CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2002 Nissan Altima

I’m back with more thoughts and questions.
So my Nissan that started out with the leaking radiator hose that turned into a leaking radiator, that finally ended up being a pin hole size leak
in a hose that goes from the motor to the radiator is about to throw a rod. I was so excited to learn it was a pin hole leak, the new machanic fixed it and I picked it up friday, within 3 hours it was stalling and clanking really bad, He towed it to his shop Saturday morning, called today and said, it’s your motor. Well he doesn’t replace Nissan motors so down the street i went. Bottom line, 3000 dollars a 30 day warranty and this motor has 113,000 miles on it. I called someone else, he has a motor that has 64,000 miles gives a 12/12,000 mile warranty but his price is 4100 dollars. I am torn. I love this car. It has ran great until the last 6 weeks. Now it does love oil and that’s where I am torn. I read the reviews about the 02 Altima’s They aren’t good. How can I in my right mind put that kind of money into this car with all the reviews. Have I just been lucky over the past 3 1/2 years. And I have put some money into the car, had the o ring replaced the oil pan, it has some rust in strange places, I had to have the brakes completly redone, they were locked up. But all and all it’s been great. I am just afraid that if i put that kind of money in and then the motor has all the issues that the reviews are saying I am just throwing my money away. I am a single parent, working two jobs. 4000 is all the money I can come up with borrowing from my retirement. Please…Please Give me some feed back.

Unfortunately I don’t have a “good” answer.

No offense, but a 2002 Altima isn’t worth sinking 3K or 4K into.

I can only tell you what you SHOULDN’T do.

My vote is with db on this one and there is no way I could see raiding the retirement fund to install a used engine in a going on 12 years old Altima.

Granted, I wasn’t there but with overheating being involved and a known oil consumer I would have run a few checks including the oil level before repairing anything at all.

I agree. Check around to see what 3-4k will buy in your area. Have whatever you are considering checked out by your mechanic first. I find the best deals are from elderly drivers who have stopped driving or from their heirs who don’t want the vehicle.

I agree with the others. Your Nissan has reached the end of it’s useful life. If you sink another $4K into your Altima then be prepared to pry off the Altima emblems and replace them with “Money Pit” emblems.

Hey Ronda45,

By the sounds of things under your hood I also have to chalk this one up as a loosing-investment.
On a vehicle 11 years old it is not worth having to spend $3-$4k on a used or even rebuilt engine. I can understand your endearment to your vehicle but at this point and time its more worth while to part ways and invest that $4k into something newer and with fewer miles.

On a side note you can probably sell your nissan as a “project” vehicle to someone more mechanicaly inclined who has the time and money to invest in rebuilding it themselves.
Granted you wont get much for it in its current condition but hey $400-$800 is probably very reasonable to ask as long as the body is in decent condition. That would add money into the pot for the newer vehicle.

       Best wishes,
                  Thatoneguy

ditto and Keith has an excellent point.

Thank you all for your comments. I do believe I am going to find a different car. Now the search is on. I like the Nissan and I like the manual transmissions. Something I am seeing isn’t easy to find. If anyone is in the NKY area, and no of a good car, please let me know,

P.S. I also have to agree with Ok4450 cashing your retirement for a vehicle isnt something I would honestly do until I exhausted all other methods of obtaining the cash. But well I guess thats just me

$4,000 is not a lot. You could get a mileage Accord or Civic with a stick. I’m sure there are some older Corollas that fall into that range too but they are mostly automatics. A Mazda 3 with a stick and high miles could be had in that price range. Good luck!!!