a Thumping Noise in The Rear

Reader Question I have a 1998 Nissan Pathfinder XE-V6 engine with approximately 186,000 miles. I have taken my vehicle to several garages and/or dealerships for diagnostics but to no avail…. There is this loud, thumping, thudding sound that comes from the rear of the vehicle. This sound does not appear all of the time. It sounds as if I’ve been rammed in the back.

If I hit a bump in the road or apply my brakes a certain way (I’ve learned how to control my braking so the vehicle will not make this thumping, thudding, noise). When this noise occurs, it appears as if the vehicle has been rammed in the back and the weight seems to shift toward the front. No one can seem to identify this problem…..oh, but there is a problem. My vehicle has been doing this for quite a while now. Please come to my rescue.

Thank you for your attention and assistance. I look forward to your reply.

Hi there

I have not experienced this issue first hand or have heard of any other Pathfinder owners complain about it. From what you describe I would look at the brakes, and the rear shocks. After you have experienced this issue I would get out of the vehicle and carefully feel each wheel to see if one wheel was substantially hotter than the others.

If you have a brake caliper that is sticking, which causes the brakes to drag, the wheel will be VERY Hot! Be careful not to burn yourself! All the wheels should be hot, but if you have a brake issue, one wheel will be very much hotter than the others. This is a simple test you can do yourself anyway to help rule out sticking brake calipers.

I would also put some extra weight in the very rear of the vehicle, maybe three bags of concrete readimix (80 pounds each) and drive with around and see if the problem changes any. This would be a cheap test for the rear shocks. If adding the extra weight in the rear makes things better…or worse for that matter I would inspect/replace the rear shocks.

The very last thing I would do is drive around in DRIVE, not overdrive to see if the problem changes. You could have transmission issues, and driving in a gear other than overdrive might help determine if the problem is transmission related.


Austin C. Davis

Posted in: Reader Questions

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