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:
11 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
76,963 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Nissan Maxima Owner Comments (Page 8 of 30)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #460

Jul 232010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 56,658 miles


My 2004 Nissan Maxima. When you change from park to drive it jump into gear hard. Wile driving it shift hard from 1 gear to 2. I take it to the auto shop they say it's my transmission. It cost me $1900 to replace it.I see alot of people have this problem and Nissan is doing nothing to correct this problem.

- Valleystram, NY, USA

problem #459

Sep 032010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles
2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5L V6 transmissions- jerking, knocking and sticking in gear. Many dealers already know about the problem. Internet searches have shown the same results of consumers having issues. The normal cost for replacement is almost 50% of the car value. Dealerships will not repair the problem only suggest for the placement of the entire transmission $3800! if the car is engaged in 5th gear (like this one) could cause other vehicles to crash into it due to poor acceleration.

- Camden, SC, USA

problem #458

Jun 092006


  • 40,000 miles
I have a 2004 Nissan Maxima. It has 97.000 miles on it and the transmission has been giving me problems since I bought it. It won't go into drive from park without a 3-5 second delay, it dosen't down shift properly when coming to a stop. It's to the point now that when I come to a stop it down shifts so erraticly that the tires chirp. I looked online and there are over 150,000 people with the same complaint. I took it to the dealer and they said they can't duplicate it, which I think is a falsehood. The bottom line is that there clearly is a defect with these transmissions and Nissan needs to recall them. The fog lights short out and burn out after limited use. I have spend hundreds of dollars on fog lights, now I just gave up and leave them burned out. The front struts were defective and had to be replaced.

- Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

problem #457

Jan 152009


  • 134,000 miles


Car malfunction on transmission.

- Waukegan, IL, USA

problem #456

Aug 302009

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 165,000 miles
About 12 months ago with $165,000 miles on my 2004 Nissan Maxima began to jerk when downshifting from higher gears. Vehicle also had trouble engaging 3rd and 4th gears when accelerating. Took vehicle to Nissan, who suggested a transmission flush, had this done but the problem still occurred but less frequently. Once the problem became frequent again the procedure was repeated. Inquired if a recall was open for this issue but Nissan said no, but stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. I did some research on line and found that numerous owners were experiencing the same problem and felt I needed to report my situation. I am currently saving money to purchase the new trans before replacing.

- Bluemont, VA, USA

problem #455

Jul 192010


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. While the contact was driving approximately 35-45 mph, the transmission began to jerk violently out of third gear without warning. The failure occurred whenever the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing where the error codes were reset. The failure recurred six months later. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer several times for the same failure and the technician recommended that the transmission be replaced. The failure became progressively worse resulting in the transmission not being able to shift into any gear. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 70,000.

- Montgomery Village, MD, USA

problem #454

Aug 112010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles


I own a 2004 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SE with 74,000 miles, and for the past couple of weeks the transmission has begun slipping and jerking from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to3rd. But the biggest problem has happened twice now; where the car has been sitting idle at a stop light, the transmission has slipped out of 1st gear, and when the light turned green the car would not rev up and I was stuck holding up traffic until I put the car in park, was able to obtain rpms and then put the car back in drive.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #453

Jul 312010


  • 90,000 miles
2004 Nissan Maxima transmission troubles. The transmission on the automatic 5 speed Maxima get struck and often takes more than 5 seconds to get in to gear. This is a safety issue and it seems widespread among the 6th generation Maximas. We have been having this problem for quite a while now and it seems Nissan only want to charge customers for a replacement transmission. This is so widespread, among Maximas of varying mileage, it begs the question on whether this is a factory defect that needs to be systematically addressed. Nissan (corporate) and dealers are unresponsive to these concerns and it's not fair that consumers have to foot the bill for what appears to be a factory issue.

- Ellicott City, MD, USA

problem #452

Jul 272010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
While driving, out of the blue, at street speed, 10-25 mph, a sudden "clunk" is heard and then the transmission fails causing the car to stop suddenly and left without any power. If car restarts, the transmission is left in 5th gear with no ability to change gears at all. Only 44000 miles on the car, but we have been complaining/documenting to the Nissan dealer every service, since we bought the car new. All they do is "add transmission oil", or just tell us "there is no problem for this is normal."

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #451

Jul 232010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 74,420 miles
My car died out in the middle of the street while in reverse. When I was able to restart it back up, I dismissed it. A few days later, it would not start at the grocer. It restarted only after jumping. I drove it to auto zone for a new battery which seemed to help. Yesterday while backing out of a parallel park it died again mid aisle. I restarted it and slowly pressed forward by flooring the accelerator. I backed out again and after changing gear, it dragged forward without torque. Finally, it lurched into torque only to drag down at each red light. I'm appalled at all the online complaints of consumers experiencing the same problems with no relief.

- Decatur, GA, USA

problem #450

Jan 012010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles


I have had my 2004 Nissan Maxima for six years. I have had this car since it was brand new. The car slams into gear and jerks into first gear when starting to drive. It bangs and throws me forward when downshifting from 2nd to 1st gear. It also throws me into gear when going from 2nd to 3rd gear. It has about 76,197 miles. At 70,000 miles the struts had to be replaced I reported the transmission problem to Nissan North America, by filing a formal complaint. They advised me to take the car to a Nissan dealership for diagnostic testing. The Nissan dealership told me that the transmission needed to be replaced. When I told Nissan North America what the dealership told me, they informed me that there was nothing they could do about the transmission problem, because the car is out of warranty. With all of the complaints about the 2004 Nissan Maxima, it will cost me a total of $3553.13 to have this problem repaired. With so many complaints about the transmission on the 2004 Nissan Maxima, I don't understand why there hasn't been a recall!

- South Bend, IN, USA

problem #449

Feb 012004


  • 47,000 miles
I own a 2004 Nissan Maxima SE w/ a little bit over 50000 miles. The transmission does "jerk" when the engine is warm when changing from 1st. To second gear and when downshifting between the same gears. I tough that was aa isolated problem, till finding a few web site w/ owners of the same vehicle ( 003/2004 models) complaining about the same problem. The dealership told me to change the motor mount and I did as well as flushing the fluid and nothing did happen. Is my reasoning that the NHTSA should look into this matter since it shows a pattern and also is unknown what can happens w/ the car in case of a complete failure. Below there is a question about the "incident date" my response is "approximated".

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #448

Jan 162010


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact was driving approximately 40 mph, the engine revved with an extremely high increase in the rpms. Suddenly, the vehicle began to jerk. On a separate occasion when pressure was applied to the accelerator pedal an unexpected increase in the speed rate occurred. The failures were intermittent. The vehicle was diagnosed by two different independent mechanics and they both informed that the failure was related to the transmission. The vehicle was not repaired when the complaint was filed. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 62,000.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #447

May 152010


  • 80,000 miles
Car steering wheel got hard and it turn off on me, tried to start it up again, going 20-35 miles and hr because car wont accelerate after you come to a stop pointing..step on the gas, car barley moved, went to get car check out, the check engine light on, replace sensors, got it out of the shop and it still have the same problem, it will turn off once the car get warmer, found it, its the transmission problem. Car is at 82,000 miles, had the car about over a year.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #446

May 102010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles
Automatic transmission lunges while braking or accelerating at any given time. Caused rear-end accident with my wife & kids in the car. I have read thousands of consumer's complain about this issue & Nissan nor the government will fess up to the issue with the transmission. This is an on-going safety issue & needs to be addressed by Nissan & the government needs to put pressure on Nissan Corp. To correct the problem @ there expense instead of the consumer. The date of the incident is incorrect due to this being an ongoing issue & the local dealer has no resolution.

- Bessemer, AL, USA

problem #445

Jan 082009

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Transmission in 2004 Nissan Maxima jerks abruptly when going from 1st to 2nd gear. This started at approximately 60K miles. At that time, it was just assumed to be a random event. However, at approximately 75K miles, the jerking became more and more consistent, almost causing an accident due to the jerking happening in a random nature. The vehicle was taken to a Nissan dealership and they recommended a "transmission flush" be performed every 18 - 24 months. I got the flush done and it seemed to work for about 2 months, then started again. At that point, I took the car to a different dealership that recommended a "transmission flush" because the fluid seemed a little dark. I then informed them that the flush had been performed 6 months prior at another dealership. The response was, "you should have it replaced sooner rather than later..." an engine diags check turned up, you guessed it, no problem with the transmission. This seems to be a recurring theme of many owners who explain very similar issues with their Maximas.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #444

Feb 142010


  • 121,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated when braking or accelerating from a complete stop, the vehicle would jerk violently. The dealer advised the transmission was not defective and performed a transmission flush. The failure persisted. There were no further repairs. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileages were 121,000.

- Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #443

Jul 092010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 60,046 miles
I was driving my 2004 Nissan Maxima with 60,000 miles with my wife and I in the car. I was getting on the interstate using the ramp and once I merged into traffic the car would not accelerate. I had to jump off of the road because a tractor trailer was approaching and nearly ran over me. I had to drive off into the grass to keep from getting hit from behind. Problem is that the transmission is stuck in 5th gear. This would not allow me to accelerate in traffic. I am thankful that we were not killed by the oncoming traffic...... this problem has not been corrected and Nissan says they have no records of transmission problem similar to this with 2004 Maxima's. this is not true. I have researched the internet and there are thousands of complaint just like mine. Luckily I was not injured. Is that what it will take for Nissan to admit there is a problem" how can I get this resolved??"

- Kansas City , MO, USA

problem #442

Jun 252010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
It is a 2004 Nissan Maxima sl. The transmission started heavily jerking at 98K miles. The jerking was so much that it could possibly cause injury. The car was religiously maintained. It needs a new transmission which will cody $3000 to fix.

- Parsippany, NJ, USA

problem #441

May 102010

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
2004 Nissan Maxima, I to have problems with 5 speed automatic transmission. When warmed up, I have shift shock going from 1 - 2 & 2 - 1, slipping from 2 - 3. went to dealer for drain & fill, he says it is common with my model, that there is a problem with the valves in the valvebody. He said he would change the valve body for $1500, and that it hasn't been re-called because it would cost Nissan to much.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

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