N16 Buyer's Guide / Things to look for


Addicted to Torque
Staff member
Use this thread to discuss things to look out for when buying a 'new' N16.

(For DCi/Diesel specific problems see here - http://www.almeraownersclub.com/threads/n16-buyers-guide-things-to-look-for-2-2-dci.39572/)

Timing Chains
Petrols can suffer from stretched timing chains so listen out for rattles or poor starting/stalling.

Usually cam shaft position sensor is the cause of the symptoms and a new sensor may help, but if the chain is actually stretched it won't, and a new chain will be needed.

Steve the master nissan tech, said the problem wasn`t the chain, but the extended service intervals of the N16.
Source: http://almeraownersclub.com/threads/cam-chain-horror-stories-clarification-please.40636/

Gear boxes
Some also have faulty gearboxes, but that's mainly if they havnt been topped up as the filler hole is too low.

Recall on headlights on phase 2 (2003+). Early type but best check with Nissan with the Reg before you buy the car).

Rear calipers
Often prone to seizing. A quick strip and re grease the pads and slide pins often works, but sometimes a new seal kit if needed too. Seal kits can be picked up for around £30 and are not too tricky to do it yourself.

Tailgate, spots at the bottom of the glass. Behind the numberplate.
Back ends of the sills.
Crossmember, these can be excessive. How bad it can be, and changing it - http://almeraownersclub.com/threads/n16-crossmember.23877/

also front wing wheelarch at the front where it meets the bumper is another rust point. apart from that and what the other guys mentioned is just your general areas that you check on any car :)

If you think or know of any more feel free to post and I'll add it to the list :).
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Just chillin'
When my timing chain was stretching my cam position sensor was the first thing to go faulty. it would start and drive as normal but the ECU light was constantly on. 1 or 2 months down the line it would take ages to start and miss fire sometimes. then it gave up on me but when I was being towed home by my dad I bump started it and it started however when I turned off the ignition I cranked it over and over and it would never start.
front inner wings as well me and phil have had to weld 2 n16s this year and both where from different ends of the country
Among basic "buying a used car checks":
- Inspect the radiator support beam behind the front bumper for rust. Very common on the N16 models to rot.
- Make sure the rear brakes and handbrake work properly. (Rear wheels/rims not hot to the touch after a drive, handbrake keeps the car stationary on an incline)
- The QG engines like the 1.5 is are notorious for timing chain wear resulting in various issues. (Hard to start, stuttering while driving/accelerating etc.)

If there is a check engine light, you need to know what it is for. If the code is cam or crank position sensor related, chances are the chain is no good. There is no easy external way to tell if the chain is bad.
If the service history is ok (oil has been changed on a regular basis and frequently enough) and there is no check engine light present, and the engine sounds and feels smooth, the chain is probably ok (for now).

Other than that the N16 is a pretty solid car IMO. Some smaller faults can arise (CD player/display unit related etc.) but I didn't list faults that do not affect the reliability/driveability side.
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