Buying 2014 Maxima - could use some advice - Nissan Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old Sep 30th, 2017, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Buying 2014 Maxima - could use some advice

Hi there,
My wife and I went and had a look at a 2014 Maxima today that we fell in love with, but being prudent people (or at least trying to be!) we wanted to make sure of the deal before we went through with the purchase.

The car in question is a rebuild, having been bought at auction by the seller as an insurance lot. He told us that the work involved to rebuild the car required replacing the right rear corner, the right rear door, as well as the rear bumper and tail light. So basically the drive train suffered no damage at all, just the body work. Asking price, for a car with only 22,000 miles and a combination of the premium and sports package, is only $12,900. According to the seller, who does seem like a genuinely up front guy who owns a body shop and does this kind of work on the side, is that the price reflects the car's damaged background. The vehicle has passed Florida DMV inspection.

I'm talented in a number of areas, not least of which is my knowledge of rehabbing houses - I can do practically everything from the ceiling to the floor, including kitchen installations, electrical work, plumbing, floors - you name it I can do it, and to a professional level. But when it comes to cars I'm next to useless - I know how they work in theory and I basically know where to put the air and fluids, but other than that I'm pretty hopeless, part of which stems from the fact that I didn't get my driver's license till I was 40 so didn't feel the need to know the inner workings of a car.

So anyway, I took the car out for a test drive today and was thoroughly impressed - the engine has some real kick to it, and the interior and fittings were great. Having had issues before with a vehicle that vibrated at speed I pushed the car out to 85 during the test drive to see if the damage may have caused any body defects that affected the drive, but all seemed fine - it remained smooth and vibration-free throughout the drive.

Having done some homework on the net, it seems that the car has a combination of the premium package and sports package. It has the double moonroof, faux dark wood trim, large screen and so on, plus the manual paddles on the wheel - though it only has 18" wheels on it and no spoiler, whereas I was under the belief that the sports package came with both. Perhaps the paddles were just an option on their own to add to the premium package?

So come Monday I'm going back to give the car a final inspection before we sign on the dotted line (I didn't have much time today because my wife was in tow and getting impatient in the hot Florida sun) and I'd really appreciate some pointers on anything I should look out for. A mechanic friend said that I should at least check the radiator fluid to see if there's any oilyness to it, but other than that and running through some basics on checking the AC, electronics, and perhaps the seals on the moonroof I wasn't sure what else to look out for. The car looks in immaculate condition, and both my wife and I got a really good vibe from the seller, who isn't some professional car salesman trying to snow us with the typical sales pitch. He told us that most of his work involves normal body repair work but during quiet spots he buys these damaged vehicles to keep his employees busy and money rolling in to pay the bills. He loves the Maxima and makes a specialty of buying them for rebuilds - seemed like a pretty genuine guy, as I said earlier.

Obviously there are people on here who know these cars backwards, so I'd be grateful if I could get some appropriate feedback that would enable me to go in on Monday with a checklist of things I should take note of. Because it's a rebuild whatever remaining warranty that might have been in play as far as the drive train is concerned is now null and void, so it would certainly be a load off if I gave the car as thorough a check as possible (short of having someone come along to give the engine a compression test!) before we put money down on it. Obviously buying any used car is something of a gamble, but at least I'll know I did everything possible to make sure the car is fine.

Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 7 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 11:41 AM
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Well, "clean retail" price would be around $21,000. However, how much do we deduct the value for it being a rebuild? General rule of thumb is a permanent deduction in value of 20% to 40%, depending on age and condition of vehicle. Even at 40% deduction, that still puts a value of $12,600, or right around where the seller is asking for the vehicle. At 20% deduction, that would value it at $16,800, which is significantly higher than what the seller is asking. So, if all of the repairs were correctly made, it seems like the seller is asking for a fair price.
That said, you are asking us to give an opinion to value for a vehicle that we on a forum level cannot see or drive for ourselves. We cannot check the quality of the work nor can we tell what kind of problems that may occur, or, may not occur do to the repairs. We do not know the competency of the body shop that repaired the vehicle. So, it is a gamble, as you already know. I would have a Nissan dealer (if, possible, a Nissan dealer with their own body shop on site) inspect the vehicle. They, at least, work on the cars on an everyday basis and may notice things an independent shop technician may not. It'll cost you probably an hour's worth of labor, but would at least give you another level of assurance. Then, only you can decide if it's a good value or not. There are some, including myself to some degree, that say a car is never the same after its first major accident. That doesn't mean a vehicle can't be repaired to a serviceable degree and be reliable transportation, but something to keep in mind.
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post #3 of 7 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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As a point of fact, opinions were not what I was after at all - read my post again. You pretty well echoed at least a different perspectives that have already run through my own mind, and I can play devil's advocate on any number of other scenarios as well. I may not be mechanically adept, but I'm not an idiot either. Point out where I asked for a valuation on the vehicle from your unseeing eyes, then note the last paragraph of my original post, which clearly spelled out what I was after - the rest was merely background detail. If I was after a general opinion I need hardly have gone to the trouble of signing up to a Nissan forum and addressing a question specific to the Maxima - I could have gone down to the nearest bar. I posted here because of the assumption that there are people on here who know the cars backwards and are familiar with their quirks and weaknesses.

What I was after were for those of a mechanical nature and hands-on expertise with the car to hopefully render a view on some basic points I should address during my inspection, examples being to check the radiator water for oil in case of head issues, check the oil, check for tire wear and evenness, check for vibration at various speeds (the few things I managed to get through yesterday). I have a list of basics to run through tomorrow as far as the interior is concerned, such as the AC, GPS, and other electronic functions. I did note yesterday that there was daylight showing at the corners of the closed sunroofs, as if they hadn't been fully closed, and I was going to check that as well - are they electrically operated, or manual? I can't seem to find that piece of information online.

As for taking the car in for an inspection by a Nissan technician, I'm not sure how amenable a private seller would be to having his car disappear for a couple of hours to be driven off for a professional perusal. I had already toyed with the idea of perhaps hiring a mobile mechanic to come with me tomorrow as an alternative, pending what kind of advice people on here might render regarding how much of an inspection I can perform myself even with their technical notes on hand for what to look for. If there's enough basics I can do on my own then fine, but if the view is that there's simply too much to go over for my inexpert eyes and hands than I'll see if I can get a mobile mechanic out there tomorrow.
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post #4 of 7 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 07:29 PM
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Well, excuse me for trying to help, but you don't need to be rude about it! I worked for Nissan for 16 years and was a Nissan Master Technician, so my advice takes into account my experience and knowledge working on these cars. As far as the sunroof, it is electric. Most used car shops that stand behind their vehicles have no problem with a serious customer have a vehicle checked out by a Nissan dealer. Generally, most of these used car dealers and body shops that sell cars are customers of the local Nissan dealer. If they object, then perhaps they are trying to hide something?
There are several places where you can get a used car checklist that you can use when looking at a vehicle. Here is one such site:

There are also many vids on YouTube that walk through the process. Good luck with your potential purchase.
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post #5 of 7 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Excuse me? I think it's abundantly clear that you were actually being the presumptively rude individual by taking a post asking for specific technical advice and waxing rhapsodic with patronizing opinions that were never asked for. Nor was I rude in my follow-up, just clarifying the point and perspective you blissfully sailed by. Example? I never asked for a valuation, yet you chose to render one with your pompously written 'you are asking us to give an opinion to value for a vehicle that we on a forum level cannot see or drive for ourselves' - note the 'us' and 'we', always a sign of an individual trying to buttress a perspective by dragging the collective into the view. You were never asked to give a valuation, nor just about anything else you chose to share.

If you want to be useful on forums don't hang about them trying to take ownership by using people's basic questions as a platform to parade your ego and predilection for bombast. In two posts to date you've provided zero help while parading your 'masterful credentials' along the way and showing an inability to comprehend basic English. I made it fairly clear that I wanted some technical information on what to check for in my inspection - you offered up self-serving opinion. I made it fairly clear that the seller runs a bodywork business - you refer to the fact that 'most used car dealers ...have no problem with a serious customer having a car checked out by a Nissan dealer'. Where was it ever mentioned that there was a used car dealership in play? I pointed out that I came here looking for specific advice from people familiar with the Maxima on specific points I should look for - you stretched your self-professed 'expertise' to the extent of providing a generalized DMV inspection work sheet - guy, I have any number of auto books with basic check sheets like that already, you know? As I said earlier, but which you failed to comprehend, I addressed the questions specifically to a Maxima forum on because I assumed there were people on here who could actually offer up some real advice on specific points to look for in the car - every vehicle has its good points and bad points that true aficionados are familiar with. Too bad that was beyond your grasp to comprehend. One of my areas of expertise is photography and when it comes to equipment I use high end Nikon gear, which I know well. Do you think if someone asks me some advice on the pros and cons of a particular model that I'm going to give then some useless generalized view - or maybe offer up a valuation on what the camera they're after is worth? Or do you think I might actually try and be helpful by suggesting various aspects that the potential buyer might want to be aware of and should take a close look at? That's supposed to be the point of forums like that, and of basically just trying to be helpful to other people. Try it some time, and check your ego in at the door.

The only tiny bit of information you actually gave - and which I'd already since answered for myself via a Youtube clip on the 2014 model - is the matter of the electric shades (not the glass itself) for the sunroof. The rest of it all was just a waste of space that only served one purpose - stroking your ego. You just gave a textbook example of why most forums eventually lose custom because they become the haven of pompous individuals who hang about the place like its their own private little club.

So as I didn't actually get any useful information out of all this, not least from the resident 'Nissan Master technician' (anyone can become a technician at a dealership - being a properly trained and qualified mechanic is another matter) I'll just bite the bullet and arrange for a mobile mechanic to come out tomorrow.
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post #6 of 7 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 11:26 PM
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TIMBO59 it looks like you're off to a good start in flaming members in this forum. SMJ is a knowledgeable member of this forum. He was only trying to help as best he can. Flaming will not be tolerated here in the forum.

KA-T for life, yo!
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post #7 of 7 Old Oct 2nd, 2017, 12:11 PM
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Wow! Okay... Good luck with your car and hopefully someone here can help you better than I tried to do.
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