Common Engine Problems

  1. Coolant Leaks Destroy Transmissions

    Automatic transmissions in certain 2005-2010 Nissan SUVs and Trucks are under attack from their radiators. Leaking coolant is mixing with transmission fluid through the cooler lines to create a toxic hell stew that irreversibly damages ever…

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  2. Timing Chain Defects

    Nissan says their timing chains are just noisy, but not defective. Try telling that to the owners who have seen loose timing chains rattled their engines apart, resulting in thousands of dollars in damages.

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Where Engine Complaints Happen

Sometimes it helps just to tally up the complaints and see where the biggest stacks are. Use this information to learn about troublespots or to run for the hills.

Recent Engines News

There's a lot of news out there, but not all of it matters. We try to boil down it to the most important bits about things that actually help you with your car problem. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts over at CarComplaints.com.

  1. Certain Nissan vehicles are shutting themselves off while driving

    thanks to busted ball springs in the ignition switch, with a hearty assist from heavy keychains.

    In August 2017, the ignition switch supplier (Alpha Technology Corp.) told Nissan a problem occurred during manufacturing of the ignition switch ball springs. New tests were created for the ignition switches and how they would function on rough roads during vibrations of the vehicles.

    Tests concluded that those ball springs are giving out way too early. And without springs to support the weight of heavy key chains bouncing around on bumpy roads, the ignition is slipping itself from the “on” to “accessory” position.

    To make sure drivers don’t suddenly find themselves cruising down the highway with their radios on and their engines off, Nissan is recalling over 150,000 vehicles.

    If this all sounds familiar you might be thinking of Chevrolet’s long nightmare with faulty ignition switches. In fact, maybe now is a good time to mention the Chevrolet City Express has found its way into an otherwise all Nissan lineup of recalled vehicles. Seems like more than a coincidence.

    The one key difference is that Nissan’s airbag systems have an electrical capacity reserve, which means they should still stay on even with the ignition in the “accessory” position. Chevy owners weren’t so lucky.

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  2. West-coast Nissan owners may soon be getting reimbursed for timing chain repairs thanks to a recent settlement.

    Under the settlement, affected owners and lessees are entitled to partial reimbursement for money spent in connection with the diagnosis of, repair to, or replacement of the primary or secondary timing chain systems or components.…

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  3. Nissan owners are tired of their timing chains whining, buzzing, ticking, and knocking their engines apart.

    In the case of Kobe Falco, et. al., v. Nissan North America, Inc., and Nissan Motor Company, LTD., the plaintiffs say they were forced to pay for expensive timing chain repairs which happened to fall ever-so-conveniently just outside of Nissan's warranty period. Earlier this year, the class-action was certified by a judge.

    So now Nissan has brought together their best engineers and a top-notch legal team to come up with their defense –– ok, our timing chains are noisy, but they're not a safety defect.

    From CarComplaints.com:

    "According to the automaker, there has never been anything defective about the timing chain systems and the most that owners can show is that the timing chains make noise, not that the systems are a safety risk. Nissan says the plaintiffs admit no crashes are attributed to the timing chains, even though the majority of the vehicles have been in service more than 10 years."

    So the case will attempt to answer are Nissan's timing chains just loud and annoying? Or are they loud, annoying, and potentially dangerous?

    The vehicles named in the suit all use the same uniform timing chain system: the 2004-2008 Maxima, 2004-2009 Quest, 2004-2006 Altima (VQ35 engine), 2005-2007 Pathfinder, 2004-2007 Xterra, and the 2005-2007 Frontier (VQ49 engine).

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  4. Certain Nissan vehicles have a defective cracked radiator that leaks coolant into the transmission fluid, creating a toxic hell stew

    that kills the transmission entirely. If it hasn't happened to you, you've probably at least heard of it. And if you haven't heard of it, well ... I'm sorry to be the bearer of some really bad news.

    Unfortunately, the news gets worse. There were high hopes that the government would open an investigation that would lead to a recall, but we now know that ain't going to happen.…

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  5. Nissan is recalling 2016 Sentras that stall while driving.

    Of course, that won't be a problem for some of you since many of the same Sentras can't start at all. Nissan says in April the automaker discovered a Sentra that wouldn't start during an inspection at the assembly plant. The automaker opened an investigation which showed a problem with a harness terminal pin.

    The recalled Sentras were built between April 11, 2016 and April 26, 2016.

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  6. More than 1,500 Sentras have an engine harness that can lose its connection to the electronic control unit (ECU).

    As any cable company tech representative would tell you on the phone _have you tried plugging it back in again?

    "The engine room harness supplier, Yazaki, identified an oversized diameter continuity check pin had caused a permanent change of the shape of one of the harness terminal pins. The shape of the pin was too large to maintain a connection to the engine control unit, resulting in a poor connection."

    The recalled Sentras were built between 4/11/2016 and 04/26/2016.

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  7. The North Carolina Consumers Council (NCCC) recommends that no-one buy a 2005-2010 Nissan Pathfinder, Frontier, or Xterra.

    That would have been very helpful advice, say, 5 or 10 years ago. Next they might tell us the sun is very bright and they recommend not looking directly at it.

    The radiators in these vehicles --- as most of you know by now --- are ticking time-bombs. They leak coolant into the transmission, killing it.…

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  8. A ti

    ing chain lawsuit filed in New York accuses Nissan of manufacturing defective timing chain systems, with issues in the chain tensioner, guides, and shoes. Five lead plaintiffs claim the Nissan vehicles have timing chain systems prone to early failure that can cause a huge expense for repairs. The plaintiffs claim failure of the timing chain can cause extensive damage to the car, including to the catalytic converter and destruction of the engine.

    The class-action is currently only for current and former Nissan owners (and lessees) who live in New York, Florida, Maryland, and New Jersey. However, this could lay the groundwork for other states.

    Loose and busted timing chains are a longtime nightmare for many 2004-2010 Nissan owners. When not properly tensioned, timing chains can cause everything from engine rattles, to misfiring, and eventually catastrophic engine failure.

    The lawsuit alleges that Nissan has known about the issue since at least 2004 when they issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) to their dealerships. Additionally, the automaker is accused of ignoring the defect until the systems fall out of the warranty period.

    The plaintiffs in Vincent Chiarelli, Philip Dragonetti, Michele Maszon, Todd Maszon and Chris Santimauro vs. Nissan North America Inc. and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. are represented by Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C.

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  9. Nissan is asking Juke owners to bring their vehicles in for a repair, they're just not calling it a recall.

    104,439 vehicles from the 2011-2013 model years need to have a loose timing chain, chain guide and crank sprocket replaced.

    The repairs will be done for free (like a recall) and affected owners will be notified by the mail (like a recall), but because the defect isn't a safety issue yet Nissan can get away with calling it a "voluntary service campaign". Which just sounds like a fancy term for ... oh, never-mind.

    Juke owners with questions can call Nissan at 800-647-7261.

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  10. Last October, Nissan extended their radiator warranty for what they called a “small percentage” of vehicles that may experience issues with coolant leaks.

    Namely, how those coolant leaks seep into the transmission and render it useless.

    While the automaker has offered an extended warranty for the radiators, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other safety organizations have received numerous complaints from owners alleging they have spent thousands of dollars for transmission repairs because the added radiator warranty coverage only applied to vehicles with fewer than 80,000 miles.

    That “small percentage” appears to be on the rise, as this problem regularly tops the CarComplaints.com trending problems list.

    Because it’s an extended warranty, and not a recall, Nissan isn’t obligated to tell owners about it. And, for those who know, it isn’t exactly clear if the radiator warranty extension covers damage done to the transmission by the leaking coolant.

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