How To Open a Bonnet On a Nissan Micra

So you've just bought a Nissan Micra and want, or need to know how to open the bonnet. This post is about opening the bonnet (Hood) on the older Nissan Micra's not the newer ones. I don't think the newer ones will be much different though. OK, lets say you are sitting in the drivers seat, on the side nearest to the accelerator pedal look down to where your thigh / knee would be located.

Then look to the side of the plastic panel surround and you should see a little lever that has a tiny picture on of a car with it's bonnet (Hood) open. Put your fingers underneath it and you will feel a lip / groove. Get a grip underneath the lever and pull the lever forward towards you and the bonnet will pop onto it's latch. See the picture below (Click the image for a close look) for the correct location of the lever if your baffled.

Nissan Micra Bonnet (Hood) Release Lever
Nissan Micra Bonnet (Hood) Release Lever
Then go to the front of the car and feel under the gap that has just been created by you pulling the bonnet lever. You need to locate the latch and push it to the left in order to fully open the bonnet. This latch is located slightly off the middle to the left. See the pictures below. Click any of the images to enlarge if you need a closer look.

Micra Bonnet latch


Micra open bonnet
Push to the left

instructions guide

And that's it. Just push the lever to the left hand side and the bonnet will be opened. Have fun under there. Hope this quick guide helped you out.

What To Check When Buying a Used Car

I know there are some of you out there asking what type of things to check and look out for when buying a used car. First off, be aware that each make and model of car will have a certain set of criteria that should be checked, kind of like common faults for that model. For example, just like how certain models of the Volvo S40 can have the common problem of a failed VVT Pulley.

Where as, that's not going to be an issue or common fault with a Nissan Micra. Best thing to do is if your going down to view a car check that specific make, model and year of car online. So for example type in on Google search: Toyota Yaris 2001 common faults and you should be able to sift through the results and find the things most to look out for when buying that specific used car make, model and year. Check for recalls also. And do a Government Vehicle Enquiry (Free) to make sure all the details are correct for the car your considering viewing / buying.

Now with that out of the way here is a quick, general list of things to check when buying a used car. It's by no means a full list or procedure, but for buying a first car, or just buying a cheap car priced between £500 - £800 it should hopefully hold you in good stead. I bought a Nissan Micra 1.0L with a family member recently and these are the basic checks that I went through when viewing and test driving the car. When viewing and driving this car it was clear that it was in absolutely perfect condition, so there were a few checks that I seen as unnecessary due to the car.being in such an unused condition for it's age.

Take someone with you. A second opinion and someone to spot things you could potentially miss is very important. Taking someone with you is also beneficial when performing some of the checks talked about below. Makes them much easier as I'm sure you'll agree.

Nissan-Micra-Engine-Bay

First off, a HPI check. Whilst a car such as the silver Micra we bought, which is 14 years old might not have any outstanding finance owed, any older used car can still have been stolen, be a CAT C, or CAT D etc, so it's best to get a HPI check and have peace of mind.

Paperwork: Is everything in order like the seller stated in the ad and phone call. Look through everything in detail whether that be before you inspect / test drive the car or after. Make sure everything the seller stated like MOT, service history, repair bills, V5 log book are all accounted for.

Check the basics: Check the radio works, the heaters (Air conditioning if the car has it), all lights front and back (Full beam + brake lights when the brake is applied), indicators, wipers, window cleaner spray, seat belts, seat adjustments, boot lock, door locks (Key and central locking), mirrors, spare wheel + jack in the boot and window winders if car has them.

Look under the foot well mats for rust. If the windows are electric turn the key and check they go up and down correctly. I made this mistake once myself. Didn't check the windows and while driving the car home thought I'd put the drivers side electric window down and it literally just fell into the door at an angle. It wasn't on it's track at all. Needless to say this cost me money to repair.

Look for any obvious damage on the outside of the car. Check the joins, spacing of the panels and bumpers. If they don't look right this can indicate the car may have been involved in an accident that hasn't been declared and could have been fixed cheaply. Hidden chassis damage or a weakness that's been created by a crash could be hiding out of view. Before you pop the bonnet (Hood) check both of the front spacings of the bonnet, differences between the widths can, although not always, be an indicator of an undeclared fix that may not have been fixed to a decent, or even road worthy standard.

Pop the bonnet (Hood). Don't start the car. Visually inspect the engine for any leaks. The engine should be dry. Is there coolant or oil on the engine. If so, walk away as this could be a number of different problems from minor to major and will most probably cost you money at some point. Not worth the hassle. Check all the fluid levels, especially the engine oil and engine coolant.

The engine oil should be at either max or slightly lower than max on the oil level stick. The oil should also be nice and clear in colour. If the oil is very low, really black in colour, or has bits in and looks dirty walk away. The same goes for the coolant, if it's very low or non existent walk away. Again, this can mean a number of various problems or just indicate a poorly maintained car that's not worth the hassle.

Get down on the floor and look underneath the front of the car at the engine. Are there any visible leaks / wet patches underneath. If so where is the leak coming from. Touch the leaking liquid with a finger..Is it oil, coolant, or something else like water. Has it been raining. if it has and the liquid look to be water there's nothing to worry about.

If you see a small black metal box while looking under the engine that looks to have a very light smearing of oil on, that is the gearbox oil and a light smearing (dependent on car model) is considered OK. If it's leaking oil walk away. Look at the floor where the car has been parked. Are there any fresh liquid marks on the floor directly below where the car engine has been located. If so investigate further. Other than that check for excessive rust and DIY fixes. Push down on the front of the car bonnet (Hood) and listen for any strange noises from the suspension. Is the car even (level) when looking at the car from a distance at the front.


If all seems well close the bonnet (Hood) and go to the side of the car, get down on the floor again and look under the car. Look for obvious damage, excessive rust, broken welding and seals, and DIY fixes. Is everything sealed, tidy, and secure . Check the exhaust for rust and holes, including the joints. Give the exhaust a pull with your hand, is it solid and secure.

What are the bumpers like, do they have a few scrapes..If so, what colour is the paint underneath. Does it match the car colour, if not ask the seller why. If it's a generic gray colour that's OK. Make sure you don't mistake the car colour that the car your viewing might have had a scrape with (There could be paint left from the other car) for the colour of the paint work underneath. Give it a little scratch to make sure.

Have a look at the tyres, how much tread do they have..Is the wear even across the tyre. If not do the tyres look deflated. If they are not deflated to the point of causing uneven wear it could be that the wheel alignments are out of balance. Or, depending on how many wheel treads are worn unevenly, it could mean various things, one being that the car could have been involved in an accident. Check the brake disk levels, and also look to see if they have worn down evenly. Not really a deal breaker but could cost you money at some point in the future (MOT renewal).

Now go and open the car and turn the steering wheel all the way to the left, get out the car and inspect the inside of the wheel joint. Can you see any obvious damage, Is everything joined securely, any liquid anywhere..If everything looks fine do the same inspection for the right hand side.

Now it's time to start the car. Turn the car on. One of the most important things to do here is to listen for any strange noises that occur when the car starts and is ticking over. Did the car start first time from cold. Have all the warning / management lights gone off now that the car has started. Were there any strange noises when the car was going through the key turn and ignite (Engine starting) process? Now that the car is running does it sound nice and quiet. Without putting your foot on the accelerator, Is it sitting calmly when you listen to the revs and look at the rev needle. Is the car sitting in low idle (Usually at around 1 on the rev counter) where it should be.

Please note: The idle will be slightly higher than 1 when the car has been started from cold but should soon drop down to 1 or slightly under. Let the car sit running for a while without engaging anything and just listen. Is there any weird loud or underlying noises. Is the car shaking, is the gearbox shaking or is everything nice and calm. Rev the car hard and get someone to observe the smoke that comes out of the exhaust pipe. The smoke should be clear (Grey), not dark and murky.

Once the car has sat for a few minutes check that the idle has dropped. If everything seems good, while in neutral put your foot down on the clutch. Any strange noises when the clutch is engaged? Now try the accelerator, give the car a rev, does it sound clear and responsive?

Now for the important part, the test drive. Firstly, put the car in 1st gear and apply some light acceleration (Gas), pull up on the clutch to get the bite, but keep the handbrake up. Does the handbrake appear strong enough to keep the car from pulling off? If so take up the handbrake and go for a drive. Remember to turn the radio off and don't talk too much to the seller. Just listen to the car and feel the cars responses while you drive. Go through the gears and get the car up to the speed limit.

Does the car get up to speed OK. How smooth are the gear changes. Is the response time when changing gear, releasing the clutch, and adding some acceleration on point, or does the clutch feel like it's slipping? How are the brakes, do they feel spongy and take a while to respond or are they sensitive, smooth, and quick to engage. Make sure to take the car around both right and left hand turns.

Listen for knocks coming from the front end of the car as you turn the wheel to take the corners and then straighten up. Go over some bumps, such as speed bumps, and listen for noises / clunky sounds from the suspension and the front of the car as you do so. Do a full turning circle in both directions and listen for knocks when turning the steering wheel. If you hear something strange when checking anything open the window if you think it will help you listen out for the noise better.

Remember: A noise / problem might be heard better when outside the car rather than inside with the windows up. While driving on a straight road at a reasonable speed slightly and safely decrease your grip of the steering wheel in order to find out whether the car pulls / drifts to the right or left. When it's safe to do so get the car up to at least 60mph, going through all the gears. Is it smooth and quiet, does it pull well.

If it's got one, what's the temperature gauge looking like, is it within the middle somewhere. After a decent drive on the faster roads take it to a residential street. Go round more corners and over some bumps if possible, listen to the car for bumps, knocks, and any other strange noises. Check reverse gear. Does the gearbox easily select reverse.

Go through the gears again, are any gear selections stiff even though the car is warm. Do full turning circles each way in reverse. Do an emergency stop on a quiet road. Now that the car has been running a while pull over somewhere and open the bonnet while the car is still running. Does the engine sound OK. Ticking over nicely.. Inspect the engine bay, is it still dry? No oil / coolant, or any other liquid visible on or around the engine? Look underneath the whole car and do the same checks.

Close the bonnet and let the car remain running. Sit in the car or stand close by in order to listen out for if / when the fan comes on when the car starts to overheat. This should be automatic and you should be able to hear the fan once it starts running. Turn the car completely off, wait a few seconds and then start it back up again. Listen to the car on start up and idle.

Do all the engine management, warning, and airbag lights go out a few seconds after starting the car. Rev the car a little, does everything sound good with no strange noises. Go through the gears while sitting stationary, does each one, including reverse, engage smoothly. And that's about it. Depending on the results of the tests / checks it's make your mind up time on whether you want to buy the car or not. All my checks received full marks and the Nissan Micra was bought.

Patience Pays When Buying a Used Car

Recently a family member had been looking to buy his first car. He had from between £500 - £800 to spend. He wanted something that was cheap to buy and cheap to insure and he wasn't too concerned about what the car looked like, just as long as it was a good reliable first car. With me being more experienced in car buying than he is, old muggins here was given the job of helping him find a car, and of course that also means going with him to check the car over and offer him a few tips on what to look out for when buying the car.

First things first, he asked me what type of car I would get if I had £500 - £800 to spend and wanted something reliable. Just like I recommend to everyone else in the Best cheap used cars list for new drivers post, it has to be one of the older model Japanese cars.

A Toyota Yaris, Toyota Starlet, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, or a Nissan Micra. When he had a look at the Nissan Micra (Older model) on Autotrader he laughed but made his mind up that that was the kind of car he wanted for his first car. So then the searching began. Everyday he would look on Autotrader for a decent Nissan Micra. A few came up here and there that were suitable.

He phoned them up with a set of questions to ask the seller, but for one reason or another it just wasn't to be. It was either there was more to the Advert, you know the types, where the Ad sounds great but when you actually ring the seller up some of their answers just raise alarm bells like "Yeah mate the cars not registered to me and if you want to come and have a look at it it's permanently parked on the Bell Inn Pub car park".

Or there is damage to the car that can't be seen in the Advert pictures etc. With there being so many Nissan Micra's coming up for sale each week it's not worth the time, money and effort to waste time dealing with one that sounds a little suspicious. A few weeks of looking turned in a month of searching.

Then out of nowhere a really nice low mileage silver Micra 1.0L with full service history and only 40k miles came up for sale Autotrader which was within budget. Sadly it wasn't to be. The car went on Autotrader on the night of a week day and by the time we called, which was the next day in the morning, we were informed by the seller that there was already a sharp eyed buyer down there with him looking at the car. This was at 9am. The person bought the car.

I don't blame him as it was a genuine car with low miles for it's age being sold by an older gentleman that had really looked after it. My family member was quite disappointed that this car was sold so fast. But I told him to be patient and that something else would come along. But I think he was starting to lose hope because he hasn't driven since passing his test and is now at the stage where he wants to just buy a car and get out on the road driving and gaining experience.

A few weeks of looking later and would you believe it, a second Nissan Micra 1.0L, this time an even better one. If you could find the perfect used Nissan Micra for sale this had to be as close as you were going to get. You know the story that some, not all, trade sellers use when they want to attract some interest. They say "Car was owned by a little old lady and has hardly been used in recent years". Well, most of us know that's usually a lie just to pull in unsuspecting buyers, but this Micra that came up for sale really was owned by an 80 year old woman who had given up driving due to her age. This Micra is a 2001 model which had a little more than 9.4K miles on the clock when it was bought.


Amazing, it really has hardly been used. And to top it off the service history was absolutely unbelievable. It had been serviced every 400 - 500 miles (Last serviced at 8,950 miles) and it had a full MOT, with 4 brand new tyres being put on the car at the same time the MOT was carried out. The car is also in almost pristine condition inside and out.


Needless to say, we didn't want to miss out on this car like we did on the last one (Also a silver Micra) so we went down there straight away, checked through all the paperwork and gave the car a good check over and test drive. Everything was perfect, so the seller got the £800 that she asked for. A great bargain for a car that has barely even been broken in. 

The moral of this story is don't get desperate. Don't just buy any old car because your getting impatient. Hold out, keep looking and something nice will come along eventually. My family member has ended up with a great first car. His patience has paid off. I almost feel sorry for the car with it being in such an unused condition and now having to take the upcoming abuse that a new driver is going to put it through!.


A word of warning: If you do an insurance quote online for the car you're going to view, and possibly buy it would be better and cheaper for you to complete the buying of your car insurance, if / when you buy the car on a Smart phone with Internet access. This way all your information is already saved and all you have to do is use your phone to accept the quote and pay by entering your card details and the insurance is then valid, so you can drive the car away (Don't forger to tax the car also).

If you do your insurance quote online and then take the quote reference number with you so that you can phone up the insurance company and give them the reference in order to buy the car insurance they will have to go through every single detail with you again which can be costly when using a mobile phone.

My family member had £15 phone credit for this phone call and it still wasn't enough. He got cut off due to the credit running out, but luckily the insurance company (Go Skippy) phoned him back. If you have a phone contract that has the Internet included (3G or 4G) save the quote and then just retrieve it once you have bought the car and buy the insurance from your phone.

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