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2014 Infiniti QX60 Engine Replacement Options

We have a 2014 with 90,000 miles. Took it to the dealership for blowing white thick smoke out of the tailpipe. Dealer is telling us that the entire engine needs to be replaced because of sludge build-up. They are saying it is from lack of maintenance.

We have owned the car 18 months and have changed the oil several times. The car was JUST at the dealership 2 months ago when they replaced the transmission. We didn’t even have any problems, just told us we were getting a new transmission. The dealer changed the oil at that time. How was there not a problem detected then?? I am so confused as to how a 3 year old high end car can need a new transmission and a new engine??

Are there any other options other than replacing the engine? Can oil sludge be cleaned? I love this car so much and have bragged about it so much that 2 friends also bought Infiniti’s. What should I do? We have an extended warranty, but they denied the claim.

you bought the car used? From the dealer? Is the extended warranty from the dealer or from Nissan? or from a third party? Did they pay for the transmission?

Apparently the previous owner never changed the oil, which caused the sludge. So everything hinges on the extended warranty and the way it is worded. You might have to talk to a lawyer.

What oil change interval was observed?
How many miles?
How many months?
Is it matching manufacturer recommendations?
How often you check you oil level?
Did you notice any low oil condition and had to add oil before?

At this point the engine is likely a toast :frowning:
Question is: can you prove with paperwork you maintained your engine per manufacturer recommendations, since if answer is “yes”, then you have a chance to fight that warranty denial.

You might still be denied on the grounds you did not check you oil level often enough if they caught you with low level at the next oil change and it is documented. Without documents to prove, it becomes “he said / I said game”

Sludge is usually from lack of maintenance or from a poorly designed engine. This is NOT a poorly designed engine. You only owned the vehicle for 18 months…what was the maintenance record before that? I work with a guy who leases a car every 2 years. During that time he NEVER EVER does any maintenance - including oil changes. I’d NEVER buy a car he leased.

The engine has to be full of sludge to warrant a new engine. Sludge can be removed without tearing into the engine if it’s not real bad.

Did you pay for the new transmission? Confused on that one.

I’d also get a second opinion. How did they determine that the engine had sludge. Find a good independent and have them look at.

Infiniti did pay for the transmission. Yay! Like I said, we didn’t even know there was a transmission problem. I can only prove 2 oil changes in the 18 months since we owned since they were at the dealership. I am trying to track down the other records right now since they were not at the dealership.

Clearly, I can’t prove what happened before we owned the car. Would there not be any indication before the engine is “toast”. I just wish we would have known a problem was brewing. Maybe we could have taken some preventative measures. Anyone have any experience buying time with sludge removal?

We bought the car from another dealer…not Infiniti. The extended warranty is with National Auto Care. I understand they would not want to make repairs due to lack of maintenance, but frustrating that it doesn’t protect against more when buying used.

I doubt there is anything you could have done. This is why If someone asks me about buying a used luxury vehicle I say find something new that meets your needs if you can’t afford a new luxury vehicle. So many are returned lease vehicles that the people who had them just drive and that is it.

You might pay for a Carfax report to see if there is record of service . And sadly you are finding out that extended warranties are usually a waste of money.

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Yet another example of why these warranties are often worthless. I’m sorry this isn’t helpful for you, but maybe it’ll save somebody else some $$$.

The free transmission puts the owner ahead I bet. It would not hurt to get a second opinion, but the longer you drive it in this condition the greater the chances of needing an expensive catalytic converter.

Infiniti paid for the transmission, not the extended warranty.

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There is a safety recall to inspect the CVT transmission and replace if necessary, your service invoice should indicate that a recall was performed.

You did not state why the claim was denied but if you are still looking for maintenance records, insufficient maintenance may be the reason. Some service writers won’t call in a claim until the customer has their paper work in order because the claim will be denied.

It really doesn’t matter if it is a factory warrant, Nissan/Infiniti extended warranty or an aftermarket warranty, maintenance records will be required in cases of neglect.

How many miles were on the vehicle at the time of purchase?

The car had 58,000 when we bought it.

Something doesn’t add up here. Time for a second opinion.

So OP purchased the car w/60 K miles and it now has 90 K, during which interval the oil was changed twice, right? That should be plenty of oil changes during your ownership and should meet the manufacturer’s requirements, providing the correct oil spec was used and likewise the correct oil filter. Be aware that new cars sporting variable valve timing (like yours probably has) are very sensitive to the oil specs, correct weight and synthetic vs conventional. Using the wrong type of oil can be one reason for sludge formation.

You had no control about the maintenance before you purchased. But your dealership may be able to look that info up, many car repair places and dealerships enter maintenance into a database your dealership has access to every time it is done.

Sludge can sometimes be cleaned. But not always. No harm – other than to your wallet – to ask for another opinion from a different shop.

It’s pretty unusual to need all this major work on a car only 3 years old. Suggest to check what the consumer reports used car guide says about what other owners are reporting on this make/model/year.

I have seen sludged engines get repaired under warranty with a service contract but those were 3,000 to 8,000 miles after the sale and because we were the selling dealer may be the reason the cause of failure was overlooked.

After 32,000 miles it will difficult to place blame on the previous owner and you will need at least 6 oil change invoices.

Can you tell us the name of this service? Our dealer does not have access to the records of non dealer shops.

That sounds more like a classical case of coolant breach (head gasket) to me. I’d get another opinion.

Had coworker tell me the dealership told her engine was blown. Nothing she told me sounded like a blown engine. More like ac compressor and belt. They wanted $8k to “fix” her car w/new crate engine after an exhaustive 10 minute evaluation. I finally convinced her to get it towed elsewhere. They found exactly what I said and she was back on road for less than a grand. And that included some other maintenance that was due. Point is, don’t blindly trust them especially if it seems a bit fishy…

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Oil can present itself as white also. If the engine is severely sludged it could be that the valve train area is sludged so badly that the engine oil cannot return through the plugged up cylinder head drain holes with the oil completely flooding the valve guide bosses and seals.

Personally, I don’t consider 2 oil changes in 30k miles as being sufficient.


Thick billowing clouds of oil smoke would be unmistakable in terms of odor versus coolant. That might be another way to differentiate between them if color is challenging. I knew a guy in high school that tore down a motor and threw all the valve train parts in one bucket. Randomly replaced them. Only car I ever saw make billowing oil smoke. Still had bluish hue but smell was unmistakable. Pulling plugs and looking at porcelain would be another way to tell which it is.

I too was thinking white smoke was burning coolant, not burning oil.

Can’t you remove the heads and see if there’s sludge? I know that’s not a simple thing… but I’d rather to pay to have the heads removed than just up and replace the engine. Plus, if it is a head gasket breech, you’d have to remove the heads anyway.

I’d get a second opinion, for sure. Good luck.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! We are definitely getting a second opinion. It was definitely white thick smoke. It only happened when starting and then goes away. When I first brought it to the dealership, the guy thought I had accidentally filled up with diesel. I assured him I didn’t.

I called yesterday to see if I could pick up the car. They said I would most likely have to have it towed. I told him that I drove it in!! The conversation ended with them allowing me to keep the loaner until after New Year’s and they would try to have it ready to pick up on Tuesday.

Also, I know 2 oil changes isn’t enough for 30,000 miles. I was saying that I only had documentation for the 2 since they were at the dealer.

I would suggest to get it straight how many oil changes you really had in your 30K miles of ownership, it is not clear from replies.

Good suggestion above that you can likely get your records from CarFax if service facilities you used reported the service (which is very likely, usually it shows up).

Infinity seem to require oil change every 5000 miles or 6 months:

If you can prove it, you have a good case against the extended warranty provider, as supposedly you insured the vehicle when it was operating OK-ish at 60K miles and if you maintenance shows up, you have a case to demand what is yours.

Worst case scenario, you can get some userd replacement engine like this:

You do not necessarily need to use dealer to install it, so the price will be more reasonable.