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I have a little old, 75 Year old lady, mother that has a 90 Nissan Sentra.

She needs a new, (to her), car and she found a 2007 PTC with 150K miles for $5000. 4-cyl, auto, air, paint is good, interior is good, pretty basic. It is 17 years newer than her current vehicle so I'm hoping it will be better than her current vehicle as well. She lives 375 miles away so I can not do this in person for her. I went to see her for Thanksgiving day and had to come right back. I test drove the car for a few minutes and found these problems. The used car dealer said "THEY ALL (ptc's) ARE THIS WAY".

She will probably put between 500-1000 miles a year on it, so it will be maybe 2-3 times a week to the grocery store & doctors visits.

My questions:

1. The engine noise inside the passenger compartment is loud but the exhaust system appears to be intact. Noise at idle is high and at highway speed is worse. What could be causing this? Wrong exhaust? Motor mounts? Something else?

2. The automatic trans has a soft 1-2 almost no feel to the shift quality, is this normal? Somewhat normal? Danger? Any advice?

3. There is a light clunk when driving over rough parts of the road. Is this possibly upper strut bearings, ball joints? something else??

4. Is there any other common weak part(s) of this vehicle that should be looked into before purchasing? The deal is almost done, Monday the car dealer will do some minor fix-up to the car at a supposed mechanic, is there something they should look at with special attention??

My mom won't be around much longer. She is on oxygen and has been hospitalized 3 times in the last 18 months, so I am thinking it would probably only need to last 2000-4000 miles and maybe 3 years with minimal attention & repair. Is this car worthwhile?

Thanks in advance for all your thoughts.
 
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