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Nissan 4.0 V6 Reliability, Benefits, Downfalls & 3 Common Issues

This guide discusses the Nissan 4.0 V6 reliability. As you read along, we will look at key areas such as longevity and fuel consumption pattern/rate.

Also, we will highlight the engine specifications, where it stands out, and some common problems that could affect the engine’s performance in the short and long term.

Typically, there is no perfect engine. Just as other engine types and designs have their issues/flaws, the Nissan 4.0 V6 is also not left out.

In the end, what matters, is how easily these issues can be detected and fixed to extend the engine’s lifespan and guarantee consistent top performance.


Nissan 4.0/ VQ40DE Engine Specifications

  • 4.0-liter displacement
  • Uses gasoline or petrol
  • Dual Overhead Camshafts (DOHC), 24 valves
  • Four-stroke, V6 engine layout
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 261-275 horsepower
  • 281-288 @ 4,000 rpm torque
  • 7: 1 compression ratio
  • 5mm cylinder bore
  • 92 mm piston stroke
  • 3,954 cc (4.0L)
  • Aluminum head/block material
  • 1L engine oil capacity

Nissan 4.0 V6 Engine Reliability

Vehicle list 4.0/ VQ40DE engine

  • 05-19 Nissan Frontier
  • 09-13 Suzuki Equator
  • 05-12 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 12-present Nissan NV Passenger
  • 12-present Nissan NV1500
  • 12-present Nissan NV2500 HD
  • 05-15 Nissan Xterra
  • 17-present Nissan Patrol

VQ40DE engine fuel consumption

This section highlights the volume of fuel that the VQ40DE engine uses or consumes according to driving pattern and terrain.

The VQ40DE offers a great balance of fuel consumption or usage compared to other engine types or designs on the market.

When you drive a vehicle with the VQ40DE Nissan 4.0 V6 engine, the fuel consumption rate is around 18.7L per 100km covered or 13 miles per gallon in the city and around 10.5L per 100km or 22 miles per gallon on the highway.

This gives about 13.5L per 100km or 17 miles per gallon as the combined fuel consumption rate.

How long does the Nissan 4.0 v6 engine last?

VQ40DE reliability depends majorly on how much you pay attention to issues with your engine and how soon you attend to these problems or correct them.

When you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance tips, for instance, perform adequate fluids replacement, use top-quality coolant and oil, and conduct necessary repairs and replacements timely and appropriately.

Your engine will be in great condition for a very long time.

If you are consistent with the engine maintenance procedures, your Nissan VQ40DE 4.0 V6 engine may last well above 200,000 miles on average without any severe issues. If you are lucky, over 300,000 miles is possible.

Benefits of Nissan VQ40DE 4.0 V6 engine

01. Longevity

This engine is designed to produce a remarkable and excellent performance to support your vehicle’s operation for a very long time. We consider a lifespan between 200,000 and 300, 000 very impressive.

02. Easy to Maintain

You do not need any special tools or technical knowledge to maintain and manage your engine’s operation, condition, or performance.

All you need to do is to follow the recommended tips provided by the manufacturer to keep your engine running optimally at all times over a long period.

03. Easy Repair/Fix

The common engine problems can be easily identified. Each issue has its specific symptoms or signs that inform you about the need to get your engine inspected immediately.

Impressively, all of these issues can be fixed or corrected once identified, preventing a major engine breakdown.

04. Availability of Replacement/ Spare Parts

The replacement parts are available in local stores, directly from the manufacturer, and on Amazon.

Downfalls of Nissan VQ40DE 4.0 V6 engine

01. Engine Issues

The VQ40DE engine has some common or peculiar issues/problems that may affect the vehicle’s operation and performance.

02. Expensive Replacement Parts

Some engine replacement parts or components are expensive, especially for severe issues.

Besides the expensive parts/components, these critical issues sometimes require technical knowledge or an experienced mechanic to fix or correct them.

This means you have to pay for the costly repair parts and the expensive labor cost.

03. Horsepower

Nissan VQ40DE 4.0 V6 engine is equipped to provide 261hp. This amount is average when we look at it critically or compare it to modern standards. However, this is a lot of power for most vehicles or vehicle owners.

Nissan 4.0 V6 Engine Modifications

The Nissan VQ40DE 4.0 V6 engine was first introduced into the market about 15 years ago. The 2015 models of Xterra, Frontier, and Pathfinder were the first set of vehicles to run/operate on this engine.

Over the years, VQ40DE has gone through a series of modifications to correct severe issues and improve the overall performance.

The VQ40DE engine offers a great balance or blend of reliability, fuel efficiency, and impressive performance. While it is not a perfect engine, we can agree that it is a promising design that offers great performance to users.

3 Common Problems of Nissan 4.0 V6 Engine

01. Timing chain issue

The early Nissan VQ40DE 4.0 V6 engines were greatly affected by timing chain issues. These issues were fixed by the manufacturer about 6 years later after several and constant complaints raised by vehicle owners,

So, the VQ40DE engines produced and fitted in vehicles from 2011 to date are not heavily impacted by the timing chain problems.

This problem arises when the upper timing chain cuts through the tensioner. Since the timing chain tensioner is made of plastic, the chain’s sharp edges dig into it easily until the tensioner eventually fails.

You may experience this issue between 80,000 and 120,000 miles if you own or drive the 2005 to 2010 Nissan model that runs on the Nissan VQ40DE 4.0 V6 engine.

If you are lucky, your timing chain may be in good condition beyond this time frame.

Common symptoms include rough idle, whining sound, misfires, and a drop in overall engine functions and performance.


Conduct a timing chain and tensioner replacement.

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02. Low oil pressure light

Many individuals who drive a Nissan model that runs on the VQ40DE have experienced this issue at a point in time.

While there are several reasons why the low oil pressure light may come up, oil leakage from the rear timing cover gasket happens to be the most common factor responsible for this issue.

However, there are times when the oil pump could malfunction without any connection to the rear timing cover gasket.

So, it is advisable to verify the actual cause of low oil pressure in the engine and not make decisions based on assumptions.

Whenever you are at the mechanic workshop to check or replace your timing chain and tensioner, you can also have the rear timing cover gasket checked for possible wear or fault.

Common symptoms you may experience include usual/annoying engine sound, the low-pressure light turns on, and you may experience overheating.


Replace the faulty/damaged rear timing cover gasket.

03. Oil leak issues

Usually, all engines experience oil leak problems after several years of use- as the vehicle ages (over 8 years) and cover higher mileage (about 100,000 miles).

The Nissan VQ40DE 4.0 V6 engines suffer from a common oil leak issue due to damage to the valve cover gaskets.

The role of the valve cover gaskets is to close the gap or space that exists between the valve covers and the cylinder head.

Since the valve cover gaskets are subjected to a high level of heat, they become damaged, crack, or wear off after some time, resulting in oil leakage.

Common symptoms include smells of burning oil, oil leaks, and smoke coming out from the engine compartment.


Get a new pair of valve cover gaskets and replace them accordingly. If you have covered about 120,000 miles and you have a few dollars to spare, you may replace the valve covers entirely.

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Nissan 4.0 VQ40DE Engine Replacement & Service Cost

The Nissan VQ40DE 4.0 V6 engine replacement can be done/conducted independently (provided you have previous knowledge, experience, or technical know-how) or by hiring an experienced mechanic.


Installing a new engine in your garage is somewhat affordable/economical compared to going to a mechanic workshop or hiring an expert to get the job done, especially when you consider the expensive service cost.

However, an independent replacement exercise requires some special tools that you may have to buy for a few hundred dollars.

A new Nissan VQ40DE 4.0 V6 engine costs about $5500.

Professional/ Experienced Mechanic

The service cost varies from one workshop to another. However, the average cost is between $1000 and $2000.

In total, you may spend between $6500 and $7500 on average to replace your Nissan 4.0 VQ40DE engine replaced with a new one.

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Nissan 4.0 V6 VQ40DE Engine Tuning- how often and cost

The VQ40DE is designed as a low RPM engine, upgrading or adjusting it into high rev naturally aspirated engine may not be a smart thing to do after all.

The best approach or technique you can adopt to get more performance or power from your engine is to invest in a supercharger kit designed for the Nissan 4.0 V6 VQ40DE engine.

A popular and widely used kit is the Stillen supercharger tuning kit. Thanks to the additional 90 horsepower it offers.

When you add the additional gains to the original horsepower that your engine offers, your vehicle will have enough power to perform efficiently on the road.

If you still need more power to add to what the supercharger offers, which may be excessive or unnecessary in the real sense.

You may also invest in performance cams or/and a performance exhaust system. These additions also offer about 30 additional horsepower.

The Stillen tuning supercharger costs between $5000 and $6100. The kit comes with all the accessories or components you need to successfully add this system to your Nissan VQ40DE engine.

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Relevant Questions

How long does it take to install the Stillen tuning supercharger on my vehicle?

The Stillen supercharger kit comes with well-detailed instructions to guide you through the installation process. On average, it takes between 10 and 15 hours to install this component on your vehicle.

What is the price of a new valve cover?

If your valve cover gaskets wear off and you need to get them replaced, you will spend about $20 for a pair.

Sometimes, it may be a great idea to get new valve covers, especially if your engine is old and has covered an impressive/higher amount of miles.

Replacing the entire valve covers may cost as high as $600, including the service cost.

How much does the timing chain replacement cost?

This is one of the most expensive repairs you will perform on the Nissan 4.0 V6 VQ40DE engine. On average, you will spend between $1000 and $1500 (parts and labor costs) to get the timing chain and the tensioner replaced.

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What are the Nissan VQ40DE engine maintenance tips?

The VQ40DE reliability depends greatly on maintenance. When you follow the recommended maintenance tips by the manufacturer, your engine will be greatly enhanced and efficiently equipped to support optimum performance from time to time.

Ensure you change the engine oil and air cleaner filter at the right time and pay attention to other necessary services the manufacturer must have advised. Most importantly, do not drive a vehicle with a faulty engine.

Once you detect an issue with your engine, attend to the problem and fix it immediately.

How long does it take to install a new engine?

The time it takes to conduct an engine replacement varies based on certain factors.

If you have the appropriate tools and technical experience & skills, you will complete this process faster than someone who relies majorly on the installation manual to get the job done.

On average, the installation process takes about 20 hours. However, based on the factor we listed earlier, the time could either be shorter or longer as the case may be.

Last Words

So far, we have discussed the Nissan 4.0 V6 reliability. If we are to give a remark about how reliable this engine is, we will rate it above average.

To avoid severe issues that could result in a major breakdown, ensure you understand the symptoms of engine problems and act on these signs immediately you perceive or experience them.

Do not drive a vehicle with an identified or detected engine issue even when you can still move around with it to avoid issues or problems with other engine components.

We hope the information provided in this guide will enlighten and encourage you to make the best decision for your engine at all times.