How Reliable Are Nissan Muranos?
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: I’m awesome, thank you
Mark: So we’re talking cars again and we’re going to talk about a fairly obscure vehicle in some ways maybe, Nissan Murano. How reliable are Nissan Muranos?
Bernie: They’re fairly reliable but not without their issues. Overall as far as this light crossover SUV, they’re a pretty decent vehicle but there are definitely some issue with them.
Mark: Is this a vehicle that I would consider if I was looking for something in this class of SUV?
Bernie: Well you might. It’s certainly a nice car. I would say that there are definitely some things that will go wrong with it, now I’m not, we haven’t worked on too many of the newer, say after 2010 models just yet. The first generation we’re pretty well acquainted with. There’s a lot of them on the road so we kind of know what’s going with them. There’s the newer models, I think are probably a little more reliable but you know, it’s probably a vehicle to consider for sure if you’re looking for a sort of midsize, I’d call them a midsize SUV.
Mark: So what are some of the common problems with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well probably the most common issue and I’ll just talk on the first generation models, is transmission issues. These vehicles us CVT transmissions, Nissan was a very early adopter of CVT transmissions, they used them on all the models on Muranos and many of them failed. Fortunately for the owners, Nissan extended the warranty to 10 years so a lot of people got their transmissions taken care of under that warranty, but if it’s over that of course, then it’s a very expensive repair.
Mark: So just refresh us on what a CVT transmission is
Bernie: So CVT transmission is a continuously variable transmission and what it is, instead of having a set of say four or five gear sets where is actually clicks from one gear to the other, the CVT transmission can vary the gear ratio of the transmission to any infinite amount, well I guess whatever is available inside the transmission. So instead of using like in a lot of cars, the engine will accelerate to a certain level then the transmission will shift gears then it will accelerate again to a certain level, the vehicle, the powertrain management computer can actually use the transmission to vary the speed of the vehicle with the transmission or the speed of the engine. So you don’t have to change the engine speed you can change the transmission. It’s actually really useful in terms of getting power in the right band of the engine or fuel economy or exhaust emissions. It’s a pretty good tool from that point of view but there are a lot of problems with them, there have been a lot of problems with them.
Mark: So is this a big source of like, because transmission problems are pretty common across other kinds of vehicles as well, is the CVT a part of that issue?
Bernie: It can be for some but it seems like transmission problems are one of those large issues when you look at reliability of cars, and there are certain lines of cars that have transmission problems and I’m sort of thinking like Dodge Caravans have been notorious for having transmission issues and they really stick out because that’s a big ticket item. I mean next to an engine the transmission is probably the single most, it is the single next most expensive item on a car. So that’s a big thing if you have a vehicle with an unreliable transmission that can stand out in a reliability report on a vehicle. But I’d say maybe 20 to 30% of cars on the road have transmission issues but I mean, I own several different, I’ve got a Mercedes, I’ve got a Suburban, I’ve got a Subaru, knock on wood, some of these vehicles have really high mileage, the transmissions are perfect and I knock on wood, because you never know when they’re going to wear out. But they’re all really high mileage and they’ve done well and had no transmission issues but there are other cars like Murano’s, you could almost count on having a transmission problem if it hasn’t been fixed under warranty.
Mark: So what else happens to Murano’s?
Bernie: Well overall they’re pretty reliable and they do develop a few oil and fluid leaks here and there. One other very common problem of these vehicles and we’ve actually seen on similar Infiniti models, is that the seat, the driver seat breaks. A car seat has a, the base of it has a metal frame and the metal frames are a little weak on these vehicles and they a certain point where they snap. So we’ve actually very successfully been able to repair a few of them, where we take a seat apart and we re-weld the seat back together and put some reinforcement brackets in it. I’m happy to say, I’ve got a couple of clients, these are pretty large guys, years later the seats are still holding together just fine. So it is something that is common on Murano’s. If you’re really light, small person you may never brake the drivers seat but if you’re a medium to large sized man, you’ll probably take it down. Other than that, I mean it is an all-wheel drive vehicle so there are a few issues that occur with the all-wheel drive system from time to time. There’s a coupling unit in the rear, we’ve replaced those, other than that, brakes sort of last average 50-70,000 kilometres on brakes, tires, you know have a pretty decent lifespan too.
Mark: So if you have some images…
Bernie: Yeah, let’s look at a couple of different generations of Murano. This is a first generation Murano, it’s a 2006-07 I believe is the age of this model and the have have a sorry, we’re looking at the wrong thing here, this is the 2016 Murano so you can see it’s a similar shape but a lot, it’s a lot sportier looking than the older version but still I mean, these are still a pretty good looking vehicle for their time. They still, even at 10 years old, they still look pretty decent.
Mark: So what sort of maintenance is required on these vehicles?
Bernie: Well, they’re pretty, I’d call this a pretty low maintenance vehicle, I mean, definitely regular oil changes, most of these, I’m not certain on the newest models but certainly first generation into the second generation, they just use regular motor oil so the oil changes are not very expensive but you should do them every 5 or 6,000 kilometres. It’s a time chain engine, there’s not timing belt, so that’s one less thing to worry about but again, as I said many times, change your oil regularly because if you damage your timing chain it’s really expensive. But they are extremely reliable engines, spark plugs are in the mid hundred thousand ranges for replacement. Other than that it’s really just change the oil one service, do a full inspection next service and just see how things go. But they’re, it’s a pretty minimal maintenance vehicle.
Mark: So final impression
Bernie: You know, it’s a nice vehicle for its size and I mean, compared to, it’s a Japanese vehicle, it’s more reliable than a lot the European models, given time. As I say there are a few things if you’re going to buy a used one, especially a first generation make sure the transmission’s been done or have it priced accordingly if it’s never been done because it’s a very expensive repair. Other that that you know, a good inspection should show whether the vehicle is good or not but it is a nice vehicle, nicely appointed features and good to drive too.
Mark: Alright, so if you have a, looking for a Nissan Murano, there’s a maybe a solid B on the grade from Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver’s best auto service experience. You can book an appointment at 604-327-7112, they’re busy, you’ve got to book ahead or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark