I can somewhat sympathize, but I also think you need to be realistic.
You didn't say what you were asking for the car, but what would you pay for a 3+ year old car with 65k miles when a brand new Maxima SE can be had for $25k or less? And, by the way, the difference in performance with the 255 hp 6-speed 2002/3 is significant. I have a 1995 SE 5-speed and was heavily lobbied to trade for a 2000 a few years ago. I was convinced (and auto magazine tests seem to confirm) that my 1995 was quicker than the 222 horsepower 2000/2001 model. That's not the case with the 2002/3 6-speeds. That certainly doesn't mean that your 2000 is worthless, but it is a slight factor.
I decided from about 1998 on that my 1995 Maxima was worth more to me than I could ever get in a private sale or trade in. Just last fall, I considered getting a 530i from my Nissan/BMW dealership. They apologized that, even though the Maxima was in near perfect condition, they couldn't offer me more than $5k for it (115k miles). I again decided it was worth more than that to me, kept it and bought a Honda S2000 as a fun car instead. The Maxima now has 130k miles and it STILL looks and runs like new. I've now decided that when it's time to get a new sedan, I will give away the Maxima to a family member or friend before I trade or sell it for a low price.
If you are really itching to get a new car, then you have to do what you have to do. But I might suggest you consider that you have a lot of good life left in your Maxima that others may not value as much as you. A lot of my friends and business associates (and even employees) are driving around in new $30-$100k+ cars. I am not embarassed in the least to be seen in a 8-year old Maxima with 130k miles, given the way it looks and has held up. You've got 5 years to catch up to me, and by then the resale issue won't matter as much.
Zaino is a wax/polish and is the best out there in my opinion. It will not protect better against paint chipping just like any other quality wax but the ease of use and the results of this product will amaze you. It is only sold on the internet so do a search for Zaino. Also, fiddle with your bass and treble controls on your Bose system. There is a big difference in the sound quality when you play CD's vs the radio. I have to adjust the bass down when playing most CD's but you are right when you say it has a lot of thumping bass to it. Your rear view mirror will vibrate at stop lights if you turn up the radio. Anyway, spend some time adjusting the fader and bass/treble controls while listening to your favorite cd and you should be able to find a great match.
My selling price is $14,500 and Nissan was looking at $12,000. I was thinking around 13k minimum from the dealer. All my sources including Edmunds, KBB and NADA say higher for a private party value. I guess if I don't sell in the next 30 days I may consider keeping the car.
BTW, a similar year Honda Accord EX V6 are selling in the mid to upper teens, so I figured the bigger and better Maxima should be able to bring the same resale value.
When I bought my 2001 Max, I knew it didn't have the Bose, but I had also pulled my aftermarket stereo from my old car. No biggie, except I just cannot wait at all to get the aftermarket in, since the stock stereo is pretty bad (rattles).
I have no discernable paint chips, but I bought the car used, so I probably don't look quite as close as those who buy new.
What the car is good at picking up is door dings/scratches. Park very far away from other cars if possible. That, and any kind of scratch on the black bumper (there are a few) instantly reveals the white underneath.
As for quality of paint, like I said, I don't notice significant chips, but I don't get a magnifying glass and go over my car either. Just enjoy the ride--its a great drive, folks. And if you think the paint thing is isolated to Nissan--go to the Camry boards and read the problems/complaints about paint chipping there.
I have a 2k2 6-spd Max with just over 5k miles, and since about July I've noticed that the engine pings/knocks lightly under certain conditions. The problem only occurs if the RPMs are in the range 2400-2800 and the engine is under moderate load. Under light or heavy load, or at different RPMs, I've not noticed it.
The problem is really getting to me. For one, the 3.5VQ engine is supposed to be one of the best, yet here I am at 5k miles with pinging/knocking. Second, it really takes away from the driving experience. I'm starting to get paranoid about possible long-term damage I could be doing to the engine since a large portion of my driving is under these conditions. For example, when cruising at 75mph on a long trip a lot of time is spent with the engine under moderate load and with the RPMs in that range. Because of the speed I can no longer hear the problem, but it might very well be happening for long periods of time.
As for gas I *only* use premium (93 and higher) from well-known vendors. I've also tried different stations to rule out the possibility of bad gas. Made no difference.
I took it to my local dealer about a month ago, and a mechanic rode with me on a test drive and heard the problem. But because there were no engine service codes in the computer they said they couldn't do anything about it.
I plan on taking it in again soon to the dealer I purchased it from (a different one). This time I'm going to push them harder.
Bottom line, this is not normal for a car/engine this new. And just because there's no code for it doesn't mean there's not a problem. The computer can detect many problems but not all.
My questions to people in the forum are:
1) Has anyone else ever experienced this? If so, were you able to track down the problem?
2) Anyone have any suggestions on what could be causing this? Water in the gas? Bad knock sensor (although wouldn't that generate a service code?) Bad ignition coil(s)? Bad spark plug(s)? When I bring it in I'd like to have a list of valid things they can check.
3) If you had this problem in your car, how concerned would you be? Am I justified in thinking this could cause long-term damage? Or should I think of it more as just an annoyance?
Thanks in advance for any help. I'll also be sure to post an update after I visit the dealer.