Problems with the Nissan X-Trail

Nissan has a good reputation for reliability and when the X-Trail first came on the market it was received enthusiastically by buyers who were looking for a four-wheel-drive vehicle with plenty of room inside, at a reasonable price, and with good reliability. They certainly received the first few benefits; reliability however has fallen short of what we have come to expect from Japanese manufacturers.

Engine management sensors

Quality control problems became apparent right from the start when owners began complain about the diesel engine stalling. This file was traced to the engine management sensors; specifically the crank angle sensor; this caused jerkiness, loss of power and the engine cutting out completely on occasions. The problem was rectified towards the end of 2002.

Camshaft problems

Another issue during this period concerned the camshaft. Wear on the tensioner allowed it to jam which led to not only engine issues but also problems with the brakes.

Bodywork issues

Specifically; complaints were voiced about the bonnet. In a number of cases, this vibrated loose and the subsequent damage necessitated costly re-spraying.

Steering problems

Of far more concerned was an early fault with the steering shafts. These would first become noisy and loose; in some cases the steering failed completely. This was eventually traced to the power steering system; a number of vehicles were fitted with incorrect heat sink systems

Airbag issues

Another serious issue was a problem with airbag inflation in the event of a crash; the rate at which some of them inflated was excessive and in a number of cases this actually caused metal fragments to be discharged.

Fuel leaks

Corrosion is a problem of the past in most modern cars but not so in the early X-Trails! Rusting of the filler to to the petrol tank caused perforations; the result was that when the tank was filled up, fuel leakages occurred which were difficult to diagnose.


Diesel engine turbochargers have been known to fail, causing a lack of power and incorrect combustion. Repair bills for this particular fault can be extremely high.

Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs)

The purpose of the DPF is to remove particles of soot from a vehicles exhaust gases. Very many cases of blockages of these filters, which could lead to very expensive repairs (or even total destruction of the engine) if left unattended. The main cause of these blockages is short, gentle journeys typical of in town usage, and the ideal answer (although completely unrealistic for many) would be to intersperse these with fast motorway driving.

Electronics faults

There have been reports of problems with in car entertainment systems and electrical windows. Whilst these issues are not usually of major importance they can be both irritating and costly to fix.

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