We head to the Nissan dealer once again for another regularly scheduled maintenance visit as our odometer rolls over 22500 mile mark. If you have been following our monthly updates, this is our third visit in less than 11 months of ownership.

Every new vehicle comes with an owner's manual. Vehicle books get overlooked and some times are never read by their owners. We've been following our truck manual with its listed service intervals. Our first oil change and tire rotationwas at 7500 miles (or 6 months) and our second visit came at 15000 (or 12 month) with full inspection, oil change, tire rotation, and a replaced cabin filter.

We found a discrepancy between what the manual tells you and what some service advisors want to tell you. After our second visit, the service advisor put a "Your next service is in 18,000 miles" sticker in the corner of our window. But our truck's book stated our next service should be at 22,500 miles and would include an oil change and tire rotation. To add insult to injury, after our third visit was complete, another sticker was placed in our window saying "Your next service is in 23,000 miles." Why would we come back in 500 miles for another oil change? According to the manual, our next visit to the dealer will be at 30,000 or 24 months. We'll stick with the book.

This month flew by, and I was on vacation for nearly half of it. The Frontier still racked up another 1800 miles on and off the road. In the hands of Benson Kong, Motor Trend's associate online editor, the Frontier played in the dirt at the Hungary Valley recreational park while tagging along as a support vehicle for our Grand Cherokee video shoot. While most of the heavy off-roading was done by the Grand Cherokee for dramatic effect, the frontier had no problem keeping up. "In general, it felt a little tight off-road. Could be shock-related as the entire truck moves around a lot, and it's not just the sensation of the cab rolling and pitching." Explains Kong, "This was moving at maybe 20 mph over a rocky trail. Video producer Mike Villa, who was trailing me at one point, said the truck was bouncing around a bit from his vantage point.

"Continuing the tight trend, I didn't spot a dirt bump in time (I try to slow way down for them to help the suspension absorb them) and the truck sprung back into position very tightly and with a lot of head toss. I don't know what the Pro-4X off-road focus is, but I hope it isn't rock-crawling.

"Having the manual transmission was nice for my one hill descent, as I could just leave it in first gear and not ride the brakes.

"The truck could always be smaller, but dimensionally, it felt fine in Hungry Valley. Great outward visibility for this kind of stuff."


2012 Nissan Frontier 4X4 PRO4X
Service life: 11 mo/23,989 mi
Avg CO2: 1.13 lb/mi
Energy cons: 197 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems: None
Maintenance cost: $607.14 (3-oil change, rotate tires, inspection; 1-cabin-air filter; 1-engine-air filter)
Normal-wear cost: $0
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ: 15/20/17 mpg
Average Fuel Econ: 17.2 mpg