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Nissan 350Z Reliability and Maintenance Costs



  • Hi everyone. I'm new to this site, but after seeing the knowledge everyone has here about 350Zs, I decided to join to ask for some advice. I'm in the below 24 age group and ever since 350Z came out, I've always loved its looks and performance. I'm still in the progress of saving up for a 350Z, and I was thinking about getting a 03 one, since its the cheapest, but is the rumours about them having so much problems true? And do the brakes and tires wear fast? Plus are they driveable in the rain? My plan is to use the 350Z during March to September and stick with a Subaru the rest of the year. Any advices and suggestions are greatly appreciated, thanks! :)
  • The 350z is an awesome car. I don't know much about the 03 models (I have an 06 Roadster) but I'd recommend checking out a good 350z enthusiast forum like There have been issues in older models with tire feathering and wear, but I'm not aware of any brake issues. Rain performance will depend on the tires - the stock performance summer tires are NOT suitable for cold weather driving and/or snow. But with good snows and common sense, driving in 3 to 4" is generally ok. Traction control and VDC will help, as well.
  • looseburglooseburg Posts: 4
    My wife and I are finally ready (mid 50's) to break from the practical and buy in to the fun factor with a convertible. I absolutely love the look and test drive of the 350Z roadster, but am struck by the total lack of stowage space. Hence, the consideration of the BMW 3 series. The 3 series has the space, but lacked the Z's thrill quotient when I test drove it. More importantly, however, while I know it's a premier performance car, I am scared off a little by the high maintenance cost required to keep the 3 that way. Am I naive in thinking the Z wouldn't have similar maintenance costs?
  • barmatsbarmats Posts: 3
    Interesting to hear you say that. I've had my Z Roadster now for almost a year, and have just purchased the 2007 BMW 335i convertible. I take delivery in Aug/Sept. This decision was made primarily for space reasons, and the fact that I could never take my family with me in the car. We have an SUV, which we use all the time, but I miss being able to go places with the family in my car. There have also been times when we've had to do family outings and couldn't fit everyone in both cars. If I'd had 2 more seats in the back, we could have avoided renting the van! I'm in my late 40's, and am very glad I had time with this car. The Z is simply gorgeous -- I get compliments on it everywhere -- and it drives like a real sports car. I will miss it a lot, but I'm looking forward to the 335i.

    Regarding the thrill quotient - if you've only driven the 328i, you MUST drive the 335i with twin turbos. It's an incredible engine with peak torque occurring at 1400 rpm. Unlike most turbos, it's very transparent and linear. No lag, just power whenever and wherever you need it. The convertibles are slightly slower (~ .2 sec) than their fixed roof counterparts, but I think the folding hardtop is the best of both worlds with no performance compromise. Don't forget that BMW includes 4 years of maintenance at no additional cost, which is a fantastic service plan. With Nissan, you pay for all of your maintenance, service and most consumable items. Unfortunately, the BMW will cost considerably more, but will hold its value well over time. Use Edmunds' True Cost of Ownership to compare vehicles and you'll see that the BMW rates amongst the lowest in its class.
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticPosts: 918
    Why are you buying a convertible? If it's for the fun factor alone (per your first sentence), then go with what seems like more fun.

    I'm also mid-50's, married, no kids. I've found the Z has enough stowage space for my/our needs. We can pack the trunk with an airline-size carry on plus a duffel plus miscellaneous odds and ends, and there's quite a bit of space in the cubby behind the passenger seat.

    However, it's a second car for us. The other car is a Maxima, which we use for long driving vacations, picking up stuff from Home Depot, and the like. In daily use, I drive the Z and my husband has the Max.

    The Z would be hard to live with if it's your *only* car. It totally fills the bill (for me) as a second car. Will this be your one and only or will this be the fun-mobile with some other car doing the heavy-duty hauling and what not?
  • looseburglooseburg Posts: 4
    All great and helpful points if I were buying new, which my budget doesn't allow. Whether it be Z or 3 series, I'm looking at about an '04 model. Many of the 330's I'm looking at still have some miles but very few months left on their warranty program.
  • looseburglooseburg Posts: 4
    This is definitely "just" the fun car. We've got an SUV and a local run-around car. We just made a weekend trip that would have been perfect with the Z, a trip to the southern tip of Maryland from here in Central VA (I see you're NOVA yourself.) However, this was for a wedding, requiring several changes of clothes, my wife alone packing a huge suitcase. Short of some major fashion adjustments for my wife, we couldn't have done it with the Z.
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticPosts: 918
    Well, yeah, speaking as a woman, that is TOTALLY understandable! ;-)

    Although - be advised that you can buy a complete set of luggage, with four pieces (suitcase, duffel bag, garment bag, and ... one other piece which escapes me now. Weekender or some such? I think Courtesy Nissan has it.

    Those four pieces will fit in the trunk perfectly, and I'd bet you could get a LOT of stuff in there.

    Just sayin'. ;-)
  • I am soooo sorry that happen! Is the man going to replace the Z?? That is the least he could do, I have a hard time during icy conditions, I got the performace package on a 2003 Z and if I leave the transmission in automactic drive, it handles better. Being a rear-wheel drive and no experience in driving the car may cause the accident. It took me a few months to get the feel of the Z, I now enjoy controling the gears and hardly need to use my brakes! But on icy conditions I rather stay home! Oklahoma City has a military base and speeders seem to think it is a dry road. Oh, do I love carvey roads, I wish I am back in Colorado! Good luck, don't give up!
  • I have heard good things about the Z's reliability. the one bad thing I did see what that people had complained about oil consumption.
  • I think that alot of people find that it is not practical and it isn't if you have a family. Also insurance may be more than they have anticipated, that and the cost of premium. Also there is a problem with oil consumption in the 06 Zeds'
  • I don't have a family yet and I plan on getting a z. And that is why I wnat it now, because when I have kids, there will be no need for a z or any kind of sports car until my kids move out and go to college....
  • I have a 2003 350Z with over 130k miles, purchased new. You can not find a more perfect car. It has not been into the shop for any issue. Normal maintenance has been performed by the dealership. I've used synthetic oil every 7500 miles until around 120k, started changing every 5k. Cost of ownership is very low. I'm on the third set of tired, got 60k on the original set, little less on the second. I'm pleased given that you can't rotate with the different widths front and rear. Does not take oil, doesn't leak oil. Performs as good a new. This car is driven at least 5 days a week.

    I also have a 1986 300ZX, bought with less than 50k miles. I've had two problems with this car, an alternator went bad leaving me on the side of the road several years ago and now reverse does not have enough strength to back up a hill. The car has over 200k miles and is not driven much with the 350Z and a 2006 Frontier in the stable.
  • I just got a 2003 touring this past weekend and couldn't be happier. Because of some reliability issues that are known about the Z I got an extended warranty.
    I think it is hard to find a better car for the money.
    I did have to drive through snow yesterday which was not too fun but I made it. I can't wait until the summer when I can go crusing in the mountains near my home!
  • geez-

    Mine is a 2005 GT roadster 6-speed manual. with 18" wheels I bought it new in 9/05. The build quality is okay, you can assess that yourself. The paint quality is poor. Mine is black and there front fasicsa which I had replaced and painted by a local shop is the best part of the car coating. The paint chips when you look at the car. In 25,000 (coincidence eh?) I have been through a total of 10 tires including teh RE040's it came with. At $200 per it adds up. I am NOT a lead foor burn out kid, rather a middle age white guy with a fun warm weather car. The noise from teh front tire cupping is deafening. It is teh first rear wheel drive car I have EVER had that chews up front tires faster that the rear ones!. Now today the dealer told me there is a TSB to explain why in 25,000 miles my sports car has used more oil than my Accord has in 297,000 miles. Looks like they may need to replace teh engine. In the meantime I have been instructed not to drive my "high performance sports car" cannot be accelerated at full throttle OR run at over 4000 rpm.

    Is the picture getting more clear?
  • sc24sc24 Posts: 6
    I just bought a used 03' touring edition, amazing machine the 350Z is. I bought it from an Acura dealership, a few days ago i was looking at the exhaust pipes and i notice the right pipe is extended a little further than the left pipe i mean at first i thought my eyes were playing tricks on me then i had my friend look and he said the same thing, is it suppose to be like that? b/c before i bought my Z i saw a Z parked and i was checking it out and i noticed it on that Z too, so can anyone tell me are the pipes suppose to be like that? i was shown the carfacts report and my Z hasnt been in any accidents or had any problems whatsoever

    if anyone can let me know that would be great!
  • lhatalalhatala Posts: 1
    Is it safe to buy a 17 year old girl a 2003 350Z?
  • sc24sc24 Posts: 6
    I would say no, however i dont know the 17 yr old girls driving history or even how well she drives, the Nissan 350Z is not a regular car its extremely powerful, and you have to be very careful in the rain or snow with it b/c its rear wheel drive.

    I own a 350Z and I almost did a 360 on the expressway due to wet weather i was only going 15mph and barely tapped the gas to get into the next lane and basically spun out but i was able to regain control and straighten her out.

    I honestly dont think the 350Z is the right car for any 17 yr old whether it be boy or girl w/ this car think of like this, would you want a 17 yr old on a crotch rocket? probably not, its just not a practical car for a teenager due to the high performance aspect of the car, just like a bike you have to really have respect for a car like the Z.
  • Anti-lock brakes are standard. Does it have side-airbags? Because you have so much control [it handles great], you are as likely to get out of trouble as in.

    You could do worse, if that's your price range.

    Tom and Andy the Cat
    Z Owners Since 1993
  • sc24sc24 Posts: 6
    Yea it does have side airbags, but most 17 yr olds arent experienced drivers, so why would you put a 17 yr old in a high performance vehicle? Thats like putting a novice motorcycle driver on a Suzuki Hyabusa* (spelling*) when they really belong on a Katana.

    It doesnt matter if you have anti-lock brakes, side airbags or how well the car handles, if you dont know how to drive a high performance car like the Z all that safety stuff is irrelevant.

    Besides whoever this parent is, my advice is get her something sporty since thats obviously what she is looking for, i would look at Nissan's new Altima coupe, it doesnt have as much horse power but its still a pretty cool looking coupe, not to mention if your daughter got a Z you'd be worried 24/7 every time she took the car out, do you really want that stress?
  • Hi , I'm new here I am in the over 60 crowd. I purchased a 350Z roadster in November . I live in Northern Illinois, so I haven't had the chance to really enjoy it much yet. So far I love it. In the past I had 442s,Mustangs,Chargers and Chevells. This car brings back the thrill of fast cars again LOL
This discussion has been closed.