The '02 Nissan Altima 3.5L was brought brand new with 263 miles on it.
For the first three years, the car ran great with no problems, just regular maintenance. After that, down hill from there. Every time I would go to the dealer, it would be something new (cannot recall the issues from 05-08).
Recently (Jan 08) the flow meter broke, which causes the car to jerk vigorously and not be able to accelerate. Also during that time frame the driver side airbag (dealer price $950) malfunctioned and the dealer would not cover that.
February 2009, ($600) first the rear shocks were starting too go bad, second the oil pan started leaking ($200), and third the radiator blew ($759).
May 2009 (154,344 miles), the car's performance started to take a dramatic turn. The car is now running sluggish and struggling to get up hills and even accelerate. The Nissan mechanic confirmed that the catalytic converter front is bad ($750 part + $200 labor). It was suggested that I have the front and rear converters replaced (total $1,600).
Please do not buy this car with over 100,000 miles, as the durability of parts has surpassed its life span.