2018 Nissan Versa Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, engine and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Subcompact cars are appealing for urban drivers and those that want to maximize their budget. The 2018 Nissan Versa is a top choice among drivers, especially since the newest models are praised as one that “surrounds you in confidence.” Instead, owners are wishing they had surrounded themselves in something other than defective air bags, a faulty electrical system, a malfunctioning engine and dangerous powertrain.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Nissan Versa

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Air Bags
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Power Train
Service Brakes
Vehicle Speed Control

Problems with the Air Bags

When a vehicle is in an accident, the air bags must deploy for protection, but the Versa seems to struggle with this system.

One NHTSA complaint states, “The contact owned a 2018 Nissan Versa. While driving 10 mph through an intersection, the contact’s vehicle was T-boned by another vehicle traveling 55 mph. The air bags did not deploy. The contact was in and out of consciousness after the crash and was transported to a local hospital. The contact sustained injuries to the neck, back, spine and was paralyzed for the first two days after the crash. The contact sustained multiple other injuries as well. A police report was filed. The whereabouts of the other driver were unknown. The vehicle was towed from the scene and deemed destroyed. The manufacturer and dealer were not contacted. The vehicle was not diagnosed. The approximate failure mileage was 19,000.”

After all of the years of air bag recalls, there’s no excuse any longer for these issues. Manufacturers have their act together, for the most part, except for Nissan. This Versa is a death trap without functioning air bags. This car might surround drivers with confidence, but certainly not the air bags needed to stay safe.

Problems with the Electrical System

It’s also evident that this model suffers from a long list of electrical concerns. These issues can range from annoying to dangerous.

Here is one example from the NHTSA. “The contact owns a 2018 Nissan Versa. The contact stated that the key failed to release from the ignition switch. There were no warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to [dealer] where it was diagnosed that the ignition needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and did not assist. The failure mileage was 45,000.”

It appears that there are several ignition switch issues. One recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 18V551000 states that the ignition may turn off on its own, causing the vehicle to stall and leaving it vulnerable for a collision. This defect is potentially a problem with more than 150,000 vehicles on the road. Another recall, not related to the ignition, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V654000, states that the backup display might stop working, leaving owners at a higher risk of running into something when reversing. This particular problem affects more than one million vehicles, further proving that there should be no confidence when behind the wheel of the Versa. Instead, it’s time to run for the hills.

Problems with the Engine

The engine is arguably one of the most important components of any vehicle. It must be reliable and potent enough to provide daily transportation, but the Versa fails on this front as well.

Another NHTSA complaint states, “I was stopped at a stop sign (about to get on the highway) and my car just shut off. No signs that it was going to do this, no sputtering or acting like it was going to die. Just shut off. I have read on forums that other Nissan Versa owners have had the same issue. Some while driving down the road. I live 64 miles from my job. It’s a very dangerous situation for me if my car does that while I’m driving.”

Nissan has some communications related to engine issues, but not many and the majority of them don’t show any responsibility taken. The only one that discusses a fixable problem is Service Bulletin #NTB17-082b, which states that there could be an evaporator leak at the vent control valve O-ring. In the meantime, owners are losing confidence by the day, with many of them choosing another brand to switch to. They have decided it’s time to be “surrounded” in something else.

Problems with the Transmission

When it comes to the powertrain, the most essential component is the transmission, but it’s not the only thing that has to work right for a smooth ride.

Just look at the problem with this Edmunds review. “The automatic shift selector will slip out of park into reverse while powering off our Enterprise rental.Had two accidents, Jan. 7 and 11th 2019.The car lurched into reverse and hit the cars behind us. Thankfully no child was behind us as this was in a school parking lot.”

Again, Nissan is quiet about anything related to the shift selector. The only transmission-related issue of any value is found in Service Bulletin #NTB18-059a. This states that technicians are finding a CVT leak and diagnosing it incorrectly. After replacing the oil pan gaskets and axle seals, the leak persists. Instead, the trouble stems from the CVT fluid charging pipe. The reality is, there isn’t one part of this vehicle that seems to work right. In fact, the new tagline should be “surrounded with uncertainty.”

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Nissan pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Dedey

    I baught a nissan versa 2018 used and anytime am driving the car will just stop accelerating for sometime before picking up again

  • Vincent m

    I have a 2018 nissan versa sv that I bought used. It started juddering, jerking the other day. I auto zone hook up the code thing. No codes but a powertrain issue. Yesterday it started again and than completely died on me on the highway.

  • J. R

    When I’m trying to accelerate in different circumstances my car will almost come to a stop at times or sound like it’s stuck in a gear!! I have NO CONFIDENCE AT ALL IN THIS CAR WHEN IM TRYING TO MERGE INTO TRAFFIC ESPECIALLY ON INTERSTATES!

    If there is any kind of wind blowing.. this car does nothing but want to drift completely out of the intended lane as it sounds like the engine is struggling to continue!

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