My 2003 Nissan Altima has 65000 miles and dealer said it has a rusted subframe that needs to be replaced for $2000. Is it time to get a new car or do the repair?
Rust is never in just one place and why are you taking a 16 year old vehicle to the dealer anyway. Take this thing to independent body shop for second opinion.
Me , I would not put that much money in it .
We just had another thread with a -05 Altima with rusted out floorpans.
I would CAREFULLY drive the car to another relevant shop (not a dealer - a bodyshop) and ask for a detailed inspection of the whole car with regards to anything metal. The whole structure could easily be compromised
Take pictures of the damage and post it here.
Hmmm. After seeing the pic, I’m smelling a rat, but i haven’t seen it. Better be safe than sorry, take the car to a body shop and get it inspected. The subframe is the structure which holds the engine and front suspension in place so the integrity is vital, but if the bodyman can bang on it with a hammer everywhere with a solid clang as a response, it’s okay even with the rust shown on the pic. But I’ll get something done to the rust.
All the jokes about those Nissans being made from Japanese beer cans, aside, I’d replace the car with something other than a Nissan. Don’t throw good money after bad.
P.S. Just got the photo. Oh, it’s the front! Same advice.
That photo doesn’t convince me one way or the other - it might not be that bad. As suggested, get a second opinion. That’s a relatively small area, a shop might be able to weld in some repair pieces.
I enlarged the picture and see mostly surface rust. I would clean it off with a wire wheel and coat it with a few coats of rustproofing paint. To make sure the rust isn’t terminal.use a screwdriver to poke at it.
Thanks so much for the thorough feedback. Much appreciate the expertise I don’t have.
Next step - get a second opinion from a local place and start thinking about a new car.
any trans shop can replace a subframe as its a normal part of a trans drop. you can get a solid subframe at a junkyard and have it installed. as long as the mounting points are good and the bolts spin out ok than it could be done.
mounting bolts are most likely NOT ok on this 16-years old Altima
I remember a guy who complaint that every subframe bolt on his 10+ years old Altima to be PIA to detach as bolt goes to the nut welded into a unibody, where the trouble is that it is only one spot-weld point per nut and it is immediately gets cut as you try unbolting that old rusty thing, so he ended up cutting bolt heads with a Dremel tool, then dealing with studs sticking from the unibody
If the rest of the car is in good shape, I have had good experiences with replacing front subframes. Some are more prone to rust then others based on design and drainage. I have had several cars go years and many miles with used front subframes installed, typically for around $600 to $900.