Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Nissan X-Trail 4x4?
While Nissan has a good reputation for reliability, the first-generation X-Trail suffers from a number of recurring problems.
The paint on most versions is prone to stone-chips and developing a cracked 'orange-peel' appearance. Also, the alloy wheels can corrode and flake, and often have to be reconditioned or replaced entirely.
Black smoke or a whistling noise when you rev the engine is also a bad sign – it means that the turbo itself is on the way out, and again it will need replacing, although it’s generally a more affordable task than the intercooler.
The engine’s timing chain tensioner can jam, which usually doesn’t result in the failure of an engine, but it does mean that it won’t start, and it can cause damage to the camshafts.
Nissan actually felt the need to instigate a 'service campaign', which is essentially a voluntary recall. In this, many X-Trails had their engine management systems replaced or upgraded, but if the car wasn’t serviced at a main dealer, this work may not have been carried out.