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:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
61,119 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 #28

Jun 232011


  • 136,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that while driving 15 mph the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the transmission and engine motor mounts needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 136,000.

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #27

Jun 222011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 146,000 miles
Iac valve went bad and car sometimes don't start and when it does it ideals rough cant order the part from anywhere but the dealer and they are very expensive I can't even pull anything up on it nowhere other than other people having the same problems everywhere this idem should be recalled.

- Grand Bay, AL, USA

problem #26

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 #25

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 #24

Mar 132011


  • 84,170 miles
I purchased a 2004 Nissan Maxima in August 2006, and it all seemed fine for a bit but once I reached about 84K miles, the transmission started having problems. First, when I shift from park to any other gear. It seems to either hesitate to shift into gear and once it does it shifts in a horrible knock! it continues to do the same problem as well as slip gears while in motion. It usually slips from 1st to 2nd, or 2nd to 3rd. It causes the car to rev and shifts when it wants. That makes it snap even harder. I took the car to a local transmission shop which placed it on the computer. The error was a faulty camshaft position sensor (bank 1). Cost was $181.52. I'm still having the jerking with second gear but only when I slow down easily. The car shifts now, but the jerking continues. The local transmission shop said that I would have to replace the transmission for around $3,500 in order to alleviate the jerking and transmission slip issue. I bought a Nissan because they are supposed to be dependable long lasting cars. I would hope that it would last over at least 100,000 miles before any sort of problems would even occur.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #23

Dec 242010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
2004 Nissan Maxima SE with VQ35 3.5L V6 engine - timing chain tensioners my Maxima timing chain tensioners need to be replaced due to a faulty design in the secondary timing chains wearing the tensioners out faster than they should. Nissan quotes anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 dollars to complete repair which usually consists of removing the engine from the vehicle! many complaints on multiple forums online from many different owners complain of this same issue, normally occurring around 60,000 mile mark. It is only a matter of time before all of these vehicles are affected. The cost for the repair of the vehicle I am still financing is catastrophic! Nissan would have to have the car for 3 days to complete the repair. This is not a problem I should be having with a vehicle that is still being financed for a few more years. Timing chains were designed to allow customers the security of not messing with them for way more than 100K miles, or 60K miles rather! I am so lucky mine has even lasted this long and Nissan refuses customers regularly who ask for assistance. Nissan needs to be held accountable for this repair since they know about the issue, released a technical service bulletin (ntb07-042C) highlighting the issue, and notify their technicians of the faulty secondary timing chain design.

- Portland, TN, USA

problem #22

Nov 202010


  • 47,600 miles


Another motor mount broke, had it fixed. One week later I started experiencing jerking and gear changing as I drove. Was on freeway and vehicle went into third and jolted my upper body (had sore neck for one week). Also experiencing 2-3, and 3-2. putting vehicle into drive and reverse, the vehicle jerks badly, reverse being the worst. When I come to a stop the vehicle lunges forward very sharply. Nissan paid for the diagnostics test $234 and buena park Nissan's report stated the vehicle needs a new transmission. Nissan Consumer Affairs is behind closed doors and will let me know if I get a new transmission at there expense, I hope so, I'm unemployed since 10/2010.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #21

Sep 012006


  • 42,000 miles
Warning signs started with a hard shift from 1st to 2nd to 3rd at 45K miles. Done regular transmission maintenance but problem remains the same. Later it started hard bang or jerk when shifting from drive to reverse or reverse to drive. At 112K miles it got worse and then knew reading online about faulty valve body problem in many 2004-2006 Maximas transmission. Repair cost is too high to even mention. Second problem is timing chain plastic tentioners. A what" yes plastic timing chain tentioners inside engine compartment. Problem started at 50K and continued as of today. Complained to dealer when car was under warranty and deler said my car is running awesome. Nissan later changed the design of plastic timing chain tentioner. But what about those who has faulty designed timing chain tentioners? responsible parties knows about these isses but refuses to acknowledge. Why there is no recall yet"

- Nashua, NH, USA

problem #20

Jul 102010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 73,400 miles
2004 + Nissan Maxima's are having timing chain issues which starts to occur after 50K as per the thousand of forum members across different forum. I am a victim too. Its a known defect in Maxima's and there has been no recalls to fix this. This timing chain issue fix cost appx $1600 and difficult for us to pay such an amount which has been declared by Nissan as a maintenance free item. This timing chain would gradually lead to all sort of problems leading to complete failure if not taken care of. We as a customer pledge NHTSA to take appropriate action. Already contacted local dealer and Nissan usa without any results.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #19

Apr 132007


  • 60,000 miles
I have an 04 Nissan Maxima. I purchased this car in 04. I had to replace the transmission at 60000 after complaining about the way the transmission shifts, numerous trips to the dealership, a 200 dollar transmission flush, and the replacement of a transmission mount, they finally replaced my transmission under warranty. Since then I have had to replace my front struts 3 times, my timing chain $3500, and now I need another transmission at 126,000 miles. I have been on numerous blog sites with people who shared similar stories.

- Edgewood, MD, USA

problem #18

Dec 102005


  • 75 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that whenever it was cold, snowing and approximately thirty degrees the vehicle would not start. The failure has occurred since 2004 immediately after the vehicle was purchased. The dealer has made several unsuccessful attempts to diagnose the failure. The contact is only able to drive the vehicle when someone jump starts it during the winter months. The failure never occurs during the summer months. The contact wrote a letter to the vehicle manufacturer and has not received a response. The contact has repeatedly taken the vehicle to the dealer to diagnose the failure. The failure mileage was 75 and the current mileage was 44,000.

- Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #17

Sep 012009


  • 115,000 miles
'04 Maxima, maintained regularly, original owner, purchased in summer of '03(first batch of assy. Line); noise coming from right side of engine. Noise was loud when engine was cold and would go away after engine had warmed up. Eventually started to still hear the noise (not as loud) after engine was warm. Local repair shop said the noise was coming from the timing chain and most likely the guide had broken and was rubbing the chain and stated both would need to be replaced. This shop had never done one of these repairs on a Nissan because "this never happens to a Nissan motor". yet they found many tsbs and internet search results about my particular model car having this same issue. They suggested I have the dealership take a look. I contacted the dealership service center and without telling them what the local repair shop said, only summarizing the explanation of the noise when engine was cold and then goes away after warm up, the service advisor interrupted me and said, "it's the timing chain guide". he barely let me finish the story before he knew exactly what it was. He said that was because he (his service center) has done this repair on 04 Maxima's so many times it's ridiculous. He also stated that it has been recognized by Nissan as a common problem with the 04 model engines but yet will not cover the repairs. Nissan boasts that the timing chains in these engines are maintenance free or at least worth 300K+ miles (since by that time most owners would have got 15 years+ out of the car), but yet the parts to hold the chain on break down way before that. The labor to repair the surrounding parts is the same to replace the chain since the tech has to reach to the same spot of the engine for repairs. I was originally quoted $1500.+ for the repairs but was able to strike a small discount and paid $1133.55 for "2 tensioner chains", "chain guide", "tensioner assembly", and some other seals & gaskets. Labor alone was $787.50. Which was discounted from $1100.+. outrageous.

- Leonardtown, MD, USA

problem #16

Sep 012008


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. While driving between 20-35 mph, the vehicle slips and stalls in and out of gear. The failure also occurs between first and second gears. Occasionally, the transmission kicks into gear, but it is so severe that the vehicle finally accelerates to a very high speed. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that new engine mounts were needed. He did not believe that new engine mounts would correct the failure. The contact took the vehicle to a repair shop and was informed that the transmission failed. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 60,000 and current mileage was 70,000.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #15

Nov 192008

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My car is jerking and bucking bad. There are thousands of people out there with the same problem and Nissan is not doing anything about this. I have had my transmission fluid flushed and it has not helped. Others have had valve body work done and even replaced the transmission. The cars are still doing the same. The transmissions had to have been poorly built. Something needs to be done. I am still paying on the car and having major car issues. Nissan needs to be responsible. The consumer was also informed the vehicle needed a new engine. The cd player had to repaired and the air conditioner failed. Updated 01/21/10.

- Culpeper, VA, USA

problem #14

Apr 172009


  • miles
I was in the freeway with my baby on 405, car suddenly started feeling weird, 3 warning light came on, my car shut down in middle of freeway, I have to put my car on park and put emergency lights on. Almost caused and accident with my baby. Car will not start. I was told by mechanic this is a fault camshaft. This same problem was on a recall for 2003 Nissan Maxima, Nissan refuses to take responsibility.

- Downey, CA, USA

problem #13

Feb 282009


  • miles
After only 2 years of ownership our 2004 Nissan Maxima are having some issues. First the transmission now we are having a hard time starting the car. After the diagnostic test we needed to replace the camshaft position sensor. However that does not solve the transmission problem. We are driving and all of a sudden our car loses tension. We accelerate and it doesn't get us any further. We are looking at rebuilding our transmission and trading in the car because it's really not worth all the issues the car is starting to have. According to the internet there's been a lot of these problems with these cars.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #12

Sep 272008


  • 57,525 miles
Car started making a whining sound similar to a turbo whine under acceleration, this got progressively worse with time and mileage. Turned out to be upper cam chain tensioners resulting in the engine having to be removed from the car to repair. Replacement parts are redesigned and dealer said most VQ35 and VQ40 engines are effected. Problem is the symptom's don't show up until 50-75K miles and will not be covered by Nissan.

- Mashpee, MA, USA

problem #11

Jun 112008


  • 54,688 miles
My 2004 Nissan Maxima was stalled on the road twice in the middle of the road while driving around June 2008 with a mileage of 54,500. Before the stalls happened, the vehicle jerked when shifting from first to second gear and vs versa. At the time of the stalling, the check engine light went on. I brought it back to Nissan dealer, thinking it is still within the power train warranty. The dealer however told me the warranty does not cover this problem. It costs me over $600. The report said that camshaft position sensor is malfunctioning.

- Morristown,, NJ, USA

problem #10

Oct 022008

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. On approximately six occasions, the engine revved while approaching a stop. The brake was being depressed at the time of the failures. The ABS actuator had to be replaced at 62,000 miles. Two of the Goodyear tires cracked and had to be replaced. The current mileage was 63,000 and failure mileage was 62,000. Updated 12/1/08 the consumer also stated there was a problem with the transmission. Updated 12/05/08.

- Irvington, NJ, USA

problem #9

Sep 162008


  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. While driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle stalled. The power and steering failed and the engine shut completely off. The vehicle was pushed to the side of the road. There were no warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was jump started and driven to a repair shop. The mechanic stated that the battery and crank shaft sensors needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not included in the recall for the 2003 models, NHTSA campaign id number 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). The contact believes that the vehicle should be included in the recall since the failures are identical. The vehicle has not yet been repaired. The current and failure mileages were 83,000.

- Hattiesburg, MS, USA

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