Nissan 3 Cylinder Engine Problems – KR15DDT Worst Problems!

Nissan 3 Cylinder Engine Problems – KR15DDT Worst Problems!

January 16, 2024 0 By CarGuy

Are you looking to purchase a Nissan with the KR15DDT engine and want to learn more about the Nissan 3 cylinder engine problems? If that’s correct, you should look no further because, in this article, there will be a lot to cover.

Doing good and thorough research is always a good idea. You just don’t want to end up in a money pit full of problems. And when it comes to cars, the chances for this are rather high because some engines can carry so many problems. This is why we are here to pinpoint these issues for you.

So, what we will learn today? First, we will cover the specs of the 3 cylinder engine by Nissan, as well as the applications of this engine. Then, we will cover the Nissan 3 cylinder engine problems and reliability. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article.

Nissan 3 Cylinder Engine Specs

The 3 cylinder Nissan engine actually is the KR15DDT. This is an engine that is built on the latest Nissan engine philosophy.

The 3 cylinder is the smallest engine in this KR family. This engine has a displacement of 1.5L.

The overall design of the engine follows all of the latest trends. So, what this means?

Well, this means that this engine comes with variable valve timing, variable compression ratio, direct injection, and turbocharging.

All of these technologies allow this engine to have incredible efficiency and produce a lot of power for its displacement at the same time.

Here are the full specs of the KR15DDT engine.

  • Configuration: inline-3
  • Displacement: 1.5L
  • Bore: 84 mm
  • Stroke: 88.9 mm
  • Block & Head Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Head Design: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Variable Valve Timing: Yes
  • Turbocharger: Yes
  • Direct Injection: Yes
  • Horsepower: 201 hp
  • Torque: 225 lb-ft (305 N-m)

Nissan 3 Cylinder Engine Applications

Now let’s take a look at the applications of the Nissan KR15DDT engine.

  • 2021 – Present Nissan Rogue
  • 2021 – Present Nissan X-Trail
  • 2021 – Present Nissan X-Trail e-power

Nissan 3 Cylinder Engine Problems

Now let’s list the common problems with the Nissan 3 cylinder engine.

  1. Carbon Buildup
  2. Problems With Variable Compression

We learned what are the common problems with the 3 cylinder Nissan engine. Now let’s move on and learn more about these problems more thoroughly and see what troubles this engine.

Having a more in-depth knowledge of the problems is very important if you want to understand them. That’s why we recommend following and paying close attention.

1. Carbon Buildup

The first problem on our list is carbon buildup. This 3 cylinder engine by Nissan uses something known as direct injection.

As you assume, this is a method of injecting fuel into the cylinders. This is a new way of injecting fuel that uses fuel more efficiently and also helps create more power.

But it has some downsides to it. Specifically, carbon buildup. Direct injection engines are notorious for creating carbon deposits on the intake ports.

So, why is this the case? Well, this is the case because older engines injected fuel through the intake ports.

So, the intake valves were constantly washed by the gasoline. This is not the case with direct injection since these engines use different method of injecting fuel.

So, what happens is that oil vapors are starting to accumulate on the valves and they start to create a crust.

This carbon crust can become excessive and prevent the proper airflow, as well as the valve operation.

The cylinder head can fail and you will need a valve job. Something that can be very expensive to do.

This is why we recommend doing a method known as walnut blasting every 60,000 miles in order to clean these deposits. This way your engine will be safe from other problems that can appear because of this carbon.

Now let’s move on to the next Nissan 3 cylinder engine problems.

2. Problems With Variable Compression

In recent times, news broke out about the problems that Nissan has with the variable compression system on this engine, as well as the 2.0L version of the KR engine.

This variable compression is a brand new technology that allows the engine to adjust the compression on the fly in order to maximize fuel efficiency and power delivery.

And as with every new technology problems appear. This is the case with these engines that are using it.

Some engines already failed. And the NHTSA has performed an investigation of the matter. Nissan is reportedly working on this problem to determine what is creating it and how it can be tackled.

It is unknown what is causing the issue. The outcome of the problem is a worn main bearing and a broken L-link. Which consequently makes the engine seize completely.

This problem appeared on the Rogue models built between 2021 and 2024 with the 3 cylinder KR15DDT engine.

The failures are random and there is no major reason for concern yet. The future will tell in which route this engine will be developed.

One thing is certain and that is that this engine has to be revised in some areas in order to prevent these failures from happening on future engines.

And since the Nissan Rogue is still new, these failures will probably be covered under the warranty.

Nissan 3 Cylinder Engine Reliability

It is too early to give a proper reliability score to this engine since the engine is still quite new. But since there were a few failures of these engines, the future doesn’t seem very bright.

Especially if Nissan does not include a revised version with upgraded internals that will not fail. That’s why we think that there will be a Gen 2 or something similar to this engine that will tackle these problems that are present in the current model.


In this article, we have covered the 3 cylinder engine by Nissan. We learned the specs and applications of the KR15DDDT.

In the second part, we discussed the common Nissan 3 cylinder engine problems and learned what troubles this engine.

It suffers from engine failures that are random and Nissan is already working on a way to fix this problem.


What models have the Nissan 3 cylinder engine?

Models that include this engine are the Nissan Rogue and Nissan X-Trail.

What are the common Nissan 3 cylinder engine problems?

Common problems with this engine include carbon deposits on the intake ports and engine failures that happen randomly on these engines. The engines spin the main bearing and damage the L-link assembly.

Is the Nissan 3 cylinder engine reliable?

There are failures reported on this engine that made the NHTSA issue an investigation into the problem. This greatly affects the reliability of this engine. But since these engines are still new and under warranty, they will probably be replaced by Nissan.

If you want to read more on car problems, you can check our article on the Nissan 2.5 engine and the Nissan 3.5 engine.