Since its debut in 1998, the Nissan Frontier has endured on the roads of many countries with little need for a major facelift between generations. But as with any vehicle, this one can also present problems. Read to the end and find out the common faults of the Nissan Frontier .
Late model years have excellent handling and ride quality, while older Frontiers are still good investments with proper care and maintenance. The Frontier also has good resale value, and the price of a good condition one will depreciate by 47% after 5 years, according to some resale sites.
How good is the Nissan Frontier?
The Nissan Frontier did well in all major reliability rankings. Hay want to classify it as the first of seven midsize truck models. The latest Frontiers also offer more miles per gallon thanks to increasingly efficient engines and transmissions.
Like most trucks, the Nissan Frontier can easily get 100,000 to 200,000 miles on its odometer. There’s even a 2007 Nissan Frontier owned by a Chicago delivery driver that surpassed a million miles. Its owner changed the oil every 10,000 miles and replaced parts before they broke.
While you’re not likely to push your truck to such extremes, you’ll be glad to know that you can keep your Frontier running for a long time with regular maintenance and service .
Common faults of the Nissan Frontier
Despite its above-average reliability ratings, the Frontier can develop several problems as we have told you before. The top three worst problems associated with Nissan Frontiers, in general, have to do with leaking transmission cooling systems that cause transmission failure at just over 100,000 miles, with high repair costs.
Here are some of the most common Nissan Frontier problems:
1- Engine problems
If you own or plan to own a 2012 or 2016 Nissan Frontier, be aware that both model years can develop engine problems, especially as they age and parts wear out.
2012 Frontier drivers have reported that their trucks sometimes suddenly accelerate despite being in Park mode. Also that these vehicles tended to accelerate uncontrollably until the engine was turned off. Other owners have complained of their Frontier’s engine shutting down randomly or producing severe vibrations while idling.
Some common 2016 Nissan Frontier failures include poor acceleration or hesitation when accelerating. In other cases, the engine may hesitate when the driver steps on the accelerator, increasing the risk of traffic accidents. One way to eliminate engine hesitation is to upgrade the electronic control system.
2- Defective airbags
The Takata airbag recall affected numerous vehicles, including the 2016 Nissan Frontier. Multiple complaints have been reported filed with NHTSA in which airbags failed to deploy during a collision.
An owner of a 2016 Frontier was in three separate accidents, but the faulty Takata airbag only deployed once. The driver said he hit the steering wheel very hard during one of the times the airbag did not activate.
On other affected Frontier trucks, the air bag warning light continued to flash even after mechanics replaced the air bags. To make things even more confusing, the airbag warning light may temporarily turn off when someone occupies the passenger seat. In those cases, the light would flash again.
3- Paint problems
While engine problems are much more serious, the 2012 Nissan Frontier is much more likely to give you paint headaches. Numerous owners have complained of peeling paint on both new and used Frontier trucks.
Paint on some new units of the 2012 Nissan Frontier may begin to peel off the hood and other body panels shortly after purchase. Meanwhile, many drivers have reported that the chipping problem only appears once the truck hits the 4 year mark.
4- Transmission failures
Nissan Frontiers from model years 2005-2008 have the most complaints. Similarly, some experts have identified Nissan Frontier transmission problems as the number one type of problem with the truck.
The radiators on the 2005-2008 Frontier tend to break down before the truck reaches 10,000 miles. When bad radiator coolant leaked into the transmission, it contaminated the transmission fluid and caused the gearbox to break down. Once the transmission failed, the engine often followed.
It is best to replace the stock radiator with a more durable component for these model years. Nissan extended warranties may cover the cost of replacing the radiator.
5- Bodywork problems
The 2012 Nissan Frontier is a great off-road vehicle that can handle exposure to the harsh elements. However, some of your body panels can rust much faster than normal and require costly replacements.
Several 2012 Frontier owners have reported severe corrosion on the pickup bed, rear passenger door, and bumper. Apparently the factory spray coating hides the signs of rust on the metal bed. When the owners noticed the bubbles in the siding, the rust created holes in the bed of the truck.
The bumper was also not chrome or coated with a layer of corrosion resistant material. It was only painted, which offered minimal protection against rust.
6- Failure of the fuel delivery unit
Another of the common 2005 Nissan Frontier failures has to do with a faulty sending unit. Many owners have reported that their gas gauge reads empty at all times despite having full tanks, making it difficult to gauge fuel levels.
The check engine light may also come on . Some drivers have turned to tracking their mileage to determine when to refuel.
In some cases, the low fuel light and service light come on once the tank is full. The gauge returns to normal after a few days, only to repeat the same process when the Frontier is refueled.
This issue affected later models as well, and Nissan issued a recall for 2006-2008 models to address the issue. However, since the recall does not cover 2005 Frontiers, most owners of this model had to replace the defective part themselves.