Keeping your customer’s Nissan or Infiniti vehicle operating properly means using the right product for the right job. That’s easy to do if you use Genuine Nissan lubricants and fluids.
But, let’s be honest for a moment. Virtually no shop uses every available Genuine Nissan fluid and lubricant for every Nissan that rolls in the door. Do you always order Nissan motor oil, or Nissan GL-5? It’s OK; even Nissan and Infiniti dealerships use some bulk fluids.
There are aftermarket fluids that can be used on Nissan products with good results. When this is the case, the proper alternative will be specified in the owner’s manual and the service manual. However, there are some Nissan systems that won’t operate as designed with anything but the correct Genuine Nissan fluid. Worse yet, using anything but the Genuine Nissan fluid will permanently damage the system and void the warranty.
When choosing a non-Nissan fluid, you become responsible for verifying it meets all of Nissan’s requirements. For instance, when the owner’s manual specifies 5W30 motor oil, installing any brand of 5W30 will not necessarily provide adequate protection or keep the warranty intact. There is more to motor oil than just the SAE weight designation, and if you plan to use non-Nissan fluids, you’ll need to do your own research.
Get it in Writing
Some lubricant vendors will provide incomplete or inaccurate information. Never rely on a verbal assurance; always get written confirmation a fluid meets Nissan specification from the manufacturer before installing the product in a vehicle. This is a real interaction with a lube vendor at a trade show:
Vendor: “You can replace ALL of your import OEM transmission fluids with our new multi-vehicle ATF.”
Customer: “So it can be used on the Murano with a CVT?”
Vendor: “Uh, no. The Nissan CVT is special; there is no fluid from any vendor that meets the specification. You’ll need to buy it directly from Nissan.”
Customer: “Oh, I see. But it can be used for the Altima Hybrid transaxle.”
Vendor: “No. Matic W fluid is special too. You’ll need to buy it from Nissan. Nobody else carries it.”
Customer: “Can it be used in place of Matic S fluid?”
Vendor: (clearly irritated) “No.”
Now, what would happen to the unfortunate shop that did not dig beyond this vendor’s initial inaccurate statement? They might receive a “bad news” call from a Nissan dealer something like this, “The transmission is damaged because the wrong fluid was used, and the warranty is void for the same reason. Your former customer would like you to pay the bill”.
The bottom line is this: You will always be making a good choice if you use the Genuine Nissan fluid. If you choose not to, always take the time for due diligence when selecting an alternative.
Don’t Be Sorry Later; Read First
It seems technicians are always in a hurry. “There’s no time for research! I have to get to work!” The truth is that a few minutes spent researching will save more than those few minutes once you start working and may prevent disaster.
Checking a fluid specification on Nissan’s Techinfo sites, www.nissan-techinfo.com and www.infiniti-techinfo.com, takes about one minute from the time you open the browser until you’re reading the information, once you know how to find it:
- Log on
- Click “Find Publications”
- Enter the year and the model
- Click the View Service Manual icon
- Click the “Maintenance” section in the “Table of Contents”
- Click on “Recommended Fluids and Lubricants”
- You’re finished!
If you do this before starting work on the car, you’ll know the fluid type and capacity. Then, you can check stock and order if necessary so you won’t accidentally install the wrong fluid in a customer’s car.
There are four ratings to check when choosing motor oil. First, there is the SAE weight; expressed as 5W20, 5W30, 10W30, etc. This rating refers to the oil’s viscosity. The first number represents the oil’s ability to flow while cold (as indicated by the “W” for winter). The second number represents the oil’s viscosity when the oil is at operating temperature. The service manual may list more than one acceptable weight, depending on the lowest expected ambient temperature. Don’t use incorrect weight oil; doing so can damage the engine.
Next there is the API rating. This rating refers to the oil’s performance level. There are three current categories for gasoline engine oils: SJ, SL, and SM. SM is the highest of the three standards, and is acceptable for use in engines requiring SJ or SL rated oil. Since many modern Nissan and Infiniti cars require API SM rated oil, it makes sense buy SM for use in bulk.
There is an additional standard. ILSAC (International Lubrication Standardization Approval Committee) is the result of collaboration between Japanese and American auto makers. The highest ILSAC rating for gasoline engines is currently GF-4. Most API SM-rated oils are also GF-4 approved.
Finally there is the API “Energy Conserving” rating. This indicates the motor oil will increase fuel economy compared to reference oil.
Genuine Nissan motor oil meets the API SM standard, the ILSAC GF-4 standard, and the Energy Conserving standard. If you plan to use oil other than Genuine Nissan, you should choose one which meets the same standards.
Nissan Genuine Coolant
Many believe that one brand of coolant is the same as the next. They may say, “It’s all just ethylene glycol.” Nissan Genuine Coolant is not just ethylene glycol; check the ingredients on the back of the bottle. Nor is it the same as other coolants; just compare the ingredients to another brand of coolant.
Some may ask, “If it transfers heat and provides boil over and anti-freeze protection, won’t any coolant work?” It may “work,” but at what cost to vehicle longevity? The cooling system is composed of many different materials: alloys, plastics, rubbers, coatings, etc. Nissan engineers consider how every component will react with the coolant during the design process. How will a different coolant choice affect these components? A coolant formulation which may be perfectly acceptable for a different vehicle may decrease the durability of a Nissan.
Nissan service and owner’s manuals frequently say to use Nissan Genuine Coolant or the equivalent.
What coolant is the equivalent? Well, it should have no silicates, borates, or amines, and the manufacturer of the coolant should be willing to state specifically it’s suitable for use in Nissan products (in writing).
Genuine Nissan Coolant is not expensive compared to other brands; you can be sure it’s safe to install, and it may impress your customers by using a Genuine Nissan product.
Nissan now makes two Genuine coolants available. The traditional ‘Green’ Long Life Coolant (LLC), which must be mixed 50/50 with distilled water, and a new longer-life ‘Blue’ coolant, which comes premixed. The new ‘Blue’ coolant is compatible and can be mixed with the traditional ‘Green’ coolant, but the resulting mixture will not have the ‘Blue’ coolant’s longer service life.
Manual Transmission Gear Oil
Many Nissan and Infiniti manual transmissions require API GL-4 gear oil. Genuine Nissan ManualTransmission Fluid (MTF 75W-85 ) is excellent quality GL-4 gear oil that will provide smooth shifting and good protection. In fact, it’s worth installing Genuine Nissan MTF before condemning a transmission with synchronizer grinding or binding. If inappropriate gear oil (like GL-5) has been installed previously, switching back to Genuine Nissan MTF may improve the shifting enough so that transmission repair becomes unnecessary. In other words, GL-5 gear oil should not be installed in vehicles requiring GL-4 gear oil. Not only can it cause difficulty in shifting, it may cause premature transmission failure.
MTF 75W-85 can be used in most manual transmission applications, but note that certain Nissan models require Trans ELF 75W-80. Always check the service manual for recommended fluid and capacity.
Many Nissan and Infiniti final drives require API GL-5 gear oil. Genuine Nissan Synthetic Gear Oil 75W-140 provides high pressure protection necessary for high performance offerings like the 370Z and FX45. GL-4 should not be used in final drives requiring GL-5, because it will not provide the same level of protection.
Automatic Transmission Fluid
In most cases, buying ATF from your Nissan or Infiniti dealer is the only option. Doing anything else is asking for trouble. There are quite a few types of Nissan transmission fluid, and unless you are very familiar with the Nissan product line requirements, you’ll need to check the manual with every service.
Matic D is the oldest of the Nissan AT fluids. Nissan describes Matic D as an ashless petroleum-based ATF with low zinc content. The ash in other fluids may cause a change in friction response. Zinc may adhere to the clutch linings and cause slippage and damage. In a pinch, Dexron III can be used. However, Dexron III is a GM specification and trademark, and while it is the most similar to Nissan Matic D, it is not necessarily the same. Matic D is competitively priced and it’s always the safest bet for Nissan cars requiring Matic D.
Matic J fluid must be used in vehicles for which it is specified. Nissan was so worried about the wrong fluid being added and damaging the transmission, they took the extraordinary steps of bolting the dipstick in place on the 350Z, and removing the dipstick entirely on the first G35, in order to impede the progress of those who had not read the manual. However, Matic J has now been superseded by Matic S for automatic transmission applications. Matic J is still required for some transfer case applications.
As of this writing, if you order Matic J from your Nissan or Infiniti dealer, you’ll receive Matic S. Don’t worry, it’s not a mistake. It’s safe to use Matic S for automatic transmission applications requiring Matic J. However, in transfer cases you must use the type of fluid specified in the manual. Matic S must be used in seven-speed automatic transaxles.
Matic K, introduced in the 2004 Maxima, is another fluid that is different from all others. Unlike motor oil’s API specifications, where each new specification is backwards compatible and supersedes the prior specification, you cannot count on this being true with Nissan transmission fluid. Most of the fluids are specific to the transmissions for which they were intended. Matic K cannot be replaced with any other fluid.
Matic W is used in the Altima Hybrid HEV transaxle, also known as the eCVT. Using any other type of fluid will damage the transaxle and void the warranty. Matic W should not be exposed to moisture, so it should be kept in a sealed container, just like brake fluid.
Nissan CVT Fluid NS-2
Nissan CVT transmission fluid is VERY special. Installing the wrong fluid may result in a vehicle that cannot be driven around the block before starting to exhibit symptoms. CVT and other fuel-saving transmissions will likely be showing up on more and more models, so always check service procedures before starting work on any unfamiliar model.
ATF Application Charts
ATF Applications for 2002-2009 Nissan Vehicles
|A/T||Fluid||Nissan Part #|
|4-speed FWD||Matic D (4)||999MP-AA100P|
|4-Speed RWD||Matic D (4)||999MP-AA100P|
|5-Speed FWD||Matic K (2)||999MP-MTK00P|
|5-Speed RWD||Matic S (2,3)|
|Matic J (2)||999MP-MTS00P||999MPMTJ00P|
|7-Speed RWD||Matic S (4)||999MP-MTS00P|
|Altima Hybrid Transaxle (eCVT)||Matic W (4)||999MP-MTW00P|
- Use only Genuine NISSAN CVT Fluid NS-2. Do not mix with other fluids.
- Use only the Genuine NISSAN Matic ATF specified as doing so may cause deterioration in drivability and durability.
- Use Matic J if Matic S is not available.
- Use only the Genuine NISSAN Matic ATF specified as doing so may cause deterioration in drivability and durability. Do not mix with other fluids.
ATF Applications for 2004-2009 Infiniti Vehicles
|A/T||Fluid||Nissan Part #|
|5-Speed RWD||Matic S (1)Matic J||999MP-MTS00P999MPMTJ00P|
|7-Speed RWD||Matic S||999MP-MTS00P|
- Use Matic J if Matic S is not available.
The fluids Nissan uses for power steering and braking are less exotic than their transmission fluids, but no less important.
Nissan requires the use of DOT-3 brake fluid in most applications. Everyone – Nissan, consumers, technicians, and the government – want vehicles on the road to have safe brakes. Any DOT-3 fluid can safely be used on a Nissan vehicle, whether topping off the reservoir or flushing the system. However, DOT-3, like other fluid specifications, is a minimum specification, and it addresses far more than just wet and dry boiling point. Genuine Nissan Brake Fluid is engineered to balance maximum performance and system longevity. Considering the high cost of modern ABS brake components, and the low cost of Genuine Nissan Brake Fluid, why not choose Genuine?
Power Steering Fluid
Genuine Nissan Power Steering fluid contains stabilizer and detergent additives to protect and clean the power steering system. It’s a high quality fluid available at a very reasonable price. Dexron III or Dexron VI may be used in a pinch on some vehicles, but always check the service manual first.
Have you ever noticed the grease symbols on exploded views in Nissan service manuals? The grease symbol legend on the same page will indicate the type of grease to use for each lube point. There are many types of grease, each with its own characteristics and purpose. Using the correct grease for the correct application will help prevent costly come-backs. Specialty greases can be purchased from your Nissan or Infiniti dealer.
Nissan specialty chemicals work well and are surprisingly inexpensive, plus you can be sure they will not damage your customer’s Nissan or Infiniti vehicle when used properly. Common shop chemicals such as brake cleaner, carburetor cleaner, white grease and silicone spray lubricant are all available from your Nissan and Infiniti dealer. Compare prices with your Kent, Wurth, Wynns, or Zep distributor; you may be surprised.
Nissan also has a complete line of appearance care products, such as glass cleaner, vinyl and rubber protectant, leather cleaner, etc. When you use Genuine Nissan car care products, you can be sure that they will not damage the car. You may not need these for customer pay jobs, but they may come in handy for your own car, and your customers may be interested in purchasing them as well.