Used Nissans Tips

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How do I clean grease off my upholstery?

Cleaning Oil Spills on Upholstery

You spend so much time keeping the outside of your car clean, but what should you do if, say, you spill grease or oil on the back seat of your used Nissan?

  1. Scrape up all excess grease with a dull knife.
  2. Pour a little de-greasing liquid onto a paper towel. (Try Goo Gone, Lestoil, or even a strong anti-grease dishwashing liquid.)
  3. Dab at the spill, using a fresh part of the paper towel each time you dab.
  4. Repeat until the bulk of the stain has lifted.
  5. Wash with grease-cutting detergent and water.
  6. Let air dry.
You may need to repeat these steps a few times until the stain has lifted.

Should I buy a used Nissan Maxima?

Notes on Buying a Used Nissan Maxima

Buying a used Nissan Maxima has some definite pluses and minuses. If a Maxima is on your list of potential used car purchases, here's a quick breakdown of both the positives and negatives of the vehicle:

The Ups:

  • Above-average reliability and solid build
  • Powerful V6 engine
  • Standard ABS and a good amount of other standard equipment
  • Interior is roomy and designed well
  • Overall easy maintenance
The Downs:

  • Premium fuel is required
  • Suspension can be stiff
  • Torque steer on heavy acceleration
  • Other minor common problems: some early models have defective coils; you may encounter a "check engine" light; some have a bad airflow sensor; there can be electrical glitches.
If you're considering a Nissan Maxima, do a comparison with the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord.

What's a good used SUV to purchase?

Reliable SUVs from Nissan

If you've settled on buying an SUV, have a look at used Nissan Pathfinders (2001 and newer are the best of the lot). This mid-sized SUV is essentially the same as the Infinity QX4, but the latter simply has more luxury options. With the Pathfinder's 3.5-litre VQ engine, you can rely on low-end torque and good towing capacity, (about 250 horsepower with the 5-speed manual transmission and 240 horsepower with 4-speed automatic transmission).

Keeping your Pathfinder in good shape simply requires regular maintenance, such as checking engine oil, transmission fluid, and tire pressure -- all of which are vital areas with SUVs. Your dealer can go over specific areas you'll need to watch out for or you can ask a Nissan mechanic. Take care of minor problems as early as possible to ensure a long life for your used vehicle.

What is an "all-aluminum" engine?

Nissan's All-Aluminum Engine

You may have heard about "all-aluminum" engines that are being put into some American and import cars. (These engines are alternatives to cast iron block engines and/or all-cast iron engines.) Some may have concerns about all-aluminum engines not being as strong as the cast iron versions. When you're buying a used car, this concern can become even bigger; no one wants to worry about a weak and used engine.

The aluminum used is aluminum alloy, which is incredibly strong. And in reality, it's only the engine block that is made of all aluminum. Originally the cylinders, camshaft, valves and crankshaft were made of steel and iron ... and they still are. Pistons were always made of aluminum, and they, too, have stayed the same. As long as the manufacturer has built the engine well -- cars like the Nissan Maxima are a great example -- your "all-aluminum" engine should work quite well for a long time.

How often should the brake pads on my Nissan need to be replaced?

Them's the Brakes!

Let's say you just bought a used Nissan Sentry. How often should you replace the brake pads? The answer is: it all depends on how you drive. If you "ride the brakes" (i.e., step on the gas, then use the brakes consistently to even out your speed), you could have to replace the front pads as often as every 5,000 miles. This isn't a great practice, by the way; it also puts tremendous strain on your car's brake system.

If your driving involves a lot of stopping and starting, like in small towns or busy highways with lots of traffic, you're looking at having to change front pads every 10,000 miles or so. Driving longer periods without needing to use the brakes -- on an open highway where you're really only braking for exit ramps, for example -- will lengthen the life of your brake pads.

Take note of your commute to gauge an average for your brake pad use. Also, consult your Nissan mechanic to find out what is "normal" wear-and-tear for your specific model's brake pads.

how much can I afford to spend on a used car?

Your Used Car Budget

Before you even set foot on a used car lot, you need to determine how much money you can comfortably afford to spend on a used vehicle.

Monthly Payment: Assuming you'll need to take out a loan, look at your monthly expenses and determine how much you can spend extra each month toward your used vehicle.

Down Payment: Ideally you've saved a little money for your used car. The more cash you put down up front, the more your monthly payments will be reduced. How much can you pay on the day you buy the car?

Once you've determined how much you can spend now and over the course of your loan, you can narrow down the range of used car purchase prices. Your numbers can mean the difference between a used Nissan Maxima and a used Ford Escort, but at least you won't be feeling the painful pangs of debt later on.

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Guru Spotlight
Joe Wallace