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Nismo2016

Advice/Experience - Used Car Shopping

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  Looking for some tips for shopping for a used car.

My current ride is a 2007 Nissan Frontier v6 4dr 4wd with all but the dvd player and 148,000+ miles.  She's starting to show a her age. The overdrive likes to give a little shudder when it tries to engage at low rpms. I'm trying to have her hang in there until we sign the paperwork on the new house and unload it before she quits on me.

Anyways. A brand new truck is out of the question consider the aforementioned home purchase.  Looking at another Frontier 4dr v6 4wd, but the more basic model.  Consider a 2016-2017.  2018s are close in price point, but need them to drop. I'm more than willing to give up on some of the fun features of my beloved Nismo, but I've grown to be a bit more practical after owning it for this long.

So I am looking for anyone's experience with purchasing used vehicles.

What mileage range, price range and year range do you or did you consider?

Where did you shop?

How have said vehicles held up since?

Were you able to talk the dealer down from the price?

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I tend to do private sales always just due to the pricing. Watch a few Youtube videos for basics. Learn about common issues and use them to your advantage when it comes to pricing. For example back in the day I was looking into a Dodge Stratus. One of the common issues was if water pump seal was not changed by x amount of miles the seal tended to go allowing coolant into the engine. Since the seller had no idea when and if it had ever been changed at I put it against the price.

When in doubt and even if buying from a dealer under the so called "certified pre-owned" have a mechanic YOU are paying to inspect a vehicle if paying a good chunk of change. the $100 or so you pay may save you thousands or they might give you a good heads up on what may break soon down the road. Again use this information when it comes to negotiation.

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I look for enthusiast forums for the vehicle I am looking at, and search for common issues, etc.  I've done quite a few purchases of used vehicles as 'extra' or fun rides, and very few for daily driving.  My son's was the last and it was a 2005 4Runner fully kitted with a lift, bumper, big tires, and the like.  Turned out to be a good purchase and we've added around 20k miles...it had 106k when purchased. 

Good luck.

 

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Certified pre-owns I've seen (at least via Nissan) have a 7 yr 100,000 limited warranty. Private sale is doable but takes more leg work on my end. 

Now I may have bought more time since when I took the truck in today for Transmission service they found the ATF contaminated. Looks like I ended up with that known issue of the radiator failing and allowing coolant to mix with the ATF. So new radiator and a few flushes. Just hope I caught the issue early enough and didn't do more permanent damage to the transmission.

If this gives me another year at least I can take more time looking, but its the last fix other than frontier rotor and brakes before inspection in the fall.

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Ouch.  Coolant mixing with the AT is rough. I had a buddy who bought an older (1997) 4Runner dirt cheap because of the same issue.  It was cheap because folks thought it was a head gasket failure.  He flushed the crap out of the transmission himself, and it appears to be running well.  

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