2020 Nissan Frontier Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain & electrical issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The Nissan Frontier has been sold in North America since 1997. Before this, Nissan trucks weren’t branded by name.

Now known in some other parts of the world as the Nissan Navara, the Nissan Frontier is generally regarded as a reliable pickup truck. But it certainly isn’t without its problems.

Click on another model year to view more problems: 2021   2022   2023

Also, sales have dropped dramatically since 2016, when 86,926 Nissan Frontiers were sold in the U.S. and 4,134 in Canada. According to well-publicized records, sales for 2020 are down to 54,817 and 1,355 respectively.

Complaints shared via the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have also dropped. But owners can continue lodging complaints, and it’s not unlikely that they won’t increase.

For example, of the 133 complaints lodged with NHTSA for the 1998 model, only 14 were made in 1998. A further 28 were made in 1999, and another 25 in 2000. The most recent is dated 12 November 2018.

NHTSA frontal crash ratings based on a simulated head-on collision aren’t great either. NHTSA awarded only 3 out of 5 stars for the front driver side and 4 out 5 for the front passenger side. The 1998 model wasn’t rated for side crash or rollover.

If you have problems with your 2020 Nissan Frontier, it’s worth keeping a check on new and ongoing NHTSA complaints.

Most Common Problems

Complaints reported to NHTSA about the 2020 model are varied and across-the-board. The 4 complaints on record specify 7 different problems. These relate to back-over prevention, the electrical system, engine problems, the powertrain, seats, service brakes, and an “unknown” issue.

There are also 20 manufacturer communications on record with NHTSA. These are early warning reports mandated by federal regulations. Essentially, they alert dealers of all types of defects, failures, and malfunctions.

NHTSA only provides a rollover star rating for the 2020 Nissan Frontier. This measures the risk of rollover in the event of loss-of-control of the vehicle. It has a 4 out of 5-star rating, and a rollover risk of 19.8%. Frontal crash crash and side crash risks are not rated.

2020 Nissan Frontier Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Electrical System
Air Bags
Back Over Prevention: Warnings
Electrical System:wiring:interior/under Dash
Power Train:automatic Transmission
Seat Belts:front:retractor
Service Brakes

Brake & Back-Over Prevention Problems

The complaint that specifies both brake and back-over prevention problems reports 3 incidents with the same vehicle.

The first was the vehicle rolling backward while it was in park at a gas pump. The truck “slowly rolled backwards more than 15 feet until it hit the curb.” The owner has a surveillance video that shows what happened.

The same thing happened again twice at family members’ homes.

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Problems with the Electrical System

The electrical system problem relates to dim dashboard lighting from the time the owner took delivery of a new 2020 Frontier. The complaint was made in October 2021 when there were only 50 miles on the clock.

The problem was that because the dash lights were so dim, the driver was unable to see the speedometer clearly while driving. The complaint states that neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was able to do anything to resolve the problem.

There are 10 manufacturer communications alerting dealers to electrical system problems. None deal with dashboard lighting.

Powertrain & Engine Problems

In contrast, the powertrain/engine complaint is covered by manufacturer communication. It is one of 11 that relate to the engine, engine and engine cooling, and the powertrain of the 2020 model.

The complaint describes how the transmission shifted into neutral and the truck lost power while on the road. The check engine and transmission warning lights came on, so the owner took the vehicle to the dealer. The diagnosis was “gear 6 incorrect ratio.”

But, ironically, the fault recurred after transmission control module software was updated. This time it happened “with the engine revving while shifting gears.”

Both failures occurred in January 2022. According to the complaint, the vehicle was not repaired a second time.

What to do if your 2020 Nissan Frontier is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

If you have a 2020 Nissan Frontier that is giving you problems, contact Lemberg Law so that we can assess whether you have a lemon or not. Generally, if you have persistent problems that relate to the brakes, transmission, or engine, there’s a possibility that it is a lemon.

We are lemon law experts and have helped many car owners get cash settlements, buy-back deals, and trade-ins. If you’ve bought a lemon, you don’t have to pay legal fees because the law says Nissan must pay.

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

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