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 13 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #62

Aug 012011


  • 96,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that the vehicle would jerk violently and increase in engine rpms when shifting at highway speeds. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who diagnosed that the transmission was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was no longer under warranty.the VIN was not available. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 96,000.

- Carson , CA, USA

problem #61

Aug 102011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Transmission hesitates when shifting up, when shifting from drive to reverse, and then jerks the car hard. It also jerks hard when down shifting when stopping.

- Sewell, NJ, USA

problem #60

Sep 102011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • miles
The transmission is slipping on my 2004 Nissan Maxima. It creates a hard jerk right after a slow start.

- District Heights , MD, USA

problem #59

Sep 102011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


I am a small independent car dealer. This is just one Maxima I have purchased from an auction. I can't believe how ridiculous the 04-05 Nissan Maxima transmissions are. I bought the one indicated by the VIN number thinking I was getting a good deal. However, I was very wrong! I as a small independent business owner cant believe the amount of bad transmissions I have seen on these year model Maxima's. there should be a recall issued for all 04-05 Maxima's. I have seen the same symptoms with a large amount of Maxima's. for the amount of miles on the Nissan Maximas that I come across, this should not be happening. This includes slipping and jerking of the transmission, which in turns wears out the motor/transmission mounts, which in turn cost even more money beyond the transmission help our consumers and protect small independent dealers from these kinds of problems.

- San Angelo, TX, USA

problem #58

Apr 052011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
Yes I brought my 2004 Maxima into Nissan dealership at 58,000 miles for loud noise on cold start up's, coming from passenger side of motor and Nissan tech told me that I didn't have Nissan oil filter and it not purging the oil to top of motor on cold starts. So I recently had oil change a few hundred miles before so not changing it till next required oil change at 61,000 when it came time brought it to Nissan for oil change because they have special oil filters I guess. Well now at 65000 miles my noise is there all the time hot or cold and cold start is the worse and even when its running, and its not the oil filter there's is no different than any other brand and it is the plastic guides in the timing chain that have failed and now it's my problem to fix around 2000 dollars to fix and Nissan says it's out of warranty so they won't coverit well Nissan was wrong again Nissan is aware of their faulty parts you can search the original part number for my Maxima and you will find a new part number for the guides because Nissan changed part number and material when making the new part without a recall or consumers knowledge of them doing it.

- Auburn, NY, USA

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problem #57

Jun 202011


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that the vehicle was stopped when she applied the accelerator pedal, but the vehicle hesitated to accelerate. The vehicle eventually began to accelerate, but would not accelerate beyond 20 mph. The failure recurred on an intermittent basis. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, where the contact was informed that the valve body within the transmission needed to be replaced. An authorized dealer was notified and the contact was advised to replace the entire transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and recommended the contact take the vehicle to a dealer. The failure mileage was 120,000.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #56

Aug 192011


  • 100,750 miles


The automatic transmission is shifting very eradiclly. Uneven downshifts and a losss of power during acceleration due to the fact that the transmission sticks in 5th gear. This loss of power is very dangerous as there is no warning as to when the car is going to do this. If you try to perform a manual downshift the car slams itself as if it had been struck from behind. Because these are performance cars this is a very dangerous situation. The cars are only now starting to reach that mile stone where the damage is so fall along that the threat of bodily harm is greatly increased from past incidents.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #55

Apr 212011


  • 145,000 miles
After the car gets hot, it will rev very high going from 2nd to 3rd gear. It will not shift into 3rd gear until I take my foot of the gas, let the RPM's go down, then hit the accelerator again. It will also hard shift going from park to reverse and reverse to forward gear. Also when downshifting the car will shift hard, mainly going to lower gears, which causes jolts and unexpected increases in the RPM as the shift happens. This is dangerous because it is unexpected and has caused me to slam on the brakes in traffic, when startled by this action of the transmission.

- Allentown, PA, USA

problem #54

Nov 022009


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that when accelerating or changing gears from second to first, the vehicle would hesitated and jerk. The failure was experienced numerous times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who performed a diagnostic and located the failure at the transmission, which would need replacing. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 75,000 and the current mileage was 98,000.

- North Hollywood , CA, USA

problem #53

Jan 222011


  • 108,000 miles
2004 Nissan Maxima transmission started to go at 108,000 miles. Car halts and then bucks from 1st to 2nd gear and from 2nd down to 1st gear. At a red light, car halted and bucked in the middle of an intersection and nearly caused an accident. No accident occurred, but the problem continues to persist and the transmission needs replacing. Multiple 2004 and 2005 Nissan Maxima's have transmission problems due to installation of faulty transmissions, yet no recall has been issued. I have found 20-30 internet reports of faulty 2004 and 2005 Nissan transmissions. I am afraid that this car could do the same thing in the future with a worse outcome.

- Marlton, NJ, USA

problem #52

Aug 012010


  • 87,000 miles


Car jerks when going into 1st, 2nd or 3rd and has gotten stuck in 3rd gear when driving, had to put in manual gears in order to stop the vehicle. Also when putting in reverse car jerks and then when you go into drive the vehicle jerks again. A/C also went out about 6 months after owning the car, which was bought in 2009. Vehicle has been checked out by dealership and they do not know what the main problem is with the car, and said they would fix 2 things to see if it fixes the problem, only if I pay them about $3000 to $3500. Dealer does not know the root of the problem, however they want to charge for "what if's". car also jerks when you break or slow down without using break system. I am afraid for my life and the life of my family.

- Somersworth, NH, USA

problem #51

Jan 012010


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that while driving approximately 10 to 20 mph, the transmission jerked. The failure was experienced on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer on several occasions where the contact was informed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was then taken to an independent transmission specialist, who stated that the transmission fluid had to be replaced every 50,000 miles and the transmission could not be repaired, only replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and current mileage was 117,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Glen Burnie , MD, USA

problem #50

May 152011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
Transmission in 2004 Nissan Maxima jerks, so hard that feels like you just got rear ended. These transmissions are failing at an astounding rate. It doesn't happen all the time but when it does, it makes the car uncomfortable to drive.

- Sicklerville, NJ, USA

problem #49

Jan 082011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 90,719 miles
I bought a used 2004 Nissan Maxima SE and I'm having problems the jerking, thrusting forward and the bad down shifting. I took the car to the Nissan dealership act like they never heard of a problem before and they said the transmission needed a flush ($200), so I did, it continued kicking. I took it back to Nissan they drove it and told me it need motor mounts ($2,000), I got the motor mounts replaced at local auto shop. They have no problem wanting me to spending money on diagnosis the problem, when they know what the problem is. The transmission is a recall issue they don"T want to make public. I?M very disappointed in Nissan. I"ve had 2 Altima, I have a 1997 max and never had major issues (I drive that more than the new car) and I have a 2004 armada, I would not recommend them to anyone any more. They pride themselves in not selling lemons...well I got one! I don?T understand how I can have 1997 max and not have transmission problems and new model car 2004 and having all these issues. I cannot afford a $3,800 transmission and a new set of $500 motor mounts.....another problem I've had with this car is the A/C keeps going out...there is no leaks in the lines but there is something wrong with the A/C pump so I was told by a local repair shop.

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #48

Mar 122011


  • 88,000 miles
Same as everyone else with the same make and model. Car RPM's go way high and then jerks and goes into gear. Happens after the car is warmed up. Does not happen on the highway but it does happen getting off an exit. Downshifting from gears 3 to 2 the car jerks and hesitates almost giving me whiplash. I went to a Nissan dealer to have the problem diagnosed but the test can back with no problems because the service engine light is not on. This car is not safe to drive but it is my only way of transportation so I have to keep driving it. Nissan needs to own up to there mistake and have the car recalled. I am not the only one having this problem.. please help us out and do the right thing to make our cars safer to drive..thank you

- Wallingford, CT, USA

problem #47

Nov 012010


  • 95,000 miles
While driving on highway, the automatic transmission downshifted and was stuck between 2nd and 3rd gear. When I came to complete stop, and then started to accelerate, the car would move forward very very slowly and then pick up speed. But car did not change gears. Once I turn off engine and waited for about 10 minutes, I turned engine back on and problem went away. I have taken it to dealer but they cannot duplicate issue. This continuously happens to me and cannot figure what to do. The car has actually completely turn off on the road while driving and have avoided accidents. Once the car turns off on the road at high speeds, the steering wheel locks up and gets difficult to pull over on the side of the road/highway. The 2004 Maxima, as I have read online, are having transmission issues. I will never purchase another Nissan vehicle.

- Mystic , CT, USA

problem #46

Apr 072011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
My 2004 Nissan Maxima transmission went bad as I was driving on the interstate. I was driving about 55 mph and all of a sudden the engine started to rev and I had no power to the wheels/drive train. The transmission went without any warning. I did also experience the rough shifting that many others had complained about. I only have 69000 miles on it. The car is 9000 miles out of drive train warranty. I always took the car to a authorized Nissan dealer paying G the higher service costs. I did this in case I ever had a problem thinking that the manufacture would then stand by the car. I got nothing. The dealer was not able to help. I called Nissan motors of America and I told them about my situation. Nissan told me there is nothing they could do for me. I asked why, they said the car is out of warranty. I said I know the car is out of warranty, that is why I'm calling the Consumer Affairs line. I told them that I took the car to the dealer for all my service, that I always purchased all the preventative maintenance that the manufacture and dealer recommend, I'm the original owner and that I only drive the car to work. I asked what is the criteria for Nissan to assist a customer if a car is out of warranty. They said that they look at what maintenance was done at a authorized dealer and was the car owned by the original owner. I said that I had done all of this. I asked why they can't help, they again said because the car is out of warranty. I went online and read about the 500 plus transmission complaints. It now makes sense why Nissan will not help us. They know they have a transmission problem and don't want to put out a recall. The cost is about $3800. Is this grounds for a class action suit? Nissan does not stand by it's cars. Updated 05/25/11

- West Allis, WI, USA

problem #45

Jun 012010


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that the vehicle would jerk violently when the engine would extend beyond 2-3 rpms. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was contacted who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 60,000 and the current mileage was 69,900.

- Jamaica , NY, USA

problem #44

Jan 132011


  • miles
For the past 2 months my 2004 Nissan Maxima has, at periodic times, starts puttering like it is about to stall, then service engine light comes on. Does this for either a few miles or my entire trip. It also jerks very hard when changing gears, ex from reverse to drive. With in the last month the transmission now feels like it is slipping. Recently, got stuck at a red light in a very busy city district B/C my car was fine but then would not move, finally jerked back to life & started going but at the next stop light did the same thing. I have been doing tons of reading on this & it seems like 2004 Nissan Maximas have a horrible reputation on their transmissions. I believe do to all of these complaints a recall needs to be done as soon as possible. I cannot afford to keep throwing thousand of dollars on a car that I have always serviced properly & until I hot the 100K mileage mark never had a problem with. This car is dangerous to drive due to the severe jerking while changing gears, stalling out, etc. Please look into asap. Thanks

- Abingdon, MD, USA

problem #43

Aug 092009


  • 100,000 miles
When I am driving my 2004 Maxima, there is a hard jerk when shifting gears and when I am going from reverse to drive. I have had the cv axles changed, the struts changed, and the engine mounts changed. I have changed the transmission fluid and everything else that I can think of. Can someone please help in trying to get this problem fixed" now I am in the process of changing the transmission mount. Help. Is there a class action lawsuit concerning this problem"

- Conway, AR, USA

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