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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,677 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1996 Nissan Pathfinder suspension problems

suspension problem

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1996 Nissan Pathfinder Owner Comments

problem #15

Mar 152009


  • 102,000 miles


I just bought a Nissan Pathfinder le 1996 - I found many owners are experiencing problems with the rear suspension of the vehicle (see posts: www.topix.com/forum/autos/T5lstpr50npco9ctl/P7) - local mechanic has indicated the repair on mine would be around $700 - $1000 - the real problem is premature wear of upper and lower rear control arms bushings (this applies to 1996-2001 apparently). I drove the vehicle from Oregon to California and it was a real challenge to manage the swaying from side to side - the only way to mitigate the car from wobbling is to either reduce speed or accelerate. This should had been a safety recall from Nissan instead a service bulletin - the vehicle turns to be quite difficult to drive at freeway speed and could easily roll over. Please investigate. Thank you in advance, dino andretta yorba linda,

- Yorba Linda, CA, USA

problem #14

Feb 072008

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,477 miles
I have a 1996 Nissan Pathfinder and there is a dangerous sway when I drive, it feels like the rear end is going to fish tail.

- Superior, CO, USA

problem #13

Apr 132007


  • miles
1. at around 120K miles the car began to sway, sometimes uncontrollably, at speeds around 50mph. Replaces shocks and struts. Did not fix it. Told I need to replace rear stabilizer bars and bushing. This is a very dangerous defect and very common.

- Idaho Falls, ID, USA

problem #12

Dec 012007

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 119,000 miles


At ~ 65mph, my 96 Pathfinder can sway spontaneously, almost to the point of the car bouncing. Driver & passenger neck snaps back and forth. Very dangerous.

- Holmdel, NJ, USA

problem #11

Oct 152007

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 135,000 miles
Rear upper and lower control link rod bushings defective causing dangerous rear end sway at highway speeds which could lead to a crash, serious injury and death. Repair is costly and is a known defect with dealerships and Nissan.

- Melrose, MA, USA

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problem #10

Aug 232007

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 187,000 miles
We own a 1996 Nissan Pathfinder 4 wheel drive that had developed a severe side to side wobble at 55-60+ mph. Mechanics said it was struts/shocks. We replaced all 4. same problem exists. This is life threatening on the highway. My daughter and myself have both experienced it and you nearly lose control of the SUV if you don't let off the gas quick. I would hate to see the result of an evasive maneuver - it will be catastrophic. Dealers are acting like they know nothing, yet an internet search turns up people all over the country that have or are having the exact same problem. Most are saying if you replace the rear lower control arm bushings or the entire arms, it goes away. I am asking the NHTSA to get involved now and force Nissan to do a no-cost recall. We own 2 other Nissan cars and I have owned over a dozen cars/trucks in 32 years and never experienced anything like this. And, I work on cars and motorcycles in my spare time, and I know what I am addressing here. This is a major, serious engineering design flaw.

- Culpeper, VA, USA

problem #9

Jul 292007

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles


I am reporting a failure in the suspension system of my 1996 Nissan Pathfinder. At speeds of 50+ mph, the back half of the vehicle has instances where out of nowhere it begins to sway back and forth for about 5-10 seconds and then it stops and will do it again just out of the blue. I reasonably foresee this failure resulting in a potential cause of death, personal injury, or property damage. All instances of this occurrence has occurred while driving on a heavily traveled interstate. There was a tech service bulletin addressing this issue but Nissan should change it to a recall.

- Annandale, VA, USA

problem #8

May 202007


  • miles
1996 Nissan Pathfinder wobbles intensly at 50 - 65 mph. Took to repair shops and had struts replaced, tires balanced many times. I understand it is the rear arm bushings. This is a defect and extremely dangerous.

- Olympia, WA, USA

problem #7

Mar 152005

Pathfinder 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles
1996 Pathfinder, 120K miles. Approx. One year ago vehicle developed scary side-to-side rocking at highway speeds, and especially when driving on curved roads. Replaced rear shocks- no help. I have found lots of other Pathfinder owners that have this same exact condition. Turns out the problem is with the rear control arm bushings and rear link arm bushings. Bushings develop dry rot with age and shrink, making excessive play in the control arms. Many people have complained to Nissan, but Nissan refuses to even consider a recall.

- Schuyler Falls, NY, USA

problem #6

Dec 292006


  • miles
1996 Nissan Pathfinder wobbles dangerously at high speeds, over 60 mph. Mechanic fixed struts for $800, but problem persists. Just went online and found out lots of Nissan Pathfinder owners are having this problem, and the fix usually has to do with bushings. That will probably cost me another $800. This is a dangerous problem and Nissan owes its customers a recall. Thank goodness I seemed to have figured out the problem without an accident. I hope the word gets out to all Pathfinder owners before a tragedy occurs.

- Frankfort, KY, USA

problem #5

Dec 012006

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 140,677 miles


I purchased a used vehicle from a private owner, a 1996 Nissan Pathfinder with 139,500. Immediately after my drive on the highway, I noticed a substantial amount of body sway from the rear end of the vehicle.I decided to research my problem on the internet and found several references to issues related to the premature wear of the bushings in the rear upper and lower links (control arms) that attach the axle to the frame (ref. Nissan bulletin# ntb 98-001).this bulletin describes in detail about worn bushings which it creates excessive sway, rocking and pull at any speed at that point, I decided to bring my vehicle at my expense to have an authorized Nissan dealer to examine and document the potentially hazardous condition.they verified and concur with the wear in the rear links and recommended the replacement of the upper and lower links along with the rear shock absorbers (part # 55080-0W001 (2) and #08911-6441A (2))-part numbers for the links. In addition, I spoke to several owners of Nissan Pathfinders with the same condition which was built in 2004 on the same chassis. As a result, I contacted Nissan motors of North America and filed a complaint/inquiry based on this defect (ref# 5555692) on 12/7/06.they refused to assist with the complaint based on a tsb and not a safety recall. Also, the vehicle was inspected by a Virginia state annual vehicle safety inspection last month and was passed in error by an inspector who had missed this safety defect. I reported this issue to the Virginia state police and the problem was verified and investigated by trooper fowler in williamsburg va. This defect is definitely a safety related issue as described in the standards for vehicle inspection. Not being an engineer, I would suggest that I could have lost control of the vehicle at times of highway passing, around on ramps or evasive maneuvering that could cause the vehicle to roll over. I paid to have the parts replaced at a body shop at my expense.I have the old part.

- Williamsburg, VA, USA

problem #4

Nov 182006

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 0 miles
1) slightly applied gas on a turn at 35 mph 2) loss of traction and lost control of the vehicle and skidded to 180 degree turn. Vehicle's rear end also wobbles dangerously at 50 to 65 mph upon acceleration/deceleration. 3) so far new struts and shocks but no solution to the vehicle's performance.

- Oak Creek, WI, USA

problem #3

Sep 112006

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles
Noticed back end of my Pathfinder swaying at speeds 60-70 mph. Brought to my mechanic and was told rear bushings are bad and need to be replaced. My mechanic said it is a bad part but not yet a recall by Nissan but should be. I have found alot of similar complains on the web by other Nissan Pathfinder owners. I also found recalls on other Nissan's for this same problem but not the Pathfinder. I feel it is very dangerous and should be a recall!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #2

Oct 272006

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 68,000 miles
Dangerous wobble of car when on the highway. From reports I've read on the internet, seems to be caused by degrading control arm bushings. Fix may be to replace all 8-10 bushings and/or control-link arms. Problem seems to be common on '96-97 Nissan Pathfinders.

- Gloucester, MA, USA

problem #1

Dec 272000

(reported on)


  • miles
Dealer said they could not locate the source of the thumping sound.

- Houston, TX, USA

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