What to look for when buying a used Nissan Murano

Reliability and common problems: The Murano's reliability is not better than average and many problems are costly to repair. Electrical and CVT issues are fairly common. A leaking transfer case is not uncommon and the repair is quite expensive. Another often mentioned issue is a broken bracket in the driver's seat frame; there was a TSB on this issue. Some front suspension components are not very strong too.

What to look for when buying a used Nissan Murano: When you are having the vehicle inspected, ask to check for leaks very carefully, especially from the transfer case, as the repair is expensive. Check the driver's seat; this forum has more information. Check the audio system including the CD player to make sure everything is working. The rear wiper motor could fail, make sure to test it. During the test drive, watch out for a hesitation from a stop as well as for slipping or noises from the CVT transmission. Test drive for as long as possible; sometimes the CVT starts acting up only after it's been fully warmed up. A humming noise coming from the wheel area could indicate a bad wheel bearing. The HID headlights are reported to have problems; the OEM replacement is expensive. Check the gas door, as a number of owners mention problems with it.
Guides for used car buyers:

Maintenance: The Murano CVT transmission requires a special CVT transmission fluid. The owner's manual for 2003 Murano says Using transmission fluid other than Genuine NISSAN CVT Fluid NS-2 will damage the CVT transmission. The same manual warns against driving with the AWD LOCK mode on dry hard surface roads, as it may cause damage to the AWD system.

Advertisement - Continue reading below

The Murano's 3.5L V6 engine does not have a timing belt; a timing chain is used instead. A timing chain doesn't need to be replaced unless there is a problem with it, however, a noisy or stretched timing chain is not uncommon in this engine at high mileage or due to lack of regular oil changes. Considering common transfer case leaks, the transfer case oil level and transmission fluid level should be checked periodically.
You might also be interested:

Recalls: Safety Recalls - NHTSA or Transport Canada - Motor Vehicle Safety Recalls.
US Nissan Owners website - Check maintenance schedule, download an electronic owner's manual.

2003 Nissan Murano specifications

Overall length:
Overall width:
Overall height:

187.6 in. (4,767 mm.)
74.0 in. (1,880 mm.)
67.3 in. (1,709 mm.) with roof rack
111.2 in. (2,825 mm.)

Minimum ground clearance:

7 inches

Curb weight:

3960 lbs. /SL with AWD/

Cargo volume:
with 2nd row seat upright:
with 2nd row seat folded flat:

32.6 cu. ft.
81.6 cu. ft.

Max. towing capacity:

3500 lbs.

Turning diameter:

37.4 ft. (11.4 m.)


V6 3.5L DOHC, 24-valve, with
variable valve timing. Model VQ35DE
245 hp @ 5800 rpm
246 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

EPA Fuel Economy* (US mpg, L/100 km):
Regular Gasoline, 2WD, AWD:

city: 18 mpg (13.1 L/100 km)
hwy: 23 mpg (10.2 L/100 km)

Fuel tank capacity:

21-5/8 gal US gallons (82 liters)

Engine oil drain and refill:
With oil filter change:

4-1/4 US qt (4.0 liters)

* subject to change