8 Common Nissan Versa Problems Every Owner Should Know

The Nissan Versa, known for its affordability and fuel efficiency, has become a popular choice for budget-conscious drivers. However, like any other vehicle, the Versa is not without its share of issues. In this blog post, we will delve into some common problems that Nissan Versa owners may encounter.

Understanding these potential issues can help you make an informed decision if you’re considering purchasing a Versa or aid in diagnosing any problems you may experience with your current vehicle.

Here are 8 common Nissan Versa problems:

1.     Transmission issues (CVT)

The Nissan Versa, particularly models produced between 2012 and 2016, has been known to have issues with its continuously variable transmission (CVT). Some common complaints include jerking, shuddering, slipping, and difficulty accelerating.

The CVT is designed to provide a smoother driving experience with improved fuel efficiency, but when it malfunctions, it can lead to a frustrating and potentially dangerous situation.

Fix: Nissan has issued extended warranties for some models affected by these issues, so if your vehicle is still under warranty, it’s crucial to have it checked at a dealership. If your Versa is no longer under warranty, you may need to have the transmission replaced or repaired by a qualified mechanic.

Regularly servicing your transmission and using the correct transmission fluid can help prolong the life of the CVT.

2.     Exhaust system leaks

Some Nissan Versa owners have reported exhaust system leaks, particularly in the flex pipe section. This can lead to a loss of engine power, decreased fuel efficiency, and unpleasant fumes entering the cabin. Leaking exhaust systems can also cause your vehicle to fail emissions tests.

Fix: Regularly inspect your exhaust system for any signs of wear, rust, or damage, especially if you notice any unusual noises or smells. If you detect a leak, have it repaired by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

2023 Nissan Versa sedan back view.

3.     Faulty fuel gauge

Another common issue with Nissan Versa is a faulty fuel gauge, leading to inaccurate fuel level readings. This can be both inconvenient and dangerous, as you may find yourself stranded without fuel if you’re unable to accurately gauge your remaining gas.

Fix: A malfunctioning fuel gauge can be caused by a faulty fuel level sensor, which is located inside the fuel tank. If this is the case, the sensor may need to be replaced by a qualified mechanic. Regularly tracking your fuel consumption and filling up well before your tank is empty can help you avoid any unexpected fuel shortages.

4.     Suspension problems

Some Versa owners have reported issues with the suspension system, including premature wear of struts and shock absorbers. This can lead to a rougher ride, decreased handling capabilities, and increased tire wear.

Fix: Regularly inspect your suspension components for signs of wear or damage, and replace them as needed. Investing in quality aftermarket suspension components can also help improve your Versa’s handling and longevity.

5.     Malfunctioning air conditioning system

A common issue with Nissan Versas is a malfunctioning air conditioning system, which may result in reduced cooling performance or complete failure. This can be due to a variety of factors, including leaks in the refrigerant lines, a failing compressor, or a clogged evaporator.

Fix: If you notice a decline in your air conditioning system’s performance, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic. They can check for leaks, replace any faulty components, and recharge the refrigerant as necessary.

6.     Electrical system glitches

Some Versa owners have reported various electrical system issues, ranging from malfunctioning power windows and locks to flickering dashboard lights. Electrical problems can be tricky to diagnose and may be due to a combination of factors, such as faulty wiring or a failing alternator.

Fix: If you’re experiencing electrical system issues, it’s best to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic who can diagnose and repair the problem. Regularly checking your battery and alternator for proper function can help prevent some electrical issues.

7.     Engine performance issues

Nissan Versa owners have reported a variety of engine performance issues, such as stalling, rough idling, and loss of power. These problems can be due to various factors, including a dirty or failing mass air flow sensor, worn spark plugs, or clogged fuel injectors.

Fix: Regular maintenance is key to preventing engine performance issues. Have your vehicle serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule, and be sure to replace spark plugs, air filters, and fuel filters as needed d. If you’re experiencing performance issues, a qualified mechanic can diagnose the problem and recommend the necessary repairs.

Close-up photo of a Nissan car engine.

8.     Brake system concerns

Some Nissan Versa owners have reported issues with the brake system, including premature wear of brake pads and rotors, as well as a spongy or soft brake pedal feel. These issues can compromise your vehicle’s stopping power and pose a safety risk.

Fix: Regularly inspect your brake components, including pads, rotors, and calipers, for signs of wear or damage. Replace any worn parts as necessary to maintain optimal braking performance.

Additionally, it’s essential to have your brake fluid flushed and replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. If you notice a change in your brake pedal feel, have your brake system inspected by a qualified mechanic to diagnose and resolve the issue.

By being aware of these common Nissan Versa problems and addressing them promptly, you can help ensure your vehicle stays reliable and safe. Regular maintenance and inspections by a qualified mechanic can help prevent many issues and prolong the life of your Nissan Versa.

Is the Nissan Versa a reliable car?

The Nissan Versa is generally considered a reliable car, particularly due to its affordable price and fuel efficiency. It’s an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers who prioritize low operating costs. However, like any vehicle, the Versa has had its share of issues, some of which are more prevalent in specific model years.

By addressing these issues promptly and adhering to a regular maintenance schedule, Versa owners can help ensure their vehicle remains reliable. It’s worth noting that every vehicle has its unique set of problems, and the Versa is no exception. The key to long-term reliability is being proactive about maintenance and addressing any concerns as they arise.

What years did Nissan Versa have transmission problems?

Nissan Versa models produced between 2012 and 2016 have been known to experience transmission issues, particularly with their continuously variable transmission (CVT). These issues include jerking, shuddering, slipping, and difficulty accelerating. Nissan has acknowledged these problems and, in some cases, extended warranties for affected vehicles.

However, it’s essential for owners to be vigilant about any potential transmission issues and address them promptly to maintain their Versa’s reliability.

How long do Nissan Versa transmissions last?

The lifespan of a Nissan Versa transmission can vary significantly based on factors such as driving habits, maintenance, and the specific model year. With proper care and regular maintenance, a Versa transmission can last upwards of 150,000 miles or more. However, the CVT in some model years (primarily 2012-2016) has been known to experience issues earlier, sometimes as early as 60,000 miles.

To prolong the life of your Versa’s transmission, it’s crucial to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, use the correct transmission fluid, and address any issues as they arise.

Car mechanic drain automatic transmission fluid

Why did Nissan discontinue the Versa?

As of my knowledge cutoff date is September 2021, Nissan had not discontinued the Versa. The Versa has remained a popular choice in the subcompact car segment due to its affordability, fuel efficiency, and practicality. However, consumer preferences have been shifting towards larger vehicles like SUVs and crossovers, which could potentially impact Versa’s future.

It’s essential to stay up-to-date on automotive industry news to learn about any changes to Nissan’s vehicle lineup, including the potential discontinuation of the Versa.

What is the average fuel economy for the Nissan Versa?

The Nissan Versa is known for its fuel efficiency, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious drivers. The fuel economy varies depending on the model year and transmission type.

2021 Nissan Versa exterior shown.

For example, the 2021 Nissan Versa with a 1.6-liter engine and CVT boasts an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 32 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 35 mpg combined. Manual transmission models generally have slightly lower fuel economy ratings.

It’s important to note that real-world fuel consumption can vary based on driving habits, conditions, and proper maintenance.

What is the Nissan Versa’s safety rating?

The Nissan Versa’s safety ratings can vary by model year, but the vehicle generally performs well in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). For instance, the 2021 Nissan Versa received a four-star overall rating from the NHTSA and was awarded the IIHS “Top Safety Pick” designation.

It’s essential to check the specific safety ratings for the model year you’re interested in, as ratings can change year-to-year based on updates and improvements.

How much cargo space does the Nissan Versa offer?

The Nissan Versa offers a surprisingly roomy trunk for a subcompact car, making it a practical choice for those who require cargo space. The 2021 Versa, for example, provides 14.7 cubic feet of trunk space, which is competitive within its class. The Versa’s 60/40 split fold-down rear seats can also be folded down to accommodate larger items or increase cargo capacity when needed.

Are there any alternatives to the Nissan Versa worth considering?

If you’re considering a Nissan Versa, it’s essential to explore alternatives within the subcompact car segment to ensure you’re making the best choice for your needs. Some popular alternatives include the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, and Kia Rio. Each of these vehicles offers its unique set of features, performance, and reliability.

Comparing factors such as price, fuel efficiency, cargo space, and safety ratings can help you determine which vehicle is the best fit for your needs.


Nissan Versa is an affordable and fuel-efficient subcompact car that can be a reliable choice for budget-conscious drivers when properly maintained. While it has experienced some common issues, particularly with its CVT in specific model years, addressing these problems promptly can help ensure long-term reliability.

By exploring alternatives and considering factors such as fuel economy, safety ratings, and cargo space, you can make an informed decision when purchasing a subcompact car like the Nissan Versa.

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About Matthew Webb

Hi, I am Matthew! I am a dedicated car nerd! During the day, I am a journalist, at night I enjoy working on my 2 project cars. I have been a car nerd all my life, and am excited to share my knowledge with you!