Carfax details on 2005 Altima...your opinions please

I’m considering the purchase of a 2005 Altima with 98,500 miles. I will of course have a used car inspection done by my mechanic. I have attached the Carfax details below. I read some other postings about using the Carfax to your advantage to see if certain things jump out (like the maintenance intervals). It appears that the 3 previous onwers had it serviced regularly, but I am no expert. From what you see (maintenance or otherwise), is there anything that raises a red flag before I even go to test drive it at the dealership?

I’m not sure if I attached it correctly. If you cannot see it please let me know

The only thing that really stands out to me is the oil change intervals in the first part of the vehicle’s life and the lack thereof in the latter part along with why it was a fleet car for only 6 months. Maybe company policy specifies 6 months or the 2nd owner was a company employee. ???
The car appeared to be lightly driven with oil change intervals running in the 6-7k miles/7 or 8 months range. That can be a bit long for a lightly driven car.
As to the oil changes in the latter part with none listed that may not mean anything either.

Carfax is notoriously incompete and inaccurate and only report what is reported to them. The last owners may have been changing the oil every 3k miles themselves or having it done by a facility that does not report to CF.

Offhand, the history that is reported looks pretty decent as many cars do not receive that level of attention at all.

My opinion is that transmission fluid should be serviced every 30k miles but seldom is this done and the reason for that a lot of times is because of ill-advised factory recommendations. The factory is not always correct.

You’re doing the right thing by having a mechanic look the car over also but you should also keep in mind that even the most thorough of inspections by the most competent of mechanics is not a guarantee that the car won’t have a future problem. It does help swing the odds more in your favor though. Hope that helps.

Red Flags ? Waiting For A Fourth Owner At A 100,000 Miles ?
Does It Have Little Dents Where It Was Poked By A Ten Foot Pole ?

Some people would just blindly buy a car without checking the previous history of the vehicle (ignorance is bliss) and others do what they can to find out about prior maintenance and repairs. Both types of buyers can either purchase a trouble-free car or both can buy a real clunker.

Although considerably newer than this vehicle and even though it came with a very good Certified Pre-Owned warranty, I passed on purchasing a vehicle last fall just because it had two previous owners (Carfax reported) in less than two years. It was priced right, but I had bad vibes with multiple owners.

This car would have to be an absolute steal, priced well below market, before I’d buy it. For me that’s just too much history, too many owners, and too many doubts.

Since you are the type who’s concerned about a car’s history (as am I), why not find a nice one-owner car to buy ? Better yet, why not find one with actual maintenance records available ?

This car would need to be checked by a body shop as well as a by a mechanic, but I’d pass on it if it was priced near normal value.

How much do they want for it (what would you be paying) ?
What are the specifics of any warranty you will get with it ?
How many of these have you looked at and how long have you been shopping ?


@common sense answer
The car is priced at $8988. I am just starting to look. This is one of many vehicles I plan to take a look at. I don’t know about warranty details yet because I have not visited the dealership yet. I’m not an impulse buyer. I am just researching all of my otpions and I agree with your logic. I just wanted some opinions. Thank you.

Altimagirl, You Seem To Be Going About This The Right Way. Many Shoppers Are In Situations Where They Don’t Have Time To Shop (No Time, No Car, Etcetera), But If You Have Time Then You’re In Good Shape.

What I like to do is look at several (many) cars to get an idea of what is available so that I will know a good deal when I see it. It appears that you’ve decided on a Nissan Altima. Is that what you are going to buy ?

By all means take a look at that car if it’s convenient to do so. I will have to defer to others on the price. I don’t know what these cars go for (It varies with locale).

In what part of the country are you looking ?
How are you at negotiating a good deal when you find “The One” ?


Hello all. Thanks for your responses. I went for the test drive this morning and then took it to my mechanic. Let’s just say if I had bought this vehicle w/o the inspection I would have been able to pour all of you guys a nice refreshing glass of LEMONade…damaged wheel bearings, subframe had been replaced, transmission fluid fluid needs replacement, alternator drive belt cracked, corroded battery cables, hollow sounding driver door (whenever I opened and closed it, it rattled…perhaps the car was t-boned in a wreck???)

Nevertheless, you guys will have to buy your own lemonade because I dropped it back off at the dealer. Before I left, the salesguys asked how the inspection went. I mentioned everything I just wrote. He then asked if I took it to a dealership or a mechanic, to which I answered the latter. He had the gall to say “Well, yeah the mechanics are always gonna say they found something wrong becuase they want your money.” Well HELLOOOOOO, buddy you want my money too don’t you?? But in the case of my inspection it was the best d@mn $90.00 I ever spent. I handed him the key and waved Adios as I peeled out of the parking lot :slight_smile:

But yes, I currently have a 2000 Altima, so I like that line of vehicles and want a newer one. I am in the southeast and my search continues…

Altimagirl–I was going to offer you this special deal on my 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass 4-4-2, but you are too smart. I don’t think I can pull a fast one on you. You are doing your homework. Good used cars are out there, but you have to take your time and check things out thoroughly.

@triedaq. LOL Yes, you have to do your homework, especially being a young lady. This will be my 3rd vehicle. The last two times I purchased a vehicle, from the minute I drove into the dealership parking lot and stepped out of my vehicle I immediately felt like a fresh carcass in the hot Arizona desert with vultures circling overhead. They see a lady show up with no male companion and they start to salivate, but you have to be stern with them.

Oh and I forgot the best part. When I told the dealer about the subframe being replaced and told him that’s a big red flag to me, as it signals a possible wreck, he claimed “There was no wreck, I can show you on the Carfax.” Well before he can even pull it up on his PC, I whipped out my own copy and slid it towards him saying “Yes, I have already reviewed the Carfax and that doesn’t mean anything but I’ve got to run because I have other dealerships to visit.” Talk about a deer in the headlights moment. His face was priceless.

I have to postpone my search for the moment, as my work schedule is busy. But I will out pounding the pavement again pretty soon. Thanks for everyone’s help. I’ll be sure to seek advice again if need be.

It’s kind of funny to watch them squirm when caught, huh? :slight_smile:

I tip the hat to you for everything you’ve done regarding this deal and always make patience your Number One priority on car purchases. Dealers are under a lot more pressure to sell a vehicle than a customer is to buy one.

As to this guy’s comment about mechanics always finding something to fix I can elaborate on that. Being a mechanic I’ve done more car inspections (regular maintenance inspections), checking trade-ins over, inspecting cars that buyers were considering, etc than I can even remember.
When a car gets some age and mileage on it the great odds are that the car will need a number of things. Many of those things may not be readily apparent to the car owner or even to the dealer who took it in trade but a careful inspection may well reveal those needs. It’s not a matter of make-work; it’s just a mechanical fact of life.

Keep doing what you’re doing on your car searches and you should be fine. The vast majority of people take a car for a 2 mile test drive, listen to some verbal BS from a salesman, and sign their life away. :slight_smile:

Kudos, this should be on the national news. If all consumers were as well informed as you, then we would all have a better experience.

Altimagirl–There are many women that are well-informed about cars. I purchased a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander minivan from my local Chevrolet dealer and was assigned to a service writer who was a very attractive young lady and was very knowledgeable about cars. The steering on the Uplander developed a bumpy feeling as I turned the wheel. I took the car in on warranty–she turned the wheel back and forth a couple of times and correctly diagnosed the problem as the intermediate steering shaft. She explained that the joint on the shaft worked like a rotator cuff. I told her that the problem was caused by my wife driving the Uplander. My wife had recently had rotator cuff surgery and the Uplander probably caught the disease from her. The service writer started to explain that it had nothing to do with my wife until she realized I was putting her on.

The Toyota dealer also has a very attractive and knowledgeable female service writer. When I had the car in for an oil change, she asked if I had programmed the bluetooth so that I could answer my cell phone through the system. I told her that I had read the manual, but had been interrupted and never got back to it. She asked if I had my cell phone with me. I handed it to her and she programmed it in less than two minutes. I would have been an hour at the task.

It’s great that you are an informed consumer.