Keep reading and we’ll explain.
What is the Nissan Navara snapped chassis issue?
It appears that if rust gets to the chassis rails of the Narava pickup, they can corrode badly enough that the vehicle essentially snaps in half as if something has broken its back.
This sounds alarming – and it looks it too; there are plenty of example pictures available on the internet. So there definitely is a potential problem.
Some reports seem to be suggesting that Nissan is ignoring the complaint. However, in an official statement issued to Parkers, the company confirms: ‘We’re aware of an issue affecting a relatively small number of previous-generation (D40) Navaras.’
This does not mean you should panic, but you should certainly take the issue seriously.
Which Nissan Navara is affected by the snapped chassis issue?
Nissan’s internal code name for this vehicle is D40. Those built between 2005 and 2008 seem to be of particular concern.
This Navara is closely related to the Nissan Pathfinder SUV of the same age, so owners of that vehicle may also wish to seek a professional opinion on the condition of their chassis.
Will my Nissan Navara snap in half?
If the chassis rusts it weakens the strength of the Navara’s metal structure. In areas of high stress – particularly where the cab meets the loadbed, for example, and the front mounting point of the rear suspension – this can result in a complete failure of that structure.
Campaigners believe it’s a design fault, exacerbated by accelerating and braking forces. The amount of load the pickup carries will also have an impact, as will how often it is fully loaded. There are reports of the chassis snapping while towing as well.
What are the symptoms of the problem?
The ultimate outcome for an affected Navara chassis is that it will snap. But before it gets to that stage the vehicle can be inspected for signs of corrosion (rust) in the chassis rails.
Of particular importance are any holes or cracks that might be found.
We recommend that such inspection is undertaken by professionals who know what they are doing – do not risk injury to yourself if you do not.
No doubt your local Nissan dealership will be able to assist you (see the section on what Nissan is doing below). However, you may still wish to seek independent specialist advice.
What should I do if I am worried?
Call the Nissan Care team on 0330 123 1231.
According to the official statement, the company has ‘put measures in place to quickly resolve the concerns of any customers who have contacted us about this. Nissan is backing customers even though the affected vehicles are up to 12 years old.’
It continues: ‘Depending on the age of the vehicle, these measures include a free and independent inspection of the vehicle where appropriate. If the inspection shows there’s an issue, we’ll do the right thing by the customer under our warranty and customer service policies.’
Is there an official recall on the Navara?
There is no official recall at this stage.
Why is there no official recall?
Largely because Nissan believes this is a maintenance issue rather than a safety issue.
Again from the official statement: ‘As long as these vehicles are properly maintained, serviced and MOT’d they are safe to drive, and therefore we are dealing with each customer on a case-by-case basis.
‘As a standard industry practice, we only recall a vehicle when there’s a safety issue.’
Heavy corrosion is exactly the kind of thing an MOT test is supposed to pick up (no pun intended).
But given the potentially catastrophic results of a failure in the chassis while driving, many owners may wonder why Nissan isn’t proactively seeking to check these Navaras for signs of the problem.
What happens if there is chassis rust on my Navara?
The official word from Nissan is: ‘Should any concern be found we have a number of options in place to support the customer.
‘This could range from directing the customer to appropriate repair, supporting costs, repairing the vehicle or even exchanging, however that will depend on the circumstance of the specific situation.’
How many Nissan Navaras are affected?
There are no official numbers, but there have certainly been more than a handful of examples.
The ‘Nissan Navara snapped chassis’ Facebook Group set up by campaigner Richy Holmes – who experienced a failure in his vehicle – has over 15,000 members.
According to The Sun, law firm Attwood Solicitors – which is hoping to represent owners in a lawsuit against Nissan – believes up 35,000 Navaras in the UK may be affected. Nissan ‘strongly disputes’ this figure.
Is the problem in the UK related to the recall in Australia?
In 2013, there was an official recall concerning structural failures in the Nissan Navara – but only in Australia, and only in relation to a specific accessory, namely a particular type of tow hook.
Nissan UK is adamant that this Australian problem is completely unrelated to the issue being experienced by owners here.
Are newer Navaras also likely to be affected?
More recent D40 Navaras potentially could be, but there is no indication that the latest NP300 model (November 2015 onwards) has similar concerns.
This will be a relief to Mercedes-Benz, which is about to launch its X-Class pickup on a (highly modified) version of the Navara platform.
Do any other pickups have similar problems?
It’s possible for the chassis of almost any pickup to snap under similar circumstances, especially when subjected to repeated heavy loading – particularly if that loading is beyond the manufacturer’s stated weight capacity.
However, there do seem to be more reports of problems with corrosion in the Nissan Navara in this regard than any other model.