Buy a good example, keep it up, and grin like an idiot every mile you own it
When I purchased this car at auction two years ago, the clutch pedal was all the way to the firewall. Got it to pump up and engage every gear, so I bid and won. $1540 after buyers premium. Pearl white w/dark gray cloth interior. Power steering, windows, sunroof, mirrors, and brakes, coupled with the 5-speed, AM/FM cassette, A/C, and white faced gauges made this a nicely optioned, desirable four door.
The first time I washed it was pure joy. I believe it to be a one owner, garage kept car. Aside from a few stone chips up front and one door ding, I had a new car... with 185,000 miles on it.
The stereo comes on and can be heard, but just barely. I understand the speakers have their own amps (?) which tend to go bad. A common problem in this vintage Maxima. The power antenna didn't work. A couple hours and a few bucks invested at the junkyard solved the problem. Ready now for a new stereo.
The fan control for the heater/A/C stuck. Again, a simple and cheap fix w/junkyard parts.
The clutch went south on a return trip from L.A. (450 miles away). I was able to shut the car off at stoplights and restart it in first gear when the light turned green. Not ideal, but would YOU have your car towed 450 miles or trust it to a shop you don't know? After that it was a simple matter of floating (clutchless shifting) the gears. Without a garage I opted to farm it out to a local clutch house. They did good work and let me hover around and be a minor pain. I treated 'em to some sub sandwiches as a reward for their tolerance. The bill came to $600.
The hard old tires it had were replaced with Bridgestones that I picked up at the local Tire Rack. Wow! It's impossible to explain the improvement to someone who hasn't done the same. The cost I chalk up to normal expenses.
The power steering hose had a hole in it at the time I bought it. Beware, not all Maxima p/s hoses are the same. I got one off a junkyard car of the same body style, but it wasn't exactly the same. Hard to explain, but I had to combine parts of both hoses. Now it's kind of a graduated boost, thing. At low revs it's almost like manual steering. As the revs pick up, more boost. Weird, but it works for now w/out leaking. The dealership wanted some outlandish sum that wasn't even in the same state as the ballpark.
I scored a factory manual on e-bay for a very reasonable price and it's in great shape. Priceless if you are going to own and drive a car this old and do most of the work yourself.
Other problem areas I have yet to address are...
Reverse lights out
Fog lights out
Main seal oil leak.
The areas I don't intend to bother with are...
Clock works when it wants to
Speedo works about as often; less so in colder weather.
The car rides very nicely, can be driven in a reasonably spirited manner w/out drama, and returns over 31 miles per gallon at over 4500 feet of elevation. It's still tight and rattle free, still looks good next to newer cars (better than most in my opinion) and endears itself to you more as the miles pass.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 29th May, 2007