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Nissan 350Z Problems and Solutions



  • I would not buy a 350Z if I were you.
    If you are from the north, unless you are filthy rich or live in Palm Springs or somewhere in Florida, it does not make fiscal sense to buy it.

    I live in North Carolina and I was all over the road with a DUSTING of snow on the ground. I used to live in Jersey and Brooklyn, so driving in such weather is nothing. The RWD is terrible, the car is LIGHT -- contrary to some other poster's claims -- and you don't want narrow wheel-base. You want the 17s, but take some pressure out of the tires and weigh it down with sandbags if your only car is the Z.

    I found out the hard way last week during the storm we had here. About 5 inches of snow fell. I had gone out before the snow started, went to church, and before I got out of church, there was about 1/2 an inch on the ground. I slid all over the road. I didn't move the car at all for two days, but that third day I tried digging out, I couldn't even pull a slight incline without someone pushing me out. And I often got stuck in place. Along with the suspension problems everyone else seems to have, I've had brakes squeaking loudly when the car is in reverse (began hearing this around 7,000 miles and this is an '04) a broken socket on a lugnut that was not due to my driving and now a blown transmission at 10,000 miles due to getting stuck in the snow and trying to reverse out.

    Not what I call worth it. A 35K performance vehicle that DOESN'T perform.

    You'd be better off with the 'Vette or waiting for the new GTO or Supras to be re-released. Don't buy the Z unless you're rich and have other vehicles or live in a dry climate!
  • will38will38 Posts: 30
    I live 45 miles northwest of Chicago, IL. I have a 03 touring model with the automatic. I have 17" Michelin Pilot Sport AS tires. I drive this car year round. For me, with a 100 pounds of sand in the back, it is very manageable in the snow. Which has been happening a lot lately. With the original equipment summer tires, the car was undrivable in snow. I was surprised what a change of tires can do. Before the Z, I had a 02 Maxima SE with the original equipment Bidgestone AS Potenzas. Even with front wheel drive, it wasn't much better in the snow than the Z. If I did get stuck, I'd call a tow truck rather than fry my transmission trying to get out.
  • will38, I see what you mean by that with your Z. I too plan to use sand bag and snow tires when I get my Z next fall since it will be my only car. Frans
  • Just an an update on my earlier post: The paint on my 350Z continues to chip off. This is NOT normal road wear and tear. I drive this car as little as possible now because of this problem. Where I would normally take road trips around the state, I now fly. I drive the car on average less than 15 miles per day. These drives are not on an interstate at high speeds. I recently gently brushed the rim of the gas tank while filling the tank and the paint chipped off. I have never taken the car through a commercial car wash; I have the car washed and waxed by hand. The owner of the company that washes the car told me he had never seen so many paint chips on a new car. I drove a Mercedes for 20 years and there were fewer chips on that car when I sold it (to buy the Z) than there were on the Z after 20 days. Many, many people are complaining of the paint job on their Zs. Road and Track is being asked to investigate the problem.
  • hi i have a 350z with almost 8k miles.. recently the brakes have been squeeking when i come to a stop.. only when i come to a slow stop and it doesnt make any noise when i come to a meduim-hard stop.. should i bring it to the dealer to check it out ...any suggestions?
  • zgirl1zgirl1 Posts: 11
    3fiftyz , this doesn't sound like a brake issue. It sounds more like a front tire wearing issue. This is covered under warranty so the dealership should get new front tires if that is the problem.
  • anyone having any problems with the stitching wearing on the seat point that is rubbed when getting in and out of the car. ?? If there is a techical bulletin is there a number. My local dealership not aware of such. thanks
  • I had a 90 300ZX and had the same problem driving in snow until I put a set (4) of Goodyear M+S tires on it. Then it drove acceptably on snow. I did have one problem driving in snow when the depth was so deep that the car rode up on it's belly on the snow and the tires began to loose traction. Had to slow down a bit to maintain control.

    The problem these cars have in snow is due to the high performance tires. They have large tread blocks that cause the tire to float up on the snow. Change to snow tires in the winter and you will be able to go.
  • riders9riders9 Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 350K that just passed 15K on the odometer. In for first inspection, I found I needed all 4 tires replaced. It is the base model with P225/50/R17 front and P235/50/R17 rear Bridgestone Potenza tires. Called Nissan and they said this is normal for 350Z, i.e. a replacement of all tires every year. Car is not abused. Way lower wear than on other cars. What are people's experiences with this ??? Is this correct ??? Thx
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    I don't have a Z but a Porsche and wear out my summer high performance tires every 12000 to 18000. The rear ones actually last only about 10000. I find this to be fairly typical. What Bridgestone do you have? I have the S-02s, a great tire imo. JW
  • cjs2002cjs2002 Posts: 341
    ya know I'd love to get a Z but since its my only car, I'm worried of driving it in winter... so instead I'm considering going into a G coupe or sedan... basically same thing... but the Z still looks nice and its now available as a roadster... but oh well... I make my decision in 3 weeks... then I'm stuck with what I choose... wish me luck
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Tire wear on Z's is a major problem Nissan is trying to deal with. There have been many articles in trade magazines (Autoweek) that say Nissan is aware of the problem but they are not sure how to fix it. I believe the issue stems from the suspension set up. My Father has a '03 Z and is currently filing Lemon law against Nissan. Go to and search for 350Z problems. The articles have been in the mags within the past 2-3 months.

    Basically, Nissan is lying to you. They know it's a problem and are not acknowledging it. My Fathers Nissan dealer has replaced 2 sets of tires ( for free)so far within 14K miles. Press the isse with the dealer's Service Manager.
  • fnfalmanfnfalman Posts: 7
    My best friend's 350Z Touring Roadster (6-months old, 3000-miles) had just shed its trunk lid panel while motoring down the freeway.

    The trunk lid itself (the frame) is fine but the carbon fiber (or some sort of plastic composite) panel glued to the frame separated somehow. Probably bad glue or something.

    No lies. It's in the shop right now waiting to be fixed.
  • riders9riders9 Posts: 2
    Fish8: Thx for the tip to look at Autoweek. The dealer was no help. he referred us to Nissan customer service, they said wear was normal. I sent an email to Bridgestone and inquired about the Potenza series for 350Z. No response.....

    Girlfriend took car to aftermarket shop for the 4 tire replacement. He put P225 all around. I said what ????? when I saw. She went back and they put P235 on back for no charge. Said they never had a car with different sizes front to back....right.....They know we'll be back soon.........
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    I had a tire that had to be replaced -- it took four trips to the tire store to get the right tire put on ... just plain carelessness, incompetence, stupidity, and "whatever" attitude throughout. They'll probably hassle your gf, so you may want to take it yourself. They may just not have the right tire in stock and taking the ez-profit route. JW
  • snifysnify Posts: 1
    Recently had accident with my 350Z travelling from North Carolina to California. Hit tire with rim on it in fast lane at 75mph...OUCH. When took it to Nissan Texas, the front tires are SCREWED.(not related to accident) Nissan got me new front tires no problem, and told me NC Nissan should have told me of the problem they are having with the tires? Nope, didn't tell me as I had informed them of my long trip. I am writing Nissan as I believe that due to improper tires I was unable to properly stear around object in road? Also have clutch noise at low speeds. No other complaints, love the car, just pissed with Nissan for not telling us of the tire problems. I had been watching the tires pressures closely.... didn't help. Could have killed me... Nissan Texas appauled at tire wear, jaw dropper!
  • texasztexasz Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Touring automatic 350Z. At 16K miles, the dealer replaced (free of charge) my two front tires due to excessive wear caused by "an incorrect factory camber setting". Also during that visit, I paid to have new brake pads put on (to correct the squeaking present from about 5K mls), and the rotors turned. I also have excessive Bose bass, but just leave it on a negative bass setting to compensate. CURRENT PROBLEM is that the car won't accelerate past approx. 70 mph--I'm guessing, b/c the speedometer only registers 13 mph! The dealer has some part on order, but says it'll take a week to receive. SO frustrating...I never had any issues w/ my '01 Audi TT roadster. Will stick w/ German engineering next purchase.
  • electronselectrons Posts: 16
    Has anyone experienced front tire wear problems at around 5k miles? I heard you are suppose to adjust the camber but it just buys time for more tire wear down the road.

    I was considering this car but w/ the paint peeling and the rattle noise, and the usual tire wear problem, I think another car is a better choice.
  • 14u2env14u2env Posts: 3
    I’ve had two Honda’s brand new, and a Lexus sc300 pre-owned and have never ever had this many problems, especially when I’m only into the 3rd month of ownership. I have the Enth 350Z 6sp coup.
    Here’s my story, 1st day I took a closer look and there are large & uneven gaps between panels around the whole vehicle.
    2nd day noticed vertical scratches under the paint on front and back bumpers.
    The dealer sticker had a "Dessert Package" which included paint coating, scotch guard, vinyl treatment & tinted windows=$1,800. Windows were not tinted when I got home, HUMM? I'm wondering if any of the "Desert Package was done". Dealer tinted the windows but there are tiny bubbles in the tint.
    4th Day whistling noise from front passenger side, dealership couldn’t pin point this and has not been fixed.
    Stereo replaced at 6k, dealer fixed. It ate the 5th cd I put in the unit, I guess the car doesn't like hard house. Stock stereo has horrible reception, no control, and you can't hear the rear speakers.
    At 7k, when breaking, the vehicle now KNOCKS at the end of your break. It sounds like a jalopy, I believe its a combination of the struts/transmission.
    Breaks squeak at 6k, and there is already wear on the driver side seat where you get in and out, on the fabric.
    I'm taking it in for these three issues in a few days. I'm a little upset!!!
    This is a second vehicle that doesn't get driven a lot. Oh, the front window is chipping, looks like someone sprayed it with pebbles instead of water out of a hose.
    Paint job has orange peeling. All of these issues are signs of poor craftsmanship and not paying attention to detail. These are issues that should not be happening to a car that is well taken care of, kept in a garage and washed with diapers. Oh did I mention I am not happy with this vehicle. I have spent countless hours at the dealership and have not once been offered a loaner. I have the extended/expanded warranty. This car is fun to drive when you have the TCS off, otherwise you are stuck to the ground and the car controls how fast it will let you go at take off. Even with TCS on the vehicle still skids around corners.
    I would also suggest not to dress your tires with anything like armor oil. The dealership had slapped that stuff on thick and the combination of that & asphalt/break dust has dyed the wheel wells and the mud flaps black.
    Mud flaps, the factory does not send you screws that match the color of the vehicle. I would suggest rubber tools when working on your vehicle because it is so prone to scratches. In a year there won’t be any paint left. I was going to invest some money in the stereo system but now i'm thinking I need to get that clear vinyl coating put on it instead. I have the white 350Z does any body know which adhesive is best for white, one that won't turn yellow?
    Fortunately my dealer has been very helpful United Nissan in Las Vegas. I haven't had to pay for a single thing, not even an oil change. I think it's because they know what I'm in store for.

    Thank you every one for all of your help.
    14u2env "Brandy"
  • 14u2env14u2env Posts: 3
    What a nice day today was, listening to music on my factory 350Z Nissan stereo. ; ) LOL

    I was driving along and when at the end of a stop and I hear this horrible noise, scared me BAD!! GEEZZEE WT?.

    I'm at about 7,000 miles on my Z and have a manual 6sp 2004 coup. When I'm at the end of my break there is this very scary clutch/strut/break KNOCKING grinding noise. It sounds like something is broken or something fell off or, well it's just not good, something happened and it just happened, no warning, nothing.

    If anyone has had this similar problem or this noise at the end of a break, could you clue me in on the situation. I just don't want to be driving down the road and have parts falling off of my car, or worse, This is not good, at all.

    I have to bring my Z in because of vertical scratches under the clear coat of the paint on the front and rear bumpers (I guess this is called tattooing) and they also scratched the heck out of my car when they changed the oil, so i'll just add a couple more issues for them to fix.
    I wonder if they'll give me a loaner? Or just have me sit in the waiting room all day again.

    Brandy LV, NV
  • zzz350zzz350 Posts: 44
    With the run of luck you have been experiencing, stay away from the casinos.

    I live in SF and have not had a problem at all with my Jet Black Z, yes the paint is prone to chipping but that's it. Sounds like your dealer who is doing all the fixes is also causing you some of your problems with careless treatment of the car. Oh, yeah, it's "Braking" not "breaking", then again in your case maybe "breaking" is a more appropriate discription.
  • zzz350zzz350 Posts: 44
    is you can forget to check it for a month or two, yet you can get caught up on all the posts (1) in 10 seconds.

    Come on folks, there must be more news and info to report than we have been showing in here. Let's pick it up a little, okay alot.
  • woz832woz832 Posts: 1
    I have an '03 performance model (manual w/ 18's). I too have already been into the dealer to replace the tires (at less than 11kmi). They claim it's an allignment problem and supposedly fixed that. So far, the new tires are ok, but it's only been about 1.5kmi. I have heard many people say the tire wear issue is due to the shock/strut combo not being right for the car. Basically not correctable by re-allignment. I'm hoping this problem does not reappear but if it does, I think the only way to fix it would be by putting in an aftermarket suspension better suited for the car. Has anyone put 5 or 10 kmi on their 350 since getting the tire problem fixed? Does it come back?

    So far I have also had a couple mystery rattles and squeeks on the interior. Definitely annoying, but I chalk it up to this being the first year out w/ a new car design. Usually it takes them a while to work out the bugs. It's just disappointing to hear so many people complain about the dealers not wanting to fix things.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Straight from the editors - Nissan published a TSB on April 12, 2004 Reference NTB04-043 "2003 350Z Front Wheel Alignment Warranty Extension" and it has been sent to the dealers.

    If you confirm:

    An applied vehicle has excessive front tire "roar" or "growl" noise under the following conditions:
    -When braking moderately
    -At speeds below 30 mph
    -On smooth road surfaces

    ....the TSB is quite long. We will be posting a summary version or notice of it in the Ownership section of the site. If you would like the entire TSB (21 pages) please contact your dealer.
  • Since the 350Z has different size tires on the front and back how does the dealer rotate them if they do?
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    side to side; remount tires, of course. JW
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Anyone read the long term test in Autoweek? The 350Z did not do too well as far as quality problems go.
  • bigmo24bigmo24 Posts: 3
    I live in Chicago and am looking into buying a Z. Does the upgrade of traction control in the Enthusiast from the base model make a huge difference for driving in the snow?...or do both models handle the same?

  • brett3brett3 Posts: 3
    I just had the 3M clear bra applied on my car: lifetime warranty on it: barely noticeable, and I hope it will help with the chipping problem. Covers the entire nose to the top of the headlights, the door edges, and side mirrors: $400.. Worth it, if it works!
  • brett3brett3 Posts: 3
    the service manual states tires on the z are not rotated.... Seems wierd: would think they would do side to side?????
This discussion has been closed.