We got Marta’s Qashqai in mid 2010 and generally speaking it’s been a good car. Has to be said though that since the guarantee ran out, about a year ago, it has needed more attention than I expected. Whether this is just coincidence or they built the car with a three year lifespan I don’t know but either way it is annoying.
As the reliability, or lack of, of the Nissan drops off the cost of having work done at the official dealer (in our case, Odyssey) rises. One also begins to question whether their attitude to what work is required changes once the three year clock has ticked. Thankfully, after the guarantee runs out there is less, or even no need to use the dealer and after the latest episode that’s what we’ve decided to do.
The primary point of this post is to put something out there for people searching for clutch problems with a Nissan Qashqai because I’m convinced Nissan are behaving badly here. Also perhaps a warning about the dealer Odyssey. From day one the gear change in the Qashqai was the worst part of the car. There was nothing actually wrong with it but it was a long way from the crispness you might expect from a German car, or the Toyota, or a Ford or just about any other car. It had that air of stirring porridge and hoping for the best. Slight exaggeration but makes the point. Early on this was mentioned to Odyssey who basically said they are all like that so…that’s it.
Over time it slowly got worse but throughout the guarantee period there was never a mention that something should be done about it. At the last service, the first one out of guarantee, suddenly Odyssey were full of great advice about all the things that needed to be done – primarily the clutch and the brakes (discs). They quoted 4,500 PLN with a caveat that it depended what they found when they opened up. We declined their generous offer.
Fast forward a couple of months and Marta is involved in a non-injurious head-on with a batty woman who said she had the sun in her eyes, but kept pulling out into the main street anyway! The Qashqai went into the garage for a fair bit of front body work. This was kind of good news because it meant we got a dent in the front wing repaired for free. Hurrah for small mercies. The work was organised by Odyssey.
When the car was returned the clutch problem had significantly worsened to the point it was hard to drive the car at all. I think the best description is that it was slipping badly as there seemed no relation between engine speed and car speed. My wife mentioned this but again nobody was prepared to take ownership. The car was moving and that’s good enough. Presumably the front end shunt has just made an existing problem worse. Pre-existing condition = our problem.
Prior to the smash, we had been talking with the in-laws about the work that needed doing and they mentioned they had a great mechanic down in the woods south of Warsaw where their cottage is. We asked what his price might be for the things Odyssey wanted 4,500 for and his price was 1,500. With the car now largely useless we took it down immediately so the mechanic in the woods could get it fixed.
The Qashqai comes home tomorrow after having all manner of work done and a total bill of 5,400! The in-laws are distraught that they appear to have been responsible for more than trebling the cost and are going out of their way to make up for it. They even went as far as checking with Odyssey what their price was for the work the guy in the woods has done. Their price was 11,000! The main problem seems to be the flywheel, which comes as a combo with some other part and that part alone costs 6,000 from Odyssey or 4,000 in the woods. Add to that the brake discs and a long list of other stuff (won’t know exactly until tomorrow) and you get a significantly larger job and bill than expected.
We do not blame the in-laws in any way, all they have done is be extremely helpful. Both my father in law and his mate Janusz are better mechanics than I will ever be so I trust their judgement implicitly. Interestingly, mechanic in the woods feels as I do, and as I mentioned more than once to Marta, that this was a problem right from the beginning.
Switch to Google and searches for “Qashqai clutch” and there is no shortage of people with similar problems to ourselves. Clutches that fail far earlier than you expect. No action being taken by Nissan or dealers. Get out of jail free cards being thrown around like “it’s the way you drive” or “it’s normal wear and tear” which are actually pretty hard to argue against no matter how much bullshit you know them to be.
So. We shall see how the new improved Qashqai drives tomorrow. If everything has been properly fixed it should be a damned fine car. I also expect our fuel bill will be noticeably lower as we won’t be wasting engine power anymore.
Here are the conclusions I have come to:
1/ Nissan are hiding something. These clutches were a problem and they knew it. A recall would have been nice but no doubt the cost or replacing millions of clutches (the Qashqai is a best seller) was something they decided to avoid, mainly because pinning the blame on them was not going to be easy.
2/ The dealer was hiding something.
3/ Nissan can go screw themselves when we come to replace the car.
4/ Odyssey can screw themselves too.
5/ (assuming a good job has been done) the mechanic in the woods is now our go-to car repair guy.