You need to understand this little fact though: These menus are not factory menus, they are DEALER recommended services. The factory recommended service is much less and, in my opinion, not sufficient to keep your vehicle in top notch condition. If you are just trying to keep your car covered under warranty and don’t mind breaking down now and then, or having to do substantial repairs when out of warranty, by all means just do the bare minimums. Not that I am saying it will definitely happen but your chances are greater since you will be bypassing performing “PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE.”
If you have purchased a factory service contract, this menu is not what you will receive. Open your owners manual to section 8 or 9 [in most manuals], look at the service schedule, and you will see exactly what your service contract pays for [not much]. If you have purchased the service contract, when you come in for service, go over what will be done with the service advisor. Any additional services you want, you’ll have to inquire how much it will cost to add that to the service.
For your 30K interval service I recommend, at the least: Fluid services for transmission [auto and manuals], rear differential on both the 4×4 and 2 wheel drive vehicles [depending on use of 4×4 mode typically the front diff every 60K interval unless weekly use of 4×4 then 30K], and coolant service.
On your Auto trans and coolant services, the general meaning of the service is to drain and fill the system. When this is done it typically only gets 30 to 40% of the coolant exchanged and 40 to 45% of the trans, assuming the tech lets it drain fully to a drip. A flush is extremely beneficial for your car, and will exchange around 95% of the coolant and around 98% of the trans fluid. Obviously, this service costs more, but is much more thorough.
I once heard a funny but realistic analogy of the difference between a drain and fill and a flush. Say you had a tall glass of milk, that was a week out of date and gave off a funky smell. Would you feel comfortable pouring 40 to 45% of the glass out, adding fresh milk to replace what you poured out, then drink it?? I wouldn’t!! Pricey I know, but if you want to keep your car in its best possible shape and reduce the chance of extremely costly repairs down the road, keep up on these services! The flushes are typically above and beyond the dealers recommended services which usually costs a bit more.
There are also other flush / cleaning services that are recommended beyond the service menu such as the fuel induction flush. This service is one of the most beneficial ones in my opinion. What this service does, when performed correctly, will remove the carbon deposits that build up in your intake manifold, inside the plenum, on your throttle plate and body, as well as on the back of your valves (especially in modern direct-injected engines). This service usually consists of an additive added to the fuel tank and over a tank full of fuel will clean your injectors as well – so be sure to fill up before going in if you plan to have this service. The benefits of this will help prevent hard starts during cold weather when the passages become restricted and choked with carbon deposits.
Another flush service is the power steering system flush. Not all dealers have this service but several do. This is basically a 95 to 98% fluid exchange with additives to condition the seals and lubricate moving parts – if you’ve ever seen the mess made when the seals in a power steering system leak, you’ll see the value in maintaining clean fluid in this system!
Common misconceptions when getting major services.
First and foremost: Your “SERVICE ENGINE SOON” light is NOT a service reminder. That light means something with your emissions system has called in sick for the day, the snitch [engine control module] has thrown it on the public address system [the light] for the boss [you] to check into it to see if its playing hooky or whether it’s really sick. This does happen where it’s an erroneous code and nothing can be found wrong at the time of the visit. If the SES light is on during the service the tech will notify the advisor. The advisor will contact you with an estimate to perform diagnosis. This will be on top of your service price, not included with it.
Another big misconception is the “MIRACLE SERVICE”. You bring your car in, asking the advisor for a major service, yet you do not indicate to the advisor you have a problem with the car. The problem won’t be identified until the tech drives it on the initial road test [all good techs drive the car before and after any work they perform to identify any adverse changes to the cars driveability from performing the work]. If the tech does identify there’s a problem with the car, the advisor will be notified. The advisor will again contact you with an estimate on top of the service price to diagnose the problem. The advisor will likely have to leave a message since 90% of the time the customer is not reachable for a couple hours after dropping the car off. The tech in the mean time will be performing the service work to get the car done in a reasonable enough time so you can pick it up should you not want to perform the diagnosis of your problem. The misconception is the service will fix the car. This is a serious misunderstanding of what a service does to your car. In almost all cases it will not fix the problem the car is having. This is a “PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE” service. If the problem already exists you did not PREVENT it from happening. The service will not perform miracles.
A great example of this is trans issues. If you have an automatic transmission that is having shift problems, a power flush will likely have no effect or may make it worse – the flush can wash away worn material that may be keeping something sealed inside that keeps the car drivable. In other words you could drive in, ask for the flush then have a less-functional vehicle than when you arrived. The techs that drive the car before and notice the problem will typically not attempt the flush.
OK, now let’s look at how the maintenance sheet works: If you’re doing a 3,750 mile service, only the tasks in the first block gets done. If you’re doing a 30K mile service, the whole sheet gets done (not just the 30k section). The same applies for the 7500 and 15k mile services – it involves everything in its block and everything above on the sheet.
Should you have any questions regarding the major or minor services there is a thread in the Nissan online mechanic forum specifically for remarks or questions on this Technical article.
Article by Scott aka NISTECH
Master ASE certified tech
ASE L1 certified engine performance specialist
Nissan certified senior specialist technician