changed my mind about the car I'm getting , new advice welcome!
After much research I've decided not to even consider the beautiful, but problematic Olds Alero. Jettas and Passats were next on the list, but I don't like the idea of needing to put premium fuel or diesel in them. Also, owners have told me the repairs are expensive... don't want that! The Saab 900 is also too likely to need expensive repairs and there isn't a dealer close that could do them, so that is not an option.
I had a 90 Camry for a couple of years... it had 300,000 miles on it when I had to take it to the junk yard because some illegal immigrants smashed into me as they ran a stop sign. I put 150,000 of those miles on the car myself and never once did I have a mechanical problem with it. As a matter of fact, not only was the engine perfect, but the cruise control, a/c, and all four power windows worked perfectly. When I stop to think that the blower motor and most of the power windows of the 10 Aleros I've looked at had failed after only five years in comparison to that Camry after 15 years, it makes me sick. Since I want something from year 2000 or newer, Camrys (and Accords) are out of my price range. People think they can charge more for them just because of the name. I want to spend between four and five thousand dollars... a 99 Camry is going for 7000 around here and that is not OK with me.
This leads me to Nissan. I can get a 2000/2001 Altima for between 3000 and 4000 dollars. OR, I can get a Maxima of the same year for 4500. The problem is, which to choose. They both look dated by now and have the ugliest rear end of any car I've ever seen, so the reason I'm considering them is not for aesthetics. It is because of price, reliability record, and features. It is almost as hard to find a negative review of an Altima or Maxima as it is to find a positive review of an Alero. The Altima comes with a four cylinder which will be easier to work on and better on gas. The Maxima comes with a V6, which is smoother and more powerful, but not as good on gas. The Maxima has climate control, the Altima just has regular a/c and heat. As long as it works, I don't care about that. They both have power windows, cruise control, and tilt wheel which are the features I really want. The Maxima has a gearshift position indicator on the dash, and while I *really* like that feature, it certainly isn't a requirement. The Maxima also has 17 inch rims and tires for them can be expensive.
I'm leaning more toward the Altima, because it is a simpler car. The Maxima doesn't have a key hole in the door. I assume you have to open it with the fob. I've never had anything that fancy before, and it scares me. The jalopies I have had in the past ALL have keyless entry... I just don't lock them! I figure no one would want it anyway, and IF they do, they will be doing me a favor by stealing it! :o) I know the Altima comes with a key fob for keyless entry, but if the batteries ever go dead in the fob, you can still open the door with the key. If I went to get in a Maxima and the batteries were dead in my fob, how would I enter the car? Would the fob have to be reprogrammed?
Since I will probably be buying from a private seller and getting a car that has 70,000 to 120,000 miles on it (and I will drive it into the grave), what do I need to know about the timing belt? How often should it be changed on those cars? I want to know, because if the previous owner didn't do that, I will want to.
If any of you have any suggestions as to which one to go with, or any Maxima or Altima experiences, I'd love to hear from you! Thanks in advance!