2013 Nissan Altima

I received this from the dealer I took my car to…

“We pulled your valve cover off, and inspected your vehicle. We found that your intake cam shaft has a crack in it. The crack is located on the intake cam journal #3. We called our technical service assistance team to see what would be the correct fix for this, and they stated that we could need to put a long block into the vehicle. (Engine)”

I’m hearing from LOADS of people that no way it should need a new engine! A new cam or head, but not a new engine. Thoughts?


Is this a warranty repair?

Some manufacturers have very few “allowed” engine repairs. If the problem isn’t on the autorized short list then an engine replacement is the allowed repair. I’m not sure if that’s the case with Nissan.

Call and ask the dealer.


“We pulled your valve cover off, and inspected your vehicle. We found that your intake cam shaft has a crack in it. …”

Did You Have An Original Complaint To The Dealer? Why Did They Pull The Cover? Symptoms?


Some clarification might be needed here. 1. Did you take car in for a problem 2. Was your notification a letter or a call 3. Are you expected to pay for the repairs

Hearing from loads of people really means nothing if they are not mechanics involved the problem.

Sorry…It started to shudder, lost power and after I turned it off, it wouldn’t start. I took it in to a dealership because it was close to where it broke down. The diagnostics they ran indicated a cam shaft sensor error, so he asked for, and I gave him, authorization to take the valve cover off to inspect the issue. I got the issue in an e-mail from the service center, so that I could take the information to the dealership I bought the car from. I don’t have a whole lot of hope they will do anything, but they certainly won’t if I don’t at least ask. I was being facitious…the “LOADS” of people are really 3 different mechanics weighing in without having SEEN it for themselves, but they are experienced and still not certain why it would warrant needing a whole new engine. Seemed a jump to the extreme to them is all…

So, It’s Out Of Warranty? Please Answer.

You need to ask the dealer why an engine is necessary. If it’s out of warranty then you could probably find a shop willing to do a repair only, but…

The dealer may tell you that because the engine valve timing was altered when the cam broke, additional engine damage was caused, but…

How much and to what parts? And, how was that diagnosed? These questions must be answered by folks that examined the car.


They said it needs a new engine…parts, labor and taxes $8,134. Didn’t explain why.

There is no warranty…I bought it used 6 months ago.

“They said it needs a new engine… Didn’t explain why.”

I understand that you received a text, but you need to ask the dealer specifically why they say it needs an engine as opposed to engine repairs.

When valve timing is changed when an engine is running or is started, as it would be with a broken cam shaft then more damage can be done to the engine when valves collide with pistons, in addition to the broken cam shaft.

We are at a disadvantage. We can’t see the car or engine. You need details and you won’t get them here or from the three mechanics you referenced. Find out and we’ll help. There are professional mechanics here, too.


You may have a warranty. How many miles on it? The car is 2 years old, and this car should have at least a 36 month/36,000 mile warranty. That is the new car warranty, and it transfers to you.

A 2013 Car Can Be More Than 3 Years Old, But We Don’t Know The Original In Service Date Or The Mileage. That Would Be Helpful Information From KJBruneau.


Nissans warranties seem shorter. 50k-60k? Certainly could be 75k hi mile car. 2013 might have vvt. Dealer probably would charge $3k for new head and bits.

You dealership shop has seen the damage and have direct experience with this engine. And have all the diagnostic equipment specific to the vehicle. Nobody here has even seen it, so probably best to rely on what the dealer says more that what we here can say. I expect OP already knows this.

Still no harm done to ask here what the forum experts think. I’m no expert but what I’d do first were I in this situation is

  • Determine if I have any warranty left. As posted above, the new car warranty stays with the car when ownership is transferred.

  • Determine if there are any manufacturer recalls or customer interest items applying to this problem for this engine. In some cases the manufacture will extend the duration of the warranty for certain things if it has determined from prior customer cases they’d resolved that there was a design or manufacturing problem at the time the car was built.

  • Determine if there are any technical service bulletins that pertain. If so, there may be more than one solution to the problem, and all the options might be noted in the tsb.

I think the bottom line is that we need specifics as to why the shop is saying the vehicle needs a new engine before we can offer a meaningful suggestion. As mentioned, a broken camshaft has the potential to cause collateral damage, but we don’t know he shop’s reasoning.

Just recently a close friend was told she needed a new engine for symptoms very similar to yours. I joined her in talking with the mechanic, and he was unable to offer me a convincing reason other than “the engine burns too much oil”. The problem turned out to be a bad part in he VVTi system. Following the advice of myself and another wrencher, she had the shop just repair the VVTi system (replace the solenoid/spool valve… whatever the correct nomenclature is… I forget). The car runs great now.

I’m not saying that’s the answer to your particular problem. Yours sounds like a different root cause. But I am saying more specific information is needed from the mechanic. A new camshaft, or even a new head, is a lot cheaper than a new engine.

You need to go to the shop and have them show you the damage. They should take no offense over this request and should gladly take you out in the shop for a look-see.

If the cam has a damaged lobe I would suspect the car had a shaky history before you bought it; possibly due to lack of oil or few if any oil changes.
A metallurgical problem is always a possibility but the odds of that are very, very low.

With the valve cover off on a 2013 model car I would expect the valve train area to be comparatively clean. If there is sludge or coked oil on any or all of the valve train area I would imagine the car probably had a life as a lease vehicle and the person leasing it had no intention of spending a single dime of their money on anything; including oil changes.

In that case it could be assumed the rest of the engine is not much better than the defective part; ergo, a new replacement engine recommendation.

As Usual, You Nailed It!

For Reasons You Gave, I Was Hesitant To Recommend That The Dealer Was Giving Poor Advice As Was Alluded To In The Original Post. As I Said Earlier, The Rest Of The Story Needs To Be Ascertained And Then A Discussion Can Begin.

ok4450 is a true professional in auto repair. He has given you very good advice. Please follow it and get back to us. Furthermore, I would take the time to go back and carefully read all comments made to your original query.