Note that seat leather that looks dried up and beef-jerky-like has typically been very wet at some point in its life. Many owners recommend annual cleaning of the Z’s convertible body drainage system too, by clearing the tiny water passageways with a piece of weed-whacker wire or a blast of compressed air.
Be on the lookout for signs of tire and brake wear, as well as clutch wear (if applicable), which could indicate that the Z you’re after was driven hard and may need some attention. A mechanic can help make the checks if you’re not sure how. Note that brakes will typically make a tremendously annoying squeal when they need to be replaced, and that a worn clutch will typically exhibit slip in low-rpm, heavy-throttle situations.
Scrutinize the condition of the Z’s paint job, noting that numerous owners have complained of poor durability of their vehicle’s finish, evidenced by premature chipping or peeling of paint in vulnerable areas. Check the hood edge and front fenders. Many owners say that a clear-film bra treatment should be considered mandatory on this machine.
Do not buy a heavily modified Z unless you’re knowledgeable on tuning and fully aware of the type and quality of modification work carried out. It’s tough to find a totally stock Z in the used marketplace, and simple intake and exhaust upgrades are generally safe. Thing is, extreme caution should be exercised if the former owner has modified the engine electronics, installed nitrous or upgraded engine internals. Improper execution of any of the above could turn the engine inside out with little notice. Modified cars can be a blast – but they can also leave new owners with somebody else’s headache.
Be wary of aftermarket wheels, too. A good set is no cause for alarm, but a cheap set could be damaged easily on a hard bump or pothole. Nothing ruins a Sunday drive like turning one of your Z’s pricey wheels into an octagon, so be sure any aftermarket wheels are of high quality.
Note that if you plan on partaking in motorsports with your new-to-you Z, or if you’ll drive it hard in a hot climate, you may want to consider an aftermarket oil cooler. Numerous owners have documented an issue where the Z’s oil temperature creeps above acceptable levels during hard driving, putting the car into ‘limp’ mode to protect the engine. Here’s some reading and more. Note that from 2012, an improved oil cooler installed at the factory helped alleviate this problem.
If the service history of the Z you’re considering is unclear, budget for a full tune-up and fluid change, including engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and rear differential fluid, using factory-specified fluids for maximum peace of mind.
The Verdict: The majority of 370Z owners report minor issues, if any at all. The 370Z, like the mechanically similar but 2+2 Infiniti G37, are arguably the most reliable and trouble-free sports coupes on the road in their categories. Buy confidently once you’ve confirmed that all maintenance work has been kept up to date.
Just one recall.
Crash Test Ratings: N/A
Here’s some more Nissan 370Z related reading from your pals at Autos.ca.