Detail: This is the first time anything with the engine has happened. Also recently the heater hasn't working well, heats up while driving and cools when stopped or idling. I have 115.000+ miles on this car. Nissan says it needs a new head gasket. I'm not convinced as there is NO water present on oil stick tip.
Solution: Is your coolant low? It has to go somewhere and that's in with the oil (head gasket). If the oil looks like milk chocolate (head gasket). White smoke? Head gasket. If you're overheating, don't push it. Although head gasket repairs can be expensive, an engine replacement can be more. The dealership is probaby right but they are expensive, find a reputable indy mechanic and have them do the work. , If the dealer is calling a head gasket i would trust them. Water on the dipstick isnt something you would see. chances are coolant is getting into the cylinders and burning as you drive so you are probably low on coolant and theres enough to flow when the engine rpm is high. Which would allow some heat when driving and none when idling. Also if there was water in the engine, it would sit at the bottom due to oil being lighter than water so if anything it would just look like you ave to much oil on the dipstick. The steam your seeing might actually be exhaust fumes from a blown head gasket , Hi, a 6ya Mechanic can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two. Best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repair professionals here in the US. click here to Talk to a Mechanic (only for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need. Goodluck! , You need to replace the thermostat in the radiator, they are very inexpensive and most times you can replace it yourself, if that doesn't help, drain the radiator and buy a drain kit and radiator cleaner, it will remove rust corrosions and anything else blocking up the flow, replace fluids and check to see if it runs properly, worst case senario is that your water pump needs to be replace cause Nissans are notorious or I should say Older models are and water pump seems to be the thing that goes out before anything else , Hello, You need to replace the Thermostat and gasket very quickly as you are damaging the engine when it overheats. Your thermostat is not opening at all preventing the coolant from reaching the engine, cooling it off and sending the now heated coolant into the heater core to keep you warm. The shaking may or may not go away once this is fixed. Good Luck! Rich Lilja , I am having/had the same problem. My rear heater has not worked the last 2 winters, still trying to figure that one out. But I think I solved the front heat problem myself. The heater was blowing cold air while idling and hot air when the car was moving. I jacked up the front of the vehicle, took the cap off of the reserve tank for the radiator, turned the car on and ran the heat (AC off) for 15 minutes. This is supposed to release any air bubbles in the coolant system and I did see air bubbles emerge as I was watching (this might be normal occurance, I'm far from a mechanical expert). Anyway, this did not immediately solve the problem, still blowing cold air as it sat there idling after 15 minutes. Dejected, I put the cap back on, lowered the vehicle and resigned myself to taking it to a dealer. But a funny thing happened the next day, the coolant level was a lower (no leaks on the floor) so I filled up, and sure enough, when I started the car and let it warm up a little, hot air started coming out of the heater!!! As far as my wife knows, I fixed the problem for the price of a bottle of coolant, so I am a hero...but at first I thought it didn't work. Here we are a month later and still blowing warm air and haven't had to replace any more coolant...the internet is a wonderful thing! Hope this works for you, and I hope I can figure out my rear heater problem as well. , I had this exact problem a few weeks ago. The repair shop first changed the thermostat. Didn't fix the problem. Next step, they found the radiator was clogged. They replaced the radiator and now everything works fine. , My car did the same thing and I went and had it checked out. They had to replace my mass air flow censor. Cost me a little over $200. The only thing is after I had it fixed, my check engine light kept coming on. They said that my fuel line was running rich because I had ran my car so long with that problem. May want to get that checked out!