Nissan Primastar Problems: Are They Reliable?

The Nissan Primastar is a mid-size van first launched in 2001. It was briefly replaced by the Nissan NV300 in 2016, before Nissan relaunched the Primastar in 2021. It comes in six body styles to choose from, with the variation of two crew-van models for up to six seats.

The Primastar came about as a result of a joint effort between Nissan and Renault, with the Primastar being the counterpart of the Renault Trafic and the Vauxhall Vivaro. When it comes to pricing, the Nissan Primastar is more affordable than the aforementioned Trafic and Vivaro, despite them fundamentally being the same van but branded differently. While being cheaper in price, an important query to address is how well the Nissan Primastar fares in terms of reliability.

Nissan Primastar common problems?

Nissan Primastar

Nissan Primastar injector problems

The Nissan Primastar has been known to get corrosion where the cylinder heads of the engine meet the injectors. This is particularly apparent for 2.0 litre diesel engine Nissan Primastar models between 2006 and 2010, which gained the attention of the investigative journalists from the TV show, BBC Watchdog.

The issue seems to be a result of a faulty bonnet seal by the windscreen, allowing rainwater to leak onto the engine. Once the injectors have corroded they seize into place, often requiring the engine to need replacing. Nissan did however acknowledge the issue and are willing to repair the issue outside of the warranty.

Nissan Primastar loss of power problems

A common issue with the Nissan Primastar is having temperamental Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensors, resulting in a loss power and poor acceleration. The airflow meter measures the amount of air in the engine block. If the sensors malfunction, the injectors won’t provide the correct amount of fuel, resulting in power problems. Additionally, it isn’t uncommon for the Primastar to face issues with the particulate filter becoming blocked. This will hinder the engine from ventilating properly, also causing power loss.

Nissan Primastar starting problems

Relating to the issues previously mentioned concerning the MAF sensors, this can also cause trouble with the Nissan Primastar starting. Additionally, the issues discussed earlier surrounding the injectors can also cause the Primastar to fail to start. A common issue can also be a fault with the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve, though other issues can involve the timing belt or the high pressure fuel pump.

Ultimately, while these are some of the common issues hindering the Nissan Primastar from starting, there are a plethora of other possible problems that require a diagnostic test to detect.

Nissan Primastar electrical faults

The Nissan Primastar is known to have issues with the electrics and the sensors, especially the MAF sensors, and to have issues with the valves, especially the EGR valve. The Nissan Primastar is renowned for having problems with the wiring and the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Other common electrical faults can include issues with the fuse box and the plugs.

Nissan Primastar 1.9dci engine problems

The Nissan Primastar 1.9dci has achieved star level fame for its issues with the engine cutting out and stalling. Primastars fitted with this diesel engine seem to carry a curse, and the issue often revolves around the injectors and the cylinder heads. Interestingly, a common theme is cracking and accidental damage caused in the process of repairing or replacing the injectors.

What is the best year for Nissan Primastar vans in terms of reliability?

Arguably one would think that the 2022 Nissan Primastar will be the best model, assuming that Nissan continues to learn and to refine their craft. However, it was the 2007 Nissan Primastar that was awarded the Best Medium Van by the Van Fleet World Honours. If it is the case that it is absent of potential bonnet seal and windscreen issues, so to avoid problems with the injectors and cylinder heads, then the 2007 Primastar is most likely the best for reliability.

How many miles will a Nissan Primastar last?

As with any vehicle, the Nissan Primastar must be serviced regularly to enhance its longevity. The Nissan Primastar should be serviced every 18,000 miles. Generally speaking, the cam belt should be changed around every 72,000 miles, and the alternator should be changed after 80,000 miles. While it is hard to give a definitive figure, a well-serviced Nissan Primastar can last for over 200,000 miles and more.