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17 Expensive Problems Of A Nissan Murano

17 Expensive Problems Of A Nissan Murano

What kind of problems does a 2nd or 3rd generation Nissan Murano typically have? In this article, we’ve outlined all the most important things you should watch for when you’re in the market for a Nissan Murano. However, let’s first start with a quick summary:

Most commonly, the Nissan Murano has had problems with the CVT transmission in the 2014 – present-day models resulting in low RPMs, shuddering and poor accelerations. Furthermore the Murano has had recalls for brake fluid leaks causing increased fire risk & short-circuiting, detached power steering hoses, and several airbag problems.

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. In the rest of the article, we’ll discuss every problem in detail. Furthermore, we’ll let you know how to identify it, fix it and how much it costs to fix. Read on!

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1. Transmission Problems

Nissan’s unfortunate saga of unreliable transmissions continued with the 3rd generation Nissan Murano (from 2014 onwards). The Murano comes with a 3-liter V6 engine with continuous variable transmissions (CVT). CVT ensures that the car automatically transitions between different gear ratios compared to fixed ratios in traditional automatic cars. This should ideally give the driver a seamless driving experience in various driving conditions.

However, in the case of the Nissan Murano, the users complain that the car shudders at low RPMs and the gears do not engage properly. This will result in poor acceleration and delayed engagement, i.e., your car will move much later after it shifts the gears. Some drivers also complain that the vehicle fails to accelerate adequately, even with high RPMs.

The Xtronic CVT used by Nissan is notorious for being poor quality. The CVT heats up quickly, and the cooling mechanism is inadequate for transmission of this size. Some experts have opined that Murano’s CVT is prone to failure due to fluid leaks from the transmission. 

A trip to the dealership is probably due if you are having trouble with your Murano’s CVT. The cost of repair varies widely depending on how severe the fault is. A simple transmission fluid change can cost a couple of hundred dollars, whereas, in case of complete transmission failure, the dealership will bill you anywhere from $4000-$7000.

2. EVAP System Clogging

EVAP or Evaporative Emission Control System limits the fuel vapors escaping into the atmosphere. This small tube ensures that fuel vapors do not get out of the fuel tank into the atmosphere when you are getting the car filled up. EVAP systems frequently get clogged in Nissan Murano, and the users complain that the check engine light turns on. The car will also fail an emission test leading to fines and penalties. 

Luckily, Nissan extended the warranty on these 3rd generation Murano models. If the tube gets clogged, you can get it fixed from the Nissan dealership free of cost as long as your car’s mileage is less than 150,000. 

3. The Climate Seat Is Not Working

Nissan Murano comes with climate front seats that can adjust your seat’s temperature according to the car’s climate control settings. This premium feature brings a sophisticated form factor to the Murano driving experience. 

Some users complained that the climate adjustment on the driver’s seat (and in some rare cases passenger’s side) broke down. There can be several reasons behind this, ranging from a blown fuse to a melted control unit. The wire harness is also vulnerable to heat damage and can give away. 

If you do not have a lot of miles on your car, a warranty might cover this problem. However, if you are out of warranty, replacing the entire heating module will cost you upwards of $1000, which is a hefty cost.

4. Noise from under the Rear Bumper 

Some Murano users, especially those who drove 2015-2018 models, complained that they could hear a persistent high-pitched noise from the back of the car. On further inquiry, they found that the noise was coming from under the lift gate (the car’s rear door). 

A liftgate control module under the rear bumper can automatically open or close the liftgate. This module can get wet in winter or when the weather is humid. It produces this alarm sound that erroneously indicates that water might be seeping in from the back of the car. Since the alarm beeps continuously, it can drain your car’s battery, and it might not power up on the ignition. 

Some users think that the problem rectifies itself when the module dries. However, in many cases, users have to get the module replaced by a dealership. Replacement costs about $400-$500, excluding the service charges. It was a common issue in the 2015-2017 models, but in the 2018 and later models, Nissan seems to have fixed this problem.

5. Cruise Control Problems 

Nissan Murano’s early 3rd generation models had this problem where the front emergency braking system would shut off on its own, disengaging the cruise control, causing the car to apply sudden brakes. 

Users report that the screen flashes a warning message and cites ‘front radar obstruction’ as the cause of this problem. On turning the car off and then on, the system recalibrates itself, but after a few miles, the same problem reoccurs. 

This is a complicated problem as there is usually no code for taking the car to the dealership. However, some experts think that the front emergency braking radar is typically the culprit in these cases and requires a replacement. Dealerships usually quote $1500-$1600 for a replacement,; in most cases, this fixes the problem. 

Despite being a road safety hazard and numerous complaints lodged, there have been no recalls for this issue as far as Murano is concerned. 

6. Brake Fluid Leaking into ABS Pump

A major issue with the ABS leaking brake fluid onto an internal circuit board, causing electrical shorts & the risk of fire, spurred three separate recalls for the 2015 – 2017 models over 38 months, affecting more than 700K vehicles. (Recalls: 16V636000, 18V601000, 19V807000)

Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid that transmits the force from the brake pedal to the brake pads causing them to stop. If your car is running low on brake fluid, it is a cause for concern. Usually, it is evident by weak braking and a soft brake pedal.

In Nissan Murano, the brake line that connects the rear wheels with the front brake module is located on the car’s floor. If the brake line leaks, you should be able to whiff the brake fluid smell in the car. It can be a safety hazard as this fluid is highly flammable. 

Recall note from the NHTSA:

“When brake fluid has leaked onto the circuit board, the ABS warning lamp will remain illuminated for more than 10 seconds after engine start-up. If this occurs, owners are advised to park the vehicle outdoors away from other vehicles or structures and to not drive the vehicle.”

If your vehicle was eligible for this recall but has not been serviced, get this looked at as soon as possible.

Some users complained that the car would run low on brake fluid despite no leakage. In this case, the check engine light comes on, and the brake fluid quantity will be low on inspection.

If this is the case, the brake fluid leaks back into the vacuum brake booster. This fluid is burned in the engine hence no leak, but you should be able to smell a pungent odor from the exhaust pipe. 

A minor touch-up can fix the leak, but if the fluid is being sucked into the engine, then you might need to get the master cylinder replaced. This usually costs around $400.

7. Noisy Suspension

Nissan Murano has a troublesome suspension. The suspension is noisy and bouncy- something you do not expect from a crossover SUV. 

The users have reported hearing a metallic clunking noise from the steering column. The struts and shocks in the Murano’s suspension are also not the best quality and frequently cause problems. 

Some users complained that the dealership dismissed their concerns and considered the noise ‘normal’. Others had to pay for lubrication and wheel balancing out of their pockets. The suspension problems were frequent in 2018-2019 models but are still present in some of the 2022 model Nissan Murano. 

8. Roof leak

Some 2015 model Murano owners complained that the roof would leak during a heavy downpour. Users were furious as the carpet started to get mildew due to constant water dripping. 

The leak is usually near the pillar, and water seeps into the roof.

With little luck, some thrifty owners have tried fixing the issue using DIY methods. Waterproof glue on the roof has not been able to solve the problem. There is no consensus on why this problem occurs, but some dealerships have noticed that the sunroof drain is usually clogged, and the water seeps into the car’s interior. 

If the sunroof drain is the reason behind your roof leak, dealerships usually charge around $300 to fix it. However, if the rails are worn out, and they are causing the leak, the repair check can soar to thousands of dollars for a complete overhaul of the roof joints. 

9. Airbag Systems Malfunction

With the launch of both the 2nd & 3rd generation Nissan Murano, the airbag systems had issues resulting in the possibility of the passenger airbag failing to fire during an accident.

Airbag Occupant Classification System Malfunctions

For the 2009 model, the recall was carried out under NHTSA number 08V521000, with incorrect manufacturing specs sometimes causing an interrupted signal between the Airbag Occupant Classification System and airbags.

In the 2015 – 2016 models, NHTSA recall number 16V244000 addressed an error in the classification system that could incorrectly classify an adult as a child or mistakenly classify an occupied seat as empty.

Airbag Failure to Deploy

In addition to the OCS issue in the 2009 model, a software issue caused NHTSA recall 08V066000. This software bug could result in the airbag failing to deploy when the car’s battery was low.

Under the recall, the dealer reprogrammed the software free of charge, fully resolving the issue.

Airbag Light Flashing

In addition to the airbag recalls, numerous reports of the airbag light blinking or flashing have been reported in the 2009 – 2012 models, sometimes falsely indicating problems with the airbag. 

10. ABS Valve Failure

In the 2009 model, certain ABS Hydraulic Control Units corroded in reaction to contact with brake fluids, preventing the ABS valve from closing properly, which can cause ABS to fail & reduce stability when braking. 

Recall 18V916000 was issued to address this problem. It wasn’t an issue in all units recalled & was tested for by flushing the brake system with DOT 4 fluid before testing the hydraulic cooling unit & replacing it if problems were found.

In the 2015 model, a similar problem was found & recall 15V364000 was issued by the NHTSA. Contaminated solenoid valves failed to fully open or close, allowing hydraulic brake pressure to either fail or build up excessively.

11. Other ABS Failure

The 2016 model had recall 16V193000 for damaged O-rings that could result in a low brake fluid pressure.  

In addition to the recalls, the 2009 – 2011 models have numerous complaints of ABS failing to engage, causing long braking distances, particularly in inclement weather. Notably, this includes 2009 model vehicles previously serviced for recall 18V916000.

12. Detached Power Steering Hose

The otherwise very reliable 2013 – 2014 models had an issue with their power steering hose detaching, resulting in NHTSA recall 17V184000. The hose clamp did not properly secure the hose, causing it to disconnect & leak power steering fluid. 

13. Tire Pressure Monitoring System

A nut in the tire pressure monitoring system of the 2009 model was prone to corrosion, particularly in extreme conditions & on salted roads. This resulted in recall 09V393000. 

The 2012 model also had a minor recall for under 3,000 vehicles without activated tire pressure monitors.

14. Impact Deforming Steering Knuckle or Rear Axle Housing

Due to improper heat treatment, the steering knuckle & rear axle housing were prone to deform under impact. Contact with a curb or other impact could cause a loss of steering control or even cause the wheel to separate from the axle.

Under recall 21V402000, these parts were inspected & repaired if necessary.

15. Ball Joint Separation from Transverse Link

The left & right-hand transverse links had potential manufacturing issues, which could cause separation from the ball joint and a total loss of steering control. Recall 21V170000 provided an inspection, replacement & vehicle alignment free of charge. 

16. Depressed Brake Sticking to Floor

In the 2009 – 2011 models, drivers have reported the brake sticking to the floor when depressed, only releasing after pumping the brake multiple times. 

17. Unexpected Stalling 

On each model through 2015, there have been complaints of the CVT shuddering & lagging acceleration at low speeds and stalling at higher speeds. While there haven’t been any recalls for this problem, it became less prevalent over time and seems likely to have been resolved by the 2016 model.

What’s The Worst Model Year Of The Nissan Murano?

Knowing all this, which model is the worst, and which would we recommend as the most reliable? 

The Murano had some issues in the early models of both the 2nd & 3rd generations, as is typical for a new generation. Still, they did a great job sorting these out and have received very few complaints in the later years of each generation.

While the problem with brake fluid leaking and sometimes causing fires in the 2015 – 2017 models were highly problematic, their recalls seem to have resolved these issues, leaving few outstanding complaints with those models.

For that reason, the 2009 model is our least favorite Nissan Murano, with recalls for the most distinct issues and more complaints left unresolved by recalls. With several ABS, other braking & airbag issues, this is the least reliable model of the Nissan Murano.

On the flip side, while Nissan has done a great job sorting out most of the issues with the early models in the 2nd & 3rd generations, one year stands out as the most reliable Murano. Even though they had their 2nd best year of sales, they had the fewest complaints & no recalls for the 2018 model.

While the more recent years also have strong performance, some changes were made to the 2019 model & the next two years had a couple of recalls & an increase in complaints, so if you’re looking for a reliable Nissan Murano, we recommend you go with the 2018 model.

Closing Thoughts

In our deep dive into the 2nd and 3rd generation Nissan Murano, we highlighted the key issues potential buyers and current owners need to be aware of. Starting with a synopsis of the most common problems, such as CVT transmission issues leading to poor acceleration and low RPMs, we delved into the serious recalls including those involving brake fluid leaks and airbag malfunctions.

But we went beyond just listing the problems; we aimed to equip you with a detailed guide on how to identify and address these issues, alongside an estimation of the potential repair costs.

Arming yourself with this knowledge really helps in ensuring a rewarding experience with your Nissan Murano. Whether you are contemplating buying a Murano or looking to maintain your current vehicle, being aware of these recurrent issues and their solutions can aid in making informed decisions. Thank you for reading, and we trust this guide serves as a valuable resource in navigating the complexities of owning a 2nd or 3rd generation Nissan Murano.

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