really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
149,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replace headgasket (1 reports)
2000 Nissan Xterra engine problems

engine problem

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2000 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments

problem #2

Mar 062012

Xterra SE 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 176,000 miles


This isn't really a complaint as much as it is kind of a cry for help and a way to get it out. I've had my Xterra for over 12.5 years and it has over 176,000 miles on it. In October 2010 I needed a new distributor. Had that fixed, was fine. December 2010 cylinder 6 started misfiring. Had that fixed (worn out coil). About a month later in January 2011 in cold NJ, I was leaving work one night and the car overheated. I let it cool down and made it home without incident. Coolant was low. Filled it. Drove fine. 3 months later, on another cold day in April (after a bunch of warm ones) driving home the engine started to over heat. I put on the heat, slowed down and it went to normal temperature. Coolant was low again. I then realized there obviously must be some kind of leak, although I did not see any coolant under the car or splashed under the hood. All summer in 80-100 degree temperatures, it never overheated, I never needed to add coolant and all was well. First cold day in October 2011 and it overheats on my lunch break (I was in the parking lot at the time). I shut it off, went back to work and when I left for the day I refilled the coolant which was extremely low. I kept up with it after that, but it only got low when it was very cold out. It got me to thinking that there was some kind of leak in one of the hoses that maybe only appeared in the cold weather (when things contract, possibly leaving a gap somewhere for coolant to leak out). I kept refilling and the car drove fine, like nothing was wrong. December 2011, engine light on, cylinder 6 is misfiring again. March 2012, I am driving to work and the car overheated. I didn't think much of it because it had been cold out and I hadn't added any coolant for several days. I pulled over, let it cool and added coolant. Got home fine. The next day I'm driving to work and it overheats again. Now it's bad, just refilled it yesterday. I pull over, let it cool down, add coolant and get to work. I leave work early to get to the mechanic, but I never make it. Overheats continuously and I see the coolant draining down into the radiotor front of my eyes, the engine is sweating coolant and it's pouring out from under the car. Had it towed to my mechanic who says it's a busted head gasket. I didn't want to believe it until I went to start it about a month later and see white smoke billowing out from the tailpipe. Yep I guess the head gasket is gone. That's what caused the cylinder to misfire (coolant leaking into the cylinder heads).

This car has seriously been awesome. No issues except for the distributor and now the head gasket. I drove with the HG on its way out for more than a year and with the way I drive that's pretty impressive. It has been a great strong car. Even when I just started it after a month, it started just as strong as ever. I could probably make it about 10 minutes driving before it overheats. It's still sitting at my mechanic. I want to put another engine in it. I love that car.

- , Parsippany, NJ, USA

problem #1

Mar 152006

Xterra SE 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

The headgasket blew at 123,000. This seems to be a common issue with Xterras. The only was to avoid this is to replace the headgasket with a newer type gasket that has been redesigned. Terrible built. I thought Nissan was quality but no.

- , Canton, OH, US

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