Car shopping


I’ve got a 2003 Xterra with 116k miles. Needless to say, it doesn’t run like it used to and of course its a bottomless pit at the fuel pump. I love thing, it fits the school colors (orange at Virginia Tech), I’ve got plenty of room in it…but I think its days are number.

As a college student living 5hrs from home, and an enjoyer of roadtrips, does anyone have any suggestions? With 2 years before I graduate.


Note to self - finish thoughts…

With 2 years before I graduate, I’d like to wait, but I don’t want to get stuck with a dead car in the middle of I-81 (for those that know 81, you may understand my problem with that…). I’ve got the money to spend on a car, but ideally I’d like to spend under $25k.


It’s hard for me to believe a 5-year-old Nissan with “only” 116k miles on the clock is nearing the end of its lifespan. I can’t help thinking this car has been neglected.

You asked for a suggestion? Bring it in to a shop for its oft-postponed 50k-mile maintenance. Ask the mechanic to also give it a full checkup. If it truly has known problems let us know. We can then advise you further.


I agree. I vehicle like that should be able to go up to 200k easily if taken care of. Keep the 25k somewhere, in a good investment. In this market, it is not a good idea to spend your cash, or go into debt if avoidable. Maybe you can give yourself a new car as a graduation gift.
PS: I know a Frontier owner who has more than 330k on his truck, and yours is basically the same vehicle.


I have a 05 Xterra that has 31k on it. It was great up until 30k but now its giving me trouble. Its starting to puff blue smoke when you start it up, rear diff starting to whine, needs new blower motor, service engine light on, pulley tensioner and belt had to be replaced. Warranty runs out in 5k. Very bad on gas. This vehicle has been very well maintained oil changed every 3k. I still like it but a little worried.


The only way its days should be numbered is if the vehicle has been neglected to oblivion and a solid Xterra that is not driven hard or neglected should easily go 300k miles or more.

I certainly don’t feel that a student with 2 years remaining before graduation should be spending even anywhere near “under 25k” on a car. Education should be the priority and 500 bucks could do quite a bit of maintenance which could then allow you to apply the other 24500 dollars to future tuition, etc.

You did not state exactly what any symptoms are and what, if any, maintenance has been performed on the vehicle. Fill in the blanks on those 2 things and we might be able to make some suggestions.
(Since you state it does not run like it used to, have you had the air/fuel filter changed, spark plugs changed, etc.?)


What seems to be the problem. At 116,000 miles there should be no reason it needs to be replaced. If the mileage is down, find out why the mileage is down and correct that. It will cost you a whole lot less than a new car. There should not be reliability problems with a properly maintained 2003 car with that kind of mileage.


It’s been maintained. It’s a little noisy and lacks the pick up it used to have. That’s the only noticeable problem. I’m not particularly a fan of the 15MPG (nothing to do with maintaining…thats the published average). I appreciate everyone’s concern for my monetary well being, but as I already said, I’ve got money for a car so it isn’t a concern. My reason for posing this question was to get advice on what would best serve me, not be as harsh of gas like the Xterra, and when problems arose not cost a fortune to repair.


If you have money to burn a used/recent Honda accord 4cylinder.


For 14K you can get a Corolla. 30-35 mpg and the vehicle will go 250K with only normal maintenance. My family has owned two of them. The youngest is 14 yrs old this year.