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Buying a rebuilt car?

Well I’m not a big Nissan fan and particularly with that mileage, but that’s the reason $3000 in body repairs would have caused the car to be totaled out. The value was down because of the mileage. The damage did not seem that significant but again it should be inspected. If the doors fit good, it drives OK, and there are no red flags from the mechanic, I don’t see a big problem except its a high mileage Nissan and you will never be able to sell it for much. Against my advice, my son bought a rebuilt car when he was in school, at a substantially lower cost and mileage. We never had any problem with it except one rear tire had an alignment problem. Never caused any significant tire wear but just out of spec.

I guess I’d be more concerned about the engine and transmission condition than the body work but as long as you go into it with eyes wide open and not expecting a lot, $1800 is not a lot for a car.

I just made up a document for a young woman who has called me Grandpa since 2001, to show her the cars I owned in my lifetime. I pirated photos of the same cars, in some cases even the same colors. I put the days/months of wages needed for me to buy each car.

The first one was a 1950 Chevrolet. It took 2 days of labor, $15 around 1962. I had to put a used transmission in it, but drove it for quite a few months.

My second car was a 1936 Chevrolet. A fun car, but not suited for cross country driving, due to age. That one took a week’s labor, $35. I had to replace the U-joint on it to make it drivable.

To be honest, I can’t truly say either car would not have survived a long trip. In those days, anything over 50 miles was transpolar for me. I have just always assumed they wouldn’t serve on a long trip. It is interesting to contemplate.

As you say, today $1800 isn’t much for a used car.

i do filter CL ads for cheap/newer cars. lots of altimas come up. and quite a few maximas. stanza? cvt trans? i think the maxima cars are driven fast due to V6 but stopped poorly. such as light front hit?

What can you buy for $1800? Every $1800 car is a gamble.I would much rather have the subject car than the typical Craigslist $1800 beater. Disclaimer: I am a former body man and have purchased and driven several “Total loss” cars.

Inspection is 5% plus. Tax is 6% or so. Registration and title fees? It’s expensive to be poor.

Can I assume manual transmission, perhaps 3 speed . . . ?

Sure, one of us gearheads may very well be okay buying that rebuilt title Maxima

But I wouldn’t recommend that course of action for somebody who admittedly knows very little about cars

It sounds like this is the car you want OP. If so, no worries, just have it inspected by your own mechanic first. It’s usually a quite small fee for that service, around $100. Ask you shop for a pre-purchase inspection. It’s not really possible to accurately assess the extent of car damage by viewing photos over the internet.

Went to look at it & test drive it this morning. It drove good, the only thing that scares me is a small vibration it would make driving at slower speeds which was from the transmission. It shifted gears fine but there was definitely a vibration noise/feeling here and there.

I took it for a pre inspection (which I wouldve rather paid for but was free at every place I called)… they said as far as the rebuild, there’s no problems at all. He said the transmission is whining, it could be on borrowed time or it could be as small as needing a flush. It also popped a code for a control solenoid valve.

I told the owner I would sleep on it. The car is in great condition it didn’t sound bad at all for 1800 imo but Idk how I feel about worrying about how long until the tranny gives out.

i would expect a salvage car to be 1/2 value of clean title car
but your car is discounted more.
why? seller knows it has issues?

Are you saying that’s a good thing or bad thing?

a code for a trans issue may need to be fixed. or it might be something to live with?
i dont know. car is running and moving. as long as it does not get worse, you could probably sell it for what you paid.

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Vibrations felt on an older car while stopped or at slow speeds are usually caused by the old, hard engine mounts, not unusual for a car in this price range.

The transmission noise and fault code indicate that this transmission has already failed. You won’t find replacing the transmission to be fun or easy.

Personally I’d walk away from this one. It’s one thing to buy a used car with no known issues. But you’ve got a warning flag for the transmission, which is one of the two major systems of the car (other being the engine).

Or, if you do buy it, make sure to budget for a new or rebuilt transmission in the near future. Good luck.

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Your $1800 car could easily cost more than that if you need to replace the transmission, even with a used one. Ask the owner when the transmission fluid was changed last. You need to see a transmission expert if you are still interested in this car. Pay the expert to check the transmission. If it checks out OK, then consider buying the car. If not, walk away.

The transmission expert will be a master mechanic at an independent transmisssion shop, not someone at a chain like Meineke. The extra money you pay for an expert can save you a lot in the long run.

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i bet the current owner did not get in the accident. he probably bought the car to fix and flip and now that it has trans issues, he is selling it at cost to get rid of it.

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Pass on it

The vibration is quite possibly due to a collapsed transmission mount

The whining is more ominous, could point to imminent transmission failure

As far as that code, there are several solenoids associated with the transmission. Shift solenoids, pressure control solenoids, torque converter clutch solenoid, etc. Is the code current or stored?

It could be due to failed solenoid, a wiring problem, or something much worse. For example, several weeks ago, I was working on a vehicle that had a transmission pressure control solenoid fault code. The problem was in fact the control module, which was faulty and not able to properly control the ground for that solenoid. Transmission problems are potentially expensive to diagnose and repair

If the car does indeed need expensive repairs, then it wasn’t such a good deal in the end. Better to buy a car with a clean title and no mystery history

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He wasn’t the one who got in the accident. He did buy it at an auction, repaired it and drove it for a little over a year. He said the little vibration noise has been going on since hes had the car… it hasnt gotten any better or worse. He also said he hasn’t changed the transmission fluid at all since he’s had it. Its definitely dark.

Im not sure if the code it threw (P1800) has anything to do with the transmission… it only shows through the machine, the check engine light wasnt on. When I googled it I cant find any real answers or info and nothing related to the transmission about it. the inspecter guy just told me the transmission was whining… I honestly don’t even know what whining means or sounds like. I just know it inermittantly made a vibration while I was driving. Other then that the car was very smooth. It sounded & looked way better then every other used car I looked at for the same price.

I really wanted to take it to a transmission expert but I had already wasted an hour or 2 of the guys time getting it looked at. He was in no way pushy or desperate to sell the car to me. He seen I was hesitant and told me to go think about it or just buy another car. If I took it to someone and they said it’d get another 15,000 miles I would’ve bought it no problem.

I know every situation is different but does anyone have experience with how long a transmission with similar symptoms lasted like that before finally failing. And would I be able to get a rebuilt cvt transmission for 1k or under?

I mean I will probably pass on it based on everyone’s advice. It just seemed so minor that imo I feel like it still has a while to go… It didn’t seem anywhere near the point that it was ready to fail. but I know nothing about transmissions to make that assumption.

Just like you don’t buy a vehicle where the engine knocks, you don’t buy a vehicle where the transmission whines.


I was wondering if the seller was the original owner or not. It wouldn’t make sense to do all that body work then flip the car for no profit or a loss. He probably knows the trans is messed up and just wants to get rid of it.

I looked at a used car, the guy was a flipper and mechanic, the engine runs a little rough, probably just needs a tune up, RED FLAG, You’re a mechanic and did not do a simple tune up? Similar to did not change brown trans fluid in my book.