Notes: The 2004-2006 Nissan Maxima has widespread transmission problems. It starts with the vehicle jerking when shifting, & progresses to full-blown transmission failure.

Maxima owners report spending $3,000 to replace the transmission, typically around when the odometer hits 100,000 miles.

There's a class action lawsuit filed in late 2011, & it is still in the "discovery" stage. Apparently, these things take time ... far too much time.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
89,642 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.

2004 Nissan Maxima drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Nissan Maxima Owner Comments (Page 11 of 16)

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problem #102

Jul 042011


  • 180,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that the vehicle would violently jerk into gear when shifting from reverse to drive. The dealer was notified and stated that they would replace the entire transmission at the owner's expense. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 180,000.

- Pace, FL, USA

problem #101

Feb 262010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • miles
I am a Nissan Maxima lover!! I have had a 95 max, a 00 max, and now a 04 max. I had no major problems what so ever with my Maximas except for this 04. This car is literally driving me crazy! first the car started jerking. Then my windows started sticking my driver and passenger window will go down then sometimes not come back up.then later it started making this embarrassing rattling noise. Everytime I got an oil change it would stop for a while. I needed a dependable car which is why I got another Nissan but about two weeks ago I was grocery shopping with my kids and as I turned on the highway headed home the whole car shut down in the middle of traffic. How dangerous is that. I managed to coast to a gas station and had to call aaa to tow it home now I am stuck with a car that I cannot drive and have to continue to make car payments on. Ive been told it was a mixture of my transmission and timing chain.there have been several reports on this site with transmission and timing chain problems. Unless Nissan does something about this my next car will be a Ford Fusion! love my Maxima but cannot endanger my kids with an undependable vehicle. With all that business Nissan gets what harm will it cause for you to help your customers fix cars that you caused the problem to with this faulty engine and transmission problems. It would keep customers like me coming back to Nissan. I do like the new models but I dont want to go through this problem with a newer car. Nissan what are you going to do"???"

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #100

Nov 152011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • miles
I took possession of this vehicle around the 14th of November and this vehicle has been returned back to the dealership 6 times within a two week period. I think this could possible be a flood car there is a smell of mildew and the visor are water damaged. To this day the vehicle has not been fixed and it is the 26th day of December 2011. The transmission seems to be slipping and I am afraid to enter traffic as the car stalls and then sticks upon accelerating. The check engine light as well as the brake and ABS lights are constantly on when the dealership stated that they had turned them off. I can smell fumes upon starting and driving this car. I am parent and I don't like to give my child or any other person a ride because of the smells. The tires were bald on the car and twice when it rained I almost has 2 major collisions when the vehicle veered into the other lane driving 45 in a 65 mph zone. I am filing a complaint because I don't think this car is a good car. I have contacted the finance company and they are stating this is out of there hands. I have taken pictures of the different item that seems to be water damaged. I also will be filing a complaint with the consumer law group regarding this matter.

- Manchester, CT, USA

problem #99

Dec 082009


  • 89,000 miles


At approximately 89000 miles the transmission started shifting hard from 1st to 2nd gear. Nissan dealers told us that there was nothing wrong with the transmission. As time went on it continued to do the same thing. Just recently we noticed that the transmission was doing the same thing but got worse and would slip and bang into gear at take off. This has been dangerous because when you step on the gas it hesitates for a few seconds before it takes off making it dangerous in traffic. We notified the Nissan dealers again and they told us that they never heard of any problems with this transmission. We have been lied to many times by the service centers of the dealer. We currently bought a new 2010 Maxima and things seem to be ok. I really wish that Nissan would own up to the premature failure of this transmission. I recently brought the car to an independent transmission shop and was quoted a $3600 replacement cost. I believe this is unfair and that before someone gets hurt or killed they should replace this faulty part at no cost and regardless of mileage.

- Taunton, MA, USA

problem #98

Jun 012010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
When the problem initially started you could hear a very loud rattling noise. Nissan certified dealer could not figure out the problem. Last month they gave me a list which was half printed and half written meaning that the most costly, expensive, and important item were not put in their database system. The certified mechanic basically told me to get rid of the car ( car needs a new transmission due to broken tensioner, main chain). In order for them just to confirm that-that's the problem, it would apps. Take 8 labor hours to take the motor apart. The car feels like it is literally going to fall apart.

- Berwyn, IL, USA

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problem #97

Jun 302011


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. While driving approximately 5 mph in reverse, the contact shifted into drive and the vehicle began to jerk violently. The failure occurred whenever the vehicle was in operation. The contact planned to take the vehicle to an auto transmission shop for diagnosis. The manufacturer was not notified of the defect. The failure mileage and the VIN were unavailable.

- Teaneck, NJ, USA

problem #96

Nov 152011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 74,600 miles


The transmission shifts out of gear and pops back in at will, I've had it looked at by a mechanic who sees no physical signs of undue wear. He cleaned filter and put in Nissan transmission fluid to no avail. I fear this defect will happen at an inopportune time and get me or my family injured or worse. Hundreds of similar complaints exist about this car model and years 2004-2006. The transmission also shifts very roughly in lower gears, even when I expect a bad shift I can't tell when it will happen.this occurs during speeds of 0 to 60. I've read numerous reports of multiple transmission failures after Nissan replaced the original. This is a faulty piece of manufacturing. Nissan needs to replace this transmission with a different type or re-engineer the existing one.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #95

Dec 142011


  • 100,000 miles
I purchased this vehicle in 2009 with 99,000 miles on it. It ran excellent. At the first of this year, 2011 it started hesitating when going from reverse to 1st. The problem then progressed into when letting my foot off the gas and reapplying it going to 4 RPM then slamming into gear. The main problem would be when going below 40 miles an hour. Today, Dec 2011, it slipped and slammed into gear, the check engine light came on and the car would barely go. Nissan says I have to replace the transmission at $4500. I have read so many forums and complaints about 2004 Maximas with the same problem. 600 plus... with the exact same problems. How long before Nissan honors their customers and does some type of recall on this situation.

- Center, TX, USA

problem #94

May 012011


  • miles
The contact owns a owns a 2002 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that the vehicle would jerk while driving at all speeds. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and the contact was informed that a valve body near the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Astoria, NY, USA

problem #93

Dec 062011


  • 75,000 miles
Transmission jerks from 1st to 2nd gear. Wont shift into 3rd. Makes a very hard jerk while shifting gears and won't go to 2nd sometimes.

- Carmichael, CA, USA

problem #92

Nov 302011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


When shifting from drive to reverse the hard hesitated and shifted hard making a loud noise. It then did not go into drive properly either. It has also started to shift hard between 1st and 2nd gears.

- Midland, TX, USA

problem #91

Jun 152011


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact placed the gear into drive from reverse and noticed the vehicle began to hesitate and jerk before it shifted into drive. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing and was advised that the transmission had to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 105,000.

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #90

Nov 012011


  • 160,000 miles
Told by a trans. Shop I need a new valve body & or a new transmission for my 2004 Maxima. Was told by the shop that this is a huge problem with Nissan Maximas. Owner said I was the third Maxima @ his shop with the same problem this month!

- Plainfield, IL, USA

problem #89

Apr 102011


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact was driving 35 mph when the transmission caused the vehicle to jerk abnormally before shifting into gear. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 84,000.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #88

Oct 262011


  • 11,600 miles
Faulty transmission, needs to be replaced, Nissan should have recalled these models and taken care of the issues.

- Lebanon, KY, USA

problem #87

Mar 012011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Based on what I have read online, this is the same transmission issue that thousands of other 6th generation Nissan Maxima owners are experiencing. My 2004 Nissan Maxima's automatic transmission shifts violently during a change from 1st to 2nd gear, 2nd to 1st and drive to reverse. During this time, the car is unable to accelerate for about 2 seconds and when it does it jerks it so hard it feels like I was rear-ended. This happens on about 20 to 30% of the shifts from 1st to 2nd gear and a little less often in the other two situations. I has nearly caused me to get into 2 accidents over the past 6 months when the car would not accelerate when coming off the shoulder and onto the freeway. This transmission issue is very hazardous and needs to be recalled by Nissan.

- Derwood, MD, USA

problem #86

Oct 232011


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. While driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle began to shake vigorously and the contact heard a rattling sound. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing and the vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #85

Oct 032011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
My 2004 Nissan Maxima has been a perfect car, needing only routine maintenance until recently. I'm at 130,000 miles and over the last few hundred miles the car has been jerking and slamming into gear when I go from park to reverse, drive to brake/stop to reverse, and driving at a slow speed (ie: Taking a corner) and then accelerating. I took the car into my mechanic, and he told me the tranny is on the way out. I've been keeping tabs on the forums and have found that this is becoming a very serious issue. I hope Nissan steps up and fixes these issues, because I'm ready to sell my car, and I don't really want to have to do that.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #84

May 052009

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
I have a 2004 Nissan Maxima with very bad transmission issues...slipping-jerking-jumping-kicking between 1-2nd gear. It is very embarassing to ride anyone in it and the dealership want over 4 thousand to fix help. Is there a recall on these transmissions anyone know.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #83

Jul 152011


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that the vehicle jerked violently when shifting gears. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who performed a diagnostic that located the failure at the transmission and recommended having the transmission replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 82,000.

- Allentown , PA, USA

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