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Nissan Maxima

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  • This is so strange. My great Pontiac Grand Am GT1 was damaged while parked in front of my house. It will take several weeks to repair and I went to Enterprise and got a 2004 Maxima. The car has some really nice features and some characteristics that make me sorry I rented the car. (And I so miss my Pontiac which fits me like a glove and drives to my absolute desire.)

    On the positive side, the engine is pure power and smoothness. It has outstanding acceleration which can not really be appreciated with the strange 5 speed automatic. It burns rubber and displays terrible torque steer if one tries to really take off to use the full power. So, you find yourself doing a slow initial take off to get the car stable before you punch the accelerator. Also, the car is rough riding on normal city roads and has a very poor turning radius making the car feel heavy and plodding.

    On the plus side, on the highway driving to Las Vegas, it has great power and delivers outstanding gas mileage (over 27 according to on-board computer) and is capable of well over 400 miles between gas fill-ups. The stero is great, the steering wheel controls are decent, the cruise control on the steering wheel is perfect, the dual sun visors really help, the brakes stop straight and true, the interior is super quiet, the seat is comfortable ( electric seat controls act wierd much different than an American car), the interifor space and trunk space is impressive.

    I think it would be a great car if it felt smaller, steered with a quicker turn ratio and was rear drive. Also, give me a 4 speed auto anytime. It just doesn't know what gear to be in and as a result gives a mixed signal of responsiveness. I think the G35 would be a better car to drive on a regular basis.

    I can't wait to get my Pontiac back.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    A few other differences you missed that the SE has over the GXE: body colored door handles, shadowline trim around door windows (black vs. chrome), slightly better seats w/ lumbar driver adjustment, liquid filled engine mounts & more sound insulation.

    It sounds like you are more concerned about cosmetic items than actual performance differences. We considered an automatic GXE at the time (wife was pregnant), but got a 5-speed SE (1995 model). No options other than ABS. Nine years and 150k miles later, it's still an enjoyable car to drive with the responsive 5-speed and sport suspension. Not to offend other automatic owners, but if you are killing yourself to find an SE with an automatic just for the cosmetic differences, you are missing a big part of what the SE version is all about. Had I got the GXE with auto back in 1994, I'm quite certain I would be driving something else today and wouldn't have been able to justify an S2000 as a third car. Our SE 5-speed, even with it's standard stereo and lack of a sunroof, is a driver's car.

    Also, have you ever owned a black car? Finding a 1997 in black that still looks good - and then keeping it that way - may be a full time job. I had a black Supra and it was definitely a love-hate relationship.
  • kenm8kenm8 Posts: 71
    One can look at a number of places on the internet to find used 97-99 Maxes in any given region around the country. I noticed however, that the proportion of SE models is small compared to the other models. I would be very careful about buying a used SE with a lot of miles with a manual transmission. I think that these are more sensitive to possible poor habits by former owner(s) than are auto trans which are generally more fool-proof.

    Our 97 Max SE is still fun to drive after 7 years of ownership and 156K relatively trouble-free miles. Color is obviously a personal choice and I think that black was the best looking color for the 95-99 generation. When my wife needed a new car in late 96 and test drove other car makes and then a black SE, she very quickly decided that the Max SE was the car for her. We both liked black, but decided against it for two reasons: Dirt and winter salt (northern Illinois) are more prominent on a dark color and more frequent cleaning would be needed. Safety was the second and really more important reason. There have been many articles in magazines and the media over the years regarding visibility of vehicles with various colors and black and other dark colors have been shown to be and are obviously less visible than lighter colors. I think that a lighter color such as white on a car is more visible to other drivers and thus gives one a slight edge in safety. Might not look as cool, but if it gives an edge in safety, then that’s desirable to us.

    The auto trans on our Max has had 2 flushes and fluid changes thus far and has been trouble-free. Having owned many car makes with both manual and auto trans over the years, I would say that the 97 Max engine/auto trans combo is the best car with auto trans ever for me. Always very smooth, crisp and positive.
  • Yeah I really like the looks of the black maxes, but I do understand how hard it is to keep them looking good. I hadn't even considered that the color could have an effect on safety, but what you said makes sense. While I would prefer black, I would be very happy with the dark green that I have seen, or silver, or like a titanium/charcoal color(did the max come in this color)? Really I don't even know exactly what colors are available. It seems to me the most I have seen are white or champagne(that is the metallic beige color, right)? And neither of those really appeals to me at all.

    I am still looking for more pics so I can see every color the max comes in.

    Yes I am concerned with cosmetics, I am still quite young at 22, and looks are still a big part of my life. I am flexible on the color, as long as it falls into one of the few colors I have listed or maybe a couple other when i see them. I do very much prefer the look of the 5 spoke alloys to the GXE wheels. And I also feel most cars look boring with a rear spoiler, so all those things are kinda important.

    ABS would be nice, but I don't see many with that either. Can anyone tell me if that would be listed in the VIN number? I found a site that shows you how to read nissan VIN's and all the maxes I hav seen have had a D I think at about the 11 digit or so which signifies something like car with dual airbags, where as a differant letter says it has 4 wheel ABS. But maybe its not listed like that on the maxes?

    Yes I know by getting an auto with the SE, I wouldn't be using it to its full advantage. But since this will be a daily driver in columbus traffic, i really think the manual would just be more work. Not to mention like I think someone else did, that the odds are higher that the car was driven harder if it has a manual, becuase like you said, you want to drive it harder with the manual. And sure on the open roads it would be nicer to have the manual. But liek I said this will be driven in stop and go traffic, so I just don't see the point of the manual.

    I also know I am asking quite a bit to find one under 100,000 miles, but 100,000 over 7 years is just under 15,000. While I know that is average mileage for a lot of people, I would just prefer to get one from somebody that didn't run it as much. But I do also know that if I had to choose between a 97 with 85,000 that looks like it has been driven hard and a 97 with 115,000 in excellant conditon, then I will be all over the 115,000 mile one. As for myself I driver very little. I would say a max of 10 miles round trip to and from work 5 days a week=2600, plus I go visit my family usually twice a month at about 250 miles round trip=2600+6000, plus running the occasional errand or whatever adds a few extra miles a week. But I would say I probablly stay under 10,000 a year. But I would like to be able to drive this car for 5-6 years before getting a new car, at which point this one would likely go to my fiance who i would hope would still get 5+ more years out of it. But I guess if it has 115,000=the 60,000 I might put on it=175,000. That would probablly ensure at least a few more years of good service out of it. When using autotrader I never narrowed my search to cars under 100,000. I was just saying I would prefer a lower mileage car.

    Oh and I guess the main thing I should have told you all along is my budget. I have not fully settled on this yet. I am currentlly researching insurance. I think I can save about 50.00 a month if I switch from allstate to nationwide, but I have heard erie insurance is probablly even cheaper, so i have to check them out.

    I am about to pay off a big credit card bill that has been costing me 150.00 bucks a month. SO I had kinda set a budget of between 150.00 and 175.00 a month depending on insurance costs. If I can get the insurance as cheap as I think i can, then that should save me like I said and extra 50.00 a month. I am still working this all out, but I was think about 8,000 as my budget.

    As of right now I just did a search on autotrader for Nissan maxes from 97-99 within 50 mile sof columbus, with prices between 0 and 8500.00 dollars, It returned 9 results. 7 are GXE's, one is a GLE and the other is an SE with 106,000 miles from a car dealer called college car company. I don't know much about this dealership, they do seem to have nice prices, which actually makes me a little leary. I mean how can they sell the cars for thousands less than other companies. I mean I know most dealers have crazy high markups, but why then would this dealer not want to make a big profit? And if I remember correctlly there where no 97+'s listed in the dispatch this past sunday. I also went to the dispatch website and told it to notify me by email if anyone placed a classified ad for a max.
    I did do some minor searching on some local dealers websites and I did find one that I am considering at buckeye nissan, I will just continue looking.

    One other question say for instance i decided to get the one from buckeye nissan(which is likely just an off lease car they originally sold) woudl i still need to take it to another mechanic to get it checked out, or would you assume since its a nissan and they are a nissan dealer that they made sure it was all in proper order? Because I had planned to take any potential maxes to buckeye nissan to have them checked out before I buy them?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Sounds like you've done a good job thinking this through. Only a few points to add:

    1) Lower miles will not necessarily equate to lower maintenance. They type of mileage can have a big influence on wear and tear. Also, other things seem to go with age, not miles. So, if I were you, I'd prefer a 1-2 year newer car with predominantly highway miles than an older car with less city miles. In my case, I didn't replace the front brake pads until 90k miles and didn't have my first repair until 120k miles (water pump) which the dealer said was probably more related to the car being 7+ years old than the mileage.

    2) Columbus = city driving? You're kidding. Living in (not near) Washington, DC, we have an SUV, Maxima and S2000, all with stick shifts. I have never quite understood what greater pleasure one gets sitting in traffic with an automatic, but that's your choice. I bought my first new car at your age about 26 years ago and it was a stick, and I've never looked back. I suspect if you go with an automatic now, you will never look back either, just don't let me catch you driving a 911 Turbo "tiptronic" when you make it big.

    3) We have Ruby Pearl (maroon) color and it's held up very well, although there are a fair number of small paint chips on the front hood from pebbles, etc. Nissan isn't known for the best paint in the business. If you really plan on keeping the car as long as you indicate, you may want to consider that a black car with white primer underneath may take on a polkadot look after awhile.

    Good luck.

    P.S. Erie is an exceptionally good insurance company. Wish they were in DC, we have Geico which is also very good.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 930
    As someone who lives near the Columbus area, I have a couple of extra thoughts:
    1. Yes, Columbus IS city driving. While it doesn't have the congestion of Washington, it's not exactly rural either. It doesn't have the best highway system either, and there is a lot of stop-go traffic. I don't like driving a stick there.
    2. I would contact some of the dealers by phone, especially Germain, Buckeye and Nissan North, and tell them what you're looking for. They may keep an eye out for you if they get one in. And call the Toyota and Honda dealers too; they sometimes get Nissans in as trades. Germain Lexus has quite a few non-Lexus used cars.
    3. No matter where you wind up buying the car, get it checked out by another mechanic somewhere else. This can save you big. For example, when my son ( then 19) bought a used car a few years ago, the mechanic we took it too pointed out quite a few serious problems, like leaking CV boots, which the dealer agreed to fix. And that was on an old car he was buying for less than $4000 (that car is still going strong at over 170,000 miles by the way!. This is a good time of year to buy a used car because a lot of people haven't been out due to bad weather.
    4. Be patient! If you want a specific car it's going to take more time than if you have a range of 3 or 4 makes that would be acceptable to you, especially in a smaller population area. Nothing wrong with being picky, but it may take time.
    5. You might look on E-bay. I know several people who have bought and sold cars in the Columbus area over E-bay and not even gone the newspaper ad route.
    6. And if you find a good dealer and a good source of late model used cars, let me know! My 21-year old son is coming home from the Persian Gulf soon and will be looking for a good used car in the $8 - 10,000 range! Best of luck!
  • "It (2005 Altima grille) looks so much better. They should replace it for free."

    Hey, that's the car business. "new and improved" cars drive the biz. If they gave away "new" stuff for free, they'd be out of business. Only if it's a warranty/recall should parts be given away free.
  • Arctic White Pearl Metallic, Blue Green Pearl,
    Cloud White, Cypress Pearl Metallic,
    Dark Blue Pearl Metallic, Pebble Beige Metallic,
    Purple Metallic, Red Pearl Metallic, Ruby Pearl Metallic, Starfire Blue Pearl Metallic, Super Black

    Those are the colors listed by edmunds at least for the 97 model year. I was just wondering if anyone can either post pictures of all of them or give discriptions. I know super black is obviously black. What are the differances between the Artic white pearl metallic and the cloud white?

    I don't know I am just trying to get a look at all the available colors for this car, but a lot of people call the same color by differant names.

    Like I said before, colors I would prefer would be, Black, Dark Green, Blue, Silver, and that metallic grey type of color. Red, white, beige, purple, thos just don't do it for me.
  • I know I should get any used car inspected before I settle on buying it. Who exactly should i take it to? Also what if I find a car 100 miles away that I want, how do i get it inspected?

    I just thought of another question, and rather then start another thread, i will just tack it onto this one. I found a decent looking '99 SE with 82,000 on it. Thats kinda high mileage for that year, but as you have all showed me mileage does not tell the whole story and age can sometimes be a worse factor then mileage. SO anyways they list the car at 8990.00 saying that this includes all available discounts and incentives. blue book say just over 12,000 retail and almost 7,000.00 trade in value, oh yeah this is at a ford dealer, I should have mentioned its not a private party.

    All in all that sound sliek a decent deal, especially if I could possiblly take off a couple more hundred. I had planned on financing for 3-4 years. AT 48 months that puts my payments at around 215.00/month. I can probablly manage that, but I would prefer a little more breathing room. Would it be stupid to finance it for 5 years? I mean is that too long to finance a used car, or is it okay since it is only 5 years old? According to a loan calculator I was using, that would drop my payments to about 175.00 a month, and would only end up costing me about 300.00 bucks more then the 4 year plan. What do you think?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    It seems like you have your heart set on a used Maxima, but at the same time you appear to be financially prudent. For what it's worth, here is some more data from my logs to consider:

    Our 1995 Maxima SE with 149,000 miles has required a total of approximately $5,650 in maintenance and $3,000 in repairs. This includes everything: dealer service every 7,500 to 15k miles, oil changes every 4k, 2 sets of new tires, brakes, etc.. Repairs inclused water pump, axle boots, starter, muffler, windshield wiper motor, etc. The grand total of $8,650 combined works out to approximately $950 per year.

    However, for the first 5 1/4 years and 85,000 miles, the grand total was $2,700 in maintenance and $0 in repairs for an average of only about $500 per year ($42 per month)

    Over the past 4 years and 64,000 miles, the maintenance and repair total has been just under $6,000, or approximately $1,450 per year; $120 per month.

    I do not think our experience has been unusual and I would still represent that our Maxima has held up very well. Certainly better than my Acura Integra which cost me $5,000 in repairs over it's final 2+ years. And whenever I take our Maxima to the dealership, I get compliments about how good it looks and the fact that the clutch / transmission shows no sign of wear, the engine compression is excellent, etc.

    My point is a warning not to do all of your analysis around $175 vs. $215 per month without considering that a 5+ year old vehicle, no matter how good, will have a higher repair and maintenance bill than a new one.

    If you were looking for the most financially prudent way to achieve good transportation over the next 5 years, I would very likely recommend leasing a brand new Honda Accord LX for about $200 per month and knowing that you would have next to nothing in repair costs and lower maintenance costs over the next 5 years. Better gas mileage too.

    Whatever you do, factor repairs and maintenance in your budget.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 930
    You really are thinking things through. Can you spring a down payment? That will really lower your cost. Factoring in maintenance for a used car is important, and you sound as though you're on the borderline financially. It might be better to get not quite the car you want now so that you can enjoy life more -- have some money to go out to eat now and then, and don't panic when the inevitable repairs arise. I think the Car Talk fellows advise putting aside at least $1200/year for repairs. And insurance costs are high for single males in your age range. In just a couple of years they will be much lower. You might look for an old Honda, say a '93 or '94 (and lots of them are black!) and drive it for a couple of years while you save up enough for a down payment to get the car you want and your insurance costs are less. Hondas depreciate very slowly at that age and you would still be able to sell it for a decent price. My son drove a very old Buick (1988! he bought it as a senior in high school for $2500) for 3 years, sold it for a decent price ($1500) last fall, and has now saved enough to buy a very nice late model car. Just a thought.
        as far as getting a used car checked out, take it to any reputable mechanic you trust -- somebody who has worked on yours or friends' cars. They usually charge a fee but it's worth doing. No dealer who is worth anything will object to your taking the car somewhere else to have it checked over.
  • ramped1ramped1 Posts: 159
    I wouldn't count on getting a 5-year car loan on a 5-year old vehicle. Generally, the older they are, the more equity you must come up with.

    For what it's worth, my '92 SE, which just turned 120K today, has cost me about $500 in repairs and maintenance over the past three years. It is due for a tune-up and trans flush, and there are also a few things that could be fixed that I ignore (minor oil leak somewhere, drippy water pump seal, finicky power locks). But, the car drives just like a new one. Not a rattle anywhere.
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    with good credit, we generally figure 8 years for the end of a car's loan life:

    new: up to 7 years
    0-2 years old: 6 years
    3 years old: 5 years
    4 years old: 4 years
    5 years old: 3 years

    with perfect credit, these can change, but this is the mental math i use with customers.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    That explains why car dealers do not like older cars (more than 8) on their lots because banks do not want to finance them and often people who are looking to buy older cars do not have the cash to pay for them.
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    as terry would say:

    "you get the BINGO of the day."
  • Check the CapitolOne financing links here on Edmunds. I financed my used 97 Accord purchase with them and got a great rate that you could use for 39-60 months. I believe they had longer terms as well.
  • I have a '97 SE Maxima with almost 100K miles on it. Everything is GOOD... except when the engine is cold I have to press the gas pedal to start to car. If I don't, car has problem getting started. Dealer cannot find anything wrong and how to fix it...It's not a problem, it's annoying. Thanks for your help
  • Yeah I was kinda planning on going with one of the online lenders. As lichtronimo mentioned, they seem to allow for longer loans on older cars.

    I do know the inevitable repairs will come up. That is one reason i would rather pay 175.00/month then 215.00. I mean that right there is almost 500 bucks, almost half what someone said is recommended.

    habitat1, can you give me a list of what repairs you made in the past coupel of years on your car? I am not sayign I don't beleive you, but I have not spent anywhere near that amount on any car I have owned, most of which have been well over 10 years old and had over 150,000 mile son them.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Repairs since 1/1/2000 (83,000 miles at the time):

    2/5/01 - Fog light cover cracked: $15.00
    7/27/01 - Reset Airbag control light: $75.00
    3/22/02 - Replace engine coolant temp gauge: $192.46
    4/2/02 - Replace cruise control master switch: $50.00
    10/21/02 - Replace water pump $604.85
    11/2/02 - Replace starter: $441.60
    5/3/03 - Clutch fluid leak: $80.50 (still on original clutch)
    7/12/03 - Replace blower resistor: $50.00
    8/29/03 - Replace front axle boots: $598.55
    11/05/03 - Replace hood struts: $43.00
    2/12/04 - Replace muffler, replace winshield wiper motor, etc. : $855.00

    As you can see, the vast majority of the repairs have been in the last 1 1/2 years and from miles 130,000 to 150,000. However, I was just in an Acura dealer last night test driving the new TL 6-speed and the sales manager complimented how well my Maxima looked and drove. So, do I keep the Maxima another year or two or give it the boot now??

    I didn't include routine maintenance (brakes, tires, belts, oil changes, etc.), just items I consider to be repairs.

    Now, you didn't ask, but here's the things that went wrong with my old Acura Integra that so far, knock on wood, are fine with the Maxima:

    Clutch replacement at 85,000 miles
    Full transmission replacement at 105,000 miles
    Front suspension
    Rear suspension
    Engine computer chip / control unit
    Catalytic converter
    Radio / tape player (didn't fix)
    Cruise control (didn't fix)
    A/C compressor
    Heater control switches/cables (requiring complete removal of dash)

    Overall, the things on the Maxima don't seem out of line with a 9.5 year old 150k mile car; although I was beginning to think at 120k miles that notheing would ever go wrong. The Acura, on the other hand was about the worst built piece of crap I have owned. So why am I now looking at a TL???
  • wow... did you do all your repairs at the nissan dealership?

    seems so with that kind of pricing on things such as the starter and the water pump... (i paid $250 for a new water pump on my 91 truck and $200 for new muffler and pipes installed at a local mechanic)

    how come you don't find a local mechanic that you trust to do the work at probably half the price?

    i could understand you take very good care of your cars, but with a 95 max approaching 10yrs old, plus who's to say that your trusted mechanic won't do a good or better job than someone at nissan, i would never take my 9 yr old car to the dealership so they could come up with thousands of $ of repairs that i should get.. even if i dont need them
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    "So, do I keep the Maxima another year or two or give it the boot now??"

    looks like you already did...on 8/29/03 at a cost of $598.55.

    ;-)
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    I sold my 92 Max with 70k miles in Sep 92 for about $4k. The only things that I replaced (besides regular maintenance) were: muffler, water pump and timing belt, front CV boots, and distributor cap. My 92 Max was very good to me (as compared with the aweful 86 Cutlass)!!

    I think your 95 Max has served you well. On retrospect, it would have served you even better ($wise) if you had sold it 1.5 years ago :-)
  • I may be completely wrong, but you are the first I have heard that has needed that many repairs on a maxima. Most people I have talked to have said theirs were pretty much repair free(maybe a repair or 2)through 150,000.

    Can anyone comment on this? Are all these repairs common on a maxima? And habitat did you indeed get these done at a nissan dealer?
  • Yeah I was kinda planning on going with one of the online lenders. As lichtronimo mentioned, they seem to allow for longer loans on older cars.

    I do know the inevitable repairs will come up. That is one reason i would rather pay 175.00/month then 215.00. I mean that right there is almost 500 bucks, almost half what someone said is recommended.

    habitat1, can you give me a list of what repairs you made in the past coupel of years on your car? I am not sayign I don't beleive you, but I have not spent anywhere near that amount on any car I have owned, most of which have been well over 10 years old and had over 150,000 mile son them.
  • Also, what about insurance costs? If I finance a car, it will have to carry full coverage. According to consumerguide at least, the maxima is rated cheaper then the accord. So if it would cost me more in insurance then going with a early 90's accord probablly wouldn't help me in the finance department.

    I will admit, I am not that well off. But I am about to pay off some big bills that will free up some much needed extra cash. Repairs as of now on my other cars have been many. I have managed to get them all done, but then again thats without a car payment.

    I just can't beleive how many and how much you had in repairs habitat. I mean I have owned 3 cars in my life. 1.1986 Ford Ranger-this had relatively low miles and the only problem it caused me was a blown head gasket. 2. 1994 Jeep Wrangler-problem free except for a radiator replacement due to it getting a hole in it. I have no doubt this was caused by debris, so I can't blame this on the car. 3.My current car is a 1989 Olds Cutlass Ciera, It currentlly has 160,000 miles on it. I know it had to have the fuel injectors replaced, and a new exhaust put on it, and new brakes/rotors, new plug wires, and now I think it is in need of a tune up. All of this has been over the past 3 years. ANd this has been my most problematic car thus far. Yet still these repairs cost now where near what habitats did, although they were not done at a dealership, often times by friends and family at a decent rate.

    Between my fiance and I, I thought we had more then our fair share of problems with cars. Total over the past 5 years, we have owned my 3 cars and she has had 3 maybe 4, I don't remember. Her first car an 80's dodge shadow, was a great car till the timing belt broke(thats was likely due to it not being maintained, although her father said it looked fine). Her second car an 86 Mercury Topaz, this car was pure crap, it had a ton of electrical problems, pretty much nothing electrical on the inside of the car worked, interior light, power windows/door locks, guages, you name it. Everything else about the car worked fine until the starter died, although we only had this car for about 8-10 months, so I can't say much about it. When the starter died we were already looking to replace it, so we sold it to a mechanic friend and he in turn sold us a 1990 Ford Tbird Super coupe. In the several months we had this car it was great. 2 repairs, new windshield wiper motor mounts, and a new starter. Then cachunk. All of a sudden the car stopped running, come to find out the harmonic balance broke clean in half. I later found out this was due to the engine having been dropped while being put in. Oh yeah I should have mentioned this had a differant used engine put in. The guy new he dropped it and had used the car himself for several months before selling it to us, so he must have assumed it was okay. But he felt bad about it, so he is currenttly putting another engine in it free of charge to us.

    One thing maybe some of you can help me with. The reason he is putting a new engine in rather then just replace the broken harmonic balance is because apparentlly these parts are near impossible to get, without getting a whole engine with it. Does anyone know if this is the case? I mean I have had 2 differant people looking for this part for almost 3-4 months now, and they can't find one. We found one, or so we thought, when we got it we found out it was for the non supercharged 3.8L. So due to how hard it is to find parts and how expensive the Tbird is to fix, we are trying to find a car to replace it, thus brings me here, in search of a car, or maybe eve more so, advice.

    I think as soon as the Tbird is fixed, Iwill likely sell it and the Olds and get some other used car, but I need to have one reliable vehicle for travel on occasion to see my family. SO now I need to figure out what type of car to get.

    The search continues, sorry about the long post and especially any mistakes, its late, I need to go to bed.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 930
    I would reply to you privately instead of to the whole list but your email isn't listed. I know new Accords are cheaper to insure than Maximas because I asked our insurance agent the last time I was shopping cars, and the Max was more expensive (but I got one anyway because I liked it better). According to Consumer Reports the most reliable midsize cars are: Buick Regal, Toyota Camry, Nissan Maxima and Honda Accord. So you might shop for any of those. for someone on a limited budget you will be able to buy at least 1-2 years newer car for the same money if you get a Buick or Oldsmobile than the others, unless the Japanese makes have high mileage. I probably shouldn't be saying this because I am searching for the very same cars in the same geographic area, for my Navy son who is due home in two weeks.
         As for repairs, no they don't need to be extensive but they can add up in older cars. You can expect to have to replace items like starters, mufflers, CV boots, tires, etc. That's why you might look at a car that's not quite what you want, but newer, like the Buick or the Oldsmobile Intrigue.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Yes, most of my repairs have been at a Nissan dealership, although the last bill for $855 was through a trustworthy independent mechanic. I had a cheap independent mechanic for my Acura Integra and, frankly, I'm convinced that they screwed up things to the point of paying more in the long run. I do live in DC, so even good independent mechanics are probably more expensive than in rural or lower cost of living areas.

    kennyg5, So you sold your 92 max in 92 with 70k miles for $4k?? Think one of those figures is a mis-type! Also, I may have paid more, but the repairs I listed between 130k and 150k are similar to yours at 70k. And the 95 Maxima uses a timing chain which I have never had to replace.

    For everyone out there, I think it is mostly an urban legend that Maximas, Accords or any car for that matter will go 150k+ miles with virtually no repairs. Look at my good side: No engine repairs whatsoever, no timing belt, no A/C repairs whatsoever, no suspension repairs, no clutch replacement or transmission repairs. Brakes that lasted 90k in front and 110k in the rear. Gas mileage still pushing 30 mpg at 70+ mph on the highway. THIS IS A GOOD CAR. Many of you may indeed be able to get a better deal than me on a water pump or starter, but I am here to say from my Integra experience that there are a lot more things that can go wrong that thankfully haven't on the Maxima.

    Also on the urban legend front, we all know of Mercedes diesels that have gone 200-300k miles, right? I'm considering the new E320CDI as a potential replacement for my Maxima. However after really looking into it, the 3-4 long term diesle owners that we know have all had at least one major repair along the way to their 150k+ miles. Anyone know what a transmission replacement costs in a 300TD? Hint, more than the sum total of all repairs I have had on the Maxima since it was brand new. Not to mention the cost of Mercedes/BMW brakes/rotors that wear out every 30k miles and cost three times as much as those on the 1995 Maxima (unfortuantely, post 2000 Maximas have weaker brakes).

    I did buy an S2000 in November 2001 and in 28 months and 16,500 miles I have spent a whopping $214.00 in maintenance (3 oil changes and 15k service) and $0 in repairs. On the other hand, it has depreciated from $32k to perhaps in spring about $24k. During that time, my Maxima has depreciated an additional $1-2k at most. So there is no free lunch in the driving business, just ones that are more prudent than others. And in my opinion the Maxima still qualifies as a prudent one.

     
  • Well what excatly do people base the "Japanese is better then American" thing on? I mean I know the engine int he max is rock solid and one of the best V6's ever made, but if all the other parts fail just as often as a domestic, then whats the point?
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 930
    It means you're less likely to have the BIG problems like -- transmissions, major engine problems, fuel injection systems, etc. -- and also fewer things that drive you crazy like electrical problems or plastic parts falling off. You have to expect that some things, like mufflers, will wear out (although my Toyota still had its original muffler after 120,000 miles -- but I did replace the starter and a battery, as well as tires, over that time). But there are some domestic makes that have pretty good track records too and they tend to be cheaper than Toyotas and Hondas. Check out Consumer Reports "Used Car Best Bets" and also "Used Cars Not to Buy".
  • kenm8kenm8 Posts: 71
    Japanese brand cars “generally” have better reliability than American brands. Consumer Reports has reliability data on various systems (brakes, air conditioning, electrical, engine, transmission, exhaust, etc.) and publishes this each year in their April issue. If you look at the magazine and compare various brands, you will see how they all stack up.

    From posts at this site and the consumer magazine, it appears that the 95-99 gen Maxes had pretty decent reliability if you are still considering a 99 Max. It seems that there have been more difficulties reported on this message board on the next gen (2000 and later) than there were on the 95-99.

    I consider that our 97 Max SE has had very good reliability at 156K Mi. I would judge it better than two other cars we had to this mileage and beyond (84 Prelude – 195K Mi, 86 Accord 247K Mi). And, these Hondas were pretty darn reliable.

    Normal maintenance on our 97 SE has been regular oil changes, air filter changes, plugs (twice), engine coolant flushes, transmission oil change/flush (twice), battery (once), 1 set of new summer tires, 2 sets of winter tires. Never had any problems with warped rotors, fuel injection, suspension, water pump, starter, air conditioning, alternator, muffler, pipes (knock wood). Front/rear brake pads lasted till 141K/148K (highway) miles. Except for brakes (done by me), work has been done at two Nissan dealers. The labor/parts charges are what I expect for this class of car.

    Unusual repairs were: Cassette deck (67K Mi) under ext waranty, driver’s heated seat switch and blower motor (77K Mi) under ext warranty, Oil pressure sending unit (122K Mi).

    If you are still considering a 99 SE, consider that my experience with a 97 SE may not match a 99 Max. Although the 99 and 97 look to be close in appearance and specs, we do not know to what extent, if any, that Nissan engineers changed parts and components between these years.

    If you are considering Hondas, we had three other Hondas that were bullit-proof until we traded them in: 95 Accord at 69K Mi, 98 Accord at 49K Mi, 01 Acura TL at 71K Mi. I believe that Hondas are rated highly in Consumer Reports as good used car buys. A certified used Honda at a Honda dealer with low miles will probably cost more than a comparable Nissan or American brand car of same year and miles. If you buy a used Honda and maintain it well, you will probably be able to resell it later with little difficulty. I had no trouble in finding buyers for a 195K Mi Prelude and a 247K Mi Accord.
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