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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
95,875 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Nissan Maxima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #21

Jun 102013


  • 67,000 miles


Engine light continues to come on> thumping sound under hood when started. Timing chain issues!!!!!! this is known according to extensive research to Nissan. Why in the world is there nothing done about it?! we are hard working people and spend hard earned money to purchase a car and there is no recourse for a messed up part!!!!

- Silver Lake , OH, USA

problem #20

Apr 222014

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 58,326 miles
My 2004 Maxima was 'missing' during freeway driving and 'died' as I turned in my driveway. Nissan did some miscellaneous repairs but told me that there was 'secondary timing chain noise due to worn guides.' I was told by the service representative that if this isn't fixed the engine could be destroyed. The estimated cost is $1,700. I am afraid to drive my car because if this breaks on the freeway I and others could be in jeopardy. There are class action suits against Nissan regarding a design flaw in the 'timing chain tensioner and guide' assembly. I feel it incumbent on Nissan to issue a recall but I am unaware that one has been issued. I feel betrayed that I was sold a potentially dangerous automobile with no remedy other than an expensive repair.

- Santa Barbara, CA, USA

problem #19

Sep 092013


  • miles
I have a 2004 Nissan Maxima. When I was driving, the steering locked up and there was no way to steer. I don"T know how I did it, being petite and not so strong, but I managed to make the car move to the side, then it turned off automatically. I tried to turn on the car and it didn't start. I had to wait a few minutes and turn the key for a few seconds until the engine restarted. It becomes extremely difficult to pull over to the side, and I was saved the 5-7 times this happened to me. Luck was on my side! I didn't drive my car on the freeway, because I was terrified my car would stall and my son and I would die in a terrible car accident. I finally had to go to my shop and replace the two camshaft sensors with the following codes P3040 and P0345. With some searching, I found out that I?M not the only one with this issue. I stand by the former complaint: ?I found out that Nissan has a recall on Altima?S with this same issue, but will not cover and recall my vehicle. This is very dangerous and I do not understand why they would only recall certain makes when it is the same exact error code on both vehicles. It is a P3040 and P0345 cam sensor/cam shaft recall through Nissan. However, they say my make and model does not fall under this recall. Shouldn't they recall all vehicles with this same problem?" thank you for your help in this safety issue.

- Beverly Hills, CA, USA

problem #18

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 #17

Jan 202014

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
TL- the contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the ABS light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection, but the cause of the failure was unknown. The dealer did not diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact left the dealer and took her vehicle to her residence. The contact then noticed a fire emerging from the engine compartment. A police report was filed. There were no injuries. The manufacturer was not notified about the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000. Dyd... updated 03/24/14

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #16

Jan 102014


  • miles
Woke up to a horn steadily beeping, went to my window to see what was going on and I see flames shooting about 15 ft high and knew my neighbor's car was on fire, after the fire the owner told me he had not driven the car that day, and that it melted the dashboard and quickly destroyed interior and engine compartment of the car, there could have been fatalities or injuries as the car had a full gas tank, and luckily did not reach gas tank, but if it had there would have been major property damage to several homes, and many lives put at risk.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #15

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 #14

Jul 262012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Transmission problem for Nissan Maxima 04 my Nissan Maxima 04 jerks when down shifting from 2 to 3rd, slips only after warmed up and im getting off the interstate from 3rd to 2nd after a long trip. It also sometimes shifts hard into gear but not always. Thanks,

- Boston, MA, USA

problem #13

May 302013

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
My 18 year old son could not get the vehicle to engage in reverse. In an effort to drive the vehicle to the mechanic the transmission failed while driving and luckily I was able to coast to the side of the road narrowly escaping a traffic accident. I had recently passed this vehicle down to my son and I shudder to think what would have happened to him if he had been behind the wheel considering he is a less experienced driver. I have been informed that there are numerous incidents involving Nissan vehicle transmissions.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #12

Apr 192013


  • 75,000 miles
While I was driving onto a highway off of a ramp I went to accelerate to merge into traffic while doing so my car did not move and the engine rpms redlined after about 3 seconds my car jerked into gear and felt as if someone had rear-ended me however I noticed it was my car not being able to get into gear. Once it got into gear the car peeled out uncontrollably and I almost ran my car off the road. The vehicle is a very well maintained vehicle and only has 75,000 miles on it.

- Monmouth Junction, NJ, USA

problem #11

Mar 282013


  • 200,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that while driving 51 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was able to be restarted after several minutes and proceeded to function normally. The contact stated that four years prior to the recent failure, the same symptoms lead to the contact having to replace the engine and the transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 200,000.

- Richardson, TX, USA

problem #10

Dec 032012


  • 145,000 miles
The transmission slips frequently, often hesitation when switching from park/reverse/drive and when switching from 1st to 2nd or 2nd to 3rd. The slip often results in lack of power to the wheels and then a sudden jerk when it does finally kick in. It can be very dangerous when you pull into traffic and expect the vehicle to accelerate normally and instead get stuck between gears. Should be a recall on this transmission since it is apparent from online research that this is a very common occurrence.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #9

Jan 052013

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
On Saturday January 5th 2013, my engine light came on. I called carmax on Monday January 7th 2013 to get my extended warranty information. I scheduled an appointment with passport Nissan located in oxon hill, md. The service department told me. I need to have my timing chain, gears, guides and tensions replace for $2,619 with replacing the oil cooler (it has leakage) $698. Well my extended warranty expired when my car hit 100,000. If I had known this before I purchase the car from carmax, I would have never took it off the lot. By the way I only had the car since April 2011. I need help!!!!! I need to express to you the importance for me to have reliable transportation. I have a young child who I need to take to school each day. Without my transportation, my son would have to walk a full mile to the bus stop by himself alone at 7am. By the way it's dark at that time and it's close to an open street. I myself without transportation, I would have to walk a mile plus to a bus stop to catch a bus to the train station. From the train station I have to take a train to work and walk additional mile plus to work. This is very over whelming because I'm still paying a car note and car insurance for a car I can't drive. I'm being put in a difficult situation because I can't afford to get my car fixed.

- Temple Hills, MD, USA

problem #8

Mar 012012


  • 82,000 miles
The vehicle has a very sever jerking or kicking sensation when shifting up or down around the speed of 20-30mph. It happens very often. Even when applying the brakes to slow, the car still jerks forward violently.

- Manitowoc, WI, USA

problem #7

Jul 152010


  • 63,000 miles
Approximately 2 years ago my car wouldn't shift gears. Since it was covered under warranty still I brought it so the Nissan dealership and they replaced a sensor. About a year agony car started 'banging' into gear after being driven for a few minutes. I decided to take it to my mechanic since my warranty was up and Nissan Consumer Affairs was not very helpful. I was told today the transmission valve maybe the problem and its $1200 to fix. If this doesn't solve the issue then I have to have the tranny rebuilt.

- Holbrook , NY, USA

problem #6

Nov 022012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
After stopping at traffic signal, the car doesn't move and starts jerking when shifting between gears. 2 months back the gear wouldn't shift from 5th, took to dealer they replaced a bad sensor and now it jerks and doesn't move when shifting gears.

- Morris Plains, NJ, USA

problem #5

Sep 152012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
The car started shaking and would not accelerate, the service engine soon light was now displayed. Need to get off the road and have it towed. The ground wire was broken off the transmission and caused the computer to short out as well as all of the six ignition coils as too much voltage was sent to the coils. Nissan knows about the problem but did not issue any recall. This can also cause a fire in the car if the wires heat up and catch the evap system; therefore I would recommend issuing a recall of this problem.

- Johnston, RI, USA

problem #4

Aug 062012


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle would shake violently whenever the transmission was shifted from park to drive. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the valve body needed to be replaced. Also, the vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for a second opinion who stated that the transmission motor mounts and the radiator needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 102,000 and the current mileage was 113,065.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #3

Jun 132012


  • 2,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the check engine warning light illuminated on the instrument panel and the vehicle stalled. The contact shifted into neutral and was able to restart the engine. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 2,000 and the current mileage was 93,000.

- Ocean City , MD, USA

problem #2

May 152012


  • 128,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that after starting vehicle, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact restarted the vehicle and the vehicle remained on fifth gear as the contact was unable to shift gears. The service engine warning light was illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the repair shop where the crank shaft sensor was replaced. The failure recurred and the engine warning light illuminated. The manufacturer was not made aware of failure. The current mileage was 130,000. The failure mileage was 128,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Checopee, MA, USA

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