Nissan Maintenance – Frequently Asked Questions

There’s a lot to know about vehicle maintenance – just ask a Nissan dealer. They field questions about the maintenance and service of Nissan vehicles. If you’re looking for answers, here are the responses to the questions they hear most often.

General

Q: When should I have vehicle maintenance performed?

A: Your vehicle’s maintenance needs vary according to mileage and driving conditions. Please refer to our Maintenance Schedule for more details, or speak to one of your Nissan dealer’s trained experts.

Q: How can I help maximize my fuel economy?

A:

  • Make sure tires are properly inflated to Nissan’s recommendations. The best way to determine the correct pressure is to refer to your owner’s manual or the label on the driver’s side door sill.
  • At highway speed, drive with your windows closed. Even with the air conditioner running, the fuel savings are significant.
  • Use your cruise control when conditions permit.
  • Replace your vehicle's air filter more frequently if you drive in dusty conditions.
  • Have the spark plugs inspected and/or replaced at the recommended service intervals.
  • Don't let your vehicle idle excessively during warm-up or when using your remote starter.

Q: What is a drive belt, and why does it need replacement?

A: Drive belts, once called fan belts or alternator belts, play an essential role in the operation of the engine. While the engine is running, power is transmitted through one or more drive belts to a number of vital external engine components. Among the systems that depend on drive belts for power are the alternator, which supplies the entire vehicle with its electrical requirements, and the power steering pump, which provides power assist to the steering system. Should a drive belt fail, these systems will cease to function and the steering will immediately become stiff. A warning light on the instrument panel immediately alerts the driver about the failure and the vehicle can still be safely driven for a short period of time. It is recommended that you contact your Nissan Dealership immediately to arrange for the installation of a Genuine Nissan Drive Belt.

Battery and Electrical Systems

Q: What kind of preventative maintenance can I perform for my battery?

A: Typical car or truck batteries require no special preventative maintenance. The best thing you can do to help prolong battery life is to turn off all accessories (radio, blower fan, etc.) before switching off the ignition. That way there is less drain on the battery upon startup. Your Nissan dealership can perform a test on your battery to determine its health. This helps to monitor the status of the battery and hopefully avoid a situation where your vehicle won’t start.

Q: What are the main causes of battery failure?

A: Batteries wear out over time, but there are also issues that impact battery failure, for example, unusual “parasitic drains” such as adding accessories but not properly grounding them, infrequent startup, and prolonged exposure to excessive heat or cold.

Q: Do I need to charge my battery after I jump-start my vehicle?

A: In most instances, normal driving will recharge the battery unless there is an issue with the vehicle. If your vehicle does not start after driving it, it’s recommended that you take your vehicle to your Nissan dealer to have a diagnosis performed.

Brakes

Q: How do I know when I need new brake pads?

A: Brake pads are equipped with wear indicators that produce a squeaking noise when the brakes are almost worn out. The noise may be present with or without the brake pedal applied, but when noise is heard from the wear indicator, the brake pads should be replaced as soon as possible. Wear indicators are set to create noise when there is around 2 mm of brake pad friction material thickness remaining. In the case of assessing pad wear through inspection, pads should be replaced at or before 2 mm thickness is reached.

Q: How do I know when I need new brake rotors?

A: Brake rotors are marked with a “minimum thickness” on the casting (usually 2 mm to 3 mm less than the new rotor thickness). Rotors should be replaced before they reach this minimum thickness and should not be “turned” (machine refinished) below this.

Q: Must I always turn or replace my rotors when changing my pads?

A: No. If there are no conditions such as pedal pulsation or steering-wheel vibration during braking, and the brake rotor is at least 1 mm thicker than the discard thickness, then it does not need to be turned or replaced.

Q: Why does my brake pedal pulse?

A: Brake-pedal pulsation and other conditions such as steering-wheel shaking while braking are caused by thickness variation in the brake rotor. When a thicker spot of the rotor rotates through the caliper, it pushes back against brake fluid, which can be felt at the brake pedal. The brake fluid and pedal then relax again as the thick spot exits the caliper. This process produces pedal pulsation and “brake torque variation,” which can shake the steering wheel and seats. Brake pulsation is not caused by warping of the disc. However, distortion of the disc due to excessive temperatures or improper installation and torqueing of the wheels can lead to brake rotor thickness variation over time. Brake-pedal pulsation is corrected by turning and/or replacing the brake rotors to eliminate the thickness variation.

Q: Why do I hear a noise when I apply the brakes?

A: Depending on driving conditions, a certain amount of brake noise is normal. However, brake noise is often an indicator of potential problems and should be assessed as soon as possible. All Nissan brake pads have a sensor that makes a high-pitched squeal when the brake friction materials are nearing the end of their life span. If this squeal is heard, it is recommended that you make arrangements with your Nissan Dealership to have the vehicle's brake system thoroughly inspected. Nissan recommends that you have your brakes inspected at least every 6 months.

Q: Do metallic brake pads shorten rotor life?

A: Yes. Pads with higher metal content will tend to operate with more abrasive friction, where hard metal particles in the pad interact directly with the brake rotor surface. Use of metallic pads will create more brake dust and will shorten the rotor life. Non-asbestos organic pads (also known as ceramic pads) develop a transfer film, a layer of material on the pad and rotor surface that acts as a cushion (at a microscopic scale) between the pad and rotor, protecting both from abrasive interaction that causes wear.

Q: My brake pads are very dusty. Are all pads dusty?

A: Brake dust can occur to some extent on most brake systems, but it is significantly more noticeable with metallic pads and on high-performance brake systems. Brake dust is a mix of debris from the brake rotor, which is the most significant component, and debris from the brake pads. Pad materials that wear the rotor more aggressively will cause more dust.

Q: Are all brake rotors the same?

A: No. There are often significant differences between Genuine Nissan and aftermarket brake rotors. While brake rotors designed to fit the same vehicle will often be similar in appearance and dimensions, there can be differences in internal cooling vane design, thickness of the brake plates (against which the brake pad rubs), and the grade and material specification of the cast iron. For Genuine Nissan brake rotors, significant analysis and testing goes into determining the right geometry to minimize thermal distortion and squeal noise and to maximize cooling. Similar rigour is put into the material selection, which also affects the risk of squeal noise, as well as friction and wear properties.

Engine Oil, Filters and Lubrication

Q: What do I need to do when my “Change Engine Oil Soon” message or icon displays?

A: When the “Change Engine Oil Soon” message displays, oil change service is necessary for the vehicle as soon as possible. Regardless of whether the message appears, the oil and filter must be changed at least every 4 months and 6,000 kms for vehicles of model year 2013 and older and every 6 months and 8,000 kms for 2014 and newer vehicles. Your Nissan dealer will perform this work and reset the system.

Q: Why do you need to replace the oil filter with every oil change?

A: Modern engine oils do more than lubricate; they help remove harmful engine deposits and contaminants as you drive. The oil suspends these contaminants and carries them to the oil filter where they are trapped and held. Eventually, the oil filter becomes saturated with these contaminants and its filtering capability is significantly reduced. If the oil filter is not replaced at the recommended intervals, contaminated oil will continue to flow through the engine and cause excessive wear, which will reduce performance and ultimately shorten the life of the engine. We recommend always choosing a Genuine Nissan Oil Filter for optimum engine performance.

Q: How can I be sure to get the correct type of oil for my vehicle?

A: Consult your vehicle owner’s manual or visit your Nissan dealer to be sure you get the proper oil for your vehicle.

Q: What is Nissan Genuine Oil? Why does Nissan recommend this for my car?

A: For MY 2017, Genuine Nissan Motor Oil 0W-20 is recommended and is the factory fill on most models. With today’s engines and technology the proper grade of oil is essential to obtaining maximum performance and customer satisfaction. Failure to use Genuine Nissan Motor Oil 0W-20, where recommended, could result in serious engine damage. Nissan Genuine 0W-20 oil is also approved for use in place of 5W-30 viscosity oil. Therefore, for warranty purposes Nissan Genuine 0W-20 oil is an approved alternative and is recommended to be used.

Q: What are the benefits of using synthetic oil?

A: Synthetic oil provides protection beyond conventional oil products and in many cases is the factory fill and recommended oil for Nissan vehicles. It helps extend engine life, protects against sludge, engine rust and corrosion while allowing easy starting and rapid oil circulation during cold starts to protect critical parts.

Q: How often should I change the oil when using synthetic oil?

A:We recommend that you follow the oil change frequencies shown in your owner’s manual. When using Genuine Nissan Motor Oil 0W-20, you can have the confidence to go the full mileage or time frame recommended in the owner’s manual.

Q: Can I use synthetic oil in older vehicles with high mileage?

A: Yes, synthetic 0W-20 motor oil is effective in all engines of any age or mileage requiring an SAE 0W-20 or 5W-20 grade.

Q: If I use conventional motor oils, can I switch to synthetic oils? And if I start to use a synthetic, can I switch back to using a conventional?

Please consult your owners manual for the minimum oil required for your vehicle. You may be able to switch between High-performance synthetic motor oils like Genuine Nissan Motor Oil 0W-20 and Mobil 1™ 0W-20 and conventional motor oils for all engines requiring an SAE 0W-20 or 5W-30 grade.

Q: Do Genuine Nissan branded and Mobil™ motor oils come with warranties?

A: Each Genuine Nissan branded and Mobil motor oil is supported by a limited warranty.* Protection starts with first use and lasts as long as you own your car and use Mobil and Genuine Nissan branded motor oil.

Q: Do you need to allow a break-in period before using synthetic oil in a new vehicle?

A: This is a common myth. The truth is that no break-in period is required. Synthetic motor oils can be used in new vehicles starting at any time. Most new model Nissan vehicles are filled at the factory with synthetic oils.

Q: Which synthetic oil should I use with my Nissan?

A: This compatibility table provides detail by model and year. Your Nissan Dealer carries both Genuine Nissan Motor Oil 0W-20 and Mobil 1™ 0W-20.

Tires

Q: When should I get the tires on my vehicle rotated?

A: Owners are advised to see their dealer for a tire rotation every 8000 kilometres or every six months – whichever comes first (all models except 370Z).

Q: Why is tire rotation so important?

A: Tires in different positions on a vehicle perform different tasks. Regular rotation helps tires to wear evenly, maximizes tread life and tires can be replaced in sets of four, which is preferable.

Q: Is it OK to rotate my tires earlier than 8,000 kilometres?

A: Yes, particularly if you notice signs of tire wear.

Q: Why is tire pressure important?

A: Proper tire inflation helps prevent accelerated wear that leads to premature tire replacement and has an important safety aspect as well. Tires that are driven under-inflated generate excessively high heat levels that can weaken the tire to the point of failure. At high speed, a rapidly deflating tire can cause loss of vehicle control. An overinflated tire will result in harsh ride quality and will cause uneven tire wear.

Q: How often should I check my tire pressure?

A: Checking your tire pressure once a month is a best practice. Be sure the tires are cold (resting for at least three hours or driven less than one kilometre), and don’t forget to check your spare tire. You should always use a good-quality tire gauge to check pressure–don’t ever try to “eyeball” tires because they can look fine even when they are underinflated. Remember that tires can lose air pressure in cold weather.

Q: How will I know when I need new tires?

A: When your tread has a depth of less than 1.5 mm (1/16 in.), it’s time for new tires. The best measure is to use a tire tread depth gauge. There are a number of additional indicators that will tell you when you are ready for new tires. You’ll definitely need new tires if the tread wear indicators –called wear bars–appear. These wear bars look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread and appear when it’s time to replace the tires. You should replace the tires if you can see three or more tread-wear indicators around the tire. Urgent indicators of tire wear include:

  • cord or fabric showing through the rubber;
  • cracks or cuts in the tread or sidewall deep enough to show cord or fabric;
  • bulges or splits in the tire;
  • punctures or damage that cannot be repaired correctly.

If you have questions about whether your tires need replacing, see your Nissan dealer for helpful advice, expert guidance and a full selection of replacement tires.

Q: There are a lot of places that sell tires. Where should I go to get the right tires for my car at the right price?

A: Your Nissan dealer can recommend tires that are right for your vehicle, your driving habits, and your budget. Nissan offers a wide selection of tire brands. With our Price Assurance Guarantee, you can confidently look no further. Learn more about the Nissan Tire Advantage.

Wiper Blades

Q: How do I know when my wiper blades need to be changed?

A: A wiper blade’s natural rubber deteriorates after about six months, which is why it’s recommended that you replace your blades on a semi-annual basis. Streaking, squeaking, chattering, skipping, cracks, tears, splits, bent or broken frame, worn rubber, and rounded wiping edge are some common signs that your blades need to be changed.

Q: Even though one of my wiper blades is more worn than the other, should I replace both of my wiper blades?

A: Yes, it is recommended that you replace both. This will ensure your windshield is clear and help provide a safer view when driving. 

Q: Is there anything I can do to make my blades last longer?

A: The biggest enemy of wiper blades is exposure to sunlight and ozone. There is little that can be done to reduce ozone exposure, but limiting the amount of time your blades are exposed to direct sunlight will help prolong the life of the wiper blade. Clean your windshield and the rubber element of your wiper regularly. Use an ice scraper and defroster to clear ice from your windshield, not your wipers. Pull your wipers away from the windshield in winter to prevent ice buildup from sticking to the windshield.

Q: What can be used to clean wiper blades?

A: It is recommended to use hot, soapy water or another nonabrasive liquid.

Q: Why is my wiper blade streaking?

A: Streaking is caused by worn blades. A blade’s natural rubber deteriorates after about six months.

Q: How easy it is to replace wipers?

A: Wiper replacement is easy, and instructions are typically included with your wipers or can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Your Nissan dealer offers the right blades for your vehicle and can install them for you.

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More questions? Your Nissan dealer will have the answers.

Contact your Nissan Dealer

*Some restrictions apply. For more details, see the Imperial Ultimate Lubrication Warranty.