Nissan X-Trail Problems

No car is perfect, but we've gathered everything relating to the Nissan X-Trail reliability here to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

Can I tow a 1478kg (ATM) caravan with my Nissan X-Trail 2017 4x4 2.5L Petrol Automatic?

Answered by CarsGuide 6 Dec 2021

Your vehicle has an official braked-trailer towing limit of 1500kg, so with the caravan at its maximum weight (the Aggregate Trailer Mass of 1478kg you’ve quoted) the answer is a technical yes. However, being so close to the maximum allowed towing mass means you’ll really be right on the limit of what’s safe and legal.

That, of course, is if you run the caravan at or near that ATM, which is the mass of the total towed load including water tanks and luggage. If you tow the van with empty water tanks and nothing inside it, it’s weight should be well shy of that ATM number. At which point, you’re looking a whole lot better.

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How much would it cost to convert my 2003 Nissan X-trail to electric?

Answered by CarsGuide 7 Nov 2021

There’s no simple answer to this as the final cost will depend on how much performance and battery range you wish to engineer into the car. That said, the basic cost of a kit to convert a conventional car to run on electricity is somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000, but that includes only the very basics. Neither does that figure include the cost of the battery-packs that you’ll also need, so the cost will only go up from that figure. All engineering sign-offs would add dollars to the final tally, too.

Converting petrol cars to run as EVs is a real trend right now, but if you look at the types of cars being converted, there’s a common theme running through them: The majority of conversion candidates are older, simpler cars with none of the safety systems that a 2003 Nissan X-Trail has as standard. It’s much easier, for instance, to convert a car with no air-bags, no anti-lock brakes and no stability control. If the car in question lacks power-assisted brakes and power-steering, even better. 

This is not to say that the conversion can’t be done, but it’s much simpler – and cheaper – to convert something old-school (like an air-cooled Volkswagen) than converting your relatively modern Nissan. You’d need to ensure that the car’s anti-lock brakes and air-bags (and everything else) still worked and then be able to prove that to an engineer before the car could be legally registered and driven on public roads.

What you’d end up with would be a Nissan X-Trail that represented maybe $50,000 and still only had 150km of range between recharges. Those numbers simply don’t add up when you can buy a second-hand EV – a Nissan Leaf, for instance – for comfortably less than $20,000; a car that is already legal to register and drive. 

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Why does my 2018 Nissan X-Trail make a rattle noise when I have my foot on the brake?

Answered by CarsGuide 22 Oct 2021

It sounds as though something is loose in the transmission and is vibrating (the noise you hear) when the brakes are applied and the load is taken off the transmission. Then, when the brakes are released, the load reapplies to the transmission (as the car begins to creep forward) and whatever is rattling is suddenly under load again and stops making the noise.

This could be down to something in the transmission itself, and if that’s the case, could be a worn torque converter. This is the component that actually turns the engine’s power into a force that drives the transmission and, eventually, the wheels. Inside the torque converter is a series of vanes. If one of these is loose or damaged, a rattle can be the result.

However, before you rush to that conclusion, have a good look under the car. There’s every chance the noise is a simple case of a heat shield, bash-plate or even part of the exhaust system rattling at a particular engine frequency. When you take your foot off the brake and the car starts to move, the engine revs change, the vibration frequency changes at the same time, and whatever it is stops rattling. An internally broken catalytic converter is also a prime suspect for producing a rattle at certain vibration frequencies.

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What car should I buy to tow a trailer?

Answered by CarsGuide 11 Oct 2021

While turbo-diesels aren’t perfect for everybody, when it comes to towing trailers, they do a pretty impressive job. The combination of a torquey diesel engine with an automatic transmission is a pretty handy one when you have a decent sized trailer hooked up. The caveat with a modern diesel, however, is that if most of your driving is urban running about, then the diesel is probably not for you. That’s because the emissions system on a modern diesel (the particulate filter) needs regular longer runs at freeway speeds to avoid giving trouble. But if, as you say, you tow a trailer often, then that should provide the load on the engine the diesel requires to remain trouble-free.

The good news is that the dominance of the SUV right now means that just about every car-maker has a mid-sized SUV in its showrooms right now. So really, you’re spoiled for choice. I’m not surprised the X-Trail is found a bit wanting at times; even brand-new, that version of the petrol-engined X-Trail could feel a bit underdone. You’ll be amazed at how good newer vehicles have become.

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How can I fix a faulty clock spring in a 2012 Nissan X-Trail?

Answered by CarsGuide 15 Apr 2021

The clock-spring is the electrical linkage that connects the driver’s air-bag and everything else that lives on the steering wheel (cruise-control, stereo controls and more in a modern vehicle) with the rest of the car. The clock-spring is needed to allow the steering wheel to turn while maintaining those electrical contacts.

It’s quite a common thing to have to replace and will probably cost a few hundred dollars to have a workshop do the job.

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Nissan X-Trail diesel problems

Answered by CarsGuide 10 Mar 2021

The biggest complaint from owners of the earlier X-Trail turbo-diesel was a lack of low-down torque which gave the car a lazy feel when accelerating from rest. Nissan actually issued a Technical Service Bulletin (like a recall, but for a non-safety related issue) to reflash the turbo-diesel’s computer to increase boost pressure at low revs and give the car a livelier feel.

But like many modern turbo-diesels, the X-Trail has also been the victim of Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) problems where the engine never gets hot enough to cause the DPF to self-regenerate. The bottom line is that if you don’t drive the car at freeway speeds for at least 20 minutes once every few weeks, you could be setting the DPF up to fail. Replacing the DPF is a costly business, too, so make sure that your intended use for the vehicle fits with its mechanical requirements.

A diesel engine is also often more costly to own and maintain thanks to higher-cost, more frequent servicing that can easily offset the diesel’s lower fuel consumption compared with a petrol engine. Urban owners are drifting away from diesel powerplants and back to petrol engines, and that, frankly, makes a lot of sense.

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My 2002 Nissan X-Trail 2002 is struggling to change gears

Answered by CarsGuide 8 Feb 2021

You could be right in presuming that the clutch is not fully disengaging as this will definitely cause gear-selection problems. If the clutch is worn or has broken components inside, then it can be impossible to make it fully disengage, and choosing gears – particularly from a standing start – can be difficult if not impossible. At that point, presuming the clutch is adjusted properly (and your car uses hydraulic clutch actuation, so there’s not really any adjustment in it) a replacement clutch is the only real fix.

But don’t rule out a problem with the mechanism that actually selects the gears and links the gear-shifter to the gearbox proper. In some cars this is a cable, in others it’s a set of linkages, but either set-up can become maladjusted and cause shifting problems.

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Does the Nissan X-Trail 2019 come in 1.6 diesel with an automatic gearbox?

Answered by CarsGuide 21 Jan 2021

No, it doesn’t. Nissan dropped the 1.6-litre turbo-diesel with the facelift in 2017, replacing g it with a two-litre unit that was both more powerful (96kW plays 130kW) and had more torque (320NM versus 380). Beyond those numbers, the progress was a bit harder to see as the later, two-litre engine used quite a bit more fuel (7.4 litres per 100km against 5.3 litres for the 1.6-litre engine) and was only available as an all-wheel-drive vehicle and with a six-speed manual transmission. The earlier, 1.6-litre X-Trail was available with a CVT transmission (two-pedal operation) but if you chose that transmission, the vehicle was front-wheel-drive only.

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Why is my 2012 Nissan X-Trail using a lot of oil?

Answered by CarsGuide 15 Sep 2020

Let’s start with the black exhaust pipe. All cars that run on unleaded petrol have a sooty black exhaust. The soot will be thicker if the car isn’t tuned properly, but really, the blackness is just a by-product of burning ULP.

Your oil use of about a litre every 1500km is getting towards the top of what is acceptable. Even then, it’s more than this engine should consume. The fact is that all engines use some oil, but it’s usually not enough to require topping up between oil changes. But with your usage rate, you’d need to keep a close eye on the dipstick.

The oil is clearly going somewhere, so check on the ground under where the car is parked each night and look for a pool of oil that suggests the problem is an external leak rather than internal engine wear. From there, have a workshop conduct a compression and leak-down test. The results of this will tell you if the engine’s internal parts are worn and leading to the oil being consumed.

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What caused my 2006 Nissan X-Trail to overheat and lose compression?

Answered by CarsGuide 15 Sep 2020

I’m afraid to say, David, that it sounds like you’ve prematurely ended the engine’s life. I’d say a blown head gasket is just the beginning of your woes here, and it’s likely you’ve `cooked’ the engine; a mechanic’s description for getting the engine so hot inside that the piston rings have lost tension (hence no compression) or parts of the engine have even melted internally, with obvious results. It’s also common for this type of thing to have the engine more or less weld itself together, at which point it won’t even turn over on the starter motor.

You might be lucky and simply have to replace the head gasket, but even then, you’d be wise to have the cylinder head checked for straightness. If the cylinder head is warped (as a result of the heat) then you might need a new one, at which point you might find the cost of repairs suddenly goes beyond the actual value of a 2006 X-Trail. The moral of the story is to keep an eye on the temperature gauge and not to ignore the first signs of the engine beginning to run hot. Pulling up to add water after the thing has overheated is a classic case of shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.

If you do wish to keep the car, my advice would be - once you’ve established the extent of the carnage - to find a good second-hand engine from a wrecked X-Trail and have that fitted. It would almost certainly be the cheaper option in the long run.

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