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Nissan X-TRAIL Engine Problems

Are you having problems with the engine of your Nissan X-TRAIL? Let our team of motoring experts keep you up to date with all of the latest Nissan X-TRAIL engine issues & faults. We have answered all of the most frequently asked questions relating to problems with the Nissan X-TRAIL engine.

What could be causing thick exhaust smoke from my 2003 Nissan X-Trail

You can tell a lot about exhaust smoke by its colour. If it's a blue-grey colour, the smoke is probably from burnt oil. If it's black, excess fuel is probably the cause. Make sure, too, that what you're seeing is not just water vapour that is a normal part of the combustion process and will disappear as the exhaust system heats up and turns that vapour into steam (which is invisible).

But if it really is blue smoke you're seeing, it could be a case of worn out piston rings, or worn valve guides or seals. If it's black smoke, you could have a problem with injectors, the fuel pump, intake system, spark plugs, any number of sensors that control the engine's fuel:air mixture, or about a thousand other things. That fact that the smoke disappears after a while suggests that the engine is happier when it has some heat in it, but really, it shouldn't blow any smoke of any colour at all.

Vibration developing in my 2005 Nissan X-Trail

It sounds like you've tackled the obvious causes of this type of vibration. The dual-mass clutch is a prime candidate and any car with worn engine mounts can vibrate when it's running.

Digging deeper will involve ruling things out in a process of elimination. So, to start that process, does the vibration go away when the vehicle is stationary or only when it's moving? If it's the latter, you could have some kind of transmission or tail-shaft problem. Ot perhaps even a warped brake rotor or seized brake caliper.

But if the vibration is there whenever the engine is running, then you need to start to look at things like the harmonic balancer on the front of the crankshaft and whether the engine itself is actually running smoothly (regardless of where the idle is set). The stepper-motor (which controls the idle) could be faulty leading to the engine flaring between gear changes, and an engine that has a blocked exhaust, dirty air-filter or even worn spark plugs can run roughly. It could even be something like camshaft timing that has jumped a tooth, leading the engine to run poorly and contribute the bad vibrations you're feeling. Also, check the rubber drive belt that powers the alternator and power-steering pump. A worn belt or worn out tensioners and pulleys can also create problems like this. Check the power steering pump itself for signs of its seizing or jamming as it turns.

My Nissan X-Trail is making a juddering and knocking sound

You've certainly gone to some extremes to check this out, but your investigations should give you a good clue that the problem is with front axle. So, it could either be the differential that is clattering and making the car judder or, perhaps more likely, the front CV joints which allow the car to drive its front axle while also steering the vehicle. Once you take the load off the front driveshafts (by disconnecting them) the noise stops because the worn CV joints aren't taking the strain of trying to move the car, so they don't make the horrible noise.

In some cases, you can simply replace the worn out CV joints, but there's also the option of complete driveshafts (with new CV joints already fitted) that are a simpler fix if a bit more costly. You can also buy driveshafts new or reconditioned. Its sounds like you're more than skilled enough to tackle this at home.

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

Let鈥檚 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鈥檛 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鈥檚 more than this engine should consume. The fact is that all engines use some oil, but it鈥檚 usually not enough to require topping up between oil changes. But with your usage rate, you鈥檇 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鈥檚 internal parts are worn and leading to the oil being consumed.

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

I鈥檓 afraid to say, David, that it sounds like you鈥檝e prematurely ended the engine鈥檚 life. I鈥檇 say a blown head gasket is just the beginning of your woes here, and it鈥檚 likely you鈥檝e `cooked鈥 the engine; a mechanic鈥檚 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鈥檚 also common for this type of thing to have the engine more or less weld itself together, at which point it won鈥檛 even turn over on the starter motor.

You might be lucky and simply have to replace the head gasket, but even then, you鈥檇 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鈥檝e 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.

What is the best family SUV for around $20000?

While the Mitsubishi Outlander is spacious, reliable and easy to drive, our experience testing it against rival medium SUVs have found it to be noisy and a little too firm riding to be truly comfortable and relaxing. At your price point, there are better alternatives out there. 

Have you considered a Mazda CX-5? In petrol or diesel, we have found it to be a superior and more economical proposition, and is definitely quieter and more refined. Plus, the Mazda's all-wheel-drive system is more sophisticated and better at dealing with loose surfaces like sand.

A late-model (post 2014) S5-series Subaru Forester 2.5i petrol is far more economical than the earlier iterations, since it switched to a more efficient CVT continuously variable transmission. And there's also the 2.0D turbo-diesel which is economical. This, too, is a fine SUV on-road or for light off-road driving.

Finally, the Nissan X-Trail diesel is a roomy and capable choice, especially from 2017, when it received a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel to replace the older 1.6L unit.

What model X-Trail or Forester should I buy for less than $19000

We'd recommend the Nissan T32 X-Trail Series II from mid-2017-onwards and Subaru S4 Forester (2013-2018), since they both make strong secondhand buys due to their reliability, economy, ease of operation, spacious interiors, practicality and strong resale values.

The reason why we'd buy the 2017-onwards X-Trail Series II is because it standardises Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB). With the Forester, you'll need to skip the lower grades 2.0i-L (manual-only) and 2.5i-L (auto only) for the S and XT for that important safety technology Subaru calls 'EyeSight'. 

The X-Trail comes in front-wheel drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations, but the Forester is AWD-only. All automatics are of the continuous variable transmission (CVT) variety, which priorities fuel economy but can make the engine drone under hard acceleration. Subaru calls its CVT Lineartronic while Nissan dubs its version X-Tronic.

Our recommendation is to check the service and maintenance history of any car you buy, to ensure every interval has been met and carried out by a proper dealer or brand specialist. This is especially important with the Forester, as it is a slightly more complicated vehicle mechanically. Note that all Subarus of this generation require six-monthly service intervals, not 12-monthly ones like the Nissan, which might be an inconvenience. 

We'd steer clear of ex-rentals as they tend to have a very hard life (both models were popular with such agencies), though they're almost always the base X-Trail ST and Forester 2.5i-L grades that end up as rental fodder.

If you're thinking about diesel engined versions, the X-Trail in middle-range TL and up-spec TS guises switched from the earlier (2014-2017) Series 1's 1.6-litre turbo-diesel to a much more powerful and effective 2.0-litre unit, so that's worth remembering. In the Forester the 2.0D equates to the mid-level petrol models in terms of equipment levels.

Finally, we recommend a mechanical check-up to see that your potential used-buy has not been subjected to punishing off-road treatment. While both the Forester and X-Trail offer good ground clearances, they're not for off-road use, only light gravel, snow or trail driving.

We hope this helps. Good luck. 

What seven seat SUV should I buy?

There鈥檚 not much between them, but the Honda is regarded as being a little better than the Nissan overall. It鈥檚 well-equipped, good value, and practical. Another to consider is the Mazda CX-5.

 

2019 Nissan X-Trail: Fuel type

Yes, you can, providing of course it鈥檚 the petrol engine and not the diesel.

Nissan X-Trail 2015: Engine not starting straight away

It鈥檚 possible water has got into something in the engine bay when you were cleaning it, and I doubt it would come good just by driving it. Get it to a dealer or mechanic to have it checked.

Disclaimer: You acknowledge and agree that all answers are provided as a general guide only and should not be relied upon as bespoke advice. Carsguide is not liable for the accuracy of any information provided in the answers.
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