The Nissan Frontier/Navara was first revealed back in 1997 and has been in continuous production ever since. The second generation was introduced back in 2001, the third generation came in 2005. The 3rd gen Frontier was finally replaced by the brand-new 4th-gen model in 2022. In this article, we will focus on all the issues the 2014 and later Frontier tends to suffer from. So, if you are in the market for a Nissan Frontier, be sure to read this article.
The Nissan Frontier tends to suffer from EVAP issues, timing issues, engine stalling, engine fire, issues with the rearview camera, ignition switch issues, AEB issues, and issues with the wiring harness. Moreover, the Frontier also endures issues with the shifter assembly, the transmission shifting out of gear, the car rolling away when in park, and the car going into limp mode for no obvious reasons.
We also need to mention the fuel tank splashing fuel, the possibility of a crash-induced fuel leak due to a design fault, issues with the seat anchor points, and issues with the seat belt brackets.
Now it’s time to go a bit more in-depth about all the issues with the Frontier. We will list all the common issues with the Frontier including how to fix them!
Most of us can agree that engine issues are always serious as the engine is arguably the most important part of the car. The Frontier does come with relatively reliable engines, but they sure aren’t perfect. The most common Nissan Frontier engine issues include problems with the EVAP system, timing chain issues, engine stalling, and engine fire.
One of the most common issues with the Nissan Frontier is one where the evaporative emissions system causes the check engine light to come on. This issue is common across 2014-2017 Frontier models where the evaporative system becomes faulty and needs looking into. One owner of a 2017 Frontier said that they experienced countless issues with his EVAP, so much so that he wanted to completely delete the system.
EVAP issues include leaks, dirt and dust building up inside the valve, and a faulty canister. The EVAP system is likely the most common one of them all and can only be repaired by replacing the seals. Nissan did do a few recalls associated with EVAP systems, but these didn’t include the Frontier. Dirt and dust inside the system also need to be cleaned asap, otherwise, it will cause more issues.
Lastly, the charcoal canister needs either cleaning or replacing when it becomes clogged. An obvious symptom of EVAP issues is when you don’t pass emissions testing or when your fuel cap starts whistling to release fuel pressure when opened. Many owners have also reported the P0448 code when scanning their car for faults.
Even though timing issues were a relatively severe problem with the earliest Frontier models, the 2nd generation of the Frontier also isn’t free of these issues entirely. These are mostly reported for 2014, and 2015 Frontier models, and owners complained about odd noises coming from the front of the truck. Nissan did come out with a service bulletin to combat this issue for 2005-2010 Frontier models which in reality extends to later models.
The noise coming from the front is a faulty secondary timing chain becoming loose over time, bouncing around the engine bay, and making weird noises. The sad thing is that the best way to repair this is to replace both chains which aren’t cheap or easy. The repair includes replacing the tensioner shoes as well.
Engine stalling issues can be caused by a wide array of issues, some of which are worse than others. One owner of a 2016 Frontier reported that his car tends to stall for no apparent reason, and if not, the engine does not react to throttle inputs. An owner of a 2017 Frontier reported issues where the car either refuses to accelerate or stalls as if you were driving a manual.
One owner of a 2019 Frontier reported his Frontier first sputtering and then stalling while one owner of a 2015 Nissan Frontier said that his car managed to stall multiple times in a single day. As there are many potential causes of engine stalling, the best thing you can do is to scan the car’s ECU and look for the associated code online. However, two of these owners said that the issue was down to a mass airflow sensor.
However, the problem with the 2015 Frontier was later traced back to a P0335 code which is associated with the crankshaft position sensor.
Likely the most dangerous engine-related issue with the Frontier is one where the car can suddenly burst into flames. One owner of a 2017 Frontier reported that his brand-new Frontier with just 2,000 miles on the clock managed to burst into flames and was written off as a total loss for no apparent reason. This was also reported for both the 2016 and the 2018 Frontier models.
Nissan did two recalls to combat this issue for various generations of the Frontier. These go as follows:
- 16V181000 – Nissan recalled certain 2016 Nissan Frontier models with the V6 engine back in March 2016 due to the starter motor wiring harness being installed in an incorrect position which can cause the engine compartment to burst into flames.
- 18V551000 – Nissan recalled certain 2017-2018 Nissan Frontier models with the V6 engine in August 2018 due to the starter motor wiring harness being installed in an incorrect position which can cause the engine compartment to burst into flames.
Electrical issues also seem to be a fairly common occurrence with the Nissan Frontier which is why electrical Frontier issues come in various shapes and forms. These include issues with the rearview camera, issues with the ignition switch, issues with the wiring harness, and issues with AEB.
Issues With The Rearview Camera
The Frontier seems to be suffering from a wide variety of issues associated with the rearview camera either not showing the proper information or failing to show anything at all. These issues seem to be most common with the 2018-2021 Frontier, but the brand-new 2022 Frontier isn’t free of these issues as well. Nissan also did a few recalls to combat these issues as a functioning rearview camera is mandated by the government.
These recalls include:
- 19V654000 – Nissan recalled certain 2018-2019 Nissan Frontier models back in September 2019 due to the rearview camera failing to display an image and thus increasing the chances of ending up in an accident.
- 22V527000 – Nissan recalled certain 2022 Nissan Frontier models back in July 2022 due to an inoperative rearview camera display reducing the driver’s visibility and thus increasing the chances of ending up in an accident.
- 22V772000 – Nissan recalled certain 2022 Nissan Frontier models back in October 2022 due to an inoperative rearview camera display reducing the driver’s visibility and thus increasing the chances of ending up in an accident.
Ignition Switch Issues
A few owners of the 2017-2018 Frontier reported issues where the ignition switch can turn the car off simply by going over uneven terrain. This issue seemed a mystery at first, but it later turned out that the ignition switch on the Frontier was too fragile. This eventually led to a recall in August 2018 when Nissan recalled certain 2017-2018 Nissan Frontier models (18V551000) and promised to replace the ignition switch completely.
Wiring Harness Issues
We already discussed an issue where the Frontier may end up in flames due to an electrical issue in the engine bay, but that is not the only fire-related issue with the Frontier. A few owners of the 2014 Nissan Frontier reported their cars smoking from the A-pillar which immediately got Nissan’s attention.
Understandably, Nissan recalled certain 2014 Nissan Frontier models back in February 2014 (14V052000) due to a circuit breaker installation wire harness causing a short circuit near the A-pillar which could lead to a fire.
AEB or Automatic Emergency Braking is a safety system designed to stop the car whenever the system concludes that an emergency is imminent. This system sure is usable and has saved a bunch of lives all over the globe. However, the problem here is that the AEB system on the 2022 Nissan Frontier can engage the brakes even when there is no one in front of the car.
One owner of a 2022 Frontier also said that this issue was accompanied by the car erratically spamming the warning message on the dashboard. The causes of these issues were not yet determined, but it does seem like multiple 2022 Frontier owners experienced this issue as well.
The transmission on the Frontier has also seen its fair share of issues most of which we will discuss now. These include the transmission slipping out of gear into neutral, the car rolling when in park, issues with the shifter assembly, and the car going into limp mode.
Transmission Slipping Out Of Gear Into Neutral
This issue has been reported for the 2020-2021 Frontier, but also for the older 2014-2015 model, but not as often. One owner of a 2020 Frontier reported that his car shifted to neutral and the car lost all power as a consequence. The car was later returned to the dealer and diagnosed with the P0729 code which revealed that the car needs a TCM (transmission control module) update.
One owner of a 2014 Frontier reported an issue where the car shifts into neutral when you want it to downshift or kick down. He also reported that the issue tends to come and go and that he could not replicate the issue at the dealership which meant that the issue was not fixed. There are some rumors out there that this issue is associated with just a lack of transmission oil, at least as far as older Frontier models are concerned.
Shifter Assembly Issues
Quite a few reports online about the Nissan Frontier not wanting to shift in a few distinct ways. This issue seems to be common with the 2nd gen Frontier (2014-2021). One owner of a 2018 model reported that his shifter refused to go past “D” no matter how hard he tried. One owner of a 2019 Frontier reported a similar issue where his car refused to shift from park at all.
It seems like this issue is down to either a faulty shifter assembly or just a small piece of steel spring that gets lodged within the shifter and physically blocks the shifter from engaging drive. You can fix the latter with this simple video below.
Car Going Into Limp Mode
The 2019 Frontier seems to be suffering from an issue where the car enters limp mode whenever you press the gas pedal to the floor. This issue has also been reported for both 2017 and 2020 models and there seem to be a few different explanations as to why that is. Some say that this problem is due to a faulty EGR valve while others believe it’s the transmission.
The reality is that we aren’t too sure why the Nissan Frontier goes into limp mode. The issue has often been scanned, and the car never returned any problem codes which makes this issue an even bigger mystery. Granted, it really isn’t all that common, but it can cause quite a lot of stress when it happens.
The Car Rolling Away When In Park
One of the most controversial issues with the 2022 Nissan Frontier is one where the car rolls away while in park which is indeed a really serious issue. An even bigger issue is that a few owners of previous 2020-2021 Frontier did report this issue and asked for an explanation, but Nissan allegedly didn’t officially recognize it as an issue before 2022.
Granted, this led to two separate recalls where Nissan voluntarily decided to take the cars back and reprogram the software that causes this. These are:
- 22V457000 – Nissan recalled certain 2020-2022 Nissan Frontier models back in June 2022 due to the car rolling away even when the shifter is firmly placed in park.
- 22V671000 – Nissan recalled certain 2020-2022 Nissan Frontier models back in September 2020 due to the car rolling away even when the shifter is firmly placed in park.
We do need to point out that you should contact your Nissan dealer if you own a Nissan Frontier or you know someone who does in order for them to check if they are part of this recall as this is still an ongoing recall.
Fuel System Issues
The Nissan Frontier also seems to be suffering from issues related to the fuel delivery system. These include the fuel tank splashing fuel out while refueling and a manufacturing defect that can cause a fuel leak.
Tank Splashing Fuel Out While Refueling
This issue seems to be affecting 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018 models where the car either refuses to take more fuel or sometimes sends it back out. One owner said that this only happens while it’s raining or snowing while most reported that this happens no matter the outside temperature or weather.
According to a few sources, the issue is down to fuel tank pressure which becomes severely unstable when the tank reaches a certain percentage of capacity. It is said that this can be repaired by replacing a release valve while some also say that this is entirely due to EVAP issues.
The 2022 Nissan Frontier seems to be plagued by an issue that can cause excessive fuel spillage if you end up in an accident. Nissan recalled certain 2022 Nissan Frontier models back in November 2021 (21V917000) due to a leaf spring puncturing the fuel tank when the car hits something. Nissan classed this as a manufacturing defect that can only lead to a fuel leak if the car gets hit.
Issues With The Seats
To finish off our list of the most common Nissan Frontier issues, we also need to discuss a few issues with the seats. The first one is associated with faulty anchor bolts while the second is due to loose seat belt brackets.
Faulty Seat Anchor Points
This issue seems to be reserved only for 2014 Nissan Frontier models where the seat anchor points are attached to the car’s body as intended and can increase the risk of an injury during a vehicle crash. Nissan recalled certain 2014 Nissan Frontier models back in July 2014 (14V418000) because of this issue.
Lose Seat Belt Brackets
The last issue we will talk about today is similar to the one above but is only customary with the 2022 Frontier. The problem here is that in a crash, the seat belt anchor can break easily, leading to loss of seat restraint and thus increasing the chances of injury. Nissan also recalled certain 2022 Frontier models back in December 2021 (21V958000) to combat this issue.
Marko´s interest in cars runs in the family. His father was a car trader and regularly took him to car dealerships when he was younger.
These days, when he isn´t watching Drivetribe or Doug DeMuro videos, he´s building up quite a resume as an automotive writer since he´s also a regular contributor on Cararc.com, Tirehungry.com, and Luxurycarsa2z.com.