By October 15, 2007 0 Comments Read More →

Valves Tapping in Engine

I have a Nissan Pathfinder with approximately 205,000 miles. When I begin to accelerate, I hear a “tapping” sound it seems coming from underneath the hood. I was told that the “valves are tapping.” What does this mean? What causes this to occur? What should be done to correct the problem? Can it endanger or affect something else in the meantime of getting repaired? What is an approximate cost for repairs?

Also, I was told my valve cover gaskets are leaking. Is this an expensive repair and should I have them replaced?

As usual, I thank you for your attention, assistance, and promptness. I look forward to your reply.


Hello there,

Low engine oil level or engine oil pressure is usually the cause of the noise. Check the engine oil level and correct to the proper level and see what happens to the noise. if the level is FULL now, go to your local auto parts store and ask for a can of Marvel Mystery Oil and add one can to your engine oil. This stuff is designed to quiet noisy lifters……although if there is damage to one of the lifters or one is just worn out…well, replacement is needed.

Your other question about valve covers leaking oil…….well……that could be the culprit of your oil loss……loss of engine oil thus noisy lifters. I would first have a mechanic or you, tighten all the mounting bolts on the valve covers, sometimes they work themselves loose. If the bolts are tight…AND the oil leak is significant, then you will need to replace the cover gaskets. Probably cost you $400 or so…’s a big job on the V6 model. If the covers are just seeping oil….then you might just want to keep checking and adding oil as you need it, much cheaper!!

With that mileage, I would expect to see some oil leaks and seeps, so I would not expect this engine to be totally dry and leak free and honestly you might spend a LOT of money fixing this leak and next week another leak will spring up. Oil leaks are VERY hard to stop at this mileage interval, so think hard about spending this money. If you don’t have a puddle of oil under your vehicle each day… might want to hold off on the repair and buy a case of cheap oil to top off with.

For a second opinion, you might want to ask the auto parts guys to come and listen to this noise… might have an exhaust leak under the hood, which CAN sometimes sound like lifters tapping.


Austin Davis

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Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."