Latest Reader Question: On the Nissan Frontier V6 vs. Four (May 4, 2018)

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Erik asks: In your recent “Used car Sweet Spot” article you mentioned your Frontier as an example, but suggested avoiding the V6. Why? I thought the VG30/33 engines were tough as nails reliable. Did the late production models have problems? Your thoughts please.

My reply: The main problem with the V6 isn’t the V6. It’s that the Frontier (the compact-sized Frontier, last made in 2004) is too small for the engine. It is difficult to get your hands on more than what’s topside. The four, on the other hand, is very accessible. Any part of it. And if memory serves, it does not have a timing belt that requires periodic replacement as normally scheduled service.

I’ve owned two Frontiers with this engine and while they’re a little gimpy as far as speed goes, the engines in both never needed anything except oil and filters, drive belts and so on.

They will go 250,000-plus miles if you treat them right!

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. The second and first gen Xterra’s also have an EXPECTED timing chain replacement in the life of the vehicle as well. The driver has to keep an ear out for the distinct chain whine and replace it within a certain amount of time.


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