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Buy it?

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  • No!

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a smart lady, but I'm a classic stereotype when it comes to vehicles... I know nothing.

Recently, I've been looking for a reasonable 4WD SUV. My boyfriend wants to climb all the 14ers... I want to cut as much milage off the routes as possible, which means I need a solid 4WD. I like the look of Xterras and after reading pretty much every article, forum thread, and blog post out there... it seems like a great option.

There is a 2012 pro-4x, 6MT for sale with just under 200,000 miles for $8,400. I've looked at every Xterra listed for sale on the major auto sales sites, and that price seems consistent. One owner. CarFax report reflects regular maintenance at the original dealership through 40,000 miles. My assumption is the owner continued to maintain it, just stopped going to the dealer that reports to CarFax? No paper records at the Nissan dealer selling it. They are doing an inspection (check engine light is on), but I have no clue if a dealer would be honest in telling me what I might expect in repair costs.

I've gone back and forth between buying a first gen with similar (or less) mileage, but like the idea of this one being newer.

Am I an idiot for considering this? Would be close to $10k after taxes/fees/registration.
 

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Turn the key to run but don't start the engine. Wait a minute. If the check engine light just stays on, good, there really are no codes. If the light starts blinking in that minute, the computer has been recently reset and the required number of drive cycles to run all the self diagnostics has not occured since the reset.

200K is a lot, but if well taken care of it is better than 100k of abuse and neglect. At this point you are looking at condition. The good part is if they drove it this much they were probably cruising a lot of highway miles, those are the good ones. The short drives where the engine doesn't warm up are not good miles. Fully warmed up just cruising the highway put miles on the odometer but the engine doesn't care about them.

I can't vouch on price. Nothing makes sense these days.

The only reason I would consider it is the manual transmission. They are really sweet to drive. But for someone to get one new it just about a special order. I know mine was. None withen 1000 miles that didn't already have a customer name attached. So whoever owned that 6-speed wanted that specificly. It wasn't just someone going into the dealership and picking the color they liked.
 

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Are you comfortable with manual transmission? It can get annoying when speed is low off road.

at 200k even wheel bearings will need replacing. I would do $12k for closer to 100k. Desert states or nearby states may have a lower miler, single owner?

I drove mine to 277k but I replaced all that broke. Except for the airbags, seemed like a steep $1k price for the airbags system fix.
 

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I would say, look for another one with about 100k miles. If you are out in the woods, you need something a little bit more reliable. I would offer $6k-7k for this one, if you are not going too far off the beaten path.
 

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Any price over $5k for a vehicle with over 200k on the clock is an automatic crack pipe for me. Xterra’s are very reliable vehicles, generally speaking, but a vehicle with 200k is going to start nickel and diming you to death. As noted wheel bearings are going to need to be replaced soon. Ball joints, tie rod ends, all kinds of bushings, shocks, springs, and catalytic converters are also going to need to be swapped out soon. Even if you work on your own vehicle those items are going to add up quick, even quicker if you have to take it to a mechanic.

If you are only seriously considering this one because of the third pedal then I’d suggest looking at non-offroad/pro-4x trims. All manuals had the same rear diff as the OR/P4X (minus the locker) and a decent gear ratio (3.54). While rare, the manuals are out there. You may have to drive a few hours to get one but they’re worth it in my opinion.
 

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If the engine was well maintained then it wouldn't be a point of worry, but like @zanethan said, it's the other stuff that will start adding up. I personally wouldn't do it because the little stuff that adds up would start creeping in on the time I'd have to spend replacing it all. If you're not a DIYer, you're looking at time and labor. If it would end up being $8k after tax, title, registration, I'd think about it but $10k is too much for me. For reference, I paid $11k out the door for my 2010 Off Road AT with 96k.
 

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Welcome.

We have two Xterras, and bought both from private party original owners. Both were well maintained and they even came with some desirable aftermarket add ons that I would have purchased eventually. It took some patience and being willing and prepared to jump on them without hesitation when we recognized a value. One of them involved a fly and drive so the real cost was a bit higher, but we bought both of our <100K mile, 8 and 9 year old ones for around the same price you're seeing on your 8 year old 200K mile example. The '06 we bought in '14 and the '09 in '18.

It does seem like asking prices have gone up a bit lately, and I haven't shopped manuals, but I would keep looking for something with lower mileage (preferably) or lower price. Are you looking outside of Colorado? I know pricing here (Utah) tends to be higher than some places for any capable 4WD and I imagine Colorado is similar.

I would definitely suggest buying a 2nd Gen. Have you driven both?
 

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-I remember I once sold a G35 with 180,000 miles and it was perfect. Got a pittance for it ( trade in) regretted it ever since.
I believe higher mile vehicles can be reliable IF the vehicle was well maintained and if they were not big city vehicles most of their life.

-Also the 2nd Gen Xterra is so much more vehicle.. as cool as the Gen 1 are, .. the new ones really are worth it.

- Without good maintenance records its a risk at that milage. Consider paying for an independent technician to check it out.. and not just looking for codes.. like have the fluids been serviced etc..
 

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I say it's worth a gamble if everything checks out. PLEASE don't buy a first gen for what you're doing. They are not built to drive around the country, they're just not the same level of truck. I had a 1st gen frontier supercharged that started barfing parts and fluid after I moved across the country. It was fine on the east coast below 70 mph but with western speed limits 1 to 2 miles up... not so much. My mileage on the highway, loaded, was 12 mpg with the old one where I get 20.5 under the same conditions with my current truck. 2nd gens aren't just half as old, they're twice the truck to begin with.

Which brings me to the one I have, the reason I say to take a chance. I have an 06 6mt base, "X" trim. I paid a lot less for it at 185k than you're looking at, but prices have gone up. Also, obviously it's 6 years older, not a pro-4 and it had had a couple very minor wrecks. I bought this truck as a six-month filler but have been blown away by how fun and consistent it is, it's been the best vehicle I've ever had. I feel like having it be a manual makes it comparable to an auto with 40k less miles. It eliminates the only major weak link in this car. Worries about "nickel and diming" are valid. That can happen. But if it's been taken care of and isn't rusty then it's not a huge worry. Mine's at 206K and I've had to slap the p*** out of it and then lift it 3 inches to find excuses to replace parts. Aside from the inevitables and purchase price, maintenance cost have been about 500 bucks a year. Brake pads, shocks, a few car washes, and tires, that's it. And it didn't even really need those tires yet. And it didn't absolutely need the shocks. The 21k miles includes driving to Iowa and back, Maine and back with a trailer, and lots of fishing and desert trips. Plus dozens and dozens of tiny trips to go walk the dog or smoke. I use it hard. And I definitely think I can get two more years out of it.

To be fair, I just completed putting about 1800 dollars worth of parts in it. That's about 50 percent lift, 25% real maintenance, and 25% VERY prophylactic maintenance. Essentially what I'm saying is that it is possible to buy this and spend 2500 dollars repairing it. It's not the most likely thing though. But also maybe nothing at all for a year or so of ownership. It's almost equally likely that buying a 12-15k dollar xterra will incur more than a thousand in repairs in the first two months. It's not that likely that spending half again as much will make your project 50 percent better. The likelihood you'll need to spend what a 100k mile x costs is zero.

A manual xterra is a basic b***h. Not that much to break. Yeah it's old but I know that the list of things that would have me walking out of the desert is very short. Like starter, alternator, ...electrical short? I think you could have a great time. Major exception: do not proceed if the car came originally from the northeast or another rust belt. Sane ownership costs of any car end around 180k in rusty places. Run like the wind if that's the case.
 

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I bought mine new and it was babied every step of the way, every recommended maintenance was done early, most of the miles were highway, and it never has seen salt. Shortly after 200K it needed a heater core, then timing chains, then a clutch fan, then a catalytic converter, then a wheel bearing.... I did a bunch of other stuff just because of age, but those are the parts that actually failed, which I consider minor for its age. Still driving it at 357,000 miles, but I don't take it too far from home anymore.

I love my Xterra and there great rigs. However $8400 for 200K miles is double what it should cost.

If you don't need the rear locker, you can look for a S or X trim - they tend to keep their prices more reasonable and are plenty of truck for forest service roads, etc. I have been casually looking for another one for a while - and it seems that something with like 110 - 130K miles seems to be the sweet spot price wise.
 
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