pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
87,372 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace head gasket (5 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
2002 Nissan Xterra engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments

problem #6

Aug 242015

Xterra SC 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles


Was going up a hill when my temperature gauge shot up really quickly, and before I could even pull over, the head gasket blew....AGAIN!!!!!! This is the second time, and I've barely driven it in the past three years since I retired. I've called all over and the best price I've found to fix it is $3500, some estimates are as much as $6000. For a 13 year old vehicle.

I'm not rich, which is why I bought a vehicle I was hoping would last me a good long time. Now it's sitting in my yard....dead. I would just junk it, but I spent a bunch on it just last year getting new glass, tires, tune up, etc and some cosmetic work. I loved this XTERRA so much, it's like a little tank in the snow and I live where we get LOTS of it. In that respect, it's never let me down, bit this is REALLY disgusting to have it just sit until I can figure out what to do.

A used engine seems to be the cheapest fix, but there's no guarantee it won't blow a gasket too. This is very common, from what I've learned, and it's EXTREMELY difficult to replace the head gasket apparently....lots of hours. If this is such an issue with these, Nissan ought to AT LEAST not make it so stinkin' difficult to work on. A few mechanics even said they wouldn't touch it at all.

- , Conifer, CO, USA

problem #5

Jan 012006

Xterra SC 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

I'm an easy driver, just back and forth to work, mostly. In town, highway driving but I was "essential personnel" and HAD to be at work in the worst weather conditions. This Xterra is AWESOME in the snow, so I love it for that reason, but the head gasket blew at around 87,000 miles. WAY too soon for that to happen, considering I don't abuse my vehicles! I imagine the fact that it has the supercharger had something to do with that, but that really sucks.

- , Conifer, CO, USA

problem #4

Mar 012015

Xterra ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,330 miles

Purchased new with 81 miles, now has 148,000 and head gasket blew. It over heated one time and this is what happen, now we are looking at a $1800 bill. Has this happen to anyone out there?

- , Elgin, MN, USA

problem #3

Oct 212011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles


This is second time the car overheated and I have blown a head gasket. The first time I was only at 41,000 miles when it overheated causing the gasket head to blow. That time it cost $1200.00. They can't tell what caused it to overheat in the first place. I have contacted Nissan mechanics but they could not ell me anything more than the mechanic at the garage who fixed my car.

- , Spokane, WA, USA

problem #2

Aug 232008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,900 miles

I really do not know why this happened at 41,000 miles. I only drive very short distances for my job.

- , Spokane, WA, USA

problem #1

Jun 172007

(reported on)

Xterra XE V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 34,000 miles

Is it really possible that a 5 year old car with low miles needs a new head gasket? How do I know if I'm getting ripped off? The problem was found on my 30,000 mile routine check.

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

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