Nissan Versa is a reliable subcompact SUV that has garnered solid reviews from automobile enthusiasts. But it has a long list of cons as well. Let us dive into the most common problems you can expect with Nissan Versa. First off, a brief answer.
The most common issues in Nissan Versa are CVT transmission problems. Furthermore, 2009-12 models were susceptible to broken coil springs and fuel pump failure. Bad engine mounts and steering issues were rampant in the 2013-2016 models. Most recalls were due to problems such as exploding airbags, door opening while moving, brake pedal safety issues, and faulty ignition switch issues.
This is only a short summary that doesn’t do justice to our research on this topic. In the subsequent paragraphs, we will explain the most common problems that affect Nissan Versa – the root cause of these problems, symptoms, and fixing costs.
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1. Transmission Problems
Like other Nissan cars, Versa is also not safe from several transmission problems. Versa owners have reported that their vehicles are susceptible to several CVT transmission issues, including but not limited to transmission jerks, hard shifting, and acceleration issues. To top it off, Nissan Versa is prone to early transmission failure.
These transmission issues usually become prominent while cruising at high speed. It might appear as a sudden shuddering, loud noise while gear shifting or a car losing acceleration at high speeds.
Nearly all of these transmission-related issues are caused due to the poor-quality CVT that comes as a standard in all Nissan Versas from 2012-2017. Some of these issues, such as shuddering or trouble while shifting gears, can also be caused by low transmission fluid.
If you find your car exhibiting these issues, take your vehicle to a nearby dealership and get a thorough transmission service – which won’t cost you more than $100.
If the problem persists, as it did for several Versa owners, get ready for a heavy setback. A new transmission costs for Nissan Versa around $3000-$4000.
2. Car Can Be Shifted Out of Park Without Pressing the Brake Pedal
Out of all major transmission issues, only one was solved via a recall. Several users reported that their Versa could be shifted out of Park without pressing the brake pedal.
According to Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards, all cars have a safety feature that does not allow them to shift a car out of Park unless the brake pedal is depressed. This removes any chance of a vehicle taking off unexpectedly or colliding with other cars.
This issue is caused due to interference between the shift knob and the shifter pod. This issue is a manufacturing fault, and a recall (NHTSA Recall ID: 12V032000) was issued for the 2012 Versa to sort it out.
Dealers were instructed to replace the shifter assembly with new ones to remove this problem. Since a recall covers this issue, it will be fixed free of cost.
3. Broken Coil Springs
Apart from the transmission issues, the 2009-2012 models of Nissan Versa were also susceptible to some suspension problems, mainly the broken coil springs.
The front coil springs in a Nissan Versa are more susceptible to breaking, especially when you drive over bumpy or uneven roads. If your car’s coil springs break, you will notice loud clunking and knocking noises.
When this happens, broken coil springs will also cause misalignment, making your car’s internal parts scrape against one another.
This problem is caused due to a manufacturing fault – the phosphorus coating on springs (used to inhibit corrosion) is inadequate, and when the car drives over snow or road salts – the corrosion eats away the metal leading to broken coils.
Due to several complaints, Nissan has recalled Nissan Versa models from 2012-2015, and this issue should be solved free of cost. If your car is not covered in the recall, expect a hefty bill of $1230-$1250.
4. Fuel Pump Failure
Another problem that 2009 – 2012 Nissan Versa owners have repeatedly reported is fuel pump failure. Simply put, the fuel pump draws the fuel from the gas tank and transfers it to the combustion chamber, where it is burnt.
A malfunctioning fuel pump will cause your car to stop suddenly or prevent it from moving in the first place. Engine chokes, a sputtering engine, and the onset of ‘Check Engine Light’ are other symptoms you can expect in a car with fuel pump failure.
The leading causes of this problem include electrical faults, contaminants getting into the fuel pump, or poor manufacturing quality. It could also be caused due to a faulty fuel filter or bad fuel pressure regulator.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a recall for this problem. Versa owners troubled by a fuel pump failure can expect a repair bill of around $400-$550.
5. Steering Issues
Nissan Versa is also plagued with several steering wheel issues. Owners have reported the following steering wheel-related problems:
- Malfunctioning electric power steering.
- The steering wheel seized without warning.
- Clicking noise while turning the steering wheel.
These problems can be caused by several issues, such as ignition switch locking and EPS failure, to name a few. If your steering wheel is having a tough time, we suggest you take your car to a nearby dealership to diagnose the real culprit behind this issue.
Depending upon the actual cause of this issue, the fixing cost can vary. Hopefully, you can get your steering fuel replaced for a paltry $20, and you’ll be good to go. If you’ve to replace the steering control module, you’ll have to spend around $1000-$1100.
6. Exploding Airbags
Airbags are crucial for passenger safety. Nissan Vesa owners have reported another interesting but potentially deadly problem that can put passengers’ lives at risk. When the car meets an accident and the airbags are deployed, the passenger airbag may explode, causing severe repercussions.
This problem is caused due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to extreme climate conditions, mainly high temperature and humidity. These airbags contain phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate (PSAN) that does not react well to temperature extremes.
Fortunately, Nissan ordered a recall for these cars. Nissan Versa models from 2009-2012 were recalled, and these issues were fixed free of cost.
7. Bad Engine Mounts
Your car’s transmission and engine are bolted together. Engine mounts keep your car’s engine in place, restricting unnecessary movements. Nissan Versa owners have reported that their vehicle’s engine mounts are prone to premature wear and tear and we’ve seen similar issues in luxury brands as well.
The most common symptoms of bad engine mounts include vibration and clunking sounds. If your engine is shaking uncontrollably, it is another sign to get your car’s engine mounts checked.
The most common causes of worn-out engine mounts include poor quality mounts, collision damage, or old mounts. If your engine frame is damaged, it can also affect your vehicle’s engine mounts.
Depending upon the extent of the damage, the fixing cost will vary. On average, you can expect a repair bill of around $240-$300.
8. Door Opens While the Car is Moving
A safe and secure drive is the number one priority of any car owner. Unfortunately, few Nissan Versa owners were deprived of this necessity. Nissan Versa 2014 owners have reported that their car doors opened in the middle of driving, leading to some horror accidents.
This issue is caused by faulty door latches that fail to lock the vehicle’s doors. This distraction can cause the passengers to fall off on roads or risk severe injuries if they’re not wearing seat belts.
Fortunately, this problem was soon solved via a technical service bulletin. Nissan instructed dealerships to replace the faulty door latches of the affected models. As with all TSBs, you don’t have to pay anything to resolve this issue.
9. Ignition Switch May Turn Off
The Nissan Versa also has a few electrical problems besides suspension and steering problems. The most commonly reported electrical problem that necessitated a recall by Nissan was a faulty ignition switch (2017 – 2018) or a worn-out key that wouldn´t turn the ignition switch (2007 – 2016). We wrote about these problems extensively in this article.
Versa owners have reported that the ignition suddenly switches off, stopping the car abruptly. This problem occurs in those models of Nissan Versa, which have a physical key ignition system (not the ones with an intelligent key system).
In these cars, over time, the ignition switch might move out of the run position due to some accident or wear and tear of the ignition system. This causes the car to come to a halt all of a sudden.
Fortunately, this issue was solved via a recall for the 2017-2018 models of Versa, and this issue was fixed free of cost. If you’re in the market for a 2017-2018 Nissan Versa, you should be cautious of this issue. The 2007 – 2016 model years received a technical service bulletin.
What Are The Worst Years For The Nissan Versa?
The Nissan Versa is a reliable sedan that will last you for 200,000 miles or more if maintained properly. It has a budget-friendly price tag and a comfortable drive, complemented by various high-end features. However, some models of Nissan Versa had much more problems than others.
The earliest models of Nissan Versa (2007-2010) are often considered the worst models of this sub-compact sedan. These models had several problems, most of which were solved in subsequent years. The most commonly reported problems include transmission and steering system issues, fuel pump failure, and worn-out engine parts.
Starting with the worst year, the 2009 Nissan Versa had several problems. According to Car Complaints, more than 700 complaints were reported by annoyed Nissan Versa 2009 owners. The most common problems included steering and transmission issues – that were too expensive to repair.
The 2007 Nissan Versa was the debut year of this worldwide known sedan. However, it did not hit the right chord with the drivers, and several Versa owners reported problems such as engine noises, exploding airbags, and transmission issues.
The best years for Versa are the 2015 model year and the latest models from 2020-2022. The majority of issues that were rampant in previous models were sorted out. You can’t go wrong with these models, with a spacious interior and above-average fuel efficiency.
His interests in cars, motorcycles, and machines led him to the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore where he is currently a mechanical engineering sophomore.
His future aims include the development of an energy-efficient prototype vehicle for the Shell Eco-Marathon competition and getting a Master’s Degree in Automotive Engineering from Germany.