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Nissan Quest 2004+: Problems & Solutions



  • bperkbperk Posts: 38
    I just had a set of these installed yesterday. Man what a difference. STS installed, mounted and balanced for $560.00. I love Toyos, I have them on my 01 Altima. Great tires, highly recommend. Van is quieter now and much smoother ride.
  • howard2dot0howard2dot0 Posts: 45
    I was completely shocked to see the result of reliability comparison among 15 minivans on Consumer Reports website and Quest came in dead LAST!!! I've been leasing a 2004 Quest SL for 2-1/2 years (41k miles) and had no problems except for the 2 major recalls. I have been thinking about leasing a 2006 Quest SL again, but I am very disturbed by the CR comparison.
    Did I just get really lucky with my Quest? If I get another Quest and if it breaks down on the side of the road, I'd be kicking myself for ignoring the CR's result and I KNOW that if I get Sienna or Odyssey, I won't have any problems.
    Can you guys feel my pain?
  • cleelandcleeland Posts: 18
    Yes, you're definitely lucky. My '04 SL has been a pain my side since the day I took delivery. I've always seemed to blaze the trail, too, i.e., I take it in and complain about something. Dealer tells me they can't reproduce or don't know what to do. This happens several times over the next few months with additional complaints each time. Finally, 6 months after initial complaint, I find out Nissan has issued a TSB. Does my dealer call me and let me know that a fix is finally found? No. I have to do that myself. Then, they claim they still can't do anything about it because it doesn't do the problem for them in the shop, so as far as they're concerned, the problem doesn't exist.

    This was my first Nissan, and it's my last. Ever. I could have gotten this kind of service from Ford, for goodness sake.
  • cleelandcleeland Posts: 18
    Looks like you didn't get an answer, so I'll tell you the points I used last weekend to lift the vehicle and do the brakes.

    I used my floor jack with a small grooved block of wood to lift from the rear scissors jack point on the closest thing you get to a frame rail on a unibody. I then put my jack stand under the arm that bolts to the underside of the body and runs diagonally back towards the center. A better lift point would have been the center crossmember between the rear wheels, but my jack couldn't lift the van high enough at that point to get the jack stands under.

    BTW, I hope your jack is sturdy. Mine, which is a 2.5 ton, was about at its limits.

    For the front, there's a similar arm that bolts on the frame and runs diagonally forward towards the center. Lift under that, and place the jack stand underneath there as well.
  • exploder750exploder750 Posts: 159
    I wouldn't be concerned with CR reliability issues. You have one of the best engine/transmission combinations on the road today. Some of the '04s had early production issues mainly relating to rattles, but those will have been ironed out by '06. It's certainly not going to leave you on the side of the road like CR will scare you into thinking.
  • cleelandcleeland Posts: 18
    Good point on European vehicles; they recommend a lot of maintainence but, in general, the dealers actually take care of you. At least that's been my experience with Volvos and Saabs in my area. In the case of my Volvo, the dealer was very happy to explain the things that were critical and the things that weren't. They were also happy to tell me which things I could easily do myself--and that the owner's manual explained.

    In regards to brakes, I just got burned on this recently, too. The rears were toast, with the outer pad on the passenger side down to metal, literally. That uneven wear was due to ZERO lubrication on the caliper slide pins, which means they were dry coming from the factory. Lovely. The fronts were at 5%, said the dealer.

    The dealer was happy to quote me $350 for the rears and $250 for the fronts. After calling my favorite parts place and the dealer's parts, I found that front pads run around $75 and rears around $50-65 depending on brand. Doing some quick math I told the dealer that I'd be picking up the van and doing the brake job myself, thanks.

    Incidentally, if you don't know how to do a disk brake job, you should find someone to teach you. The van is pretty simple and pretty much like other vehicles--in some respects easier. A disc brake job that only involves pad replacement requires loosening one bolt and removing another on each caliper. It requires 1 special tool for compressing the piston (or pistons, since the front calipers are dual-pots) back into the caliper, and that special tool will run you around $10-25 depending on where you buy it.

    A skilled amateur (which is all I am) can do an axle in an hour, and a marginal pro can do it in 1/2 hour. Seriously. I still need to question the dealer on how they come up with $350 for the rears, even if they had to turn the rotors, or $250 on the fronts. The markup on those pads must be massive, or the non-warranty book time for the job is simply outrageous. For the price they're asking, there ought to be free massages in the showroom while I wait.
  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    We also have an 05 (SL) that has just turned 29,000 miles. It's been great and even self-professed minivan haters like driving it. Still original brakes and tires, although the tires were replaced with snows for the winter.
  • vinhphucvinhphuc Posts: 44
    Take the CR with a grain of salt or less IMO. The Quest 04 seems to have more problems as judged by the numbers of posts in this specific forum. However your seemed fine and more importantly, you don't find complains from many Quest 06 owners, strongly suggesting that Nissan corrected many of these problems.
    What drawed to the Quest in the first place if I may ask? Anyway you shouldn't have more problems with Quest than other vans, including the Odyssey and Sienna.
    I own a Quest 05 SE and have NO problems. Absolutely happy with it. Read my post #1992 in "Nissan 04+" forum if you will. Hahh, all those BIAIS reviews! GOTTA LOVE THEM for their "good" job!
    Have a good one,
  • vinhphucvinhphuc Posts: 44
    Thank you.
    Now to all the Quest 06 owners,
    Let me rephrase my earlier question, " Are you HAPPY with your van?"
    Heck, if I get almost no reply when I ask if you have any problems, then it means all of you don't have it and are happy, right? Come on, some feedback please :)
  • nishonbarunishonbaru Posts: 39
    Yes you got very lucky. CR is a fantastic source when making a new car decision. The Nissan Quest get those low marks for a reason. The Nissan Quest is the most unreliable minivan available. The people at CR don't make up the numbers, they only report the opinions of thousands of Nissan Quest owners. Who would you trust more to tell the facts about there cars? I trust the owners and CR. But why trust me? Afterall my Quest is a Lemon. :lemon:
  • exploder750exploder750 Posts: 159
    cleeland, I agree with you about the relative ease of replacing disc pads. Anyone with the slightest mechanical ability can perform a safe and inexpensive replacement themselves and save big $$$. Brakes in general are one of the biggest ripoffs in the repair industry, with unknowing people being coerced into un necessary replacenemt of rotors, calipers, etc when nothing more is needed than a simple set of pads.

    That said, I have a questions relative to your project:
    A. I've never done rear pads, and have heard that sometimes there is additional hassle due to the parking brake design. On the Quest did you run into this? If not, I'm guessing Quest parking brake is a miniature drum brake hidden inside the rear hub?
    B. What brand/style pads did you buy? Semi-metallic? Ceramic? Standard?
    C. Did you do anything with your rotors, or just leave them alone?
  • howard2dot0howard2dot0 Posts: 45
    Thanks for your reply.
    What drew to Quest as my first minivan ever was its styling. My wife and I have always been designers of many discplines ranging from architecture to web design and we really like its unique design in both exterior and interior. But at the same time, reliability is a big concern for us since we use it to go on business trips.
  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    We're delighted with ours.
  • garycoxgarycox Posts: 59
    I bought a Nissan as my wife had a Nissan truck several years ago and it lasted a long time and I thought I would be getting the same, especially for $30,000. Nissan had the reputation for a product which lasted. Apparently that reputation has changed. No problem on not buying another Nissan product as I won't. My inlaws have a van of simular size and cost as my Nissan but of another brand (can't remember off the top of my head). They have more miles than I do on it and the brakes are still fine.
  • garycoxgarycox Posts: 59
    I've found it is best if you can research the problem yourself, print the TSB and take it in and show it to them as it seems to make it easier for them to find the problem. I had a transmission problem covered in a TSB, I took it in once and they couldn't find a problem or rather the "computer" couldn't find a problem. The second time I took it in I had the TSB printed out and they replaced what it said and the problem hasn't occured again.
  • rprossilrprossil Posts: 62
    Sorry you feel that way - I don't think Nissan's reputation has changed, they may have changed suppliers on a few things. On any vehicle, some OEM parts are a compromise of price/performance, such as brakes and tires, especially tires. The original tires on almost any new vehicle today aren't as good as you can get in the aftermarket, including the Quest - the OEM Goodyears were horrible, but you don't get to choose them upfront. You either change them when you make the purchase, or wait till they wear out and replace them with something better. Same thing with brake pads. There are lots out there that are better than original equipment, so you change them when they wear out, which is different for every driver on every car.
  • ckeoughckeough Posts: 15
    Our 06 S Special Edition has 6050 miles to date and we've had no problems.

  • garycoxgarycox Posts: 59
    I'm sorry I feel that way too... I bought it on reputation for quality and lasting as everyone I spoke with had good things to say about Nissan. My wife raved about her Nissan truck that she had and how it lasted so long with very few problems. I wrote several letters to customer service at Nissan but only received one response and a call to them to a not so helpful person, who I got to admit that they personally never had a vehicle with brake pads lasted only 29,000 miles, of course, they may not have had a Nissan. The lady I paid at the Nissan service counter for the service I asked the same question but she didn't have a Nissan either. I had expected a reasonable cost of ownership and Nissan parts which lasted longer than the competition but I'm finding just the opposite. Unfortunately I can't afford to try another Nissan vehicle to see if that's the case across the line so this is my first and last.

    By the way, $800 to have sat radio module installed in my supposedly satellite ready 2004 Quest was also a bit over priced too don't you think? Just another example of overpriced parts. I just bought a $50 receiver and hooked it in myself.

    Getting back to the subject, it was something like 50,000 miles (or more) on my Ford Truck before I was hit up for transmission service that I was hit up for at 30,000 on my Nissan Quest!

    You can't sell an expensive vehicle and then suck money out of people every time you turn around on what Nissan calls "normal" maintenance and maintain a good reputation.

    Someday Nissan may be wondering why they are in financial trouble and yet still don't see where they failed.

    Tires have been just the opposite for me, I've been able to get 70 - 80 thousand miles out of tires from the manufacturer on any new vehicle I've owned so far. My Ford truck has 80,000 miles on it right now and the tires are still in very good condition with only little signs of tread wear and they are Goodyear tires! I've found when you replace the tires you buy according to the miles that you want them to last. I suspect the manufacturer can do the same, if they use cheap tires then they do not last but cost the manufacturer less. Then some sucker like me will go to the dealer and get new tires when they wear out so soon, it makes for great return business.

    I'm hoping that you are not speaking from a Nissan point of view in that the next thing I'll be looking at is new tires in just a few thousand more miles? I would expect at minimum 50,000 miles if not 80,000 out of the tires?

    ... Gary
  • garycoxgarycox Posts: 59
    I clasified my driving style as "very good" based on I don't gun it and do not brake hard as opposed to those who do gun it and often stop on a dime which would be "bad" driving habbits. So if Nissan wants to define the wear based on what they call "driving habbits" I would think mine is in at least the better category and thus not heavy on the brakes. Driving conditions I would say would be good for flat land which I am in and if I drove half the miles on the highway I would have much less wear on the brakes than if I drove the same number of the miles in the city so driving conditions would be "good". The brakes should have lasted at least through the warranty period.
  • rprossilrprossil Posts: 62
    Let's just say that your prior ownership experiences with Ford and Pontiac have given you somewhat unrealistic expectations - most of those vehicles are what I would describe as "appliances" based on older technology that get the job done but nothing special. If they go on for extended mileage with minimal maintenance, it's dumb luck, not by design. If you prefer not to do maintenance, as the vehicle owner, that is certainly your right, but your generalized expectations are just not realistic. Our '04 Quest has 33,000 miles and I've done tires and brakes, without hesitation or complaint. That van drives my wife and family every day and I would never hesitate to do anything to keep it running at its best.
    I suppose unless Nissan pays for all your maintenance, you'll never be happy. As I said in an earlier post, life is too short to get so worked up and bitter about something like a car. There are much more important things to focus on like health and family.
    One more thing - I'd start thinking about tires.. I'm done.
  • garycoxgarycox Posts: 59
    I guess your right, my experiences with other brand vehicles have set a sort of "norm" for me on what is "normal" and what isn't. I follow all manufacturer maintenance guidelines on all vehicles I have ever owned I just didn't know Nissan needed so much maintenance! However, I didn't know Nissan parts wore out so soon.

    The cost of ownership due to what is classified as "normal" maintenance is much higher than any other vehicle I have ever owned causing a much greater "cost of ownership" than I have ever experienced with any other vehicle. Had maintenance been in line with other manufacturers I wouldn't have a complaint in the world. I'm going to do all that is recommended by the manufacturer and no less as you apparently do as I want the vehicle to last and be safe...

    It really doesn't take that much time to email a complaint or two, there are much more important things to focus on but you know, I hate being taken for a ride...

    Woops, wait a minute, instead of spending that money on health or family I spent it on vehicle maintenance. I'm going along thinking, like any other vehicle I've owned, it would be after the basic warranty expires before I need brakes, tires and transmission service and so on only to find out that's not the case. My wife's Nissan truck didn't need this sort of service but that was years ago, it must have been built better back then?

    It's my own fault, I looked at everything but cost of ownership when I was looking for a vehicle. My Ford mechanic tried to tell me I would be eaten up in maintenance costs with a Nissan but at the time I thought he was just upset I didn't buy another Ford.

    Thanks for the tips on the tires, I'm at 31,000 miles so I had better start saving for tire replacement, I didn't expect that one either. I'm at 80,000 miles on my Ford truck and the OEM tires are in great shape and your at 33,000 on your 04 Quest and had to replace the tires already? I guess my "dumb luck" has run out, I would have expected at least 50,000.

    I've been happy with my Quest other than the high maintenance costs.

    Yes I do get somewhat worked up when money goes from my pocket to someone else's and even more so when it is in large chunks.

    I've heard car dealerships often make more money at their maintenance department than in selling vehicles. A $99 dollar brake job for $339 isn't bad profit and plus I'll need it again and again and again... Sounds like a business that makes business for itself.

    Is there anything else I should expect to wear out soon?

    I work on computers for a living, would you like me to perform your 500 hour (or 6 months) service on it which includes a 27 point inspection and evacuation of the processor chamber (blow dust out of the case), it's just $100? Your cooling fan will need replacement at 700 hours for $200. You'll need a hard drive defrag at 800 hours for $175 (a special this month). Then if you have a floppy drive it'll need alighnment by now too, $280. I also recommend a screen recalibration for $400 once a year. Your ink jet printer will need a nozzle flush and calibration for $250. Then as you will notice in your special computer manual that I made up, your keyboard is a normal maintenance item, it will need replacing at 20,000 words or 1 year whichever comes first, that's also on special this month for $119.95. I know this sounds like a lot but it's "normal" for my brand of computer and besides the manual says it's "normal". Sure you may have had "dumb luck" with other brand computers with parts lasting much longer but other computers are just your basic washer and dryer sort of item based on old technology. Sure you can type on them and write email but they are no thrills. Just because you've not had to spend this sort of money on other brand computers or do this much maintenance doesn't mean it isn't normal, after all I can't pay for all your maintenance. Dude you should have bought a Dell.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    High cost of maintenance???? Are you still complainign about needing brakes? What does the manual say about maintaining your vehicle? I'm pretty sure the only REQUIRED maintenance at 30k is changing the coolant...and maybe the oil depending on when you changed it last. Your buying into the dealers plan and that is not what Nissan requires for this van. Every dealership does this which is why everyone will tell you, FOLLOW THE OWNER"S MANUAL. The cost you were quoted is not out of line with any other dealership for brakes. I'm not sure why you keep harping about high cost of maintenance. I have 38k on my Quest. Outside of oil changes, tire rotations and a balance, I Haven't done anything else. I wil need brake and tires soon. And I wil change teh coolant later this summer. I'm not seeing your high cost of maintenance. it sounds like to me you are upset because you bought into the dealership's plan.

    I and couple of others have suggested going to an independent mechanic for your brake job. It will be cheaper and they will do a fine job. If you don't want to take our advice, go complain elsewhere. It's getting old reading the same thing over and over again that makes no sense.
  • garycoxgarycox Posts: 59
    I don't think you get it. Yes high cost of normal maintenance is one thing and I can perhaps live with those costs even though they are greater than any other vehicle that I have ever owned, that was the $390 and perhaps I didn't need to do all that and could have just done an oil change and/or tire rotation and left it at that but that on top of brakes too ($339) is just too much! If your at 38k and haven't replaced the brakes yet you appear to be one of the lucky ones.

    It's people like you and others who let Nissan get away with this thinking it's perfectly normal for brakes to wear out so soon, tires not to last very long... I've owned a lot of new vehicles and until now just Ford and GM and NONE have even come close to needing brakes and tires at low mileage such as mine.

    I just need to go back to old technology (as someone else put it) were I have the dumb luck of parts lasting. Perhaps others will read this and know the issues, I wish I had read this before I bought a Nissan.

    I have two people on this board who disagree with me, everyone else I talk to are as shocked as I am at brakes wearing out and now apparently tires too...

    If Nissan refunds my $339 for a "warranty repair" of brakes I'll shut up. Other Nissan owners have won in court over brakes and have warranties extended to 36,000 on the brakes. My goal is to get this for 04 Nissan Quest owners.

    So next time I'll get brakes at someone other than Nissan. I'll buy some good quality tires that will last me a while.
  • exploder750exploder750 Posts: 159
    We bought our '04 used, fully anticipating brake, tire, and squeek/rattle issues. The wife liked the van features as a whole much better than the competition, and that outweighed the bad issues.
  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    Getting back to the subject, it was something like 50,000 miles (or more) on my Ford Truck before I was hit up for transmission service that I was hit up for at 30,000 on my Nissan Quest!

    That's your dealer, it's not required on the standard maintenance schedule.
  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    I don't think you get it. Yes high cost of normal maintenance is one thing and I can perhaps live with those costs even though they are greater than any other vehicle that I have ever owned, that was the $390 and perhaps I didn't need to do all that and could have just done an oil change and/or tire rotation and left it at that but that on top of brakes too ($339) is just too much! If your at 38k and haven't replaced the brakes yet you appear to be one of the lucky ones.

    It's people like you and others who let Nissan get away with this thinking it's perfectly normal for brakes to wear out so soon, tires not to last very long... I've owned a lot of new vehicles and until now just Ford and GM and NONE have even come close to needing brakes and tires at low mileage such as mine.

    You got taken by the dealer for the 30K service. Caveat, read your owner's documents about what is required. Service writers at most dealerships are on commission.

    Brake life is highly variable. We have five fleet cars and the OEM setup can last anywhere from 20K to 50K, depending largely on driving pattern. Some people are chronic tailgaters, on and off the brakes, while others lay back and never touch them. Our Quest brakes are fine thus far, the vehicle will turn 30K miles this week.

    Our Ford Econoline van with Michelin LTX E load rating truck tires lasted around 45,000 miles. The same model replacement (only D load rating) lasted 75,000 on the back and 95,000 on the front - they had much more tread. OEM tires are just not the same as the aftermarket replacement, even for the same brand and model. We don't drive tires much past 5/32nds tread (your hydroplaning and wet stopping ability declines rapidly at that point) and passenger car OEM tires seem to last 25 - 40,000. The Michelin replacements we put on a Subaru still have 6/32nds after 55,000 miles. The OEM Bridgestones on our new Subaru are rated 21st out of 22 on some user forums.

    I never get brakes at a dealer. I take the vehicles (including two trucks) to a local garage and have him put the best aftermarket components on it he can find. Most front pads wear out unevenly because the caliper slides aren't lubricated and I've yet to find any dealer who does it even though it's on many maintenance schedules. If you go to a shop with Flat Rate mechanivs, in the long run you're gonig to be unhappy with the cost or the quality of work, if not both.

    When we take a vehicle into a dealer, we print out precise instructions, including any copies, and make the service writer initial a copy for our records. This does wonders for getting problems resolved. But our Nissan dealer, Team Nissan in Manchester NH, has done a good job without any prompting.
  • vinhphucvinhphuc Posts: 44
    You got screwed badly by your particular Nissan dealer about replacing the Quest brake pads, and Nissan refused to reimburse you for that. And of course you were not very happy about it. Did I summarize correctly your problem? Now, the MAIN point of this forum is to seek help/advice from other fellows about specific problems. WHAT'S THE HELP YOU'RE SEEKING FROM OTHER QUEST OWNERS? I failed to see that in your most recent posts!!! You hated this particular dealer and Nissan in general. Good. Say it once or maybe twice. NO POINT TO SHOUT IT OVER AND OVER! No need to beat on a dead horse, right? Wrong forum BTW to do so. I hardly see how shouting out here will make Nissan change their way of doing. Write to them directly or sue them. Everyone is sympa when we see another fellow in trouble, and tries to offer some help/advice. You got it already from rprossil, dtownfb, garandman, etc. You can write 1 million times that Nissan screwed you badly with the brake pads, but it will not change a thing of what happened. It only irrates the same people who tried to help you in the first place.
    So here what I'd do if I were you:
    1. Do the maintenance service STRICTLY based on the OWNER'S MANUAL, AND do it at a mechanic shop(no DEALER EVER EVER AGAIN, right?) you TRUST. Moreover, when in doubt just take your van to another shop for 2nd opinion. Opinion is cheap!!!
    2. Heck, if you think the Quest is no good to you, then trade it, sell it, sue Nissan or do whatever necessary to get another van. End of the story. No point to shorten your life over a vehicle.
    You hate Nissan and the dealer. We got it. Now what's the help you're seeking from this forum? If not help seeking and SAY NO MORE. BTW I GOT NO PENNY (not even a half of it) from Nissan for this post! They gotta pay me though :P
  • mrmcgivmrmcgiv Posts: 7
    We just bought our Quest S SE 2006 last week. We ending up buying the extended Bumper to bumper warranty for $950. It takes it to 7 yrs $84K miles from a 3/36 bumper to bumper and a 5/60 power train. We have 30 day to cancel. Is this a good price or the typical? Of course we were told it was a SALE price, but not sure if I believe it. We will not exceed the total miles since we do not go too far. It would ben nice to have to worry about nothing but maintenance for 7 yrs. But if we do not need it of course I do not want to spend $950. if only I had a crysal ball. Opinions? Experiences?

  • wiedemannwiedemann Posts: 2
    Dear Cleeland,

    I appreciate your response on this. Yes when I changed my oil few weeks ago, I used that center hard point as well.

    My jack is a 3 ton and seems sturdy and stable.

    Ihope someday to have a garage built with a Bend Pak lift.


  • garycoxgarycox Posts: 59
    On my Ford it wasn't required at 30,000 on any maintenance schedule period.
This discussion has been closed.