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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,043 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Nissan Maxima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #29

Jun 202015


  • 102,000 miles


1 cove court

- Glenwood, NJ, USA

problem #28

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 #27

Sep 152014


  • 115,000 miles
The 2004 Nissan Maxima suffers from a common issue within the transmission. The valve body causes premature transmission failure within these cars. This results in sudden hard jerking / delayed shifting when changing gears in their automatic transmission. This means loss of control occurs when the transmission finally catches itself since the car will continue to rev higher than normal. Overtime the car will experience slow acceleration, due to the car being thrown into a safety mode unexpectedly which keeps the car in a "5th" gear state. Also, because of the codes this faulty part will throw, a vehicle with this transmission will not pass certain state emissions. Repairs are upwards to thousands of dollars, and unfortunately replacing it with the same part will only be a temporary fix. This is a major safety concern because it dramatically reduces the response time, and puts the driver at serious risk.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #26

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 #25

Feb 012013

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
I have a 2004 Nissan Maxima. Check engine light came on and within a few days problem began. When driving down an incline and turning one way or the other the car will die, steering will lock up and there is no way to steer. Unable to restart engine until you come to a complete stop, put in park then it takes multiple attempts to restart. You also cannot even steer over to the side of the road to get out of traffic. This almost caused me to have an accident on two different occasions. I found out that Nissan has a recall on Altima 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 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.

- Roseville, OH, USA

problem #24

Aug 162010


  • miles
I purchased my 2004 Maxima 18 months ago. From the time I drove it off the lot it started shaking. I took it back to the dealer a total of 4 times each time they told me it was something different, from the rotors to a weight falling off the wheel(which they say I lost).I was driving on a interstate highway and the vehicle started shaking and pulling so bad I almost had an accident.when I took it back for the fifth time I was told I had to pay to have the vehicle fixed(I had not owned it but 2 months). Finally I took it to another dealer (same affiliate) who fixed it so the shaking was not as bad (after 3 visits). I have taken the vehicle back on several occasions since then, and now when the jerking has gotten worse, sometimes jerks so hard it hurts my neck. The gears jerk when changing. I thought I just had to deal with the fact that I brought a lemon, but after reading all these complaints (which are either the same or similar) I know Nissan needs to correct these issues before someone is seriously hurt or loose there lives(as well as others).and I do plan to continue emailing sending letters, and calling until someone I don't feel alone in this issue just pissed off. That Nissan has allowed this to go on so long without addressing the safety issue of this vehicle.

- Fairmont, NC, USA

problem #23

Sep 192011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact was driving at low speeds when the vehicle exhibited a loud noise and the steering wheel began to shake violently. The vehicle began to wobble and jerked into another lane, resulting in a crash. The driver sustained injury and was sent to the hospital. A police report was filed. The dealer nor manufacturer were notified of the failure. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure and current mileage was 78,000. Updated evoq 11/01/11

- Lakeside, CA, USA

problem #22

Apr 162008


  • miles
Front and rear suspension, steering, brakes, body work, drivers door. Had issues right after wife bought the car she went without me but upon looking at car after she came home with it did the car fax on it on thing were some electrical checks that's it no accidents. Steering tight when I drove it and noticed noise from suspension when going over railroad tracks and driver door sagging. Brought to dealer next day and the said a bar was rubbing on another they fix they said nothing wrong with suspension in hearing things is there exact words and replaced the door hinges which are purple and the car is red door sagging again but I was involved in accident end of 2008 got sideswiped by 2500 Dodge Ram truck at 45 mph on driverside having problems with that because body shop on repair damage not replaced I brought my car to another body shop because of issues im having and they said work was done incorrectly. And transmission has always when I drive more than 20 miles continuously when I come to stop and start again the tranny always slips bad between 2nd and 3rd gear and into 4th sometimes.

- Auburn, NY, USA

problem #21

May 122009

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
2004 Nissan Maxima transmission issues 1st N 2nd shift hard, 2nd N 3rd slipping shimmy in the steering while driving.

- Arlington, TN, USA

problem #20

Jul 162010


  • 45,680 miles
Maxima 2004 sl 3.5 steering wheel tilt stopped working.

- Clarksburg, 00, USA

problem #19

Jan 012005


  • 100 miles


2004 and newer Nissan Maximas has a serious steering wheel vibration after 40mph. Nissan dealership says they are no complaints, but the internet if full of customers having this same problem. My car is 6years old but only has 34,000 miles. New tires, brakes, rotors, alignment multiply tire balances has not fixed this problem. On the internet customer have replaced struts, bearing, cv axles and problem still exist. This seems like a problem needs to be addressed.

- Cedartown, GA, USA

problem #18

Dec 012009


  • 1,600 miles
I have a 2004 Nissan Maxima that I bought new in 2003 in California. Within months to the first year, I have had continuous problems with the front end. I've had my wheels aligned, tires balance numerous times and checked due to a shimmy in the steering wheel, tires wearing unevenly and a clanking or thumping noise in the front right when going over a bump. These problems I have had for years and complained continuously. Had the car in the shop many times for these problems, but to no avail. Nissan fixed noise after 5 times in the shop in 2004 and 2005. Now over the years the noise has come back, but the shimmy was always a problem. I just learned to ignore it until now. I'm reading now online of other Maxima owners having the same problem. I'm planning on approaching my Nissan dealer here in Florida about the shimmy, abnormal tire ware and clankiing noise as well. Can you help me?

- Daytona Beach, FL, USA

problem #17

Jul 282003


  • 55,000 miles
The car RPM drop down below 500, last year it led to service engine light and spend around a grand, but never fix, until today the dealer claim that this happened to Nissan maxim 04, and last year I start having steering shaking, the dealer told if I change my rims and tires it will fix it, and in Aug-2008 I have 4 new rim and good years tires, but the problem exit, I went in Jan to the dealer, and they told if they tightened some thing it will fix, but no I still have until today, car shakes if you exceed speed of 55 or 50 M/H. I am still having those problem until today.

- Jessup, MD, USA

problem #16

Nov 012008


  • 98,000 miles
My 2004 Nissan Maxima 3.5se shifts from 1st to 2nd gear very hard, also from reverse to drive when I back up. This has been happening for a month or so and now my mechanic is saying that I need a new transmission. After some internet research, I see that this problem is happening everywhere with the 2004 Maxima. This car has not been in an accident and it now has 100,600 miles. I have just had the rack & pinion replaced last week as well as that was bad ($1100).

- Shorewood, IL, USA

problem #15

Aug 152008


  • 60,000 miles
Vehicle front end shakes at 40-70 mph.

- Mt Vernon, MO, USA

problem #14

May 012006


  • 15,000 miles
At highway speeds, the front end of my car "shimmy's". when applying normal pressure to the brake at highway speeds, this "shimmy" becomes a bit more pronounced. I have had all work on my car done at the dealers service center from where I purchased it. I have brought my car in for service on more than one occasion for this specific issue, and the technicians have not been able to diagnose the cause (tire pressure, wheel balance/alignment, struts) have all been looked at/replaced but have not corrected the issue. There are many online posts about this issue; therefore, it is not an uncommon occurrence and should be fixed via a recall - this is certainly a safety issue.

- Watertown, MA, USA

problem #13

Jun 272008


  • 43,668 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. Ever since the vehicle was purchased, the contact has been hearing a noise coming from the steering wheel. He took the vehicle to the dealer several times and they replaced the brakes, struts, and tires. The ABS sensor light illuminated and currently the rear sensors and the actuator need to be replaced. The contact believes that this may have been the cause of the failure the entire time. He consulted the dealer several times while the vehicle was still under warranty. The vehicle is no longer under warranty and the contact believes that the cause of the failure has recently surfaced. The failure mileage was 43,668.

- Trenton, NJ, USA

problem #12

Feb 252005

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,462 miles
Problem 2 of 5: purchased 2004 Maxima brand new. Car is now 10 months old. On or about 2/24/05 my steering wheel was stuck in the up position. The Maxima's tilt motor was not working. When you turn the key the steering wheel moves to driver's memory position. My car was stuck upright. It was stuck so high up it was like driving a bus and very hard to turn. I brought my car to the dealership right away because I could not drive the car with the steering wheel up like a bus driver. It was dangerous and very hard to turn the wheel. The dealership had to order the part and had to manually adjust my steering wheel to a more comfortable position so I can drive my car until the part came in. On 3/11/05 the dealership finally replaced the inop tilt motor. Also, my trunk still pops open sometimes in reverse.

- Nesconset, NY, USA

problem #11

May 162006

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 10,000 miles
Bought the Maxima new in September 2004, and several months later I started noticing steering vibrations, which was getting worse with time. They manifest typically around 55 mph. After taking it several times to the dealership, the shimmy has never been resolved. The shimmy is distracting, extremely annoying and probably cause extra wear and tear on front steering components including the tires. At this moment no solution to the problem has been found for my car.

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #10

Apr 252006

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
: the contact stated while attempting to drive a popping sound was heard from the steering column causing it to become inoperable. The vehicle was towed to the local dealership. The dealership was unable to determine the cause of the steering failure. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Murray, KY, USA

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