Common Nissan Rogue Problems to Look Out For


From time to time, AutoGuide will scour the dankest corners of the internet – including *shudder* forums – looking for information that will help you on your quest to buy a used car or perhaps to fix the one you already have.  Most of the information listed here is gathered from anecdotal evidence but, to take liberties with an old saying, where there’s a lot of smoke, there’s probably some fire.

The Nissan Rogue was introduced in the 2008 model year as a foil to popular competitors like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. Unlike its predecessor, the burly X-Trail SUV, the Rogue plants its flag squarely in the car-based crossover camp. There have now been two iterations of the Rogue, as the model went under the designer’s knife for 2014. Here some common Nissan Rogue problems (not recalls, however) that owners have lodged complaints about.

Nissan Rogue Transmission Issues

The Nissan Rogue employs a continuously variable transmission. This type of gearbox doesn’t actually have any gears, instead using a robust belt and a couple of pulleys. Most of the initial vitriol directed towards this unit was from drivers who did not understand its operation. With a tendency to ‘hang’ at a high engine rpm (where the power lives) some folks thought the unit was slipping. This is not the case.

ALSO SEE: CVT Transmission Pros and Cons

However, there are plenty of reports detailing actual failures of early Rogue transmissions, although if these failures were a result of a design flaw or user error is sometimes difficult to pinpoint. Regardless, buyers should know that Nissan doubled its warranty on this transmission in some vehicles from 5 years or 60,000 miles to 10 years or 120,000 miles. This means the vast majority of Nissan CVT units are still covered for repair at a Nissan dealership even if the rest of its powertrain warranty has expired. For more information, contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261.

Some users have reported instances where the CVT fails to allow the vehicle to exceed 3000 rpm. In these cases, the car would experience a loss of power, especially if climbing a hill. Most seem to agree this is due to overheating problems, a transmission that’s overfilled with fluid, or simply the wrong type of fluid altogether.

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Incorrect Fuel Gauge

It is also reported that certain models of the Rogue have difficulty displaying the actual amount of fuel that is in its gas tank. This is generally due to a faulty sensor, called a sending unit, deep inside the tank. Such a problem may lead to an incorrect fuel reading (high or low) which would doubtlessly cause calamity on a family road trip.

Keep an eye on the distance driven compared to how quickly the fuel gauge drops towards the ‘empty’ mark. Three days on ‘full’ after commuting to work an hour each way is a good indicator there is a problem, for example. Reports also exist of fuel gauges not reading full after brimming the tank with gasoline. 

Sunroof Not Closing

An improperly aligned wind deflector, located forward of the sunroof, has been reportedly scuppering the ability of some Rogue sunroof units to close fully. This is less than helpful on a rainy day.

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This problem seems limited to the first generation Nissan Rogue, the unit produced from 2008 to 2013 model years. Other drivers report slow and hesitant operation of the sunroof moving along its tracks, although this is likely due to debris in the tracks themselves, hardly an issue unique to the Rogue.

Look for issues such as the glass roof not ‘popping’ back up flush with the car’s roof sheetmetal when closed. This is a good indicator the sunroof motor is getting weak and worn, no longer able to push the sunroof back into its resting position. Make sure to cycle the unit several times at the used car dealership before signing on the dotted line. Repair can cost over $1,000. 

ALSO SEE:  Nissan Rogue Review

Canister Purge Valve

On a modern car, the check engine warning light can be illuminated for any number of reasons, including something so simple as a loose gas filler cap. On early versions of the Nissan Rogue, a common reason for its illumination is thank to a broken wire at the canister purge volume control solenoid valve.

This unit looks not unlike a soda can and found under the hood as part of the car’s emissions system. It traps fuel vapors the occur naturally in a fuel tank, slowly releasing them into the engine to be burned like regular fuel rather than escape into the atmosphere.

Experienced technicians say a kit is available from Nissan to repair this issue. Beyond the check engine light, other signs your Nissan Rogue may be suffering from this problem could be reduced gas mileage or an engine that performs poorly. 

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Engine Noise at Startup

Customers have also complained of a knocking or rattling noise when first starting their engine, particularly in cold weather conditions. This could be down to two issues, neither of which seem to require any sort of immediate repair.

First, the Rogue’s engine is designed with a timing chain, a unit which needs to come under tension in order to work properly so it can tell the pistons where they should be at any given time. In the couple of seconds it takes for the Rogue’s engine to build oil pressure, one may be able to hear the chain chattering away as it does its work.

The other, more persistent noise, is thanks to the design of the Rogue’s engine. Its cylinders are quite long in shape for a four-cylinder unit, causing their pistons to contract a bit (just a bit) when cold. The sealing rings at the top of each piston prevent damage when this happens. After the engine warms up, the piston will expand to its original size inside its cylinder, creating a tighter seal and making the clicking noise to cease. One should be concerned if the noise fails to disappear after the engine has reached operating temperature though, as it may point towards expensive engine problems.

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