There are two knobs that have failed in every car running a similar system like this such as the X-TRAIL and Sunny (Versa). Please note we got this car brand new and also the Sunny (Versa).
Temperature control (HOT/COLD) (stuck at cold)
In the image, it is the bottom part that has detached. The knob pulls and pushes the stiff cable/rod but nothing happens as a result. I found the plastic arm hard to push with my hand.
Vent Selector (stuck at dash vents) I fixed this problem by jamming the link into place by inserting a foreign object (Screw) and then rotating the broken knob with nose pliers (Knob was restrictive and the plastic broke it). Then I released the foreign object and the system blows from the dashboard vents. This is what we require most of the time.
The problem now is I am unable to use the defogging feature. The dealer charges about $1600 for this and was already repaired under warranty for free, twice. But it keeps jamming up. Parts alone costs $400.
It seems to be a problem across the board with all Nissan X-TRAIL sold in UAE from 2001-2014 with such a manual system. Electrically actuated AC does not have this problem. First generation Mitsubishi Outlander has the same problem.
I complained to NISSAN MIDDLE EAST but they chickened out calling it a matter between me and the dealer. They refuse to acknowledge a design fault. I sampled at least 30 such X-Trails ,
randomly on the road, and they were all having this problem.