258,000 Miles and Counting on my Nissan Pathfinder

My 1996 Nissan Pathfinder has been a faithful and loyal friend for the past 6 years. It was six years old when we bought it, when we first moved out here. It had 78,000 miles on it when we bought it. It now has 258,000. We put an average of 30,000 miles a year onto this vehicle since we’ve had it.

I researched vehicles when we were moving out here. We needed something that would haul our family of four (we’re large people), our (at the time) one dog, plus we needed a vehicle that could haul our water for us. We have a 2500 underground tank for our water supply, which we keep filled by making trips to the community well with our 500 gallon tank.

I have no intentions of getting rid of my Pathfinder anytime soon; in fact, Mr. A is planning to replace the timing belt and water pump. It was last changed in 2004, at 117,000 miles. The manufacturer recommends changing it every 100,000 miles. We got by with 117,000 the first time, and now it’s been 141,000 miles. I had a timing belt go out on a Mercury Gran Marquis and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was the car I was driving when I had given up all my credit cards, to pay off my credit card debt and couldn’t get the engine fixed because I didn’t have the money (or credit cards). So I’m a little paranoid about timing belts.

I’m sure we’ll get the timing belt changed in time. The water pump is in the same area, so Mr. A will change that at the same time.

I know that we’re in the minority with a vehicle that has lasted this many miles. It seems common for people to trade in their car for a new one every 3 years, or at least once it gets close to 100,000 miles.

I guess we’re lucky in that Mr. A can do a good deal of the maintenance, although we have at times chosen to take our vehicles in to the shop and have someone else worry about it.

2002 Nissan Pathfinder photographed in Fort Wa...
2002 Nissan Pathfinder photographed in Fort Washington, Maryland, USA. Category:Nissan Pathfinder R50 Category:White SUVs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hear people say that they’ve had to make repairs on their vehicle and now they are looking at another repair costing $1000. They decide it’s time to cut their losses now and buy a different vehicle, often a new vehicle. I had a friend who was in a minor fender-bender and her trunk lid was the tiniest bit tilted. I honestly couldn’t see it until she pointed it out to me. Her insurance company TOTALLED her car, and she decided to buy a new one, because the cost to fix the tweaked trunk would have cost too much money. I would have lived with the tweaked trunk… and I will never buy a new car because they depreciate the minute you drive them off the parking lot.

When we bought my Pathfinder, it was $14,000 and since it was six years old, the longest term loan we could get was 48 months. The payment each month was $342. A year’s worth of payments came to $4,104. Now paying $1000 a year for repairs seems cheaper to me than $4000 a year in payments. And our payment was untypically low.

Then there’s insurance. If you buy a brand new car on loan, you have to have insurance that will cover the vehicle if you in an accident. If we didn’t have an 18 year old on our automobile coverage, we’d be paying around $600 a year for two older vehicles. Not to mention the cost for emissions testing, and paying for your yearly tabs.

I do not look forward to the day I have to replace my vehicle and make payments on another one. We don’t have the money right now to save for a future vehicle, so we will almost certainly have to get a loan when we need to buy another one.

Put me in the camp of keeping a vehicle and maintaining it until there is absolutely no hope left for the poor thing. I hope we’ll get to 500,000 miles. That would be kind of exciting. If I do have to replace my Pathfinder, I am pretty sure I’ll want another one like this one. It has been the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning.

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14 thoughts on “258,000 Miles and Counting on my Nissan Pathfinder

  1. I’m with you on wanting to keep what I’ve got instead of paying for something new. My Civic has 215,000 miles on it. I only put about 2500 miles a year on it, so it should last me a very long time 🙂


  2. Hi Frugal Babe! Wow, that’s hardly anything. How often do you change the oil since you are well under the 3000 miles? Thanks for visiting and commenting! 🙂


  3. My parents’ car is 14 years old, is on its 2nd engine, and has about 240k miles. It’s impressive!

    My dad takes good care of it, but it’s probably going to need replaced sometime soon.


  4. Hi Kacie – I sure do love older cars. My boss replaced hers not too long ago and it is so cheaply made it is scary. Hopefully your dad’s car will keep on keepin’ on! Thanks for visiting and commenting!!


  5. I replaced my saturn when it hit 232,000 miles and it started to need repairs.

    My neighbors daughter bought it, her boyfriend did some maintenance on it and it’s still chugging along as a commuter car for her.


  6. I have 372,000 kms (232k miles)on my ’98 Pathfinder SE 3.3 litre 5 speed. It will be hard to replace her.
    2 timing belts, 1 distributor, plus normal consumables it has been a great truck.
    I would like to get 500,000 km on it but the body is going.
    My problem is what to replace her with.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    John – nice to hear about your old girl. They are sure awesome vehicles. Living in Arizona, we have no problems with the outside of the vehicle, but little electrical things here and there are starting to go. Like the fuse that makes the lights come on when a door is opened keeps blowing. When it comes time to replace mine, I will probably go with another Pathfinder, just an older model. Thanks for visiting and commenting!


  7. I just purchased a 96 Nissan Pathfinder with very lil if any body rot or rust. It has 148,000 miles on it and was very well maintained by the previouse owners. I paid 1,500 bucks for it and hope it will last me a long long time!! I think i got a pretty good deal. What do you guys think?


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Nice, very nice! Hopefully the previous owners provided you with the maintenance they did. That will help you a lot in knowing what might need to be done. For example, I’m a little paranoid about timing belts being replaced and it is recommended to change the water pump at the same time on a Pathfinder since they are right down next to each other. What version did you get? XE, SE or LE? LE is the premium version with all the bells and whistles, like automatic windows and leather seats. My baby just rolled over to 290,000 on July 3rd. I’m gonna post about it sometime soon. Thanks for visiting and commenting!


  8. Thanks! I haved an SE automatic with a sunroof. I kinda wish it were a manual though. Looking throught all the paperwork they gave me and theres a reciept that says the timimg belt was replaced with the water pump at 106k. It has 150k on it now so i should be good til i hit around 210k according to the owners manual. I also saw they replace all gaskets,knock sensor,egr valve,exhaust and tires. So far so good but we will see how it goes,fingers crossed! Cant wait to see your pics.


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