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Nissan 350Z Reliability and Maintenance Costs

ron_mron_m Posts: 188
edited April 18 in Nissan
Recently, I started searching for used 350Zs just to see what was out there within 100 miles of where I live, and I was stunned by the vast number of these cars that are for sale with less than 25,000 miles on the odometer. I wonder why so many people are unloading their 350Zs? Could it be the rising costs of premium unleaded fuel? Rapid tire wear? Or just total cost of ownership being too much for some folks? I'm just curious as to why I am seeing so many 350Zs for sale all over the place. I see quite a few of them on non-Nissan dealerships' used car lots as well.

I've owned a 1990 Nissan 300ZX since July of 1993 that I purchased with 18,000 miles on it. The car was owned by a V.P. of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and it had been garaged the vast majority of the time that he owned the car. It was 100% immaculate when I first purchased it from the man, and I picked it up for $18,150.00; which I thought was a very good price since it stickered for right around $30K new. I've been hoping that maybe I could find a 350Z in nearly immaculate condition as well, but I'm starting to become somewhat leary of a vehicle that so many people are wanting to unload with less than 25,000 miles on the clock. I've enjoyed my 300ZX(Z32) so much that I have held onto it for 13 years now. My oldest son wants it really bad so I am going to go ahead and sign it over to him.

Overall, how well do you guys like your 350Zs? How's the build quality and reliability on these cars been since their debut?

Thanks in advance for any feedback that you can provide me with on the 350Z.

Ron M.
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Comments

  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    Where are you? If you're in a major metropolitan area, you'll probably find a lot of any type of car for sale, just by power of numbers.

    I've had my Z roadster since April of this year. So far, I love it. There was one problem where it didn't fill with gasoline properly, and in fact the gas nozzle kicked back and sprayed me with gasoline. I'm not postive whether this was a problem with the car or with the service station pump.

    Other than that, which only occurred once, no problems at all and this is for sure the most fun car I've ever owned. Wouldn't miss it and am so glad I bought it.

    That said - if I were buying a used Z, I'd probably stay away from '03's, unless there was proof that the known problems had been fixed (tire alignment mostly, also the fuel shutter valve, couple other things).

    Also remember that most Z's are probably second cars. It's not unusual that second cars, especially sports cars that maybe only get driven on the weekends, end up getting sold a few years later with very low mileage. You can't compare it to a family sedan or daily commuter that's going to pile up the miles pretty quickly.
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    Where are you? If you're in a major metropolitan area, you'll probably find a lot of any type of car for sale, just by power of numbers.

    I've had my Z roadster since April of this year. So far, I love it. There was one problem where it didn't fill with gasoline properly, and in fact the gas nozzle kicked back and sprayed me with gasoline. I'm not postive whether this was a problem with the car or with the service station pump.

    Other than that, which only occurred once, no problems at all and this is for sure the most fun car I've ever owned. Wouldn't miss it and am so glad I bought it.

    That said - if I were buying a used Z, I'd probably stay away from '03's, unless there was proof that the known problems had been fixed (tire alignment mostly, also the fuel shutter valve, couple other things).

    Also remember that most Z's are probably second cars. It's not unusual that second cars, especially sports cars that maybe only get driven on the weekends, end up getting sold a few years later with very low mileage. You can't compare it to a family sedan or daily commuter that's going to pile up the miles pretty quickly.


    We're living in the Piedmont Triad area of N.C.(Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point)--which is not a major metropolitan area of the country. I too would be using the Z as a second car and not as a daily driver. A couple of my existing cars will suffice for those purposes.

    Thanks for the feedback on this inquiry! I appreciate your time.

    Regards,

    Ron M.
  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    Piedmont Triad area of N.C.(Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point)

    Nice area. I'm typing from the heart of Nags Head right now. ;-)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,215
    yup. when you are dealing with a specialty kind of car like this, I believe you will always find lots of used ones for sale. I can think of many reasons, but biancar probably hit on the main one.

    Another theory I have is that you get more people getting in over their heads financially with cars that inspire more passion. In other words, you'll find way fewer people that just HAVE TO HAVE a Camry than you will who HAVE TO HAVE a Z and, consequently, get in too deep and wind up having to sell it or get it repo'd.

    And yet another theory, and one that applies to me, is someone who bought a little 2-door, 2-seat sportscar and then found out a short later that they will soon have the need to have room for an infant carseat. As a matter of fact, when I bought my Z, I was told the man before me traded it in (with only 9K miles) for this same reason. After it happened to me (now with 15k miles), we dubbed this Z "cursed." ;)

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • hi,i am new to forum but have been reading for some time.i recently got 2006z in may,and have 8500+miles so far.it is a great car,rides and handles well.i was initially hesitant after reading things on internet,but glad i did it.i had 2 previous s2000s,both great cars,but due to arthritis chasnged to auto z.each car has tere own special nuance.personally and surprising myself i have enjyed the z more due to the torquier feel thruout the power band.hopefully problems fixed for 06.so far all works well,and interior is tight and rattle free......at some dealres here in nj i have also noted more used than new ones,recently.
  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    i have also noted more used than new ones,recently.

    That's to be expected, getting close to the end of the model year. Dealers probably aren't getting as many new ones as they did earlier in the year, and/or they're making deals good enough to move 'em on out to prepare for the arrival of the '07's.
  • zztop3zztop3 Posts: 23
    Some of this is a generalization so please don't offense BUT:

    If you go over to my350z.com, you will notice that there seems to be 2 basic age groups that own this car.
    The first is the under 25 crowd and the other is the 40+ crowd.

    I have been astounded when I read the myriad of posts about the under 25 year old's who work many long hours just to make the $600/month car payment and the insurance since they had to have this car but put nearly nothing down.

    I was not at all surprised then to see these start to show up on used car lots (there are 3 in my neighborhood alone in the front yard for sale).

    I believe that many find that trying to pay for this car after the initial 'rush' is just too much and they get rid of it.

    I am of the 40+ crowd and I paid cash for my 2005 350Z and have had it since July 2005 so my recurring expenses on this car are very low (premium gas and insurance)

    Something else to think about:
    As other poster's have stated, this is not my daily commuter car.
    If it were, I would never have even considered such a car.

    It has a rough ride,no room in the trunk,only holds 2 people and on long trips, it is downright tiring.
    I am convinced that a lot of people buy cars like this without thinking long term.

    This car is a blast to drive but it is NOT a car to own if it is the only car you have.

    Granted, a college student who put a good downpayment on the car does not fit the above. They have a small monthly payment and don't have a 5 day a week commute to a job like the 'oldies' do.

    There are plenty of exceptions like in the previous paragraph, but if one is going to own only ONE car,it should not be a car like this.
    This is not unique to the Z. it goes the same for TT's/Boxster's/RX8's/Vettes,etc.

    That I think is dawning on many people and is why they are getting rid of it for something more practical.

    Just my .02
  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    Yeah, I agree. I'm of the 40 + generation too, could have paid cash but got such a low interest rate it was better to pay half in cash and finance the rest. And it's a second car for me, too. We're in very different financial place than the guys who have to really struggle to pay their monthly bills.

    I read on my350z a lot, post under a different name than here. The younger guys are nuts! Fun to read them - makes me really, really glad I'm not 24 anymore!
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    It really is a necessity to own at least one "practical" second car when you're a sports car owner. While owning my '90 300ZX I've always kept one or two other vehicles around. Usually a couple of 4-door, mid-size sedans that burn regular unleaded fuel and don't require expensive, low-profile performance tires. ;) Or one mid-size sedan and one SUV for beach/mountain trips with the family. Currently though, one of my sedans is a 2002 IS300 and it also requires premium unleaded fuel and tires that wear out faster than those used on non-sporty, family-oriented sedans. I may just unload the 2002 IS300 and then pick up a 350Z for spirited, weekend driving. I've got the fever for another 2-door sports coupe--preferably a 350Z. About the only other sports car that would interest me at the moment would be a pristine 300ZX Twin Turbo if I could find one. It would have to be in superb mechanical condition and nearly immaculate from a cosmetic standpoint before I would break down and buy it. Most likely it would be pretty hard to find a Z32 TT as described above. At least I think so anyway.

    Ron M.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,215
    if that really was a reply to me, I'm not offended in the least. Its not much different from what I stated (ie, 2 main reasons there are alot of used ones: those who got in over their heads and those that needed something more practical).

    In my particular case, I fit neither age brackets. I was 31 when I bought mine. I could have kept it when the baby was on his way because I did have 2 other cars we could cart him around in, but I traded mine for practical AND financial reasons. I had equity in the car that I decided could go towards the nursery instead. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    What, supplying your baby's needs instead of your own??? What kind of man ARE you???
    -
    -
    -

    A good one, I'm guessing.... ;)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,215
    oh, he'll get to hear about my sacrifices over and over again for the rest of his life. ;)

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    Sure, that's what kids are for, captive audiences to the tales of their parents' struggles and deprivations.

    My dad walked two miles to school, in knee deep snow, uphill both ways...
  • zztop3zztop3 Posts: 23
    No it was not at all directed at you.

    Rather,
    You had made a very good point and so I merely replied to it to keep it in context.

    Good luck with the new born and hope to see you posting back in 10 years:)

    A bit of kidding but also grounded in reality. When you have a baby, your priorities change 100% (as it should) plus there is the financial aspect.
  • alaw35alaw35 Posts: 5
    Your response has me a tad nervous. I got rear ended about a month ago. Had a SVT Contour which had about 60K miles on it. Frame was bent so I am looking for a replacement. I have driven a number of cars (mx-5, S2000, new GTI, used jaguar and the 350Z). I have seen a 2005 anniversary edition with 10K miles on it. Dealer (non-nissan) is asking $29,900 which seems to be a good price but I would still negotiate since they have had it for about 2 months (which mystifies me). In any event, my main use is an every day commute of about 30 miles round trip. I assumed the car being a nissan would be reliable but I am concerned about this not being a car to use daily. I wonder if I should be reconsidering buying the car. Any and all comments welcome. I am 57 years old but still a kid at heart. Thanks!
  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    I'm 56, and also either a kid at heart or this car is bringing out my inner bad girl! I truly love it.

    Didn't mean to scare you at all. I think the car will be very reliable. Are you looking at the roadster or the coupe? That makes a bit of difference.

    When I say it doesn't usually make sense as the only car for most people, I'm just thinking of the occasional need for more storage space, more passenger space, etc. Plus, if you live in a cold climate, the roadster is not that practical in winter. Even the coupe might do better with snow tires if you get a lot of snow.

    My tires (on a roadster) are high performance tires that are not designed to be driven in snow, for instance, at all. But I live in Virginia, so we don't get that much snow. I plan to garage it in the winter and only drive it when the streets are dry.

    Some people avoid driving in heavy rains. This is probably wise again if you want the roadster, because convertibles don't give you any protection against lightning (no steel frame). Even though odds are you won't have a problem, still, I won't drive mine in a thunder and lightning situation (though it's been fine with just rain, no problems at all).

    That said - if the car meets your needs 90% of the time, and you can either stay home in nasty weather or rent a car on the occasions when you need more space or have to get through snow, then go for it! It certainly puts a grin on my face while driving it. Most fun I've had in a car since I was a teenager! ;)
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,244
    Don't let them scare you off.

    I drove an MGB over 100K miles as my daily driver (plus trips), including two winters in Edmonton, Alberta, where temperatures below -20 were common.

    Replaced it with a 240Z which I drove every day for the next five years in Edmonton & Vancouver (where it rains a lot).

    Neither of these cars had ABS, yaw control or any of the other gizmos available to make life simpler and/or safer on the 350Z.

    Buy one. Have fun.
  • alaw35alaw35 Posts: 5
    Good morning. Thanks for the reply. I live outside of DC in the Maryland suburbs. The model I am looking at is the coupe. I drove the roadster as well but I have allergies and my sense is that I may not use it as much. The car appears to be in beautiful condition but of course one can never tell. It was titled in April 2005 so I would still have warranty coverage. Has under 11,000 miles and the brembo brakes. I am wondering if I should wait to see the new mx-5 hardtop Mazda is coming out with but the Z seems to more of a substantial car with some pizzaz. I am a little nervous about the gas mileage and gas prices continuing to rise but none of the hybrids have any fun quotient to them. Thanks again and I am glad that I am not the only 50 year old out there who is interested in the Z.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,215
    Well, here's a thought, if you are considering the MX5 hardtop, you might want to also look at the VW Eos. 30 mpg and a turbo 4-cylinder make it an interesting package starting at $27,990.

    Mind you, however, neither the Eos or MX5 will come close to the performance of the Z.

    Its a matter of finding out what is important to you.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    You live close to me then, I'm just south of Alexandria.

    Don't know if you've checked the "mileage" topics but most people have found the Z has pretty decent mileage. I get around 18 - 19 around town, and upwards of 25 on the highway (not in stop and go traffic on the Beltway, but heading south towards the Outer Banks on the very uncongested Rt. 17).

    The tank holds 20 gallons - you won't be filling up as often as you do with cars with smaller tanks, which is nice on a long trip. Getting close to 400 miles on a tankful is certainly possible. (The warning light goes on when you still have about 3 - 4 gallons left.)

    Everyone talks about gas prices, but think of it this way - is your life really going to be significantly different if you spend $500 a year on gas vs. $300 vs. $800? Really, I doubt it. Knock off a couple stops at McD's and you'll have some extra dollars in your pocket right there - and be healthier as well!

    I can't say about the Mx-5, but I test-drove a Miata some time ago (the forerunner of the 5, isn't it?) and felt like I was in a toy. It was fun when there weren't any other cars around, but I drove it for just a few exits' worth on the Beltway and really didn't like how it was blown around with big trucks whooshing by.

    The Z has stability, performance, good looks, and pizzaz and fun quotient to spare!

    Part of my thinking was "If not now, when?" In the mid-50's, one's thoughts naturally turn to "what do I still want to do with my life?" For me, owning a fun, fast red convertible was pretty high on that list! When I test-drove the Z, the fun, the stability, and the "whee!" factor immediately won me over.
  • alaw35alaw35 Posts: 5
    Thanks for all the input. I appreciate your thoughts on the car. I have to now get to the dealer and do a test drive on the car. I will let you know what I end up getting. I will be following the forum.
  • I agree with the reasons for a lot of Z's on the market. Not really a practical car for everyday use and the Z is priced just right to make it very enticing. It could easily be the champaign on a beer budget. When I was in my 20's and 30's the Z was out of reach. Now that I hit the magic 50, it is easily in my budget. Between my wife and I, we now have 3 cars and a motorcycle. Wife's car is a Solara (2 door). 3rd car is a Sable (4 door) which is good for the dogs since they like to hang their heads out. It also has a hitch on it so I can haul a trailer when needed.

    I just bought my 350ZR 3 weeks ago and dropped 15 years off of the mental age (wasn't that high to start with). 2005 new left over in Ultra Yellow. Now if that is not a ticket getter I don't know what is. Speaking of which, Virginia has a law against radar detectors. Anyone have any good suggestions on the discrete (invisible) detectors. I'm thinking of getting one the next time I am visiting NC. I have read several posts from folks in the VA/NC arae. I just moved to Richmond a year ago from Winston-Salem. One tobacco town to another.
  • One other thing. If you are looking and can find a left-over 2005, I got mine for $7K below sticker ($4K under invoice) without any rebates or incentives. Sticker was $39.5 and dealership started with $34K. I ended up paying $32.5K and also paid an additional $1600 for the 6 yr/ 100K mile bumper to bumper warranty. Nice thing about the warranty is that if I do not use it, they will re-imburse me 100% of what I paid for it. There did not seem to be enough difference between the 2005 and the 2006 to account for the cost difference.
  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    Hey, I recognize you from the 350 site! Glad you're enjoying the car.

    And definitely second the advice about buying a left-over 2005 if at all possible, if there still are any. I did the same thing in April and got a similar deal. You have to be in the right place at the right time for that. Very good financial move when it works right. The dealer and/or Nissan corporate gets to pay the first year's depreciation that way.
  • I know the Nissan dealer in Richmond has 1 more 2005 left (as of 3 days ago). Don't know what trim level. All I know is that it is black. Since I was only interested in the roadster, I did not pay any real attention to the coupe. I do know that you can get a hell of a deal on the car (based oon what I did).
  • magzmagz Posts: 1
    Ok, all you Z'd lovers beware of the horror that you are about to read....

    So I'm about to purchase my first sports car. I've been OBSESSING about the 350Z for a year now. I finally save my money up, find one in Minnesota (Touring Package/6 speed)....

    It takes 3 weeks to get to Calgary, Canada.... My dealer picks it up... 2 hours before I'm suppose to buy it he TOTALS THE DAMN THING!!!!

    Ok.. my questions is truly what happened...
    The man claims he was taking a turn of probably 40 degrees going 38 miles an hour.. There was a piece of metal on the curb (size of hood) he jerked the steering wheel probably to go around it.. Then the back tires started to skid... he ended up flying up in the air from smoking the curb and took out the light post...

    Needless to repeat (because it hurts), the car is totalled.

    Doesn't the car have VDC? How could this happen? What he just a dumb [non-permissible content removed]? Or do I have to reconsider what I'm about to buy AGAIN here, giving that I live close the mountains where the roads are icy... Not DRY like it was on Saturday when the accident occurred??????

    @#$@$^%$&$^*%&*(%&*^%& I"M SO PISSED! :sick:
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,215
    sorry to hear it.

    As for VDC, there are 2 issues at play here. One is that no form of traction and stability control can stop a person from destroying their car if they are really intent on doing so. There is a point where physics outweighs electronic intervention. 2nd, the Z's VDC is not a great system. I've heard many stories of people skidding off the road in rain, and I myself had a bad experience in just a light dusting of snow. DO NOT buy this car if you plan to drive it on ice! i don't know who in their right mind would intentionally drive ANY 6-speed rear-drive sportscar on ice or snow.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    Agreed. This is not the car to have as your only car if you live in Canada, unless you put snow tires on it October 1.

    Best bet is to buy some sort of older small SUV or something for your winter car, and drive the Z from April 1 to first snowfall, and then keep it garaged until end of snow season.
  • zeeyazeeya Posts: 5
    Well, as to a previous poster's comments, I am neither under 25, nor over 40. I am selling my 2003 Z simply because my lease is up and I am purchasing another one. The only repair in 60K was the driver's window motor, around $500 including labor. The car runs great and it's not my "weekend" car. I drive around 300 miles a week, highway and city. I own two other cars but refuse to drive them unless the snow is flying. I drove it from CT to Florida Keys, straight thru, no stopping and made it in 26 hours and my butt didn't even fall asleep, although I think I did a few times. This car is what it is, a true sports car. It's not a luxury ride, but if you want to bang a corner doing 80, 90, 100, it'll do it. I drive motorcycles, and if my bike is down, I take the Z and keep up with everyone else on their bikes and the driving/riding is just as exhilarating. If I do one day get pregnant, the hubby will have to drive the mini-van and I'm keeping my Z!!!! Good luck in your decision! :)
  • The Touring Roadster doesn't have VDC but the Coupe does. I would beg to differ on the effectiveness of VDC on slippery surfaces -- you are correct by saying that there are limits to what VDC can do, and a point where physics outweighs electronic intervention. But the VDC works extremely well within its limits, and is just as effective as VDC on any other vehicle. NO VEHICLE will perform well on ice. But the Z works well in up to 3 or 4" of snow if you use good snow tires on all 4 wheels. The only bad thing about a Z in the snow are the stock summer tires, and you're inviting certain disaster by driving on them in the snow. I live in Minnesota and have a Z as my daily driver. Snow tires make a huge difference... you make up the rest!
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