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2011 Nissan Rogue AWD Issue

My wife just called on her way to work in the middle of another winter storm and stated that the AWD light on our Nissan Rogue will illuminate and then go off. For those unfamiliar with the vehicle while stopped or in park you just push a button and the AWD system is engaged (a light on the switch goes on to indicate it is on). Unfortunately, the light or AWD goes out randomly. I contacted our local Nissan garage and have an appointment next week. They say the light/AWD should stay on.

Does anyone have any thoughts about what the issue could be?

Don’t worry about whether anyone else has had this problem or not, and don’t even consider providing a diagnosis to the dealership. Instead, take comfort in the reality that everything on your new car is fully warranteed, that it is the responsibility of a dealership and the manufacturer to fix the problem, and that if it cannot be repaired after a few attempts, you will be eligible for the protection of the Lemon Law in your state.

When warranty-related repairs are involved, the dealership is required to go through the manufacturer’s diagnostic procedures before making any repairs. If you insist on giving them a diagnosis and insist that they perform repairs based on that diagnosis, if your diagnosis proves to be wrong, then you will be the one paying for the parts and labor, rather than the manufacturer.

Your role is as follows:

Describe the symptoms as clearly and concisely as possible, leaving out irrelevant details.

If possible, be present in order to demonstrate the problem to the service manager and/or mechanic.

Be sure that the nature of the problem is correctly described on repair invoices, and save those invoices–in case it is necessary at a later date to pursue a Lemon Law case with Nissan.

Begin to educate yourself as to the exact terms of the Lemon Law in your state. If you live in a consumer-oriented state, the website of the state Attorney General and/or the state Division of Consumer Protection will have all of the info that you need. If not, then take a look at either or for details.

Make sure that all required maintenance for the vehicle is done on schedule in order to keep all of your warranty protection in effect.

I’m not familiar with your car, but are you sure you’re understanding this feature correctly? I strongly suspect that this is an AWD lock function meant for temporary use at low speed, for uses such as getting out of a heavy snowdrift. If I’m correct, I’m a little concerned that you’re pushing buttons in your car without having read about them in the owner’s manual.

Thank you for your response. When I contacted our Nissan dealership and scheduled the service I briefly described the problem. Hopefully, they can provide a correct diagnosis and fix the problem. I appreciate your feedback…thanks again.

This thought had crossed my mind also.

I do know that Toyota’s Rav-4 has this “temporary” AWD locking feature, but I don’t know if the similarly-sized and similarly-priced Nissan Rogue also has this feature.

On the Rav, you can activate the “AWD lock” while the vehicle is stopped, but once you reach 25 mph, it automatically reverts to FWD. In rough going, the driver has to re-activate the AWD lock each time that the vehicle is stopped, only to have it de-activate itself again once he reaches 25 mph, and so on, and so on…

As lion9car suggests, the OP should carefully read the Owner’s Manual to determine if the AWD system operates as he currently assumes that it does, or if it is similar in function to that of the competing Rav-4.

Read your owners manual to fully understand how it’s SUPPOSE to work.

Thanks for your response. After reading other posts I contacted the Nissan dealership to discuss this. The AWD switch should only be activated in very deep snow, or mud etc. It automatically switches off at 10 mph. The Nissan AWD system is intuitive and is always engaged based upon road conditions. The AWD switch is only turned on to get the vehicle out of extreme conditions and again automatically turns off at 10 mph and defaults to the AWD intuitive mode…reading the road conditions and reacting to them.

You’re right! The owners manual is in the car with my wife. A call to Nissan clarified it’s operation. Thanks…

So, the suspicions that lion9car and I had were correct.
This type of AWD is fine for most conditions, but in really tough going, you will find that it pales by comparison with full-time AWD systems.

The reason that some manufacturers utilize this “light” version of AWD is to boost their mpg figures slightly. By running their certification models in a manner that keeps them in FWD mode, they gain a slight advantage in fuel economy.

Anyway–hopefully you and your wife have learned about the importance of actually reading the Owner’s Manual before pushing buttons and before wasting your time with an unnecessary visit to the dealership’s service dept.