Five Things your Q50 Needs

Let's talk about the five things your Q50 needs often. Normally when I'm talking about an automobile from the years of 2013 through the present day I wouldn't speak in general terms. However, when it comes to the Q50 changes remain few, to not only the exterior styling, but also under the hood over the decade in which this luxury car manufacturer built the automobile.

The obvious reason for this remains that Infiniti continues to struggle over this same period of time. In America, one of their largest markets, the SUVs in the fleet outsell the sedans by a two to one margin. Therefore, the company shifted focus to the bread-and-butter sport utilities keeping the company alive.

My 2019 Infiniti Q50My 2019 Infiniti Q50

While Infiniti launched several new models and updated several old models of sport utility vehicles the Q50 continues its stagnant existence. Don't get me wrong, not only do I like these cars, but I bought one for myself. Although the exterior of the automobile has only seen minor improvements, they did address some shortcomings in the engine and powertrain department.

As an example, a slight misalignment of the AC compressor caused premature serpentine belt failure on the mighty Q50 for several model years. As another example, isolated turbocharger issues where the turbo created a chirping sound during the spooling up process became another area the manufacturer improved upon during the 2018 Q50 model run. Plus a few big Q50 problems covered under warranty like internal coolant leaks from porous aluminum engine block castings.

With that said, this article will talk about five things your Q50 needs now or in the near future. These are mostly maintenance items that seem to have a shorter lifespan on this car than other automobiles in the class. Again, I want to make it clear, this does not make the twin turbo powered luxury sport sedan any less desirable in the eyes of this beholder. I will deal with the downsides because I truly appreciate the upsides.

Your Q50 Needs Air Filters

How often will your car need air filters? Well I can't tell you that because it really depends on the driving conditions. However, I will tell you that I was surprised when I pulled my air filters out with just 15,000 miles and a little over one year of age and both air filters required replacement.

I judge my driving conditions as average. The car has never gone down a dirt road. In fact, the car has never left a paved area to the best of my knowledge. The cost of factory air filters comes in around $25-$30 each. To spend $60 a year on air filters seems a little high, but I will certainly check them every year to see if they need replacement. Remember you can hold a flashlight up to the back side and shine the light through the filter to gauge just how dirty it is.

The part number for the factory Nissan air filter remains 1654630P00. This fits the Q50 from the inaugural model year of 2013 all the way through the present day. Before I went down to my local dealership to purchase a pair of these filters I went to the local parts store to see what the aftermarket filters look like. To make a long story short, they didn't fit well.

In the example of a Fram filter it was slightly too large around the sealing area. More importantly the Fram unit had a square orange foam filter seal. The factory filter had a higher density sealing foam with beveled edges. The factory filter fits absolutely perfect in the plastic housing.

The Fram filter seemed a little large and the foam squeezed out when you clamp down the housing. I tried a cheaper version air filter and it seemed a little undersized. My point is that you could save a few dollars on the Q50 air filters by going to an aftermarket set up. But as a retired certified master technician that drives the same automobile I would not recommend it. In fact, I say, spend $60 a year and use the factory air filters.

Your Q50 Needs Rear Brakes

Out of the five things your Q50 needs this one became the biggest surprise to me. With only 15,000 miles and one year of usage I pulled the rear wheels off for a tire rotation and inspection of the rear brakes. It was a shocker to see that most of the rear pad was gone. I'll be generous and say there's about 20% remaining. They look thinner, but the wear indicator wasn't making noise yet.

Inspection of the front brakes revealed about 75% remaining and I'll provide a further explanation of this discrepancy in the paragraphs to follow. As a retired master technician that worked at new car dealerships for most of my career, I can say original equipment brakes often see 25,000 to 30,000 miles before requiring replacement.

I posted a video about this on YouTube. We titled the video as problems with certified used Infiniti Q50s. We got a lot of comments on the 13 minute clip from other owners. You have to remember that this is my first Q50, so the comments were not only insightful, but extremely helpful. Basically, all of the respondents noted that these cars eat rear brakes and each one provided further information about why.

As you drive around in your twin turbo 3.0 T you find yourself applying the gas liberally and often. However, what you may not know is the automobile applies the rear brakes at the same time you're pushing the throttle. There are two systems responsible for this unrequested action. Of course everybody is familiar with the traction control system that applies liberal amounts of brakes for very minor amounts of traction issues to prevent wheel spin.

However, the system responsible for dragging the brakes the most becomes the VDC or vehicle dynamic control. They use this name in the manual on my 2019 model. In older models I've seen it referred to as vehicle stability control. This overzealous system is easily disabled on my 2019 model from the InTouch menu under driver assistance settings. On the older models I believe it requires a different procedure. Check in the Infiniti owners manual available online for your specific year and model.

I also say do this at your own risk and learn the differences about how the vehicle will handle with the setting disabled. It really boils down to you have a choice. You can keep on replacing the rear brakes every 15,000 miles or you can disable the VDC setting. On my Q50 with the setting disabled the car becomes handful when applying power on a wet road around turns. The back end starts to walk around and there's no computer assistance there to save you. This is why I say get used to the difference between the vehicle dynamic control on and off and how it affects vehicle handling.

Your Q50 Needs Wiper Blades

This was another one that surprised me and I know it seems minor, but since we're halfway through the five things your Q50 needs, let's tackle this one because it's a quickie. Back in the day, original equipment wiper blades installed from the factory were pretty high quality. You could go three years before they required replacement.

I guess those days are gone and the vehicle manufacturers are skimping in every area possible. That's the way I see it, because my wiper blades started falling apart after one year and 15,000 miles of operation. With that said, I do live in the great state of Florida and my windshield sees temperatures probably over 150 °F in the summer.

However, my previous car, a Cadillac would easily get three years out of a set of wiper blades. Regardless, I'm not sure what happened, but on the Q50 you have one giant blade measuring 26 inches and a stubby wiper blade measuring only 17 inches. On my Cadillac I use to purchase Michelin brand wiper blades. And why not they're a premium rubber company.

However, those blades did not work well on the steep curved windshield of my 2019 Infiniti Q50. Therefore, I purchased a set of Bosch brand wiper blades. Back in the day Bosch was a German company making extremely high quality auto parts. Unfortunately, today they make them in a China factory. With that said, the Bosch wiper blades work well, but I don't know how long they'll last. This becomes one of those things where we say, they just don't make them like they used to.

Your Q50 Needs a Pollen Filter

There's only one way to find out whether your Q50 needs a pollen filter. You have to remove it for inspection. The location isn't convenient, but you don't need any tools to access it. The interior air filter that we speak of resides behind the passenger side glove box. There are many YouTube videos that show you exactly how it's done.

However, to make a long story short, the glove box hinges just snap together and you can let the door hang as you access the hatch behind the glove compartment. When you pull out the old filter take note of the orientation of the arrow and make sure the new one goes in the same direction. Just grab a flashlight or equivalent and shine it through the material to get an accurate gauge of the filters condition.

This is another maintenance item with no set clock or mileage limit. It really depends on the area that you live in and the location you operate the automobile. If you park under an oak tree with a lot of pollen, I guarantee you'll need this filter replaced more often. With that said, let's talk about the three types of filters available for replacement.

You have the standard filter that most of these cars come with. In addition, aftermarket companies and Nissan have also made available a carbon activated filter that's supposed to provide additional filtering benefits. Finally, the third filter available becomes a carbon activated HEPA filter. Although this sounds like hitting the trifecta and the perfect selection for replacement I advise against this filter.

It does a great job of filtering. Unfortunately, to the point where it clogs up much faster than the other two filters available. In an age where air conditioning systems have became more concerned about environmental friendliness as compared to the temperature of the air that exits the AC ducts you don't want to restrict airflow into the automobile. This is why I recommend just going with the standard filter, just like the factory installed when the vehicle was new.

The Q50 Needs New Tires

The car came from the factory with run-flat tires. Infinity believes in this technology to the point where they felt it necessary to eliminate the spare tire. Of course there's a lot of advantages to this as it saves space, vehicle weight, improves handling and the car manufacturer saves a fortune in avoidable costs.

As an old school driver I miss having a spare tire in case of an emergency. With that said, I can count the times I've used a spare tire on one hand and I've been driving for 40 years. Here's the problem with the run-flat tires. They're fantastic for a sports car like a Corvette, but less fantastic for a luxury automobile that should provide a superior ride. The run-flat tires are hard and unforgiving.

They are also extremely expensive. The problem comes when you damage just one tire. You'll have to make a judgment call on whether to install a brand-new run-flat or just suck it up and replace all four at the same time and put the run-flat situation behind you. For me, at the first opportunity I replaced all the tires at around 15,000 miles. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely happy with my choice of the Kumho tires I purchased.

Although they ride much nicer than the factory installed run-flat tires they lack in two major areas. The Kumho Ecsta 4X II in the 225/50ZR18 tire size provides poor wet weather traction and more noise than I care to hear. However, the price of $128 each for a Z rated tire, a sporty look and excellent handling characteristics, I'm not saying that I made a mistake. I guess like everything in life tires are also a compromise.

If your thinking about purchasing a new or used Infiniti take a look at this page comparing the Standard Q Versus Red Sport Edition. Take a look at the homepage to find out more about this website and find additional articles that interest you about vehicle specific automotive maintenance.