By December 14, 20102 Comments Read More →

Nissan Frontier Overheats While At Idle – Why?

Reader Question

Hi Austin,

I have a 2003 Nissan Frontier that keeps overheating. I bought the truck used, and it initially only overheated in the summer months when I was idling. I have had multiple issues “fixed” every summer, but this has continued to be an issue. We have replaced the radiator cap (the mechanic said it wasn’t sealing right), the thermostat, the clamp connecting the water hose to the radiator, the water hose itself, and tried flushing the radiator.

I’m sure there are other things we have tried, but none that come to mind at the moment. But it is now getting worse. Like I mentioned, it only overheated during the summer when I was idling before. But now it is overheating any time I idle. It was 62 degrees here the other day, and it overheated while I was idling after 5 minutes…

So the only common thread I have seen is I can’t keep the engine running when I am not moving. I have already spent $1000+ a year “fixing” the problem over the last 6 years (yes, meaning I have spent $6000 or so on it). How on earth do I actually get it fixed for sure? Each time I have taken it in, the truck doesn’t overheat for weeks or months, and then it happens again.

The mechanic then claims it must be a new issue because it went X amount of time without overheating. But it’s the same issue over and over, it just doesn’t happen in a predictable manner. It might be fine for a while, and then overheat daily for a week, and then it won’t happen again for weeks. What do you recommend?


Hi there MJ,

I would be suspect of a bad fan clutch or fan blade….or if you have an electric cooling fan motor at the radiator I would highly suspect that. Lack of airflow across the radiator OR lack of coolant in the radiator would be the two prime suspects. Make sure the radiator is full of coolant and that there is enough air being drawn across the radiator from the fan. nothing should be blocking air flow from the radiator or in front of the radiator.

I would also highly recommend a cooling system pressure test to determine if there is a leak in the cooling system if the radiator is low on coolant.

Austin Davis

Posted in: Over Heating

2 Comments on "Nissan Frontier Overheats While At Idle – Why?"

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  1. andres says:

    Hi,Andres I have nissan frontier xe .but I like to now what’s normal heat in sumer whit ac on ..because I suspect the this ting Is gering overhead the shows mor then normal is that gets like this in sumer

    • By Austin Davis says:

      The temperature gauge should be pretty much in the middle most of the time, not going past the middle area. I would make sure the electric cooling fans are working at the radiator, there is plenty of clean coolant in the radiator and the radiator is working properly and not restricted with rust or mineral deposits that build up at the bottom and cause a restriction in the flow of coolant through out the engine.

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