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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 8
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,667 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Nissan Maxima electrical problems

electrical problem

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1998 Nissan Maxima Owner Comments

problem #11

Oct 312014


  • 170,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that while driving approximately 10 mph, smoke started to emit from the engine compartment. The vehicle was merged over to the side of the road where the contact noticed the presence of fire coming from the alternator. The contact was able to extinguish the fire. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. The dealer was contacted and indicated that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 02V171000 (electrical system). The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 170,000.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #10

Nov 302006

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 125,996 miles
On 30 November 2006 I started the car which then quit running and started smoking from under the hood. I could see the alternator was burning so I pulled the battery cable to stop the fire. Damage affected the alternator, electrical connector and some wiring. I discovered there was a recall for defective alternators on this vehicle. My alternator failure appears to be the same as the failures covered by the NHTSA campaign id 02V171000 dated June 24, 2002. I contacted Nissan on December 1, 2006 who stated my VIN was within the range of vehicles for this recall and they would contact the dealer after further research. I contacted the dealer who stated it appeared the vehicle should be covered by the recall but could not proceed until authorization from Nissan. On 8 December, 2006, after 7 days, Nissan contacted me and stated my VIN was not included in the recall and refused to fix the defective alternator. Nissan could not explain how my VIN was within the range of vehicles affected by the recall but my particular VIN was not included. I had the vehicle repaired at my expense and had to turn-in the defective alternator as a core so the defective alternator is not available for inspection. It appears the range of defective alternators is larger than Nissan is willing to accept responsibility. This is a safety defect that needs to be addressed and Nissan held accountable. The damage could have been much worse.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #9

Apr 172006

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles
: the contact stated the alternator caught on fire. There is an NHTSA recall, # 02V171000 regarding the electrical system: Alternator/generator/regulator. The vehicle has the same problems as indicated in the recall; however it is not included in the recall due to the VIN.

- Bristol, CT, USA

problem #8

Mar 162006


  • miles


On Thursday, March 16, 2006 at approximately 10:15am I went out to my driveway and started my 1998 Nissan Maxima. Upon starting there was a terrible grinding noise. I turned the car off and restated it at which time the car began smoking. I drove the car directly to my independent service station (approximately 1/4 mile ) for them to check the vehicle. Upon opening the hood, we observed fire, which was extinguished. Further observation confirmed that the alternator had caught fire and the service station made the repairs. The old parts are available for inspection. As there is a recall on some 1998 Nissan Maxima's for this problem I can't understand why this matter is being taken so lightly. The next time this occurs, the results could be tragic.

- Greenlawn, NY, USA

problem #7

Jul 222005

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Recall-Nissan Maxima alternator, recall, does not need to be original owner. Before I was informed of recall alternator stopped working (on highway going 55 lucky to be alive)! after repairs were made, car came out of repair shop with air bag light blinking. Took car to Nissan. After paying $100, they informed me side air bags were faulty and they're not sure if front air bags will work properly. After I was informed of recall I brought car back to Nissan, they replaced new alternator with another new alternator and paid me for the first alternator. My claim is that the faulty alternator under a recall notice caused my air bags to stop working. Nissan has informed me it's possible we will look into it. Have not heard anything from Nissan. They did inform me it would cost $1,200 to fix. So now my son is driving the car without knowing one way or the other if the air bags will work. Nissans not sure if fronts will work! Nissan needs to replace air bags at there cost. There product caused the problem.

- Wheeling, IL, USA

problem #6

Dec 152005

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles
The contact stated while pulling out of the driveway the alternator caught on fire, and the fire was immediately extinguished. The vehicle has not been taken to dealership yet for inspection. The alternator was replaced prior to this incident under NHTSA recall 02V171000.the manufacturer has agreed to fix the vehicle under the recall. The repairs have not made.

- Shawnee , KS, USA

problem #5

Aug 152005

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,336 miles


There is a recall for the alternator, however, Nissan stated this vehicle was not included in the recall due to VIN. The consumer started the vehicle and could hear a sound and viewed smoke coming from under the hood. The consumer opened the hood and saw fire in middle of the alternator. This happened on August 15, 2005. The vehicle was repaired. The consumer kept the bad alternator. Recall campaign# 02V171000. The consumer requested reimbursement for the replacement of the alternator. There was also a vibration in the steering wheel while driving on the highway.

- Warick, RI, USA

problem #4

Nov 012004


  • miles
Vehicle caught on fire. Recall 02V171000 was issued. Consumer was told that his vehicle was not included in the recall due to VIN. When the consumer started the vehicle he noticed smoke coming from the engine compartment. As the hood was opened fire was seen burning inside the alternator. After testing the alternator results confirmed that the malfuntion to be identical with the basis of the recall campaign. The dealer replaced the faultyalternator with a new one.

- Framingham, MA, USA

problem #3

Mar 062004

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles
1998 Nissan Maxima, VIN # [xxx]. I check the recall VIN # on this vehicle and it was not in the range of #'s. but my alternator started on fire in my driveway when I started it up that night. It did everything the recall stated it would. I am calling the dealer tomorrow to see if its covered. Updated 07/26/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Torrington , CT, USA

problem #2

Jul 142002


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
A clicking noise was coming from front of vehicle that was getting louder and louder. Engine light illuminated and engine shut off. Took vehicle to dealer who stated it was the alternater, not to use rear defogger because it may result in a vehicle fire, also dealer told consumer not to fix it because there was going to be a recall.

- Saint Albans, VT, USA

problem #1

Jul 232002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle stalled and started smoking in a busy intersection while making a turn. Engine failed with no dasbboard warning lights. Vehicle was diagnosed for a loose wire in alternator which could have caused an electrical fire to vehicle. Consumer just received NHTSA recall 02-V-171-000/ manufacturer's recall for the same problem that occurred.

- Tamarc, FL, USA

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