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Check Engine Light
Both Maxima and Legacy owners dread the appearance of this little light. In the Nissan, it's most likely a failed ignition coil. This part transforms the car battery voltage into a higher voltage required for starting. This problem appears more often in Maximas with over 140,000 miles. The cost to replace the ignition coil runs around $400, parts and labor.
The check engine light on the Subaru Legacy is more often due to a failed oxygen sensor. The O2 sensor measures the oxygen level in the exhaust and can affect fuel consumption. This part fails more frequently in models with over 110,000 miles. The repair costs around $200.
Legacy Sound System Problems
It's not uncommon for the Legacy to have sound system failures at 140,000 miles or more. The speakers might not work or only function intermittently. Hitting a bump might also cause the radio to shut off. Repair costs here can vary, but the typical charge is around $600.
Nissan Check Engine Light Part 2
The Nissan check engine light also may appear due to oil leaking from the camshaft position sensor. Difficulty with stalling and acceleration might occur as well. The repair costs around $250 and is more frequent in models with over 104,000 miles.
Some repairs are especially costly. In Maximas with over 120,000 miles, the power steering pump may begin to malfunction. This produces a clunking or knocking sound when driving over uneven terrain. Steering might be affected with abnormal noises heard when turning the steering wheel. A Nissan Maxima power steering pump replacement costs around $1,250, parts and labor.
Now, if you begin to feel your Legacy vibrating or shuddering at around 116,000 miles, it may be a transmission problem. It's more noticeable when the car shifts gears. Legacy transmission repair can be expensive, costing up to $2,000 or more.
Even more costly is a Subaru Legacy head gasket failure, seen more often at 110,000 miles or more. AC malfunction, fluid leaks, and engine overheating can occur when the head gasket fails. The repair costs are around $3,000.
How To Pay For Car Repairs
Whenever you take your car to the shop for repair, ask if the breakdown is covered by a recall. Manufacturers sometimes issue frequent recalls, so it pays to inquire. If not, check your mileage and vehicle age to see if your factory warranty is still valid. Many unexpected repairs are paid for in this manner.
If neither of these options appears, then you'll probably have to pay out-of-pocket. For this reason, some Maxima and Legacy owners purchase an extended auto warranty when the factory warranty expires. In this way, unexpected repair costs remain covered.
Joe Campanella is the Executive Vice President, Business Development for CARCHEX, a leading provider of vehicle protection and vehicle inspection services. Joe received his B.S. in Engineering from the University of Maryland. He is an Advisory Board Member for Mothers Against Drunk Driving - Maryland, and is a licensed property & casualty insurance producer in the states of California and Maryland.