Nissan 370z Problems: 8 Common Issues (Explained)

The Nissan 370Z is an old-school sports car that is a blast to drive, however, it does have some commonly known issues.

We’ve already looked at how long the Nissan 370S lasts and now we’ll look at some of the most common problems owners face.

Here are some of the most common problems that 370Z owners report:

Steering Lock

Many of the earlier model 370Zs develop steering lock problems that not only prevent you from being able to steer – they make it impossible to start your car.

This issue is widely reported in model years up to 2013. In 2009 and 2010, Nissan issued a recall related to the electronic steering column lock that causes the problem.

If your steering column locks up you might be able to implement a quick fix to get it to the dealership by hitting the wheel while turning the ignition in ACC mode. Some owners have reported that this disables the lock, at least temporarily.

However, it is likely to lock up again and you can’t get a permanent fix without taking it to the Nissan dealership, which can be expensive.

The best way to avoid a problem with steering lock is just to buy a Nissan 370Z made in 2013 or later.

Before 2013, Nissan used an electronic steering column lock system that was prone to failure. Sometime in 2012, they removed the electronic steering lock system and replaced it with a completely different part.

Some of the 2012 models have this issue, and some don’t, but it doesn’t affect any of the Nissan 370Zs made in 2013.

Rear Hatch May Not Open Correctly

This problem is more annoying than anything else, but the rear hatch doesn’t always open correctly or stay open.

Some 370Z owners report that they have to press the button several times to get it to open. Others say that they have to press the button and lift the hatch manually to above a certain height before it will click into place.

This is most likely the result of a hatch that can break in a couple of different ways.

Fixing this problem is fairly inexpensive.

Technicians advise replacing the rear hatch lift springs with a revised part that won’t malfunction the same way.

Oil Galley Gasket Failure

The oil galley is what lubricates the timing chain, and in the Nissan 370Z there are two of them and each one is sealed with a gasket.

In pre-2013 370Zs the oil galley gaskets are poorly designed and pretty much guaranteed to fail eventually, causing oil galley problems that could affect your timing chain.

This problem was completely solved by the 2013 redesign, but it can be fixed manually for older vehicles by replacing the faulty parts with revised ones.

Unfortunately, it is not always the cheapest issue to fix. The oil galley gaskets themselves are fairly cheap, but you need to remove the timing cover to get to them.

Even if you are a competent DIY car owner, it is probably worth spending the money to have a mechanic undertake this project and replace them. In the process, you might consider some other repairs that you could bundle together to save money, like replacing a water pump.

Oil Consumption

The Nissan 370Z shares this problem with its predecessor, the 350Z – after the miles start to accumulate, the engine gets thirstier and thirstier for oil.

It is normal for older engines to require a little bit more oil, but the way that some 370Zs consume it is excessive.

According to Tuning Pro, some older models use a quart every 1000-2000 miles.

This isn’t a major issue and the engine will continue to run fine as long as you keep oil levels maintained, but an increasing thirst for oil makes it easier to run out which can be disastrous for the engine and can cause timing chain problems.

If increased oil consumption is accompanied by other engine problems like knocking, rough idling, or smoke then you know there is more going on here than just age.

Several engine problems also include increased oil consumption as a symptom, so if you notice this, take the time to rule out other major issues before you assume it is just an older engine.

Rear Axle Clicking

Many Nissan 370Zs eventually develop a clicking sound in the rear axle that you hear while turning.

The rear axle nut stretches away from the retainer over time and begins to wobble, which creates the clicking sound you hear while driving.

It’s a harmless enough problem at first and you can continue to drive for a while after you start hearing the clicking, but don’t put it off too long. The rear axle could eventually separate from its hub, which could be dangerous.

If you start to hear a clicking sound coming from the rear axle you can replace the nut, which will solve the problem temporarily, but a better solution is to use a different rear axle nut from a different manufacturer.

You can buy the Kawasaki castellated rear axle nut, part #92210-0280, which is identical to the manufacturer’s part.

Catalytic Converter Failure

The catalytic converter in the Nissan 370Z’s VQ37VHR engine is prone to failure. Many of the engine issues that eventually develop can be traced back to the catalytic converter.

If you notice poor performance, knocking, rough idling, cylinder misfires, or an exhaust rattle, you might have an issue with your catalytic converter.

The solution is to replace the part or to install an aftermarket part in advance just to prevent issues down the road.

Tuning Pro notes that a lot of the time there is a catalytic converter failure, it’s due to high engine temperatures that point to a failure in the cooling system.

If you’re replacing the catalytic converter, you might need to replace the radiator and head gasket as well.

Exhaust

The exhaust system is a known point of failure for the Nissan 370Z, with some owners going so far as to replace their exhaust systems before problems come up.

The issue is rust.

The exhaust system is one of the most exposed points on any vehicle, and in humid coastal areas or cold climates that use a lot of road salt, the rust protection on the Nissan 370Z’s exhaust doesn’t cut it.

Clutch Master and Slave Cylinders

This issue is so common with the Nissan 370Z that owners filed a class-action lawsuit against Nissan.

The clutch master cylinder (CMC) and clutch slave cylinder (CSC) use pressurized fluid to help you shift gears smoothly. When there is a failure, it can prevent you from shifting gears. 

Any CSC failure will involve a rupture and leaking clutch fluid underneath your car.

The solution is to replace these parts when you run into this problem or install an aftermarket part (or the revised part from the manufacturer) so that it doesn’t occur. You can upgrade to an external slave cylinder arrangement that will never fail like this for fairly cheap.

Fuel Starvation

This won’t be an issue for most Nissan 370Z owners, however, this is a sports car. 

If you are driving it on a track or driving very aggressively you could develop problems with fuel starvation.

The symptoms are almost identical to running out of gas – sputtering, and stalling – however, this can happen even with a full tank.

The issue with the Nissan 370Z is that in long turns the fuel slides to one side and the pump takes in air which causes the sputtering and stalling.

The cheapest solution is to install a secondary fuel pump for when the first one fails. In general, unless you’re driving your 370Z very hard, you won’t run into this problem.

General Pros and Cosportsns for the Nissan 370Z

The Nissan 370Z is an exciting old-school sports car with a lot of benefits. Here are some of the things that Nissan 370Z owners love about this car:

1. Strong Acceleration

The Nissan 370Z shows off its sports car engineering with excellent and responsive acceleration. It goes from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds.

The 3.7L V6 engine has more than enough horsepower to get you where you want to go and is well-suited to defensive drivers who like to have a responsive command of the car.

A powerful engine and good acceleration make this a fun car to drive, and could potentially keep you safer. In some situations, you might need to accelerate to safety to avoid a car in the next lane making an unsignaled lane change.

2. Great Handling

The Nissan 370Z handles corners like a dream while remaining perfectly flat. This is a car for driving enthusiasts who can appreciate the sense of pleasure that comes with a great turn.

On twisty backroads or curving highways, you can count on the 370Z to be responsive and follow through with adequate power.

3. Good Fuel Economy

The Nissan 370Z is very easy on fuel for a sedan its size.

In the city, the 370Z can get up to 19 mpg with automatic transmission and 17 mpg with a manual transmission, according to the EPA. That jumps up to 26 mpg on the highway.

When Car and Driver tested the Nissan 370Z’s fuel economy in real-world conditions, they found it exceeded expectations, making 29 mpg on the highway.

4. Comfortable Seats

The front seats in the Nissan 370Z are spacious and comfortable.

The interior hasn’t been substantially redesigned in more than 10 years, but comfortable seats continue to be a feature that owners appreciate.

The seat design provides great support and allows for lots of mobility. In some of the upgraded versions, there are luxury materials available, like leather and suede.

There are also some downsides to the Nissan 370Z, including:

  • The engine is noisy at high speeds.
  • A low-to-the-ground design with small windows creates dangerous blind spots.
  • Little cargo space, and a dated design.

What Do the Reviews Say?

“With a responsive 332-hp V-6 and nimble handling, the Nissan provides effortless fun. However, it has lower limits and less refinement than more contemporary alternatives. The 370Z is also even farther along in the aging process, with tired styling that is especially obvious on its interior.”

Car and Driver

“A thug in a suit that loves to go sideways. Old school cool… The 370Z – which has just been updated for 2018 – doesn’t have all-wheel drive, a double-clutch gearbox or an especially clever engine. This is the closest Nissan gets to barn-door engineering.”

Top Gear

What’s the Resale Value On the Nissan 370Z?

Year Mileage (miles) Price (USD)
2009 90,786 $20,493
2010 55,790 $25,990
2011 59,709 $24,590
2012 72,806 $23,990
2013 74,250 $24,990
2014 62,135 $26,990
2015 23,127 $39,998
2016 24,781 $27,999
2017 40,173 $30,995
2018 41,053 $30,590
2019 31,187 $44,999
2020 4,277 $38,990

Final Thoughts

The Nissan 370Z is a powerful little sports car with an old-school look that makes up for what it lacks in refinement with great acceleration and handling,

There have been some issues like steering lock and oil galley gasket failure that were resolved with a redesign in 2013.

Buying a later model year will save you from these problems. However, all 370Zs include at least a few components that could be swapped out for better aftermarket alternatives.

The Nissan 370Z is a classic design that is exciting to drive, and reliable over time if it is properly maintained.

 

Sources

Car and Driver | Nissan 370Z

Top Gear | Nissan 370Z

Tuning Pro | Engine Problems

A1 Auto | Nissan 370Z

CarComplaints | Nissan 370Z

RepairPal | Nissan 370Z

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