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Old 09-05-2017, 09:21 AM   #21
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My guess would be timing belt.

The cost is one reason why, for whatever other reasons, some people trade in an older car that is in otherwise good working order. They fail to realize that timing belt replacement/water pump is not a repair but a standard maintenance issue similar to brakes, tires, oil change, etc. Not pretty when this fails.

Good luck. Hope that you get treated properly.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:29 AM   #22
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Bamaman its a Altima(not a Maxima). If its the 2.5 motor it is a interference engine, which the valves can hit the pistons. You say you coasted to a stop, that another sign of broken timing belt. The smoke is the only thing that doesn't sound like a timing belt.It has a timing chain and not a belt but it is a interference. Timing chains in most cases out last the rest of the car. They tend to stretch with high mileage like 200k. They make a noise by slapping on timing chain cover before they jump a tooth or 2.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:31 AM   #23
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There are a few lessons to be learned here. First, whenever you first acquire a vehicle, keep a close eye on ALL of the fluids....especially oil and coolant. This does not mean go 2000 miles without opening the hood. If you run it out of coolant or oil, the cost is on you, regardless of why the fluid was lost.
Second, have the lad open the owner's manual and understand what maintenance is required. Does it have a timing belt? What is the recommended change interval? Has it ever been done?
Third, Bamaman is right. If the engine needs to be changed, the dealer will charge a fortune. Find a local trusted independent shop to install a salvage yard engine. Car-part.com can be used to locate the available engines with mileage and prices in your area.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:38 AM   #24
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Kind of strange , didn't his indicator light indicate low oil pressure or over heating . I would bet like some of the others that it is a timing belt. Did you try starting it up after everything cooled down. If the timing belt broke it would turnover but never start again. ( engine gone ) was there oil all over the road ?

Was at my Honda dealership when my guy was having to deal with a customer who had an Accord with 110,000 miles and would not start . They found the timing belt was broke . The customer was upset because Honda would not do anything . The customer kept bad mouthing Honda corporation but a timing belt is part of your maintenance on a car.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:41 AM   #25
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Is this the 2.5 liter 4 cylinder? There are many issues with that engine and if you go thru (the hundreds) of posts, you'll see suggestions and maybe some answers

https://forums.edmunds.com/discussio...ngine-failures

Get the VIN number and call Nissan @ 800-647-7261 and then NHTSA @ 800-424-9153. You may be completely out of luck, but maybe you'll get some answers and be a tad more knowledgeable about that specific car.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:13 AM   #26
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We were told that the car was a "certified used vehicle" meaning it was supposed to be checked.

"Certified" means next to nothing.... just another sales gimmick. Their 100 point checklist just takes care of visually obvious stuff like tires, brakes and that the fluids are full and doesn't mean all maintenance is up to date. It also doesn't mean it's not an oil burner like so many of that vintage are. "Certified" and "warranty" are two entirely different things.

Around that time frame, many manufacturers were using low tension piston rings in an effort to reduce internal friction and improve mileage. The result was increased oil consumption, especially when the rings would become fused to the piston. Many of the engines of this vintage were destroyed when the owners didn't check the oil level routinely and add oil as required.

And BTW, the 2007 Altima has a timing chain and not a belt, so the broken timing belt theory cannot apply in this case.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:14 AM   #27
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2 months after it was purchased. We were told that the car was a "certified used vehicle" meaning it was supposed to be checked.

Wow, I'm not a car gal, my late husband was more in tuned with them but I would have never thought to change a timing belt on a car I just purchased. All my cars were purchased new and I think I'm going back that route. I know it loses so much of the value driving off the lot but seriously I'd rather have the peace of mind that it will work longer than 90 days.

I just never thought a certified used car would have to be rechecked in 2 months.

I do not remember you saying it was certified before.... if that is the case then you have a lot more standing with the dealership... maybe even a warranty...

I am surprised they would certify such an old car... but hey, who knows what is done now a day...
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:41 AM   #28
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I'm guessing it was not truely a certified used car. Form the Nissan website:

Only Nissans that meet our high standards qualify for Certified Pre-Owned status. They must be less than six years old from the original in-service date, with less than 80,000 miles on the odometer.

Sounds like your salesman was throwing you lines...
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:43 AM   #29
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I'm guessing it was not truely a certified used car. Form the Nissan website:

Only Nissans that meet our high standards qualify for Certified Pre-Owned status. They must be less than six years old from the original in-service date, with less than 80,000 miles on the odometer.

Sounds like your salesman was throwing you lines...
OP there is some leverage there if needed.or it might have just "certified" by the dealership you got it from.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:15 AM   #30
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I agree about the timing chain possibility. Without a warranty I suspect the dealer has little obligation to you. Still worth asking since they may help in some fashion, otherwise I'm afraid it appears to be a caveat emptor "buyer beware" situation. Greater likelihood of failures such as the one you experienced is a reason older used cars cost less than newer ones.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:18 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Breedlove View Post
Kind of strange , didn't his indicator light indicate low oil pressure or over heating . I would bet like some of the others that it is a timing belt. Did you try starting it up after everything cooled down. If the timing belt broke it would turnover but never start again. ( engine gone ) was there oil all over the road ?

Was at my Honda dealership when my guy was having to deal with a customer who had an Accord with 110,000 miles and would not start . They found the timing belt was broke . The customer was upset because Honda would not do anything . The customer kept bad mouthing Honda corporation but a timing belt is part of your maintenance on a car.
That may have been me - bad mouthing Honda (while at the dealership.) Refer to my post early in this thread. The difference being was that the Honda Accord LX did not have a timing Belt AND there was no warning (or check engine) light which came on when my vehicle came to a halt.

I would tend to agree with an earlier post - that nowadays I would purchase my vehicle brand new even though depreciation eats a few thousand dollars when driving it off the lot. I just have to keep the vehicle until it no longer runs.

People just don't trade in vehicles because they run so great. Its usually when they start causing problems.

Anyway - I'm hoping the OP has some luck going through Nissan and can provide evidence that the vehicle was marketed as being "certified" which infers maintaining a high standard.

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Old 09-05-2017, 11:20 AM   #32
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Until the failure mode is diagnosed and a remedy suggested, I guess we're all just speculating. Please post whatever the dealer says after they've looked at the car and given what they think your options are and what their responsibility is.

I'm pullin' for ya bclover, but admittedly am not too optimistic. At a minimum, find out exactly what written warranty (if any) came with the car and what written "certification" papers (if any) came with the car.

BTW - driving a 10 - 11 yr old car for 2 months and 2 thousand miles without checking the fluids is not good. You'll want to correct that behavior going forward.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:37 AM   #33
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Thanks all,

I do appreciate the help, even if it's speculating. I did get a call from my service "concierge". lol evidently when you drop your car off at the dealer to get serviced, they assign it to a guy who takes the lead on it's well being.

Didn't say anything, just introduced himself (Mike) and asked what happened, told him pretty much the same thing.

He gave me his number and said he'd get back to me as soon as they know some thing.

**sighs*** wonder how I'd make out if I switched back to horse and buggy??

I really do appreciate your suggestions, it's calmed me down a lot.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:41 AM   #34
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BTW - driving a 10 - 11 yr old car for 2 months and 2 thousand miles without checking the fluids is not good. You'll want to correct that behavior going forward.
thanks Youbet,
I admit, that does surprise me. I had an 18 year old BMW that I actually got from my dad. I pretty much changed the oil religiously every 3K miles and it ran like a dream until I turned it in.

I definitely never heard of checking the oil on a car every month. now I'm nervous because I have a 2010 Infiniti. once again, I change the oil and take it in for service at the schedule intervals but I never think to check fluids more often.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:52 AM   #35
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thanks Youbet,
I admit, that does surprise me. I had an 18 year old BMW that I actually got from my dad. I pretty much changed the oil religiously every 3K miles and it ran like a dream until I turned it in.

I definitely never heard of checking the oil on a car every month. now I'm nervous because I have a 2010 Infiniti. once again, I change the oil and take it in for service at the schedule intervals but I never think to check fluids more often.
I think checking the oil every month is if you have an older car that might be leaking. You don't want the engine to go dry which actually happened to my old car. There was a leak and after driving back from New Orleans (some nice bumpy roads there ) the car wouldn't start and oil light came on had to buy a some oil to fill just to start the car again. I did have a leak and I think the bumpy rides helped with the draining.

My current car, I still check the oil level every two months. Not once as the level shown low, but out of habit I still check the oil and other fluids too. Better safe than sorry.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:56 AM   #36
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I have DW trained to check the oil and anti-freeze levels on her 2000 Honda Civic (168k miles) every other time she buys gas. It's starting to use a little oil and if she notes it's down a bit and it's not oil change time yet, she tells me and I add a half quart. Checking the anti-freeze only requires a glance at the level in the clear plastic reservoir. She doesn't check the brake fluid, automatic transmission or other levels which are much more challenging.

If your oil is not low when you take it in for regular changes, you're at a low risk that you'll find a problem in between. Still, it's so quick and easy, why not? Pop the hood and pull the dip stick, glance at the anti-freeze reservoir and walk around the car looking at the tires. All easily done while the gas tank fills.

BTW, DW's 2000 Civic is our newest car!

Edit: Periodically checking fluids on an older car is particularly important if that older car is new to you. You don't know if it's using/leaking oil, has an anti-freeze leak, etc. And the dealer that sold it to you probably wouldn't know either.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:03 PM   #37
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grrr... so upset.

My 22 year old son purchased a used 2007 nissan altima from the local Nissan dealer on June 4, 2017 ( a little over 2 months ago).

Yesterday on our way home from the beach, the engine exploded. literally. we were driving in the center lane of a highway at 70 mph and heard a buzzing sound, 2 seconds later smoke was pouring from the engine and it was dead.

We were lucky no one rammed into us and were able to coast to the side.

long story short, had AAA tow it back to the dealership, unfortunately service was closed for the holiday.

Now after the dust has settled I'm scared the dealer is going to give us some crap and not fix it. It was not a "as is" purchase but the paper work doesn't say any thing about the warranty.

Haven't heard from the dealership yet (it's still early).

any advice??

My son dropped most of his savings into the purchase because he didn't want a car note. he's in his senior year in college and works part time.

ps. please don't say, he's 22 let him handle it by himself. Yes I know he's an adult but jeez louise, I'd like to help the kid.
I have not read a single response on this thread other than your post, initially as a father (with a few resources), I would be a calming factor, and if needed come to his rescue.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:14 PM   #38
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While it's a good idea to check the oil on occasion, it would be highly unusual to run out of or get very low on oil without knowing it in a modern car. Years ago I had a nearly new AUDI leak oil after I had changed out the oil and filter. When the oil got low, the dash had warning lights flashing and even a buzzer as I recall. I immediately stopped the engine and was in a panic as it was a new car with only 1500 miles on it. But after a change of filter and fill up with oil, the car was fine and went well beyond the 160,000 miles (the point I sold it). The engine itself never required work when I owned it (just about everything else did though LOL!)
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:30 PM   #39
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While it's a good idea to check the oil on occasion, it would be highly unusual to run out of or get very low on oil without knowing it in a modern car.
True, but it's sooooo easy to check your oil occasionally I find it hard to justify not doing so. Especially in an older, high milage car. And especially if you don't know the car, its history and its tendencies.

Admittedly, I don't own a "modern" car so my views are based on usually driving high mileage, older cars all my life. But it's never cost me a nickle to pull the dip stick once in a while even though finding a surprise has been extremely rare.

I've never encouraged anyone to not check their fluids as described in the owner's manual.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:41 PM   #40
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I definitely never heard of checking the oil on a car every month. now I'm nervous because I have a 2010 Infiniti.
Yes, you should do that at least once a month. This comes easy to me since I learned to drive on 1950's model cars (in the mid 1960's so they were old then) and it wasn't uncommon for one to use (or leak) a quart of oil ever two or three fill-ups. We had one '55 Dodge flathead six that used (well, leaked) a quart every fill-up. This is so ingrained that I check the oil and other fluids at least once a month, more often if they're being driven more than usual.

Fast-forward to the 21st century. While new cars are far better than their predecessors about fluid leaks and consumption, the owner's manuals still say check the oil at every fill-up for a good reason. Our previous car, a 2003 Buick Century, was erratic about oil consumption. Sometimes it would go 7k miles and seemingly not use a drop. Then it would be a quart low the next time I checked it. (BTW, I always checked it in the garage, which has a flat floor.) Sometimes it would use a quart right after an oil change, then be fine for months, then use another quart. I used the same oil all the time and never did figure out why the erratic behavior.

The newer 20014 Honda Accord at 53k miles seems to use about a quart between changes (I top it off before it gets that low) although one time it used a quart and a half, and I would expect that consumption to increase as the car ages. So it is entirely possible for a normal car with 200k miles on it to simply run out of oil either from leaks or oil going past the piston rings, and the smoke generated may not even be noticeable.

So from my perspective, if the dealership says the crankcase was nearly dry and the engine seized from lack of oil that is a plausible explanation and there is no warranty that will cover that. As my Dad used to say "Sometimes you just have to chalk it up to tuition".
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