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Nissan Called to Extend Juke and Maxima Warranties

Automaker is aware of issues, but it can do more

Published: September 29, 2014 11:00 AM
Photo: Nissan

All automakers issue technical service bulletins and warranty extensions every year. TSBs are typically non-safety-related issues, and the customer may or may not have to pay for the any repair work due to faulty components. But if an issue affects a broad enough spectrum of vehicles, the automaker may decide that the TSB should be expanded into an extension of the vehicle warranty.

Two problems that fall into this category involve engines in the Nissan Maxima sedan and the Juke small SUV.

Photo: Nissan

Nissan has informed its dealers through a service bulletin that 2009-14 Maximas may need an updated No. 1 main bearing due to a knocking noise, which is only evident at idle after the engine warms up.

The main bearings are an integral part of an engine; they are bearings on which the engine’s crankshaft rotates. If a main bearing is not functioning properly, the engine could run rough.

Nissan claims that the “incident rate has been very small to date,” and that the company “has no data to indicate there is a related durability concern for the Maxima or other VQ-powered models.”

"VQ" is Nissan's internal code for the V6 engine that powers many of its larger vehicles.

For the Juke, the timing chain of some 2011-13 models produced between March 2010 and November 2012 has been identified as problematic by Nissan. If a timing chain is not working properly, the engine will run rough. If a timing chain breaks, it can cause severe engine damage.

Nissan has addressed the two issues to a certain extent. For the Maxima, Nissan will cover this major engine repair under the five-year/60,000-mile warranty. But if customers aren't aware of this knocking noise, and/or ignore it, and the engine fails outside the warranty period, then they will be on the hook for a very expensive repair. Nissan has stated that it has no plan to extend this warranty.

Check out our road tests of the Nissan Juke and Nissan Maxima.

Consumer Reports thinks Nissan should issue an extended warranty for this problem, particularly to protect owners of 2011-12 Maximas who may be running up against the age and/or mileage limitations.

For the Juke, Nissan has issued a voluntary service campaign and will replace the timing chain and related parts for those models at dealerships, free of charge. While the campaign is valid through Oct. 30, 2015, we are urging Nissan to extend the warranty for the engine if the chain fails after that date or if consumers experience any related engine problems. The company advises that it “will send second reminders in January to owners who have not visited a dealer for this repair in the first nine months.”

Consumer Reports’ testing did not disclose these problems. It was Nissan that acknowledged the issues with these models. We appreciate that Nissan has begun to address these engine issues, but the company could go further to minimize the potential negative effect on consumers. We urge Nissan to extend coverage for the two problems that the company formally acknowledges in the form of these TSBs and warranty extensions.

Owners can go to NissanAssist.com to learn about existing warranty extensions.

Check for recalls on your car at consumerreports.org/carrecalls.

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