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In the sea of rear-drive sports cars in the used market, the Nissan 350Z always seems to keep its head above water. The 350Z’s resiliency through the years could be due to its affordable price and performance, which rivals many other cars in the market. It could also be due to its reliable nature. However, any prospective buyers looking into an older Nissan 350Z should be aware of some of its issues. Here are five of the most common ones pointed out by actual owners.

1. A dirty throttle body

A view of the engine in the Nissan 350Z
Nissan 350Z | Getty Images

One of the Nissan 350Z’s main draws is the 3.5-liter V6 engine that’s stuffed under the hood. That potent engine makes 300 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty for a road-going sports car. However, it’s not perfect. Some owners have complained about the throttle body building up carbon and affecting the car’s performance.

As a solution, most owners clean their 350Z’s throttle body every so often to prevent the buildup from getting worse over time. In other cases, some owners replace the entire throttle body for a new one – specifically, a larger one for more power.

2. Grinding between gears

A side view of the Nissan 350Z in orange
Nissan 350Z | Getty Images

Another common complaint among Nissan 350Z owners is a grinding transmission. A few owners took to Car Complaints to voice their concerns. A few of them stated that their cars made a grinding noise when shifting from fourth gear into fifth, while others found that the third gear synchro was bad. In most cases, the transmission needs to be rebuilt or replaced.

3. Camshaft position sensor issue

Aside from a dirty throttle body, another issue that can cause the 350Z’s engine to stall is a faulty camshaft position sensor. When the camshaft position sensor goes out, vehicle sputtering, poor acceleration, and a lack of power can occur, causing the engine to shut off. Fortunately, the sensor is relatively easy to replace and costs less than $100.

4. Exhaust leaks

A rear view of the Nissan 350Z in orange
Nissan 350Z | Getty Images

Any old car can get an exhaust leak over time, especially if the car is regularly driven on snowy roads. In the Nissan 350Z’s case, an exhaust can develop where the piping splits before the catalytic converter. As such, many 350Z owners end up replacing the exhaust system with an aftermarket one, which can lead to more power. A simple weld patch can do if you don’t want to do that.

5. Paint fading and chipping

A man wipes down a Nissan 350Z roadster at an auto show.
2005 Nissan 350Z | Getty Images

Although the Nissan 350Z was built well, there are certain areas that fade faster than others over time. One common area is the paint on the front bumper, which seems to fade faster than the rest of the car, according to owner reports. The best action is to have the bumper repainted or the whole car, depending on how bad the damage is.

Is the Nissan 350Z a reliable sports car?

Despite these five common problems, the Nissan 350Z is a pretty reliable sports car. Many Z owners have enjoyed their cars for years, even with a lot of spirited driving. Considering many of them occasionally pop up on the used market, we’re sure you can find one in good condition. Just make sure that the issues above are addressed.


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