Your questions: LSD and diff locks on a Navara D40

Not so long ago, we got together with New Zealand 4×4 legend, Pete Ritchie, and took a number of customers and two brand new Nissan Navaras for an off-road adventure. For those that missed it, you can view the video below.

Yesterday, a fellow Nissan owner, posted a question on the video through YouTube. To help answer the question, we gave Pete Ritchie a shout.

Leon’s question:

Awesome video presentation, I have a Nissan Navara D40 LE 4X4 6Speed manual model, tried taking it offroad, but easily got stuck, due to the fact that it had an open differential at the rear not an LSD. Can you explain why Nissan wouldn’t install LSD or even a diff lock in the 4×4?

Pete Ritchie responds:

Hi Leon, thanks for the great question! My first response would be to say it sounds like an import!

Each country has its own spec levels and this is beyond any influence of Nissan NZ. And we know all NZ-new Navara’s come fitted with either a manual LSD or an electronic LSD package as part of their stability program that works on both front and rear axles (Nissan New Zealand knows the importance of these features to New Zealanders!).

The best way forward for you would be to choose from the following options should off road ability be an important issue.

  1. Ensure suitable tires with enough tread depth, run at the right pressure to optimise traction and self tread clearing
  2. Upgrade to a New Zealand new Navara, preferably with the full traction control features (through Cockram Nissan, of course!)
  3. Have an ARB manual rear diff lock fitted to your existing Navara (is not a total fix)
  4. Attend a Cockram Nissan Drive Day to learn how to maximise traction without any mechanical changes to the vehicle (no disrespect intended here – you may already be an excellent off-road driver … but you’ll still have some fun at the Drive Day!)

We hope this is of some assistance to you, Leon. And thanks to Pete Ritchie of Natural Instincts for taking the time to respond.

Frozen Windscreen Wipers

Winter Care: Windscreen Wipers and Ice Don’t Mix!

Windscreen WipersTry to avoid using your windscreen wipers when the screen is completely covered with ice.  Why?  Because the ice crystals are like minute pieces of sharp glass and can cause small cuts in the rubber of your wiper blades, causing the blades to become prematurely worn and will therefore not clear your screen effectively.

What should you do?

Pour warm (not boiling hot) water over the screen first to melt the ice as well as turning your Air Conditioning to ‘defrost’ with your vehicle’s engine idling. Once the ice has melted you can use your wipers. Only drive away when your windscreen is completely clear.

The same applies for the rear window and not forgetting the side windows too.

If possible, avoid using water in such a position where it may remain and potentially freeze the following night… as this is dangerous to walk on.

What else can you do?

Change your wiper blades with genuine, high quality ones – at least twice a year.  The small cost of changing your wiper blades (or better still, allow us to do this for you) is tiny compared to the cost and stress of causing an un-necessary accident because you couldn’t see where you are going on the road!

Don’t forget, you can even buy windscreen wipers online through our online parts shop. Just give us a call if you have any problems.

Flickr image credit: Theo Wright

Nissan ST-X R450

Car Terms: Understanding Automotive Terminology

Nissan GTR BadgeOne of the oldest clichés is the car mechanic or salesman who scatters vehicle abbreviations and tricky automotive terminology throughout this ‘pitch’ to customers, leaving them baffled and confused.

You’ll be happy to know that we’re well-aware of this and even experience it ourselves from time to time! Hey, no one wants to be the first guy at the launch of a new vehicle to ask what a new abbreviation means!

Because we’re aware of the problem, we always aim to make sure we show some empathy when discussing our vehicles. You’re spending hard-earned dollars on a new vehicle  or on vehicle repairs or parts and we want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money – including what all of those flash new Nissan features mean in real-world terms for you, your family, or your business.

With this in mind, our usual blog guy, Mark Lincoln, and I have put together a list for you and included some definitions to put things into real-world terms.

We’ll split this into two sections – the first will be specifically for Nissan terms and abbreviations that you’ll often see on our new Nissan cars. The second will be a more general glossary of automotive terms. Please feel free to bookmark this page or print this list for your future reference.

Common Nissan Models and Vehicle Terms


The Nissan Active Brake Limited Slip system was developed by Nissan to send your vehicle’s power to wheels that have traction. A great feature when driving off-road. If you don’t mind the accent, this is a great video put together by Nissan Australia to demonstrate ABLS.


The ‘GT’ stands for ‘Gran Turismo’ and ‘R’ stands for ‘Racing’. Put them together and you have one very fine Nissan vehicle! Side note and sneaky sales-pitch: Cockram Nissan is the South Island’s only official GT-R representative.

Nissan GT-R Badge


High Capacity Actively Controlled Steering. This is a Nissan-developed technology in the form of a rear wheel steering system. Unlike other four wheel drive steering systems, HICAS is fitted specifically to improve vehicle handling rather than to act as a parking aid. Find out more in this Wikipedia article.

Navara Models

This Nissan Navara range is available in a variety of variants, starting with the RX 2WD and finishing at the 4WD ST-X 550.  The number represents the torque level in Newton Metres (Nm), i.e. the ST-X 450 as 450 Nm of torque, the ST-X 550 has … well, you get the picture! Check out this review of the ST-X 550, titled ‘Torque of the Devil’.

Nissan ST-X R450


An abbreviation of Nissan Motorsport International Limited. NISMO is the motorsport and performance division of the Nissan Motor Company and provides a range of official Nissan vehicle performance enhancements.

R or R Sport

A bit tricky to put this one on its own as it can mean different things. In ‘GT-R’ (above) the R stands for racing. However, here in New Zealand, the ‘R’ can stand for ‘Retro’. Retro Vehicle Enhancement is a, Auckland-based company that provides enhancements for vehicles. One typical enhancement is leather interiors. Our ST-X R450 pictured above has been professionally fitted with leather seats by Retro Vehicle Enhancements. Ask one of our team if you’re interested in further information.

Xtronic CVT

In 2006, Nissan helped to introduce the CVT (Continuous Velocity Transmission) to mainstream production vehicles. Compared with previous CVTs, the XTRONIC CVT improves vehicle response when climbing hills and coming out of turns. You can view a PDF on this here or check out this section of the Nissan New Zealand website which is dedicated to explaining the Xtronic CVT.

An Alphabetical Glossary of Common Automotive Terms

This is quite a big area so no doubt we’ll have missed out a few terms here. If there’s something specific that you want to ask us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll let you know what the term means and then update our list for future visitors.


This one’s an easy one that we all know – air conditioning. However, you’ll often hear our team talk about an ‘A/C compressor’. This is an engine-driven pump that increases the pressure of the refrigerant, causing it to flow through the system. Other terms relevant to the A/C system include ‘refrigerant’ – the liquid that flows through the system – and ‘air conditioning filters’ – filters that prevent contaminants such as pollen from entering the system and blowing into the interior of your car.

Anti-lock Braking System. This stops your vehicles from locking-up (or skidding) under heavy braking by rapidly applying and releasing the brakes. Because the wheels still effectively rotate, you can continue to steer under heavy braking, therefore giving you a chance to steer around an obstacle.

Adaptive Cruise Control
A feature on some newer vehicles that uses laser or radar sensing devices to adjust your cruise control speed – causing the car to slow or stop in order to avoid colliding with a lead car in traffic.

Adaptive Headlights
More than just headlights that turn on automatically at night, these headlights actually turn as the driver turns the steering wheel, helping to illuminate the bend in corners.

Aftermarket Accessory
This term is given to vehicle accessories that are not included with the vehicle at time of manufacture. You can find a range of accessories for your vehicle in our parts department.

ANCAP (and Euro NCAP)
The NCAP is a ‘New Car Assessment Programme’ which uses a points system to assess and categorise new vehicles in terms of their safety level. ‘ANCAP’ refers to the Australian New Car Assessment Programme while Euro NCAP refers to the European New Car Assessment Programme. 

Anti-Theft Immobiliser
This prevents a vehicle’s engine from starting when the key is not present – ensuring that a vehicle can’t be hot-wired.

All-Wheel Drive. This is a system that uses a front, rear, and a centre differential to provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle.


BA/Braking Assist
A computer system that monitors how aggressively the driver is braking. If it thinks that you’re braking to prevent an accident, it will apply even more braking force to the wheels to help prevent the accident from occurring.

Oddly termed ‘bushes’ are usually small rubber parts that help to cushion your car’s suspension system. As a rubber component, they can wear out over time but are easy enough to replace.


A chassis is the (roughly) rectangular (usually) steel frame that holds the body and engine of your vehicle. As the foundations of the vehicle, it lays an important part in the vehicle’s stability, handling, and overall shape.

Central-Locking. You may see this one in vehicle listings and it looks like it’ll be something more complicated than it actually is.

CV Joints
Constant Velocity Joints. These are located just behind your wheels and transmit engine power while still allowing full steering and suspension movement. The CV joints are protected by black ‘boots’ which keep out dust and help contain the lubricant. As these wear out, you may notice a knocking noise under hard cornering. Come and see our service team to get them replaced.

Continuous Velocity Transmission. Basically a type of gearbox that helps to maintain a constant transfer of power to your car’s wheels (rather than regular loss of power when changing gears in a manual car). Those keen to find out more can do so by viewing this video.


Displacement refers to your vehicle’s engine capacity, usually measured in litres (l) or cubic-centimetres (cc).  In broad terms, the bigger the engine capacity, the more powerful your engine. However, engines and vehicle technology can be a lot more complex than this and there are various other factors involved so bigger does not always mean faster.

Daytime Running Lights. These are simply lights that are designed to be active continuously, helping to improve safety and even adding to the visual appeal of your car.

Double Over-Head Cam(shaft). Basically (and generally) a higher performing engine that can operate at higher revolution speeds.


Electronic Brake-force Distribution. This system automatically controls exactly how much brake force is applied to each wheel depending on road conditions, speed, loading, etc. This maximises stopping power whilst maintaining vehicle control.

Electronic Fuel-Injection. This is basically a method to drive fuel into an engine. It has a number of benefits, including increased fuel efficiency and cleaner exhaust emissions as well as performance enhancements including smoother engine response, easier starting, increased maintenance intervals, and more. Take a look at this article on How Stuff Works for more information.

Electronic Stability Programme. Can also be known as ESC – Electronic Stability Control. This system controls braking and power to help the driver maintain directional stability while steering. Take a look at this YouTube video for a side-by-side demonstration.


Fix Or Repair Daily (OK, OK. We’re just kidding!)


Hill-Start Assist. The Hill-Start Assist does exactly what it says on the tin. A computer realises that your vehicle is on an incline and so helps to apply engine power to keep your vehicle in position and prevent it from rolling down the slope.


Limited Slip Differential. This is best explained by watching the video that this gentleman has put together. After viewing that, you can see it in real-world terms by viewing the excellent video by this Nissan X-Trail owner.


SRS Airbags
The ‘SRS’ stands for Supplemental Restraint System. It’s not really a brand name, it’s more to show that the airbag is an additional form of restraint to the seatbelt rather than a stand-alone restraint.

SRS Airbag


Tiptronic – sometimes known as steptronic, touchtronic or touchshift – is a type of automatic transmission that allows the driver to manually change gears, usually by nudging the gear stick in a certain direction or through using paddle shifters.

A twisting force measured as the distance a one-foot crank can push one pound in a circular motion. The more torque a vehicle has, the more power is at its disposal for accelerating and towing.

There are plenty more automotive terms out there. We’ll continue to add to this list over time but if you do have any specific questions when it comes to other terminology, be sure to drop us a line. We may even include it here.