"My wife and I bought our 96 nissan sentra new. It now has 157,500 miles.
It has proven to be a tough car with good bones. Never had problems with Engine or Manual Transmission (i guess you don't have probs with this). The Air Conditioning still works without performing any major maintenance.
Complaints include the Emissions System. Since 2003, the car has suffered through various device failures. Speed sensor, exhaust recirc valve, throttle position valve, etc. I cannot keep the check engine light off for more than 4 months or so. The car keeps on driving fine, but this has proven to be an obnoxious nuiscence.
I have had to replace the starter recently (around 153k miles) and the cooling fans around same time. Gone through CV joints (which is typical for front wheel drive cars). Otherwise, I simply have done the most minimal of preventative maintenance (oil changes, brakes, tires, etc).
Oh, yeah, and poor car has been through a few collisions. Got rear-ended fairly badly and one minor front bumper bump. It has basically lived most of its life outdoors and in some industrial environments. This has killed the pain job.
In my opinion, it isn't the prettiest car in the world, either.
But, all in all, the car just keeps on running. This has been to my amazement, in fact. It runs smoothly, efficiently (still 30 MPG in city), and drive-train has been solid.
I would recommend this car as a good car for a first time driver or a "work" car. If you shop around you should be able to get value for this vehicle."
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