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Top High Mileage Issues 2005-2015 Nissan Xterra SUV

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Top High Mileage Issues 2005-2015 Nissan Xterra SUV

Created on: 2021-05-15

Sue shows you how to do a complete walkthrough of an Xterra, and points out some specific problems you'll want to watch out for!

In this video, we're gonna talk about what to look for in a high mileage '05 to '15 Xterra. Well, let's look under the hood. So what I mean by high mileage? I mean high mileage. Whatever you consider to be high mileage works for me. If you've owned a vehicle beginning and you still own it, you know what the mileage is. But you also should know what the maintenance has been. Maybe you didn't have a good-paying job, and you couldn't do a lot of maintenance, and you neglected it. Maybe you got a...you inherited it, maybe someone gave it to you, or if you just bought a nice, cheap used car, and you have no records. What I would do, so you can know what's going on under the hood and under the chassis is open your hood first, start from one side. I'm gonna start with the brake master. Pretty important, right, for you and everyone else on the road. You can shake it and see that this level is actually right about here. Max is here. So we're low. But that could happen just due to brake pads being worn out almost at the bottom, that's gonna bring that fluid level down. I'm gonna look at the condition of it. I wanna see if it's black, if it has traces of moisture in it. I won't be able to tell that by physically looking at it. But look at it. That's how deep I'm going in there and there's nothing, there's no fluid. So it is low. See if I can get the screen out. Nothing. So that's a good thing for me to pay attention when I get underneath this vehicle. Then I'd be looking for leaks, obviously. And I'm gonna look on caliper seals, flex hoses, and if the pads are worn all the way down, that would be the reason for that. Evaporation also. But now we know we have a problem here. I'm gonna fix that from the beginning, put fresh fluid in and believe the system so I know what's going on.

Next would be the airbox. Pop that open, check your air cleaner out, see the condition of it, see if it's been maintained. Oil level. You wanna check the condition of it. If you just bought this, you don't know if the person did every 3,000, every 5,000, they were faithful about it, or if there's engine sludge built up. The other thing, Nissan, radiator coolant. You know if you've ever done any reading on Nissans, they've had some radiator problems, where the transmission fluid mixes with the coolant, causes some major damage. Just pop it open, check for sludge. I got brand new fluid here. I'm gonna say that someone took care of the situation and that never happened to this one. Battery. Check the battery cables, make sure they're tight, condition of them, rot. Valve covers. Check for leaks. Check your gaskets out. Check your hoses out. Check your belts. You know, if this is something you just... Even if you only spent $1,500, it's $1,500 of your hard-earned money, right? So you want to pay attention to what you see here. Make a list, that's what I do. I'll get a little piece of paper, write a list from important to not so important. Important would be make sure it gets to its destination, right? And gets to it safely. Up here I see nothing that I have to be any major concerns about. I know she runs and starts because that's the way we purchased it. So now I'm gonna go and raise her up.

So now I've got it up about this high. I have a lift obviously. Hey, if you do, kudos to you. If you're for a jack, use jack stands, please. Just jack it up, let the suspension hang down a little bit, grab your tire on both sides you're gonna do it three and nine o'clock and you're just gonna give it a quick shake like this. And then 12 and 6. We're checking for suspension. Just a little movement. I've got a little bit right there. So nothing too bad but if I'm not gonna do the repair, I know enough to go to my shop that I enjoy or have them work with the vehicle and say, "There's something wrong with the front end." So write that on your list and check it off. All right, so now we're underneath the suspension area. And I'm at the front of the bumper, the front engine compartment and I'm gonna go back. Make my checklist. I'm looking, everything's solid, it's in place, checking my frame for rot. I've got frame mounts, checking them, suspension mounts, like the rubber bushings, make sure they're not split sticking out, boots. These are all things you wanna see. Axles. CV axles are in shape, no leakage either, nothing yet. I have no... Nice clean front differential. Check my mounts out. Mounts are nice. I mean, it is an '05 so I know that I'm gonna see some things that, you know, wouldn't be there on a '15. You would hope not. So from underneath here, we are looking at the backside of your front brakes. We have a caliper here. This is the flex hose I was talking about. We're looking for any breaks, swollen metal fittings right here. These are pressure fittings, and they do get rotted and swell right up and then that hose will just blow right off that fitting. We're looking for leakage around here. These are the caliper seals inside. Brake fluid will drip through those and you're gonna lose...have a slow leaking pedal. This is where we're gonna look for our brake pad where I can see from looking at that bracket that that pad is worn halfway. So that tells me if I don't find a leak anywhere, that is the reason for that fluid to be so low. It goes down with the pedal. The wear of the pads goes right down.

Suspension wise, these are pretty notorious also for what we call coil-over shocks. So they're like a strap, but it doesn't pivot. It's fitted in place. We have springs mounted with shocks. These coil springs on the exterior are known for rotting and breaking. And these ones are still there so that's a good thing for us. So one quick thing I wanna talk to you about are your tires. Now, I did a video if you check the library, I did a video on tires and what to look for and yadi, yadi, yada. But, I'm gonna show you real quick here, you buy a used vehicle, you don't know how old these tires are. This tread looks fine, right? Looks okay. You find on the tire where it says DOT, and after that raised surface, those four numbers, 38 week, year 18. So this tie was manufactured on the 38th week of 2018. So it's 2021. You do the math, it's not that old, but if that said something like '08, I wouldn't trust this tire on the highway. That rubber will break down. It could cause a blowout. You don't want old car tires on your vehicle.

So we talked about fluids earlier. So now we're gonna check the front differential because this is a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The front differential on this Nissan is right below the engine. In the top little screw thing here with an Allen head, inverted Allen head on it, that is the check-in fill. And is a drain over on this side. We're not gonna drain it, we just want to check the level, and we wanna see the condition of this fluid. So that's a 10-millimeter Allen head socket. This turn right out with your fingers here. And the fluid might drip out, it might not. Good. So now I'm gonna take my pinky finger and the fluid should be about an eighth of an inch down below. I'll pull that out. Okay, so we have...looks like jet black. Oh, and she smells burnt. So let's see what color she is. Oh yeah, look at that. So what I would do here... We have no leaks. I wanna check the vent. Every differential has the vent. And what I didn't see here is white foam. That would mean that water got in this differential. But let's check and see what the vent conditions in before I make my next move on how I would handle this, whether I drain it, fill it, or think about something else on it. Well, that's... And there you go. The vent too wasn't even attached, right here, look, it's hanging off. There's the hose and the attachment port is right there on the top. Looks like it popped right off. So, I didn't see any foam in there. So I'm gonna take my chances. I'm gonna reattach that vent too, and then I'm gonna open this. I'm gonna drain and fill. I'll find out what manufacturers recommend for fluid and I'll just drain, fill it with clean fluid, and then I have a record on the mileage when it was done.

So we've gone from the front, we're moving our way back here. I've got training lines, little rust right here. And I can see seepage coming out of that. I don't want that to happen because then I lose my transmission if that fluid comes up too much. And I look back here on my transmission pan, it's seeping pretty good. I wanna see if the fluid is from the above of the pan, up atop from the pan, and coming down. And it looks pretty dry up there on both sides. We do have vents. We have solenoids. They're shifter gears that have seals on them. Remember, fluid doesn't go up, it always comes down. So if it's only on the pan down, I'm gonna go to the pan gasket first. So that also helped me when I take this pan down. I can see more history of this transmission where they've got chunks of metal in there, or just what we call a metal nice grind. That's normal wear and tear for a vehicle with high mileage. I'll pan it up and I'll put the fluid back in, check the transfer case out. It's really dry. Transfer case has no leaks. I don't see anything anywhere. I've also already checked my U-joints. And you can just do that real quick by grabbing the drive shaft, giving it a wobble back and forth. And when I get this thing registered, when I get it on the road, I'll be able to tell if I feel a shake. I'll tell whether it's tire shake, or driveshaft shake. Driveshafts will shake when the U-joints are frozen, not so much when they're loose. They make noise and vibrate. You'll know when they're loose. But when they're frozen, it's actually worse I think than loose. So we have a transfer case here, let's check the fluid condition in this one. And it's the same, Allen head, 10 millimeter. Break that free. And I'll put that pinky in, like I said, about an eighth down, should be at the fluid level. And we got that black gray again. Doesn't smell burnt, which is a good thing. But, you know what? I'm gonna drain and fill it. I'm gonna go to the...find out from the manufacturer specs. I'm gonna get the proper fluid and I'll drain it. The drain is right here. See, they make it really easy for you. So you have another 10-millimeter opening right here and a fill. It's gonna take about a quart, maybe a quart and a half, and we'll put some transfer case fluid in it after we drain it out.

So now I'm midway. I'm after the transfer case. I've got my rear driveshaft. I already check that U-joint, just give it a quick wobble and I see this, the gas tank strap is rotted and gone hanging down. So this gas tank is literally being held up by one strap. So this is what I call a, "Needs to be fixed before we drive it down the road." So that's gonna be at the top of my list of priority. We have the rear differential. We have leaf springs. Frame, I've been looking at. Exhaust, I've been looking at. I see a couple of exhaust gaskets up in the front there. That's gonna be down further on my list because I wanna make sure that things are sound before I keep putting money into it. I get no tears, or holes, no leaks on the differential. Rear shock, these are original. It's an '05, top of the bell housing has rotted off. Same with the links, I can tell they're original. So I'm gonna end up replacing these for a comfort ride. Now, I'm gonna look at the brakes. I already looked at the front when I was up there. I'm gonna look real quick just through the fender wall because I don't want to take tires off if I don't have to. Everything's dry. And I can see the pad, and sometimes when you turn the wheel while you're looking at it... Wow, those are... I don't have much left on that. They're like an eight-inch thick. So brakes are definitely gonna happen before I get on the road and go down.

Now we're gonna check the rear diff. So, this thing is a 14 millimeter. I was, like, "What do we got back here? Dana, warrant?" It's just a little inside joke. But it's the size here. So no leaks. Great. I like that. I'm gonna break it free, we'll check the fluid level out, and the condition. It almost looks like it's been replaced. There you go, there's that fluid. So I know it's full and I can smell it and it is black. So I can say this much about where we're on this maintenance, far as the transfer case differential goes was not a priority. Good news is we can drain and fill it because that's one of the nice things about some of these cars is that they come with an actual drain plug and a fill plug on the differential and transfer case. That's an easy peasy. So, drain it, fill it with the proper fluid, we'll keep a record of it and then we'll know from there. Okay, last couple of things to do back here. Flex hoses. Those are really important. Once again brake lines, checking for tears, rot. The middle is kinda iffy, the flares are kinda rotted right up there. I'm not too worried about it yet, but that'll be mid-range on my list to the repair. The port, obviously, that's important to repair. So let's check the spare tire frame. Spare tire is full size, nice. Frame is a little... The rim, I mean, is a little iffy. Once pressure is on going down the road, but I hope I never need to use it. I probably get one maybe in a little bit. Nothing too important for me. Replace that. Let's see if this thing has a hitch on it, and it doesn't. So, I know it's never towed because it has no hitch. And it doesn't even look like they had one and took it down. So this was not used as a towing vehicle. So I hope you enjoyed this video. I had fun making it. If you are not already a subscriber, please subscribe. Don't forget to ring that bell that turns on all your notifications, and you can see thousands more of our videos in the library.


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