Key Takeaways

  • The Nissan GT-R has had a share of issues over the years
  • Most of the problems have centered on transmission or engine knocking
  • The Nissan GT-R is still a car worth buying
  • The future of the GT-R is probably electric or hybrid.

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The Nissan GT-R is a ferocious sports car that goes very fast, but is it a good car? What are the Nissan GT-R's problems or complaints? Is the car worth buying?

Several issues have become everyday concerns among Nissan GT-R owners.

  • Transmission Issues
  • Premature Brake Wear
  • Engine Issues
  • Condensation in Headlight Assembly

As a lover of fast cars with a need for speed, I was excited about the debut of the Nissan GT-R in the US in 2008. The car took the sports coupe world by storm with its early hype, and after several facelifts and variants, it still garners its fair share of attention. While the car has seemingly stood the test of time (15 years is an eternity for a vehicle in the car business), the road for the GT-R may have been fast, but it has not been smooth by any stretch. Most owners may have gotten into more than they hoped for when their GT-R earned more time in the shop than on the road.

Table of Contents

What are the Nissan GT-R Problems and Complaints?

The Nissan GT-R was a high-performance sports car produced by the Japanese Automaker Nissan from 2007 - 2022. The speedy sports car was equipped with a powerful turbocharged V6 that produces 565 hp and 481 lb/ft of torque. With the ability to do a 0-60 from a standstill in 2.9 seconds, the car is high-speed, if nothing else.

Transmission Issues

Several models seem to experience a high number of transmission issues, primarily caused by bits of metal wearing off and sticking inside the solenoids of the gearbox. Customers complained of metal shavings in the transmission fluid or the car going into safe mode. Others reported jerking and the inability to shift into certain gears.

The good news is that the issue was repairable but created issues because owners had to replace the entire transmission, which meant big bucks. If the gearbox hadn’t failed, some owners could keep their cars functioning by replacing the transmission fluid about once a year or every 15 - 18 thousand miles. Either way, Nissan owners were peeved about having to fork out the extra expense.

Engine Knocking or Rattling

A high-performance engine like the turbocharged V6 will likely be a delicate machine. That's precisely the type of engine in the Nissan GTR. Customers reported that the engine would rattle or shake and be forced to limp or tow the car into the dealership. Most of the time, the issue was a weakened bearing inside the flywheel shaft.

The issue was a relatively inexpensive repair, costing a couple of thousand dollars, but it required new bearings and took several hours. Customers continued to voice their anger over their GT-Rs being bad engines. Even though every motor was hand-made and individually crafted by one factory technician, that meticulous approach didn’t succeed in keeping the parts from wearing out.

Headlight Condensation and Lighting Problems

As a person over five knows, water and electricity do not mix. Imagine the frustration of Nissan owners discovering excessive condensation or water inside their front headlights. They often complained of dimmed or non-working headlights, which could only be repaired by replacing the entire headlight assembly. Sometimes, water has seeped back behind the headlights to short out other wiring systems. As you can imagine, these created many inconveniences for GT-R owners and forced owners to replace headlights yearly just to be able to pass the inspections in their state.

The issue of water seeping into the headlights has to do with faulty seals. In colder weather, the outside of the headlight is colder than the inside, which is heated by the bulb. Moisture accumulates inside the plexiglass headlight; the best fix is usually a headlight replacement. If the seals were rotten, water was seeping into the headlight.

The only trouble with replacing the headlight is that it required the front bumper to be removed and reassembled. The job was not that difficult, but it was time-consuming, and Nissan had no problems employing technicians to do the work because it meant more labor hours added to their bottom line.

Premature Brake Wear

Early models of the GT-R have received many complaints about premature brake pad wear. While you expect a high-performance sports car to be harder on the brake pads than a standard sedan, owners constantly replace pads. To make matters worse, customers had to pay out of their pockets because the warranty covers brake pads, considered a normal wear and tear item.

What are Other Concerns for Owners of the GT-R?

There are additional concerns for owners of the Nissan GT-R that are important to know before purchasing.

Cost of Insurance

While the cost of insurance is not a mechanical issue, it is still a concern for many owners because it hits consumers' wallets. As you might expect, insuring one of the fastest cars in the world is not cheap. Some customers were simply unprepared to pay thousands of dollars yearly to protect their investments.

Cost of Fuel

The owner's manual recommends premium gas to gain the most out of the Nissan. While that might be expected when driving a high-performance car like the Nissan, it still means more daily cash gets spent on owners' daily budgets.

Cost of Maintenance

Maintaining a GT-R can be expensive because, as a sports car, there is more wear on lubricants, tires, and brake pads. Owners need to be prepared to pay more than the standard sedan for the daily upkeep of this sports car.

Why Would Anyone Buy a Nissan GT-R?

Despite the issues listed above, the Nissan GTR had plenty of owners who loved the thrill of the drive. There are several reasons to consider the purchase of a GT-R.

The Thrill of Speed

Owning one of the fastest cars on the planet isn’t just a thing of joy. It is a source of pride. Owners loved the performance of the V6, which is a pretty well-designed engine, despite some mechanical issues. The choice of many track racers is the Nissan GT-R, and it is not unusual to find many of them modified for the track because of the fast lap times they produce.

Owning a Masterpiece

There can be no question that the Nissan GT-R is one of those cars that is designed like a fine work of art. Its smooth lines and athletic stance just make it a thing of beauty. Unlike other sports cars that had to be “redone” year after year, this rare breed has seen little changes. The reason: why mess with perfection?

Low Depreciation

A Nissan GT-R holds around 66% of its original value. The average for sports cars is around 50%. Many potential owners are snatching up the car as an investment, which means their value will only increase over time. There is no question that the Nissan GT-R will be a hugely sought-after sports car for years down the road.

Reasonable MPG

The turbocharged V6 in the GT-R gets a very respectable 22 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg in the city. This gas mileage is one of the best in sports cars and works for owners who have made the GT-R their daily driver.

Easy to Modify

The nice thing about owning a world-famous sports car is that many enthusiasts want to modify the car for the track, which means lots of parts availability. From race kits to spoilers to nitro-kits, there is no lack of items for the person willing to make a fast car even faster.

What is the future of Nissan’s GT-R?

Recently, the Nissan company announced that they had filled all the orders they would take for the Nissan GT-R. This announcement made the vehicle virtually impossible to buy, and most dealers in the US told customers that the vehicle was simply out of stock.

Nissan’s New GT-R will Likely Be a Hybrid or EV

Nissan has committed to producing 50% of its global sales as EVs in 2030. What that means is that the 3.8L turbocharged V6 is going to go away. The opportunity to own one of the fastest cars on the planet with a gasoline internal combustion engine is becoming less and lessor a reality. A hybrid might be a fantastic way to reduce carbon footprints, but it’s not the kind of car a speed demon wants to drive.

There continues to be tremendous pressure on auto manufacturers to electrify their fleets. Ford has had outstanding success in marketing the Mustang Mach-e, and while the sports car market might be one of the last bastilles of the internal combustion engine, it seems as if its days are drawing to a close.

Nissan GT-R Problems & Complaints: Are The Issues Worth Buying?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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