Ripped off by dealership

Have a 2002 Frontier supercharge nissan…in cold it is flooding out…blowing exhaust and knocking and shaking on start up. AFter it warms up and weather warms up during the day…it well start up without the horrible knockings…I am very good about oil changes and preventive maintanence. To date (in 2 months) the dealership has replaced: distributor $715 dollars, a distributor cap, injection throttle flush, spark plug and spark plug wires…$561…and it is still doing it…the cannot make it do the sound and blow smoke when they have my vehicle… it is at shop now…and they want more parts put in it. HELP!!! Do they not know what they are doing?

Yeah, I do. They’re experimenting on your dime. It’s time to switch to a reputable independently owned and operated shop. I don’t think the dealer is even looking in the right places.

What color is the smoke? Black? White? Grey?

I agree 100% with @mountainbike. This is known as “shotgun maintenance” and is very expensive for the customer but very lucrative for the dealership. Sometimes this happens because they don’t have a clue to what’s wrong but most of the time it’s just for the money.

I Don’t Know A Nissan From A Toyota, As There Are No Japanese Car Dealers Where I Live, But . . .

Apparently Some Nissans Have Cold Start Problems Starting In Cold Weather. Nissan Published a Technical Service Bulletin To Help Their Technicians With customer Complaints On This Issue. Owners Are Supposed To Hold The Accelerator Pedal 1/3 Of The Way To The Floor While Cranking, Until The Engine Fires Up.

Apparently Nissans From That Era And Equipped With VG30E And VG33E Engines, Built Before 10/13/03, Can Have Lifters That Rattle/Clatter For 2-3 Seconds On Cold Starts. Nissan Sells Replacement Lifters That Are Supposed To Remedy The Situation. Rattling For Only About A Second Is Considered Normal [??].


I can’t quite get on the dealer ripping you off or incompetence bandwagon just yet; especially on a 12 year old vehicle with unspecified miles. Modern car problems are not always a black and white issue. There’s a lot of gray involved with many faults and often one problem can cause multiple others.

Offhand, this could point to a fuel pressure leak into the engine or a loss of residual pressure while the engine is at rest; or both.

Some food for thought might involve a knock sensor circuit problem leading to severely retarded ignition timng or a supercharger bypass problem; either of which could cause noise, smoke, and poor running.

Without knowing what codes were present, if any, and so on that’s my best hypothesis anyway.

A 2002 shouldn’t be repaired by a dealer. I think that is the main problem here. The dealer shops take great pains to make sure their mechanicals specialize in the expertise, have the necessary tools, and the training to do the warranty repairs for the brands they sell. They can charge a lot for this, because the car manufacturer’s are paying the bills. But the dealer shops, they aren’t doing warranty repairs on 2002’s any more, so you are paying big bucks for something this dealer shop doesn’t have: Expertise in repairing 2002’s.

What you need is to find a good inde shop. A shop with experience fixing your make and model.

What you have is a cold start problem. Not an uncommon complaint here. The car’s computer measures the engine coolant temp, and decides what the fuel/air mixture is supposed to be. It adjusts the amount of injected fuel to match the amount of metered air per the coolant temperature. The first thing to check is whether the coolant temp is being accurately measured. Most cars have two coolant sensors. One is for the dash guage. And the other is for the computer. Be sure to ask your inde mechanic to check the coolant temp sensor used by the computer for accuracy. If it is not that, then it could be that the airflow isn’t being metered accurately, or the fuel injectors aren’t injecting the amount of gas the ECM is telling them to. All easily tested. If that is all ok, then about the only things left would be an engine compression, timing, or ignition problem. Again, all easily tested.

Get yee to a good indee! Ask friends, relatives, fellow church-goers for recommendations. Best of luck.

George I agree with your sentiment that 11 yr old vehicles aren’t well served by being repaired at the dealers. However, the hypothesis that the dealer doesn’t have the expertise to service said vehicle is far fetched. What you are saying is the dealer in 2003 or 2004 knew how to perform repairs but by 2013 they’ve forgotten how? Makes little sense to me

Much depends upon the mechanic but if they’ve been around a few years they should be familiar with both old and new.

As to warranty, mechanics and dealers both do not like it. The hourly flat rate charge is generally a fair amount lower than customer pay and worst of all; the hours of labor involved are lower than customer pay hours; often much, much lower.
I don’t think anyone would like to toil for 1.5 hours and get paid .3 tenths of an hour. That’s how warranty works and often it’s not even that good. In many cases a mechanic may not get paid at all for a warranty repair.

Not related to this particular Nissan complaint but to make a point about how things are not always cut and dried, consider a code like this along with what both mechanic and customer is facing when starting the process of sorting it all out; or at least attempting to. Note the potential causes for one code and ponder what to do if no codes exist at all but a problem does.

Vehicle runs awful at home, cold. Leave it at dealer overnight. Go there with tech in morning and start vehicle together? Of course it will run great! Or not