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:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 2
Average Mileage:
74,102 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 1 of 2)

problem #37

Aug 272015


  • 111,000 miles


During driving its jerking and bumping shows "service engine" alert. Mechanic verified and he said may be transmission have issue.

- Ronkonkoma, NY, USA

problem #36

Apr 152015


  • miles
The transmission in this car gets very jerky and causes either delayed or unexpected acceleration which is very hazardous while driving in high traffic areas. From what I've read, this is a common problem for this vehicle.

- Owensboro, KY, USA

problem #35

Jun 202015


  • 102,000 miles
1 cove court

- Glenwood, NJ, USA

problem #34

Apr 112015


  • 166,000 miles


I was driving on the interstate and I was going about 60mph then all of a sudden the car stalls out I have no control over the vehicle I come within seconds of being rear ended I'm in the middle lane so I have to figure out how to merge over but guess what I can't because the car is stalled out so I put caution lights on and it takes about twins before the car will even start back up and when it does its geared up to what sounds like a fifth gear and it barley takes off I'm talking my foot to the floor and it's taking off at 2mph come on now, so call for help get my car towed check engine light said it was crankshaft position sensor had it replaced check engine light went off came and picked up my car had to drive that day 45mins from where I lived and about E0mins into the trip bam it stalls again at 60mph same scenary after the car cools down it starts back up just fine but after 30mins of a constant drive it stalls out and I'm stuck in 5th gear....please help!

- Lancaster, KY, USA

problem #33

Sep 042012


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that the vehicle unintended accelerated while driving at various speeds. The contact stated that while depressing the accelerator pedal to accelerate the vehicle would hesitate to respond before suddenly surging forward at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who was unable to diagnose the cause of the failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- San Diago, CA, USA

problem #32

Sep 182014

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 100,030 miles
While picking my new, used Maxima 2004 from dealer, pulling out of the lot and waiting for clearance to get on highway, I proceeded to turn onto hw & it stalled & alternator light came on & "check engine" it hasn't shut off yet, I felt like I was in a horrible nightmare.. I thought I was going to get hit because cars were coming, I quickly put hazards on, and put it in neutral and tried to start it, it was trying to turn over as I was pumping the gas pedal like a jack hammer, I finally floored it & it started not without whiplash to my neck, my chest hit the steering wheel because it jerked sooooo hard into gear !!!. I put it in drive and was so nervous because cars were honking & swearing at me...I was totally shocked and greatly disappointed that I almost caused multiple car collision. I called mgr at dealership when I got home & he said " just call service and make an appt. I said I just left your lot w/new plates and told him what had just happened, he said " I have nothing to do w/service, so call them in the a.M. & make an appt." Didn't even apologize. I got anxiety because I'm 47 yrs old and had quite a few cars and I know when a car jerks, goes from drive to 5th gear with powerful jerking motion all the time, skipping & stalling while in drive, most likely a bad transmission, its obviously not safe to drive, I just bought it 9/18/14 & I cant drive it, it won't pass inspection in 7 days. Check engine light still on, looks like 7 days is not happening my appt is 9/25/14 supposed to be under warranty. Instead of being excited about car I'm so angry & I feel like once they had my money, they could care less about me or my family or drivers on road. Thankfully no-one got hurt, its been parked since 9/21/14, they said they did 21 pt insp, yaa right !! sure they did, how can they knowingly let me drive off lot..with no regard for public safety. Is this legal ??

- Lynn, MA, USA

problem #31

Feb 012013


  • 115,000 miles


When ever I shift to reverse the car pauses and then jerks. I took it to the shop and had new motor mount put in to solve the problem. For a few days you could barely feel the jerking when switching to reverse. Literally by the next week it was bad all over again and the jerking returned. Also, sometimes when I am driving I can feel the car, to my knowledge, switching gears. For example, this morning I was driving to work and going only around 25mph and as I started to accelerate the car jerked and slowed down for about 5 seconds before it returned to my normal speed. Thirdly, the power locks are not consistent. When I lock my doors with the automatic lock on the keys or even by pressing the power locks on the door handle it will only lock the front right passenger and the back left passenger door. This can be very frustrating as I have left my car doors unlocked unknowingly.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #30

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 #29

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 #28

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 #27

Jul 012013

Maxima 6-cyl

  • miles


The vehicle jerks when I am going from park to reverse, from reverse to drive, or from park to drive. It will randomly jerk while I am driving. Sometimes while driving, the vehicle will not accelerate. I am scared to pull out into traffic because I never know when it will stall!

- Sylacauga, AL, USA

problem #26

Mar 012011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Unsafe start. Engine will hesitate before going into gear at the same time will initiate high RPM's on it's own causing a unsafe start in crosswalks, driveways and public streets. The engine/transmission will engage in high RPM's on its in multiple gears before moving forward causing sudden jerks and fast starts. Transmission has a hard transition from gears causing a vibration throughout the car when changing gears. The Nissan North America corporation was notified in writing of this problem in 2012.

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #25

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 #24

Aug 032011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
I had gears banging and jerking from P-R, P-D, D-R, 2-3, 3-4, 4-3 and 3-2. also when driving under 25mph, if I let off the gas to slow down, then accelerate, the rpms jump almost to redline, then the gear catches and rockets the car forward! very dangerous! also while driving I came to a stop at a red light, when the light turned green I pressed the gas pedal to find the car would accelerate very slowly. I shifted to manual mode to find the transmission was stuck in 5th gear. I pulled over, turned car off, restarted minutes later and it was fine. The next day I get in my car to find I had reverse, but its stuck in 5th gear again when shifted to D/manual. I have been without a car for 1 year and 6 months now because of this. Nissan knows about this defect, but will not admit it because they are making so much money selling $5,000 transmissions and $1,500 valve bodies. Not to mention labor fees and all the small parts to people trying to fix this themselves. Nissan made 8 different versions of this valvebody trying to get it right, but finally gave up and just put a cvt tranny in the 09' and newer Maximas. Leaving the 6th gen owners to fend for ourselves. I spent $15,000 on my Maxima, now I have to spend $5,000 every 2 years just to keep it" that's not right. Nissan you have lost my love and respect. Your about to lose me as a customer. You should show your loyal customers some real loyalty and recall the AW55-50/51sn re5F22A transmissions. Not only because this is your fault, but also because there are children that ride in these cars and its only a matter of time before someone is killed. Do you want a child's blood on your hands Nissan" man up and take responsibilty before that happens and maybe you'll save your company.

- Avondale, AZ, USA

problem #23

Jan 072013

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
The car is jerking/bucking violently when shifting from reverse into drive and again when shifting into first and second gears. It is also jerking when downshifting from second to first gear. At first, the shifting problem was an occasional occurrence, however, it has progressively gotten worse. Now it is almost constant. After researching this problem, I have found that hundreds and hundreds of '04-05 Maxima owners are experiencing the exact same problems. This is quite obviously a Nissan manufacturing defect that should be corrected by Nissan Corp.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #22

Jul 042006

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 117,352 miles
Changes speed at any time up or down unsafe to drive Nissan needs to recall to correct the problem.

- Waynesboro, VA, USA

problem #21

Nov 022012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that while backing up into a parking space driving approximately 2 mph the vehicle suddenly accelerated independently and crashed into a brick pillar. The contact shifted into drive and the vehicle accelerated forward. The contact depressed the brake pedal but the brakes would not respond. After depressing the brake pedal a second time the vehicle came to a stop. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to a collision center. The vehicle was destroyed. The approximate failure mileage was 63,000. Updated 12/18/12 updated 1/2/2013

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #20

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 #19

Apr 282012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 138 miles
Vehicle was purchased used, at first the vehicle jerked abruptly from 1st to 2nd, after driving it for a few miles it seems like its not gearing properly, now the vehicle starts jerking as soon as I start driving jerking from 1st, 2nd to 3rd, after 30 miles the vehicle drives ok. Also there's been times when the accelerator pedal is pressed and the vehicle fails to accelerate. Vehicle also jerks when changing to reverse. I took the vehicle to different mechanics and was advised that the transmission needs to be replaced, the cost could be about 4,000 to 5,000 which is about what the vehicle is worth. This should be taken care of by Nissan, there are many complaints about the same problem its obviously a manufacture problem and owner shouldn't be responsible for replacements costs.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #18

Aug 022012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima sl. The contact was traveling 16 mph when the accelerator pedal was depressed and the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to dealer. The dealer confirmed valve body needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 133,688.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

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