2008 Nissan Xterra pre-purchase inspection


New member
I've been searching for the right Xterra to fit my needs and my budget. My fiance has given me the okay to reach out to a seller about a 2008 Xterra, which is 4-5 months before previously planned.

I knew I wanted a 2nd Gen Off-road package, but I couldn't find them really. While searching I found this:


It's a 2008 Nissan Xterra Off-Road, 6sp Manual, with 101k miles. Has an unspecified lift, and 285/75/16 (as far as I can tell) BFG KO2 tires already installed. The paint looks good, the plastic shows that it sits outside a lot, but the paint does not seem to have already started to oxidize, which indicates some form of sealant or protection on the paint. Engine bay doesn't look overly clean (hiding any problems), but looks in good condition. Besides asking about accident history, maintenance, and major services like timing belt (or chain, I'm not familiar with the 4.0) and water pump, what do I need to ask or look for in the test drive?

I plan on making a 3 hour drive to see it on Sunday, unless the seller makes me feel like I don't want it. I want to go with a check list of things to look for, in case the seller is trying to hide something.

Thanks in advance.

Edit: Also I tried searching for a "buying guide" but I couldn't find one. If I missed it, I'd be happy to read something that is already written out.
Last edited:


Looks like a good one. '08 was the first year for the good rear diff. No automatic transmission issues. Only thing I see is aftermarket intake. Don't see anything alarming in the pictures. If you like the MT, the 6-speed is a sweet one to drive.


New member
What about obvious warning signs to look for while I inspect it? For example, in a 3rd Gen T4R the lower ball joints are prone to fail, and a way to recognize impending failure in clunking during turns. Any tips or tricks for recognizing common failures?


when looking at older vehicles don't be afraid to crawl under and over them. bring a flashlight. Look for oil leaks. ask for a service history. lift the carpets. ask yourself why are they selling it.
When buying a used 4x4 I always think that somebody has done something stupid with it at least once. Look for grass and mud jammed up into frame rails and things like that.
Keep in mind you are buying a 10 year old truck. stuff will have to be serviced. ball joints, tie rod ends, shocks, are all wear items. if you can do it yourself all the better.
Last year I bought a 1.5 gen 2002 Xterra, changed all the fluids and drove it 10,000 km on a 3 week vacation. since then I've replaced the shocks, tires, most of the front end, added leafs to the rear springs, replaced most of the fluids again and am about to do the brakes. I'm lovein' every minute of it. btw I'm not a mechanic just a guy with some tools and a Hayes manual. I did all the work on the street.
Nissan did the X right.


Since it is an Offroad the biggest one I can think of is the rear locker. Make sure the transfer case works, shifts 4 hi and 4 lo. When in 4 lo engage the rear locker the diff lock light should flash for a few seconds then turn solid. If it just continues to flash then it is not working


New member
Thanks y'all! Hopefully I can get to look at it before it is sold. Unfortunately I believe that it is going to be sold before the weekend.


New member
Carfax tells me it is a northern car until the last 2-3 years. Any major rust areas to be concerned about? Seller says surface rust, and I am getting him to send me pictures of the underside.


I bought a 2007 Frontier with that many miles on it a while back. Things that failed pretty quickly were the cruise control and fuel censor. They should be pretty obvious if they are working correctly however.