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 4 of 16)

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problem #242

Jul 132012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


Driving on the freeway at about 60 mph I noticed the engine light turned on and the cars power was gone. I continued to step on the gas but still no power at all. The transmission was stuck on 5th gear. Once I came to a complete stop and I press on the gas the engine just revs up with very little power. I take it to the dealership for them to confirm I needed a new transmission. I didn't want to pay $3,000 at a Nissan dealership so I decided to take it to my local mechanic in which he said he's worked on Maximas before with the same problem. He said the issue is in the valve body (part of the transmission) so he replaced it. I got the car back after a $1,500 bill and everything was working just fine. Until today 6-18-14, approximately two years from the first incident. Once again my transmission is stuck on 5th gear. Prior to this there was some jerking from 3-4 gear and a hard jerk from P to R. here I am now facing another bill. This could of easily caused an accident and after numerous reports from other drivers Nissan needs to address this issue!

- Lawndale, CA, USA

problem #241

May 212013

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
The 2004 Nissan Maxima, a 5-speed automatic, jerks violently when shifting into the 2nd and/or 3rd gear and during down shift. Also jerks violently when shifting from drive to reverse and reverse to drive.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #240

May 082014


  • 114,500 miles
Vehicle speeds up and slows down without has a hard kick from reverse to drive. Slips while driving at low speeds.

- Sun Prairie, WI, USA

problem #239

Apr 302014

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 164,875 miles


As I was driving home, traffic began to slow down due to congestion. As I slowed down, the car began to jerk violently. I was nearly hit from behind. The car jerked two more times as I made my way over to the side of the highway. I turned off the car and waited a few minutes. I prayed then started my car again. I was approximately 10 miles from home. As I got off the highway and pulled onto my local street, I came to a red light. As I slowed down, the car began to jerk again. I pulled over and turned the car off. After a while, I continued to drive home. I parked the car, checked my oil (levels were good) and started to call around for help. This is extremely dangerous.

- Burtonsville, MD, USA

problem #238

Mar 032014

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 181,000 miles
Drove my 2004 Nissan Maxima off the lot on 3/3/14 and noticed a jerk once I got to 30mph, the dealership told me after I purchased it that what ever problems I have I need to fix myself because I bought the car "as is".

- Anderson, SC, USA

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problem #237

Sep 012012


  • 100,000 miles
Maxima has begun shifting very hard from 1st to 2nd gear, and into reverse.

- Jefferson City, MO, USA

problem #236

Mar 152013


  • 990,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated while driving 35 mph, the vehicle would shift gears slowly. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and they stated the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 99,000.

- Las Laughnin, NV, USA

problem #235

Jun 152013


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle jerked abnormally. In addition, the vehicle stalled intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis, who replaced the cam shaft position sensor however, the failure continued after the repair. The vehicle was not further repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 125,000.

- Knightdale, NC, USA

problem #234

Oct 312013

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 152,000 miles
Ok my brother and I were driving on highway 85 and came to a stop because of traffic. I try to take off but my car just stalls. We were very fortunate to be in the left lane because if we were in the middle lane we would have been stuck in the middle of the highway and could have been in a real bad accident. We were still fortunate that no one hit us because my cars tail was still stuck out a lil because it would not move in neutral. I know its probably my transmission and torque converter but I just thank god that we were in the left lane and there was no accident.

- Norwood, NC, USA

problem #233

Nov 072013

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
My wife's 2004 Maxima which she originally purchased new at the pomoco Nissan dealership in hampton, Virginia has 59,000 miles on it currently and the vehicle's automatic transmission jerks violently when decelerating and then slams into gear. The event occurs around an estimated speed of 25-30 mph during downshifting of the transmission. The experience feels like someone has crashed into you from the rear...and the force from the gearing thrust throws the car forward violently. This happens every time the car is driven and is a critical safety concern for us. Vehicle was taken to wesley chapel Nissan dealership located in wesley chapel, Florida for an inspection and the tech said the transmission needs to be replaced at a cost of $3300 for parts & labor. As reflected in the low mileage, the car has been driven very little and has been meticulously maintained by her and has remained garaged the majority of the time. I have done some research and discovered that numerous 2004 Maxima owners have experienced the same transmission (failure) problems with similar mileage range, but no recall was ever activated by the Nissan company to remedy the issue. However, there was an extended warranty issued for a few Nissan models regarding faulty transmissions excluding the Maxima. Called Consumer Affairs at Nissan to complain about the problem, but was told by rep that there was nothing they could do because the warranty for the vehicle had expired. I explained to the rep that there are numerous complaints regarding the transmission problems and that Nissan needs to do something to fix the problem since this is a recurring theme when it comes to this specific year of the Maxima model.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #232

Jun 032013

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 97,300 miles


Car started to jerk and clunk and a couple of times while turning in to driveway it would jerk and make the tires squeal.

- Geneva, NY, USA

problem #231

Oct 132012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 91,091 miles
Car jerks when changing shifts. Results need a transmission.

- Capitol Heights, MD, USA

problem #230

Sep 022013

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
My transmission started jerking with a loud bang sound upon shifting gears and upon slowing down to a stop. It began to slip into neutral while in the drive mode causing the rpms to increase and the car will not move. It jerks back into drive until the next stop or slowing down and starts the problem over again. I have taken the car into a transmission repair shop, which states it needs to be replaced. I have noticed many complaints from Nissan customers with the same year, make and model.

- Gray, LA, USA

problem #229

Oct 012013


  • 106,000 miles
Ride in the car has become very jerky, from gears slipping. Vehicle in need of a transmission re-build.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #228

Feb 152013


  • 145,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact was driving 45 mph when the vehicle abnormally accelerated. In addition, the vehicle would jerk, lunge, and slip gears without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The VIN was not available. The failure and mileage was 145,000.

- Roxie, MS, USA

problem #227

Aug 022013

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Transmission jerking hard shifting, whole car hiccups, wont shift gears, car gives out. Stuck in one gear.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #226

Aug 232009


  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle began to jerk, lunge, and slip. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the transmission would need to be replaced or rebuilt. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 170,000. The VIN was not available.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #225

Oct 152010


  • 8,000 miles
I bought a brand new Nissan Maxima 2004. After driving for 5 years, it has given nothing but headache and stress. It would not accelerate or would be jerking/shaking after stepping on the accelerator. While driving in the freeway, my car would slow down and couldn't drive pass 20 mile per hour, then engine died. I had replaced catalytic converter, sensors, mufflers, brakes. And the problems still haven't resolved. As of today, I don't have a car, it is at the dealer for diagnostic.

- Rossmoor, CA, USA

problem #224

Mar 052013


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that when driving and shifting gears, the transmission would shake intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the transmission was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 70,000 and the current mileage was 86,402.

- Mokena, IL, USA

problem #223

Oct 272010


  • 84,000 miles
Car started slipping and jerking. The transmission was failing at 84,000 miles. When changing gears from reverse to drive the car jerk very hard and sounded like an explosion everytime I shift gears. Also when driving on the highway the gears felt like it didn't wont to change and when its finally changed gears then it jerk forward while driving. That was a hazard. Had the transmission replace and now it starting to have the same issues.

- Hopkins, SC, USA

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