Grab a cup of coffee, this is going to be a longish read, but if you have had engine sludge please read to the end
I am like many others that have experienced issues with engine sludge. I own a 2018 Platinum edition that I bought new directly for the dealer. Last march, around 58K miles, and less than 1 month after I had my car in for my 60K maintenance and oil change, my car started to blow whitish/blue smoke upon start up. It wasn't consistently doing it at first, but after about 4 starts like that I called the Nissan Service department to explain what was happening and my concern. I know nothing about cars and I trusted Nissan with the maintenance and service of my vehicle because they are the pros and I planned to drive that car for as long as I could. The person I spoke with said the 2018 PF is known for condensation in the tailpipe and it can produce what looks like smoke on start up. I told him it smelled a bit like a 2 cycle engine which had me concerned about burning oil. He asked if I had a check engine light on and I said no. He then told me it would be a waste of time and money to bring my car in because there was no codes to run. I called again 2 weeks later because the smoke upon start up was becoming more frequent. I was given the same line about condensation in the tailpipe. Still no check engine light illuminated. Same story, no light- no diagnostics. I continued to experience the smoke on a more frequent basis, but still intermittent basis. It did seem to be worse on days with higher humidity so while I was still very uncomfortable with the answer, I went with it. I know how stupid that is now. Fast forward to July 2022,and just a couple thousand miles later, while driving the check engine turns on along with the low oil pressure light. I immediately pulled over to a gas station. I tried to get the cap off so I could add a quart or 2 of oil, but couldn't. I started the car back up to drive the 15 miles home and the low oil pressure light was off, but check engine was still illuminated. I immediately called Nissan and brought my car in even though they didn't have time to service it. I knew I had a problem.
Long story short, they said due to lack of maintenance I needed an engine replacement due to sludge build up. Of course, Nissan USA declined to cover me while under warranty citing lack of maintenance as the cause of the engine sludge. I pushed back and said I had called multiple times with concern only to be brushed off by the maintenance department. I had my oil changed about every 7500 miles at the dealership. Never once did my paperwork indicate low levels of oil or excessively dirty oil upon arrival. We did one home oil change in 2021 because we were taking a road trip and the dealership couldn't get us in before we left. Other than that, the dealer did oil changes and ALL scheduled mileage maintenance. The service manager argued that by the time I was seeing the smoke, the damage to the engine was already done due to lack of proper maintenance, and despite their service department dismissing my calls with concerns, they had no culpability. I argued that if it was a long outstanding issue the excessively dark oil should have been noted on my service notes and that my service records actually prove that I was trying to properly maintain my car by doing all scheduled maintenance. I tried to fight it with Nissan USA and they said their decision had already been rendered based on information the dealer had already submitted. The records they submitted had a gap because of the oil change we did at home because I didn't have the receipt (from July 2021, which I eventually tracked down). I told the Nissan USA warranty rep that they had incomplete information and I could now submit the receipt. She said it didn't matter because a decision had already been rendered.
I acknowledge that I went longer than the maintenance schedule indicates, but I also don't think this damage should have occurred at the interval schedule I was on. I also think that if Nissan knew this to be an issue, which I think they do, they should have recommended more frequent oil changes on my service notes.
Luckily, I made a few FB videos about the problem I had when the smoke first started and asked for opinions so I do have proof that I was concerned and I cited in the video that the dealership blew me off. I plan to take this up with the attorney general in MN to see if I can fight it and even if I don't win, I hope to make it VERY uncomfortable for that Nissan service department manager. This is where you come in. Please comment if you have had the same issues. I have read so many posts on this forum about people with the 2017-2021 models experiencing this exact same issue. I think this will go a long way toward forcing Nissan's hand to replace my engine and if there are enough documented problems, it may force Nissan to start fixing the issue on a broader scale. I think they know they have a problem, and are using the 5K hard stopping point of oil changes as a technicality to void the powertrain warranty because the issue is so widespread and it would be a huge loss to either the dealerships or Nissan USA to actually fix on a broad scale.
If you are still reading this, you have probably experienced this same issue with your pathfinder and I am so sorry for that. Please take the time to comment the following:
Pathfinder year, make, model
If you bought it new or used
Your real name( if comfortable doing that)
Where you bought your Pathfinder
Whether you brought the issue up with dealership and the outcome.
An engine replacement or purchasing a new car is an expense that many cannot afford. The dealership and service departments are very quick to take our money and in doing so, they should be accountable to do the RIGHT thing. In doing so, they might cement a customer for life. The condescending dismissal of the issue I was having and the lack of accountability have ensured I will never buy another Nissan (we bought 2 new from the same dealer and would have bought a 3rd) and have fueled my desire to hold their feet to the fire. Sorry for the novel.
DupedbyNissan- Roseville, MN