Why I’ll be doing more reading – (no) thanks Nissan

I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be reading a little more over the next couple of weeks. Why? Those of you who follow my Twitter will have seen a lot of angry, frustrated Tweets this week. And this is why:

Yes, my just-out-of-warranty, regularly serviced Nissan X-Trail died suddenly on Tuesday. I drove it to the train station as usual and then when I went to start it, nothing. Not even a death rattle.

My immediate thought was to check my lights (the X-Trail doesn’t turn off the lights automatically when you remove the key, you just get a whine). Nope. At 3 and a bit years, it shouldn’t need a new battery. A lovely young man offered to push start me, but I knew it was no use. And the security guard at the station just stared at me as I leaned over the engine, car manual in one hand. (I would have liked an offer of help. I generally wouldn’t wear low cut shirts if I know that my car is about to die).

Fortunately, cue my father. An experienced mechanics teacher of more years than he probably wants broadcast on the internet, he can fix anything. So I sat around, reading with the radio on (see, not the battery) waiting.

Unfortunately, Dad couldn’t do anything. He suspected the fuel pump, but a train station car park is not the place to perform X-Trail surgery. Modern cars like the X-Trail have the pump in the tank, which is under the car. Even though the original X-Trail model released in Australia has the most clearance, nobody can actually fit under it very easily. Another gentleman suggested the immobiliser was at fault.

All we could do was tow the car home under the power of Dad’s Toyota Hilux (2WD). Mum drove the Hilux (being married to a mechanics teacher, she is highly experienced in towing) and Dad drove the X-Trail, now more like a tank on ice due to no power steering or ABS (ie. no brakes). We managed to limp home (by now peak hour was over). Cue the RAC (Royal Automobile Club) and their Roadside Assist – the first time I’ve used it in 13 years.

RAC advertise that they can get you back on the road 90% of the time. Have you ever wondered what happens to the other 10%? Well, I can tell you because it’s happened to me now. The RAC man asked a range of questions (some of them a little basic to myself – I do check the fuel gauge regularly to make sure there’s fuel) and worked in the dull light of the garage for some time to say finally, no go. I received a docket for towing to my mechanic of choice – provided it was within 10 km. (Note: this does change depending on your level of coverage. Having owned the ever-reliable Corolla and the assumed reliable X-Trail, I hadn’t thought I needed more). I needed to pay $3/km after that.

So the next day, I caught lifts and public transport while Dad, his friends (all excellent mechanics) and the men of the Veteran Car Club of W.A. puzzled over my X-Trail. Why would a new car, having one lady driver and 24300 km on the clock suddenly die? Armed with new information, Dad tried one thing after another but nothing would turn the engine over.

Nissan Australia were then contacted on the suggestion of a helpful mechanic. Unfortunately, I don’t think the operator understood a great deal about cars (what we’d tried and why we’d tried it) nor about the work that I am in (when I’m on call, it is critical that I have a reliable car – because it can mean life or death to someone else). They suggested speaking to my car dealer.

My family has a good relationship with our local Nissan dealer so my poor car was towed there (sadly more than 10 km away – I’m awaiting the towing bill from the RAC). Thank you RAC – the towing guy definitely fit their ‘happy’ advertising. As the problem can be identified relatively easily with the diagnostic computer (I believe engine errors are given a 4 digit code, which are then translated into the problem), they diagnosed a broken fuel pump. These pumps can suddenly stop working at any time – rather a concern in Australia, especially in the country! There are currently no Nissan fuel pumps for the X-Trail in Western Australia – again, a concern as these cars are used extensively throughout the W.A. government as fleet cars – from health to police. So I’m waiting at home with no transport and my car is waiting at the dealership for the pump. It could be a week or more, so I’ll be doing a lot of reading during that time!

This story is by no means finished and won’t be until my car – the first I ever bought – has the engine going and driving. I would like to thank my car dealer for paying some of the costs involved. While I might not look for another X-Trail in the future, their goodwill means that I won’t discount them entirely when I buy another car and they maintain my parents’ custom for their next 4WDs. 

Hope you have a good weekend! I’m off to check bus timetables…and struggle through Blossoms and Shadows

21 thoughts on “Why I’ll be doing more reading – (no) thanks Nissan

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    1. Fingers crossed for you – the Murano was just released when I bought my XTrail. I’m a bit annoyed, I researched a lot when I was looking to buy and now ‘nissan x trail problem’ is seventh on the Google drop down list!
      My parents have had three Patrols and a Navara with no problems (well, except the Navara where the accelerator used to stick) so here’s hoping it’s a once off.

  1. So sorry to hear about the car trouble Sam…About the only thing that could have been worse in the scenario is if it was late at night 😦
    Hope that things are resolved speedily…it must be so frustrating to be without your wheels. It’s uncanny isn’t it how these things seem to happen just over the warranty…we had the same circumstance with our stove — 3 years and one month later, and it suddenly decided to die!
    Hope you enjoy your reading…

    1. Yes, I guess it’s lucky it’s summer here. Your stove dying must have been awful – I use mine nearly everyday! How would you bake?
      I read half a book yesterday, caught up on blogs and forums, so today might have to be…more reading!

  2. There is nothing in the world worse than car trouble! I skidded into a snowbank earlier this week and now my car is making a horrible rumbling noise. Crazy how much we rely on our cars! Hope you will be back on the road soon, in the meantime enjoy all your reading time! I am jealous!

    1. Oh no! I guess I’m lucky in saying that could never happen to me in Australia! I hope your car is okay and keeps you safe and warm in the winter.
      I read half a book yesterday – there may be some hope in being able to fit my Christmas books into the bookshelf!

    1. Thanks 🙂
      Hope you are surviving in your horrid heat – saw Sydney was 33C overnight. Yuck!
      I’m lucky in that work is next to a train station and I am relying on the kindness of family and friends. Lucky my company for shopping is sought!

  3. Goodness what a horror! This sucks so much,e specially with your first new car. I only hope that you can get it going soon and have better luck with then!

  4. Oh, no…I hate it when the car so mysteriously dies. Cars nowadays are so troubling to fix – I do love the cars of the ’40s to ’60s. No computer-ish technology in them to confound aanyone – just easy to understand under-the-hood with those fantastic cars of the old days. My husband’s Jeep Cherokee has some mystically weird computer thingy happen with his car in which occasionally the gauges don’t work at all, and no signal lights turn on. We’ve taken it back to the dealer and they couldn’t figure it out either. It’s one of those things where it doesn’t happen often enough to take it back in, but enough where it’s so daggone annoying.

    I hope your car gets fixed soon, but I do love to take public transportation sometimes – perfect time to read away. I hope you have some fantastic books to while away the time!

    1. My father is into vintage cars – in particular, the Fords of the 1920s and 30s and they are simple enough for me to understand. Looking under my car’s bonnet, my first thought was ‘this looks nothing like it’s meant to’.
      I’ve got a variety of books to read (from the dragging out to the LOL type) which are keeping me busy).
      I’ll be interested to see your thoughts on WordPress vs Blogspot and I’ll be following both your blogs!

      1. I love attending antique and classic car shows. The big ones are such exhilarating events and make me want to dress in 1940s attire 🙂

        Thanks for following both blogs – I will certainly try my hardest to be a good vegan, but I know I might slip some days and be a vegetarian. I try, try, try! One good thing about being a vegan is that I sleep so soundly on less hours – slept only 4 hours(ish) and woke up before 5 am. An abundant amount of energy, it seems! 🙂

  5. Oh, by the way – That was me commenting as The Wanna Be Vegan at my new WordPress site. I keep forgetting to log out while commenting on WordPress blogs so the wrong identity is on my comments for book bloggers and vice versa. Sorry about that! 🙂

    1. I do that too with my garden blog. Heading over to your vegan blog now. I wanna be vegetarian but I get cravings for burgers so I’m only 3/4 veggie.

  6. Hopefully everything else on your Nissan will keep working for a long time. My 1986 Nissan 200sx just died last year… sadly beyond repair. It served me well all those years. My new car is all computerized and my husband, who works on vintage cars, can’t do much with it. So I’ll be at the mercy of the repair shop now if it should break down.

    I take the train every day to work and that’s where I get a lot of my reading done so public transportation has it’s good side.

    1. I agree – I’ve read about two books extra a month on average since I started taking public transport.
      I really don’t like all the computers in modern technology – it’s so expensive!

  7. what happened to your Nissan? where you ever able to fix it? we have a 2006 Nissan that has always been serviced by the dealership with only 133,000km on it and it has died. dealership says they have never seen anything like this and have no idea what is wrong\/

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