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Buyers Guide

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I found this on another forum. I thought it was great for anyone that is looking to buy a car as it can be a daunting experience if you're not sure what you're looking for.


It's mostly generic advice, but I've tweaked it a little to help apply it to the Zed.


Never look at a car in the dark, or the rain!

The car should be presented in a clean condition with all documents available for inspection.

It is wise to have downloaded the owners manuals and familiarised yourself with the operation of the car.


Firstly make sure the car you are looking at *IS* the car as described in the V5C. Gather together the service history, V5C (logbook) any documentation, and the MOT certificates.

Make sure the VIN numbers match the V5C, and also match the Vin No: as shown on the MOT(S)


Check the mileage records in the service record against the mot mileages (the previous 4 years mileages now show on the MOT certificate) to see that there are no big gaps or sudden jumps and that the current mileage shown is about what you would expect it to be. Check any receipts for mileage anomalies, for instance “car is showing 48000 miles but 2 years ago it had a water pump fitted at 70000 milesâ€.

Example: If the car has done an average of 20k per year up to 4 years ago, and no service history since, why is it now showing only 2k miles more than the last recorded service 4 years ago? Has it been *clocked*? You can check the mileage recorded at each MOT here:- https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-history-vehicle You can also check what failures & advisories were issued back for the last few years.


Check its HPI status and whether it’s ever been written off by texting the reg number to 83600.


Once you have satisfied yourself the car is as genuine as it can be, start to check the car over step by step CAREFULLY!


Lift the bonnet and make sure the engine is stone cold. Feel the radiator and top of the engine for residual heat. Check the oil is not too dirty and there are no silvery particles visible in the oil on the dipstick.

Check the coolant expansion tank is up to the max with a coolant mixture and not a rusty sludge. Check all around and underneath the engine & gearbox for oil leaks. Also look for evidence the engine bay hasn’t been cleaned of any tell tale oil slicks. You would expect engine to have signs of road grime on it but no oil slicks.


Turn on the headlights for a couple of minutes before starting the engine, this is to load the battery and make sure it is up to the job of starting the car.


Switch on the ignition and make sure all warning lights illuminate and then extinguish. Pay special attention to ABS and airbag warning lights. If these don’t come on and then extinguish, it’s an MOT failure and possibly an expensive fix.


Now depress the clutch and start it. It should start instantly, the oil and charge lights should extinguish immediately. Go round to the back and make sure there is no puff of blue or grey smoke emitted. Go to the front of the car and make sure the engine started with no undue rattles, noises or uneven running. Make sure there are no bubbles showing in the coolant tank (poss head gasket fault).

Listen for any signs of an exhaust blow.

While the engine is warming up, go around every panel inspecting each one for scratches and dents. Take your time as small scratches can be disguised with coloured wax polish.

Stand at each corner in turn and look along the length and width of the car raising your eye level up and down so you can see the reflection running along the length of the car at varying levels to check panel alignment and any large but shallow dents will distort the line of the reflection. Any repairs may show as a dull or bright patch compared to paintwork around the suspected repair.

Don’t forget to check the roof. and the sills


Check the gap between the panels are even all the way round, and nothing is standing proud, especially the bonnet. Make sure the doors open without dropping, and the top of the door aligns with the top of the rear wing. The window should drop a little when opening a door.

The doors, bonnet and boot should all open without catching or sticking.

With the boot open, make sure the weight is easily supported by the gas struts and that the boot floor is completely dry everywhere. Check the emergency tyre kit is present and correct, and that the locking wheel nut key is there.

Check all the wheel arch liners are in place and undamaged, they are commonly left off or broken if the car has been accident repaired. Check there is an undertray fitted beneath the engine.

Another good indication of whether the car has sustained a front or rear end collision is to check that the front and rear number plates match. Forexample, if one has a logo, and the other hasn’t, have a very close look for any evidence of a repair to that end of the car.


Next check the wheels and tyres. They should have no kerb damage to the wheels (expensive repair) or tyres with no cuts or bulges to the sidewalls of the tyres (don’t forget the inside edges) or tread area. If the car is fitted with OEM 18 inch wheels, the tyres should all be 225/45-18 Front and 245/45-18 Rear, evenly worn across the tread and evenly worn as a front or rear pair, visually check they are all inflated to the same pressure (no obviously flat or soft tyre) While you are there, check the condition of the discs and pads. The Discs shouldn’t be heavily scored or corroded and the pads should have a reasonable amount of *meat* left on them.


Moving to the inside of the car make sure the seats move backwards and forwards, tip forward, and lock in several different positions. These maybe manual or electric depending on the model of car you're looking at.

Make sure there are no damp or wet spots on the carpets or seats. Check for damage and wear to carpets, seat belts and seat material. Sit in the car and check the windscreen and glass are scratch free. Check all the switches, controls, instruments and seat belts work correctly. The temperature should be starting to show now.

Check the illumination of the heater controls, centre binnacle, and dashboard.


Now for a test drive.


The car should pull away smoothly with no harsh noises whines, rattles or lumpiness. You should have no trouble selecting gears and the clutch should engage with no judder or evidence of slippage particularly in higher gears under hard acceleration. Autos should change smoothly and in a timely manner (not revving too high)


Get to approx 40 mph on a flat a road as poss, and lightly hold the steering wheel between your finger and thumb (almost letting go but be ready to grab it if something un-towards happens) the car shouldn’t pull to either side and the wheel shouldn't vibrate or judder.


There should be no rumbling noises from any of the wheels, or clunks and bangs from the suspension or exhaust. Now do the same under braking and acceleration start gently and build up to firm braking / acceleration, again, the car shouldn’t pull to either side or judder under braking. Now gently set up a slalom motion in the car by steering left /right /left /right making sure the road is clear to do so.

If you hear a rumbling noise coming and going as you do this, it is a sign that you have a wheel bearing on it’s way out. Again, you should hear no bang or clunks from exhaust suspension or general underbody area.


When you return from the test drive which should be at least 15 -20miles in mixed traffic, try restarting the car from hot several times. Also try starting with the second key if available. Both keys should operate all the locks including glovebox behind the passenger seat.You should have no problems restarting.


No warning lights should have appeared on the dash during your test drive and all instruments shoild be giving a *within normal limits*reading,


By now you should have identified any faults or shortcomings with the car and you need to decide if it’s for you or not.


If everything checks out, it is now down to you to haggle a price that you are happy to pay.

If you are not sure of anything, leave the car, check here on this forum for info / prices and go back with a revised offer maybe, for instance a discount because it needs two rear tyres.


At all times bear in mind this is a rough guide only and not *The Definitive buyers guide*

If you are in any doubt, then seek professional guidance in the form of an AA or RAC type of inspection.


Hope someone finds it useful :)

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and also this


Nissan's 350Z carries on (and restores) the famous Nissan Z car tradition. Mixing reliability and good build quality with a silky smooth 3499cc V6 and rear wheel drive.


While they are still available new (priced far less than any real competition) there is a growing used car market as owners upgrade to the latest spec. or get banned for drifting round roundabouts!

As with all Japanese cars there are loads of imported (JDM) cars on the market too. Briefly...


you can't take the roof off without a saw it is a Coupe, if you can it is a roadster. (Don't make yourself look stoopid by talking about buying a 350Z cabriolet!)


If it is a 350Z GT, Gran Turismo or has the GT pack fitted it means it has heated seats, cruise control and upgraded (Bose) stereo. When new dealers charged an extra £2000 for this. There is a GT4 limited edition too.

If it a Fairlady, Version T (Lux) it is an import.


While the 350Z is pretty reliable there are a few problems which happen to most cars. While most of these should have been fixed by the dealer under warranty there are a few that have not materialised until the warranty has run out. UK spec. cars have the usual Nissan 3 year warranty. If the car is under warranty and there are outstanding faults this may indicate a reluctance to visit the dealer (big service due? modifications that may invalidate the warranty?)


These problems are...

Tyres feathering, uneven wear, grumbling at low speeds.

Grumbling at 15 to 30mph is usually caused by the tyres, if it has original bridgestones.

Feathering, scrubbing and un-even wear is probably bandly set tracking. Nissan issued a bulletin on this subject which you can see at http://www.bonell.pl...ce bulletin.pdf


Rear axle clicking noise. Sounds like something left underneath. Usually does it when shifting from reverse to forward or initial load when moving off. This is caused by the driveshafts. Due to the work involved make sure the price reflects this if the car is not covered under warranty. You can read the bulletin at http://www350z-tech...._From_Rear_Axle


Gearchange can get a bit notchy in 4th and 6th if thrashed or neglected.


Bose CD player skipping. The Bose system is intended as an upgrade but the CD player tends to skip or jump. Usually when my CDs are on. If my good lady puts 'Chick flick sondtrack' or 'Cheezy 80s cack' on it is fine! Yet as soon as the White stripes, the Who or the Zep are on it sounds like the dance remix! Most have been fixed under warranty though.

The N/S speaker can cut out when playing CDs too. Best to administer a sound thump to the passenger kneepad area (With your hand. Put the hammer down!)


Squeaky brakes. This is what happens when you fit big Brembo racing brakes to a car then people drive it like a Fiat Punto. Seat Turbo R and Mitsubishi Evo owners cars suffer from this too. Funnily enough those cars all have Brembo brake callipers too! At times the odd squeak from the brakes can be embarrasing but as a car mechanic I am happy as long as they stop the car when I press the brake!


Some owners complain about a spongy pedal too. Because the Brembo brake calliper has large brake pads more effort is required when the pads are cold. Sometimes over-zealous owners overfill the brake reservoir too. Because there is no space this causes the master cylinder to draw the brake pistons back in overnight, so when you come out in the morning, half asleep picking kebab from your teeth and yellow stuff from your eyes, reveverse out the drive and shi...get a big fright and have to pump up the footbrake, thats what causes it!


People always complain about handbrake travel (not just on Zeds, on all Nissans) For some reason Nissan like the handbrake to come on a convincing amount. If overadjusted, the rear pads will heat up and cause terrible brake fade.


Tailgate trying to eat you. The stops can be adjusted by taking them off and spacing them. Dealers can get the correct pads for doing that. If ignored the struts will weaken and adjusting the pads won't work.


Scratches/stonechips on bumper. This is normal because of the shape of the front of the car. There are 2 ways to stop this happening.

1.Buy something else

2.Buy some clear film and fit it before it happens. Most car accessory shops sell this film.

I would recommend the later option. It is better to see a few stonechips than a horribly repainted bumper, bodged because they are trying to sell the car!


Finally, if the car is over 4 years old or past 54,000 miles make sure it has had its major service because it is a biggie! (Currently about £500!)


In addition to the above remember all the usual car buying rules. To summarise...

1.If you are buying off ebay, don't hand over a penny until you have actually touched the car and seen the registration document.


2.Take the Missus. While you are picturing yourself driving along the seafront with girls swooning at you the battleaxe will be noticing scratches, stains and asking 'Why are you selling it if it is so good'!


3.Get it HPI'd. Don't bother doing this to them all but if you are serious, get it done. It will avoid tears at bedtime.


4.Phone the dealers in the service book. Nissan servicing can be pricey so there is a temptation to commit 'Service book fraud' Nowadays any dealer mentioned in the book will have a record of each service being done (or not done!)


5.Don't be forced into anything. Good as it is, there are plenty 350Z about so if you have to walk away, walk away!


I hope this guide has made you more aware of the 350Z rather than put you off.

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5.Don't be forced into anything. God as it is, there are plenty 350Z about....


Intentional typo? :p


Thanks Mike, I should've linked to the existing guides too :thumbs:

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5.Don't be forced into anything. God as it is, there are plenty 350Z about....


Intentional typo? :p


Thanks Mike, I should've linked to the existing guides too :thumbs:


sorted, it was taken from elsewhere

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Good guide, hopefully will stop the "im buying a new car, anything to look out for" posts :)

I always link these guides to the newbies if they ask or need them. Great read 14N. :thumbs:

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