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Nissan Versa Brake Questions



  • sngwrtrsngwrtr Posts: 14
    In mid July I placed an order for a black SL CVT with floor mats, splash guards and ABS. It's not loaded but the dealer told me he had to pull some strings to get the order in (maybe becasue it's not loaded?). I am supposed to be getting it in September.

    Another theory about ABS and safety in general - An overall review of new cars in a Boston paper several months ago said that American will generally not pay extra for safety features when they are optional (ABS, curtain airbags on some Toyotas, etc). Don't know if I believe that. Maybe Nissan under estimated how many people would want ABS
  • benduprebendupre Posts: 121
    The dealers can trade inventory in the pipeline with other dealers. When he "pulled some strings" he traded another car they had on their list. My dealer in Iowa had only their two obligatory versas. I bought the SL literally as it rolled off the truck. Mine is magnetic gray, not my fav but better than "fresh powder". When I went back a week later to have the Sirius radio unit installed, there was a "red alert" SL with CVT sitting there. He said they traded it with another dealer who wanted a pickup they had. I told himI wanted to trade my magnetic gray for the red alert!

    Actually the gray is not bad. Our brand new Quest is brilliant silver, so the two cars are almost twins sitting in our driveway.

  • sngwrtrsngwrtr Posts: 14
    Actually that is exactly what he said he did by pulling strings - swapped out in the pipeline..
    I like the gray, it was my second choice. I won't own another red car (and my girlfriend would shoot me if I bought one.) The last red car I owned, an early 90's Plymouth Colt, was hit about 5 times. It met it's demise by being totalled by a jack knifing tractor trailer during high speed rush hour traffic. I walked away because all of the damage was done to the passenger side. That car attracted damage. With 300 miles on it, a pipe flew out of a truck in front of me and hit the side of the car. I used to get rear ended regularly at toll booths. No more red cars for me. Although I must admit Red Alert is a nice color.
  • benduprebendupre Posts: 121
    Although I must admit Red Alert is a nice color.

    touch wood ;)

    Remember Used Cars, the movie from about 1978? I vageuly recall someone wouldn't drive a red car, but it's been too many years I don't remember why.

  • flightnurseflightnurse Valley of HellPosts: 2,194
    the biggest problem is once the road has ICE on it, ABS wont save you. Since there is nothing for the tires to grab to. Ask Csaba Csere the editor of Car and Driver, he and his wife were in a very bad car accident back in the late 80's in a car with ABS. After he recovered from the car accident, he wrote this incredible article regarding ABS...

    Remember the concept of ABS is this, to slow the car down with traction, and on ICE there is none...

    Tony :shades:
  • benduprebendupre Posts: 121
    How much ICE do you get down in Phoenix?

    Up where it snows, ABS is definitely helpful. Any Canuck will testify to that. In fact, I bet that's where all the ABS cars are going.

    The point of ABS is to keep the wheels from locking up so you can steer out of the accident. Steering stops when the wheels lock. It's not going to prevent every accident. A driver still has to drive withing the limits of road conditions and his/her abilities.

    Up here in Iowa, every time we have a bad snow, the ditches fill up with cars and trucks. People just driving too fast for the icy roads. Funny thing is... most of the cars that wind up in the ditches are SUVs. People buy them cause they think they're great in the snow. Then they think they can just drive through anything and guess what, an SUV can't recover from a skid on ice at 60 MPH, 50MPH or even 40MPH. It doesn't matter what you drive, you just have to slow down.

    ABS will do absolutely nothing to help a driver recover from a skid either BTW, but it can help avoid one. When you're driving down the street and a car backs out of a driveway in front of you, you can brake and steer. Try it without ABS and instant skid.

  • sngwrtrsngwrtr Posts: 14
    Funny thing is... most of the cars that wind up in the ditches are SUVs. People buy them cause they think they're great in the snow.

    Funny, I thought those people only lived in Boston! I guess they are all over the place. We also see a certain amount of SUV's on their side in the ditches. With their higher center of gravity, they can roll if the conditions are right. Icy roads in New England do occur, but what is more common are those snow storms that start at 4 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon on a workday. By the time rush hour comes it's just hard to keep the roads clear. That is when ABS is worth it weight in gold.
  • flightnurseflightnurse Valley of HellPosts: 2,194
    :shades: Ben, please reread my first post regarding ABS and ICE...

    ABS is USELESS if there is nothing the tires can grip on, if the car is on ICE, how are the tires going to 'steer' you out of a accident ?

    Regarding ice in PHX, its snows here but doesn't stick, but up in flagstaff (elevation 7200') they get plenty of snow and ICE. Since I'm a flightNurse, I'm up in that area flying serious injuried patients to trauma hospitals in the Valley. During the winter months, you would be suprised the accidents I see. Talking to the DSP (highway patrol) speed and ICE are what happens.

    So Ben, let me ask you this..... If you are traveling on a highway and you slam your brakes on, and the car keeps going and doesn't slow down because you are ICE, how are you going to steer yourself out of the accident ? Yes you have ABS on your car ?

  • flightnurseflightnurse Valley of HellPosts: 2,194
    There is a difference between SNOW and ICE when talking about ABS....

    Tony :shades:
  • benduprebendupre Posts: 121
    Maybe you've got to try it to beleive it. Lots of people will tell you the technology has saved their butts.

    I've been living in Iowa for 10 years and I had to learn to drive all over again in the winters here. The first winter I put my Aerostar in the ditch twice. That was the last RWD car I will ever own.

    My Sable had antilocks and I tried them out a few times on the ice to "teach" myself what to expect if I ever got in a close scrape and needed them.

    The mechanics are such that as long as the wheel is rolling, you can steer the vehicle. If the wheels lock, you will slide. Antilock brakes primarily save drivers from themselves.

    Sure if you're on glare ice and you "throw" the wheel, you will spin out, so there's a threshold even on an icy road where you can control a vehicle. Problem is no one respects it. People drive too fast thinking 4WD and antilock brakes make them immune to snow and ice.

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    who is even further south towards the border than flightnurse(Willcox). I moved here from Pocatello, ID, which is snowbound for around six months out of the year. I asked the locals down here if it snows and, like flightnurse, they replied "it snows but it doesn't stick."

    I remember my first accident. I was driving my Dad's '66 VW Fastback and it started snowing(I grew up in the Seattle area). The Fastback had a 3-speed tranny and I was attempting to show off for my friend who was riding with me(we were 16 years old). There was around 2 inches of snow and I pulled into a furniture store's parking lot. I remember saying "check this out!" I accelerated hard but made the mistake of slamming on my brakes when I realized we were sliding out of control. BAM! We hit a large landscaping boulder straight on. The '66 VW FB was toast in the front end.

    Dad had it repaired, it was salvageable, but I felt bad about it. I didn't have to reimburse him but I learned a lot from that accident. Never again would I punch it in the snow and ice.

    Incidentally, my '01 Kia Sportage 4x4 propelled me out of several slippery stuck spots last winter. The 4WD just worked great to grip on the ice and snow and get me out of bad predicaments. Hard to want to trade the Sportsman in when it's helped me out so many times. ;) It's a keeper!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • flightnurseflightnurse Valley of HellPosts: 2,194
    Ben we agree that people take 4WD and ABS as the save all and don't drive reasonable when road condition get bad...

    Tony :shades:
  • rcinmdrcinmd Posts: 139
    While checking dealer inventories, I found one Versa S listed as having ABS, so finally they are hitting dealerships.
  • I was waiting for an ABS model but after I was told that it could be middle or end of September before an ABS CVT SL is available, I caved and got a non-ABS model. My wife is starting a career as a real estate agent and we absolutely have to get a second car now. It was either a non-ABS Versa or a Sentra.

    We will just drive a bit slower and love the car we're driving in.
  • I've had a Versa SL with ABS on order for two months. Last week the dealer refunded my deposit and pulled my order saying Nissan wasn't building the SL right now period. They had no idea when they would get any in. I called Nissan's consumer hot line and they didn't have any info either. This is a heck of a way to market a car unless Nissan wants people to buy another make.
  • IMHO, you can make a lot of arguments for and against ABS. It's amazing on dry pavement, clearly. It's saved me on snow and ice too. But, it has scared me straight on snow and ice too. Sure, you can steer...but stop? Not really!

    The best idea is to cut your speed by 1/3 or 1/2 if possible in really bad weather.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Why were you down to a Sentra or Versa. If ABS was a requirement, there are a lot of other cars out there with ABS (Fit, Corolla, Kia, etc...).

    I don't understand how someone can sacrifice the safety features because of mpg, styling, or some of the other more cosmetic features. I'm not sure your reasons for either wanting a Sentra or Versa, but I think that ABS is really imporant. Even if you do just slow down in bad weather, you can't always predict what will happen suddenly in front of you and then you'll rather have had the ABS versus the other features. Again, this is "you" in the generic sense of anyone making this sort of decision.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Why were you down to a Sentra or Versa. If ABS was a requirement, there are a lot of other cars out there with ABS (Fit, Corolla, Kia, etc...).

    I don't understand how someone can sacrifice the safety features because of mpg, styling, or some of the other more cosmetic features. I'm not sure your reasons for either wanting a Sentra or Versa, but I think that ABS is really imporant. Even if you do just slow down in bad weather, you can't always predict what will happen suddenly in front of you and then you'll rather have had the ABS versus the other features, especially if this seemed such an important feature based on driving conditions. Again, this is "you" in the generic sense of anyone making this sort of decision.
  • jacksan1jacksan1 Posts: 504
    Here is a direct quote that I have taken off

    GET THE ABS! I can't stress that enough. The importance of the ABS showed up in our tests of a non-ABS Versa 1.8S and a ABS-equipped 1.8SL.

    This was written by Tom Mutchler who works for Consumer Reports.
  • Do you NEED ABS? Not any more than you NEED air bags, I suppose. It's an additional safety feature that you personally have to decide whether or not is worth the extra cost to you.

    FWIW, I was fortunate enough to observe first-hand a showing of the affects of ABS. A car drove straight toward a set of cones and at a marked point, slammed on the brakes.

    The first time, no ABS, wheels locked up and car smashed right into cones and beyond. Second time, ABS on, car slammed on the brakes and screeched to a halt in an AMAZINGLY short distance. No cones hit. My jaw dropped.

    I bought a Versa with ABS and will insist it's on every car I own from here on out.

    Had I not seen that demonstration, I don't know if I would have been so concerned with getting ABS. The stock brakes on the Versa might be very good, but ABS adds that extra amount of safety that I want.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,941
    Here's some data from Consumer Reports' tests of the Versa with and w/o ABS, from their 12/06 issue:

    Without ABS, from 60 mph, dry/wet (in feet):

    With ABS:

    Comment from the review:

    Braking distances in the non-ABS Versa were some of the longest we have recently recorded. The model with ABS was much better, but it's still below par.

    So I would definitely get ABS with the Versa.

    Note that CR rated the Versa SL hatch with CVT the top "budget car" with an automatic, and rated the Versa S with MT behind the Fit Sport, Focus ZX3 S (now redesigned), and Scion xB (now redesigned) for budget cars with a stick.
  • Thanks for the info. This forum has been so useful to me.
  • Interesting comments by the IIHS, BUT ...

    mschmal's comments aren't really all that interesting. Nor should they be since it is a misreading/misinterpreting of the information. To say nothing of missing the point of what ABS is for.

    It's not about braking, per se; and certainly it is not about changing driving behavior. It's about maintaining control in situations when wheels would otherwise lock up during braking.

    The sited IIHS articles do not say ABS has no value. Instead, they say, along with many other things, that ABS may introduce a moral hazard, such that people (falsely) believe they can be less careful with ABS.

    That is not a defect of ABS; nor does it say that ABS has no effect. It is merely a statement of human behavior.

    Is ABS a wasted option? I don't think for people who want it. And maybe that is Nissan's thinking. That those who want it bad enough will have come to understand, appreciate and respect the technology and know how to properly use it.

    Although, Nissan could make it easier to get.
  • ABS is USELESS if there is nothing the tires can grip on, if the car is on ICE, how are the tires going to 'steer' you out of a accident ?

    The assumption is faulty regarding ice.

    People can walk on ice. Cars can drive on ice. Granted, the physics have to be within certain bounds to work. But, to imply that ice provides zero traction/friction is not accurate.

    ABS' electronics pumping works on the principle of repetitive instantaneous traction, which provides a narrow window for gripping but not too long a window to induce loss of traction (reducing steering control).

    This successive on/off "braking" has more of a chance of achieving traction on ice than solid braking, or even manual pumping (since human response time is too long). It certainly won't always work. And it probably won't work at all if the user doesn't know how it works; and how to properly use it.
  • I had the good fortune to witness first-hand the advantage of having ABS on a vehicle.

    I was astonished at what I saw and subsequently made sure my Versa had ABS.

    Hopefully I'll never need it, but I'm sure glad I have it. And no, it won't make me a less careful driver.
  • If anyone is at Nissan dealer, please help.
    I’ve been looking at ’08 Versa SL with CVT. On top of my option list is ABS, with XM, Audio, Moonroof and Conv. Packages. I’m having problem with finding one with ABS and the rest. All the ones around here are either ABS and Conv package, or XM/Audio/Moon/Conv but no ABS. I’m around Pittsburgh, PA, searched inventory for pretty much everyone within 100 miles and found exactly 4 cars with ABS, and only 1 has all 5 options, but wrong color. I have never seen anything like this where certain option is so hard to come by, especially ABS which is pretty much a standard now. I can understand if I was looking for Manual tranny (found 2). Anyway, does anyone know why it’s so hard to get the ABS option?
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    just go to a dealership. they'll either find you what you want, or order one.
  • irismgirismg Posts: 345
    And this, you should do whether you have ABS or not.
  • irismgirismg Posts: 345
    If the wheels SPIN, they will slide, as well. Take it from someone who lives where winter preciptation is more likely to be freezing rain than nice, fluffy snow that one's tires can grip on. Winter in Oklahoma is hell, and it freezes over! You can't walk on wet ice, much less drive on it, and I believe ABS won't help in that very bad, but very common, situation. This, I believe, is what the flight nurse was trying in vain to point out.

    It's been a couple years since the original comment, but I thought I'd chime in anyway! LOL
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
  • mshepmshep Posts: 2
    I just bought an new 08 Versa 2 weeks ago. The brakes pulsate when I break moderately hard, especially in stop and go highway driving. I do not have antilock breaks. Is this something others have experienced? Will it go away with break-in or should I be heading back to the dealer for a check? Thanks, mshep
  • jacksan1jacksan1 Posts: 504
    Non-ABS brakes should not give you a pulsating pedal sensation. Your Versa's brakes may be trying to "set," considering how new your car is. However, the pulsation that you are getting sounds odd, even for a new car. I would take the car right away into the dealership.

    By the way, are you having any problems slowing down/stopping?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Suspect warper front rotors....usually caused by excessive heat from braking.
  • toguchitoguchi Posts: 3
    I just bought an 08 Nissan Versa yesterday and had to take it back to the dealer for the exact same reason you describe. The steering wheel was shaking so badly everytime I hit the brakes that I decided to have them check it out.
    They claim that it was a built-up on the rotors - they cleaned it and it should be fine. Also the rotor alignment was off by a minimal degree.
    Better to be safe than sorry. Have it checked, especially as long as you have the warranty.
  • mshepmshep Posts: 2
    I did take my Versa back and they turned the rotors and it has been fine since then. I asked the service technician if this was unsual and he said yes. I guess not!
  • tnyamy7tnyamy7 Posts: 1
    I bought a 08 versa in feb. and in late may i stated hearing a screeching noise when i would brake. at this time i only had about 3700 miles in my car.... so i thought i shouldn't have to replace my brakes so i took it in... they told me they didn't hear a noise it must be my brakes braking in... ( i dont think so!) i then left and as soon as i left i heard it more.. so i went back and they changed them for me and filed down the disk i believe ... that could possibly have been the cause of the noise well 1 day later the noise is worse!!!! i am really upset!! now at 4000 miles every time i brake it makes noise! its embarasing i dont know what to do since the dealership says there is no recall yet! has anyone encountered this problem?
  • e46kime46kim Posts: 2
    Nissan Versa SL hatchback, 2008. Bought in April. 2000 miles on it. Had to take it to the dealer yesterday because of pulsating brakes. (sounds like a trend?)

    Got a call back, mechanic is admonishing me not to make so many panic stops, it heats up the brakes and deforms the rotor. Hmpf. I have never had that problems on any of my other cars (not even on the honda which I had for 17 years). I don't think I drive it any differently than I drive other cars. Seems like a design issue to me.

    So, I suppose you need to live in a flat, relatively traffic free part of the world, if you do not wish to have rotor problems on your Nissan Versa. Btw, I have no ABS brakes.
  • Quote from e46kim: Nissan Versa SL hatchback, 2008. Bought in April. 2000 miles on it. Had to take it to the dealer yesterday because of pulsating brakes. (sounds like a trend?)

    I had the same problem appear within a week of my purchase (2008 Versa HB SL). Dealer told me it was a common occurrence to have "hot spots" on the rotors which is usually caused by excessive breaking or hard braking. Considering the car had 100 miles on it - his explanation made total sense to me! I have owned many new cars and have never had this happen even one time!

    They turned the rotors and upon reaching a mileage of 1200 - the problem happened again. I no longer own the Versa - went with a Honda Sport Fit with standard ABS and so far I am very pleased - but very disappointed in Nissan. The Versa had many other issues requiring service as well but I will keep to topic and spare everyone the details. I have owned 4 other Nissan cars and have had good experiences with each. Very surprised by the lack of apparent quality of the Versa.

    Good luck with your brake issues!
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,403
    I have about 38,000 on my Versa now and I haven't had to do any brakes yet. I know a lot depends on individual driving habits and conditions, and I get a good long time out of brakes in general, but was wondering what kind of brake life others might be seeing.
  • 28000 and holding up just fine but the dealer where we bought it is trying to tell us that the brakes should be checked, lubed at a cost of $150 so that maybe if there is a problem they may fix at no charge. I don't buy this, brakes aren't covered by warranty and they will never guarentee service.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,403
    I stick to the regular maintenance schedule and have been dealing with the same dealership with 9 different Nissan vehicles since 1980. I've never had them tell me that my brakes needed to be checked and lubed for a fee. I've been informed that I'd probably need brakes for next inspection or that my brakes need to be replaced NOW, but that's to be expected now and then.
  • In July, 2006 I bought the first 2007 Versa my dealer ever sold. It was still on a truck from Mexico. They say not to buy the first year model of any car and it couldn't have applied to any car more than this one. I must say that Nissan and the dealer provided excellent warranty service and rental vehicles but for the first year the problems were never-ending. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System required 5 trips to the dealer to re-set until the defective Body Control Module was replaced. In a process that took over ten days, EVERY component of the A/C system was replaced at the direction of the factory mechanics because they could not determine the source of a high-pitched whine in the A/C system. We also experienced several major oil seal failures including the replaicement of the clutch due to the failure of the rear main oil seal. That is a failure that should not happen until 100,000 miles!
    This car now has 57,000+ miles on it and has not had a problem for the last 20,000 miles. It gets great gas mileage and has surprising performance with the 6 speed manual transmission.
    Would I recommend this car? Absolutely!! I have several friends that bought later models of this vehicle and experienced none of my problems and love their cars. The only common complaint seems to be the cheap hubcaps. Look at any Nissan Versa and you will see at least one missing hubcap because the plastic retainers broke off when the hubcap was removed to change a flat tire. Quality look-alike hubcaps are available on-line for $55.00
  • Having the same problem with my brakes. Embarassingly loud screeching noise whenever I touch the brakes. Mentioned it to tech when I got the oil changed and they inspected everything and told me nothing was wrong with them visually. His suggestion was that they could "hook it up to the diagnostics and recreate the driving conditions" but it would take several hours. (wth!!!) My suggestion was that he could drive it up the block and back, but apparently this isn't done anymore.
  • flavifeflavife Posts: 20
    There is a 2-2-09 service bulletin regarding squealing rear brakes NTB09-008 that you might want to look at if the noise is coming from the rear.

    09 Versa Sedan S 6-speed with 2900 mi
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,403
    I have a 2007 hatch 6-speed with just over 52,000 miles still on the original brakes and I've never run into this. But reading the service bulletin tells me why:

    The rear brakes squeal when you:
    • Warm up the brakes by driving the vehicle under normal conditions for 10 minutes.
    • Let the vehicle sit for 15-20 minutes.
    • Drive the vehicle again and apply the brakes to check for the noise.

    That seems to be a really specific set of conditions to get the noise. Kinda reminds me of the old joke where the guy goes to the doctor and says, "It hurts when I do this." And the doc says, "Well, don't do that" ;)

    I've had a bit of rotor warping, but everyone makes rotors so light now that I haven't had a vehicle that hasn't had rotors warp at some point.
  • I test-drove a Versa from a dealership that had under 200mi on it and the rotors were warped badly as well. Steering wheel pulsated when moderately braking. The TPMS warning light was on as well.

    I figured it was an exception, but from reading here, I am getting worried it will happen on my Versa any time now. :(
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    When I went to pick up our Versa, the TPMS light was on as well. Dealer just had to adjust the tire pressure, which they had not done :mad: :mad: It's been fine ever since.

    The pulsating braking is a problem that the dealership should fix before going out he door with a new rotor. Weird that you would have that, but a simple fix.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,403
    Rotors simply aren't what they used to be. With all the weight saving (cost cutting) manufacturers try to do, rotors on pretty much every vehicle warp. I have 57,000 miles on my Versa and have a bit of warping, but nothing that I didn't expect or surprises me. Still on the original brakes so I'm pretty happy about that.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,403
    I'm due for a tire rotation in about 2,500 miles and I'll be checking the brakes then to see how they've held up. I'll be at 60,000 miles at that point on the original rotors and pads, so even if it's time to replace some things I'm not going to be upset at all. :shades:
  • I just had my actuator replaced in my 2010 Versa and I can hear a second series of cluncking noises comming from the actuator, I am not sure the actuator is supposed to make a second series of noises during the same trip. The second series of noises coming from the actuator is not loud, but I can hear a second series of clunking.
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