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Rob's Garage

Am I driving a car or a wristwatch? Add to ...

Dear Rob,

I am experiencing the following problem/annoyance: Each time my vehicle comes to a complete stop, there is a ticking/clicking noise emanating from around the area of the console/shifter.

I have contacted Nissan and they say that this is normal and related to a solenoid which is activated, when downshifting and braking.

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If this is normal, I don't comprehend, as this just recently began. In your opinion can this be rectified? Hoping you can help,

Doug Wise

Doug, I'm with ya, I hate it when things don't behave the way they should. So it pains me to tell you that the Nissan guys are right.

What you're listening to is the shifter lock-out solenoid - and you know what? Judging by the number of forum posts, you're lucky to be hearing yours, as there is quite the kerfuffle out there talking about these solenoids failing and NOT clicking.

Every car built with an automatic transmission has one of these solenoids in response to children and careless people placing the shifter into gear unknowingly.

What's interesting is your comment that you have only just started to hear this ticking sound. As this is a Nissan and not a Timex, I can only suggest that you are sensitive to this now that you've heard it. I'm the same way. The phenomenon is similar to noticing cars. It never fails; if you focus on a car for whatever reason - either you've just purchased it, or you lust after a certain car - you suddenly notice them all over the place. My wife is interested in a Mazda3 Sport. Now all she sees on the roads are Mazda3 Sports … go figure.

The only other thing I can think of is that the solenoid could be getting noisier as it ages, which is somewhat common.

So Doug, it might be time to enact Plan B and that is: Turn up the radio.

E-mail Rob your car maintenance problems at globedrive@globeandmail.com


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