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Nissan Maxima



  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    "So, do I keep the Maxima another year or two or give it the boot now??"

    looks like you already did...on 8/29/03 at a cost of $598.55.

  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    I sold my 92 Max with 70k miles in Sep 92 for about $4k. The only things that I replaced (besides regular maintenance) were: muffler, water pump and timing belt, front CV boots, and distributor cap. My 92 Max was very good to me (as compared with the aweful 86 Cutlass)!!

    I think your 95 Max has served you well. On retrospect, it would have served you even better ($wise) if you had sold it 1.5 years ago :-)
  • I may be completely wrong, but you are the first I have heard that has needed that many repairs on a maxima. Most people I have talked to have said theirs were pretty much repair free(maybe a repair or 2)through 150,000.

    Can anyone comment on this? Are all these repairs common on a maxima? And habitat did you indeed get these done at a nissan dealer?
  • Yeah I was kinda planning on going with one of the online lenders. As lichtronimo mentioned, they seem to allow for longer loans on older cars.

    I do know the inevitable repairs will come up. That is one reason i would rather pay 175.00/month then 215.00. I mean that right there is almost 500 bucks, almost half what someone said is recommended.

    habitat1, can you give me a list of what repairs you made in the past coupel of years on your car? I am not sayign I don't beleive you, but I have not spent anywhere near that amount on any car I have owned, most of which have been well over 10 years old and had over 150,000 mile son them.
  • Also, what about insurance costs? If I finance a car, it will have to carry full coverage. According to consumerguide at least, the maxima is rated cheaper then the accord. So if it would cost me more in insurance then going with a early 90's accord probablly wouldn't help me in the finance department.

    I will admit, I am not that well off. But I am about to pay off some big bills that will free up some much needed extra cash. Repairs as of now on my other cars have been many. I have managed to get them all done, but then again thats without a car payment.

    I just can't beleive how many and how much you had in repairs habitat. I mean I have owned 3 cars in my life. 1.1986 Ford Ranger-this had relatively low miles and the only problem it caused me was a blown head gasket. 2. 1994 Jeep Wrangler-problem free except for a radiator replacement due to it getting a hole in it. I have no doubt this was caused by debris, so I can't blame this on the car. 3.My current car is a 1989 Olds Cutlass Ciera, It currentlly has 160,000 miles on it. I know it had to have the fuel injectors replaced, and a new exhaust put on it, and new brakes/rotors, new plug wires, and now I think it is in need of a tune up. All of this has been over the past 3 years. ANd this has been my most problematic car thus far. Yet still these repairs cost now where near what habitats did, although they were not done at a dealership, often times by friends and family at a decent rate.

    Between my fiance and I, I thought we had more then our fair share of problems with cars. Total over the past 5 years, we have owned my 3 cars and she has had 3 maybe 4, I don't remember. Her first car an 80's dodge shadow, was a great car till the timing belt broke(thats was likely due to it not being maintained, although her father said it looked fine). Her second car an 86 Mercury Topaz, this car was pure crap, it had a ton of electrical problems, pretty much nothing electrical on the inside of the car worked, interior light, power windows/door locks, guages, you name it. Everything else about the car worked fine until the starter died, although we only had this car for about 8-10 months, so I can't say much about it. When the starter died we were already looking to replace it, so we sold it to a mechanic friend and he in turn sold us a 1990 Ford Tbird Super coupe. In the several months we had this car it was great. 2 repairs, new windshield wiper motor mounts, and a new starter. Then cachunk. All of a sudden the car stopped running, come to find out the harmonic balance broke clean in half. I later found out this was due to the engine having been dropped while being put in. Oh yeah I should have mentioned this had a differant used engine put in. The guy new he dropped it and had used the car himself for several months before selling it to us, so he must have assumed it was okay. But he felt bad about it, so he is currenttly putting another engine in it free of charge to us.

    One thing maybe some of you can help me with. The reason he is putting a new engine in rather then just replace the broken harmonic balance is because apparentlly these parts are near impossible to get, without getting a whole engine with it. Does anyone know if this is the case? I mean I have had 2 differant people looking for this part for almost 3-4 months now, and they can't find one. We found one, or so we thought, when we got it we found out it was for the non supercharged 3.8L. So due to how hard it is to find parts and how expensive the Tbird is to fix, we are trying to find a car to replace it, thus brings me here, in search of a car, or maybe eve more so, advice.

    I think as soon as the Tbird is fixed, Iwill likely sell it and the Olds and get some other used car, but I need to have one reliable vehicle for travel on occasion to see my family. SO now I need to figure out what type of car to get.

    The search continues, sorry about the long post and especially any mistakes, its late, I need to go to bed.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 884
    I would reply to you privately instead of to the whole list but your email isn't listed. I know new Accords are cheaper to insure than Maximas because I asked our insurance agent the last time I was shopping cars, and the Max was more expensive (but I got one anyway because I liked it better). According to Consumer Reports the most reliable midsize cars are: Buick Regal, Toyota Camry, Nissan Maxima and Honda Accord. So you might shop for any of those. for someone on a limited budget you will be able to buy at least 1-2 years newer car for the same money if you get a Buick or Oldsmobile than the others, unless the Japanese makes have high mileage. I probably shouldn't be saying this because I am searching for the very same cars in the same geographic area, for my Navy son who is due home in two weeks.
         As for repairs, no they don't need to be extensive but they can add up in older cars. You can expect to have to replace items like starters, mufflers, CV boots, tires, etc. That's why you might look at a car that's not quite what you want, but newer, like the Buick or the Oldsmobile Intrigue.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Yes, most of my repairs have been at a Nissan dealership, although the last bill for $855 was through a trustworthy independent mechanic. I had a cheap independent mechanic for my Acura Integra and, frankly, I'm convinced that they screwed up things to the point of paying more in the long run. I do live in DC, so even good independent mechanics are probably more expensive than in rural or lower cost of living areas.

    kennyg5, So you sold your 92 max in 92 with 70k miles for $4k?? Think one of those figures is a mis-type! Also, I may have paid more, but the repairs I listed between 130k and 150k are similar to yours at 70k. And the 95 Maxima uses a timing chain which I have never had to replace.

    For everyone out there, I think it is mostly an urban legend that Maximas, Accords or any car for that matter will go 150k+ miles with virtually no repairs. Look at my good side: No engine repairs whatsoever, no timing belt, no A/C repairs whatsoever, no suspension repairs, no clutch replacement or transmission repairs. Brakes that lasted 90k in front and 110k in the rear. Gas mileage still pushing 30 mpg at 70+ mph on the highway. THIS IS A GOOD CAR. Many of you may indeed be able to get a better deal than me on a water pump or starter, but I am here to say from my Integra experience that there are a lot more things that can go wrong that thankfully haven't on the Maxima.

    Also on the urban legend front, we all know of Mercedes diesels that have gone 200-300k miles, right? I'm considering the new E320CDI as a potential replacement for my Maxima. However after really looking into it, the 3-4 long term diesle owners that we know have all had at least one major repair along the way to their 150k+ miles. Anyone know what a transmission replacement costs in a 300TD? Hint, more than the sum total of all repairs I have had on the Maxima since it was brand new. Not to mention the cost of Mercedes/BMW brakes/rotors that wear out every 30k miles and cost three times as much as those on the 1995 Maxima (unfortuantely, post 2000 Maximas have weaker brakes).

    I did buy an S2000 in November 2001 and in 28 months and 16,500 miles I have spent a whopping $214.00 in maintenance (3 oil changes and 15k service) and $0 in repairs. On the other hand, it has depreciated from $32k to perhaps in spring about $24k. During that time, my Maxima has depreciated an additional $1-2k at most. So there is no free lunch in the driving business, just ones that are more prudent than others. And in my opinion the Maxima still qualifies as a prudent one.

  • Well what excatly do people base the "Japanese is better then American" thing on? I mean I know the engine int he max is rock solid and one of the best V6's ever made, but if all the other parts fail just as often as a domestic, then whats the point?
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 884
    It means you're less likely to have the BIG problems like -- transmissions, major engine problems, fuel injection systems, etc. -- and also fewer things that drive you crazy like electrical problems or plastic parts falling off. You have to expect that some things, like mufflers, will wear out (although my Toyota still had its original muffler after 120,000 miles -- but I did replace the starter and a battery, as well as tires, over that time). But there are some domestic makes that have pretty good track records too and they tend to be cheaper than Toyotas and Hondas. Check out Consumer Reports "Used Car Best Bets" and also "Used Cars Not to Buy".
  • kenm8kenm8 Posts: 71
    Japanese brand cars “generally” have better reliability than American brands. Consumer Reports has reliability data on various systems (brakes, air conditioning, electrical, engine, transmission, exhaust, etc.) and publishes this each year in their April issue. If you look at the magazine and compare various brands, you will see how they all stack up.

    From posts at this site and the consumer magazine, it appears that the 95-99 gen Maxes had pretty decent reliability if you are still considering a 99 Max. It seems that there have been more difficulties reported on this message board on the next gen (2000 and later) than there were on the 95-99.

    I consider that our 97 Max SE has had very good reliability at 156K Mi. I would judge it better than two other cars we had to this mileage and beyond (84 Prelude – 195K Mi, 86 Accord 247K Mi). And, these Hondas were pretty darn reliable.

    Normal maintenance on our 97 SE has been regular oil changes, air filter changes, plugs (twice), engine coolant flushes, transmission oil change/flush (twice), battery (once), 1 set of new summer tires, 2 sets of winter tires. Never had any problems with warped rotors, fuel injection, suspension, water pump, starter, air conditioning, alternator, muffler, pipes (knock wood). Front/rear brake pads lasted till 141K/148K (highway) miles. Except for brakes (done by me), work has been done at two Nissan dealers. The labor/parts charges are what I expect for this class of car.

    Unusual repairs were: Cassette deck (67K Mi) under ext waranty, driver’s heated seat switch and blower motor (77K Mi) under ext warranty, Oil pressure sending unit (122K Mi).

    If you are still considering a 99 SE, consider that my experience with a 97 SE may not match a 99 Max. Although the 99 and 97 look to be close in appearance and specs, we do not know to what extent, if any, that Nissan engineers changed parts and components between these years.

    If you are considering Hondas, we had three other Hondas that were bullit-proof until we traded them in: 95 Accord at 69K Mi, 98 Accord at 49K Mi, 01 Acura TL at 71K Mi. I believe that Hondas are rated highly in Consumer Reports as good used car buys. A certified used Honda at a Honda dealer with low miles will probably cost more than a comparable Nissan or American brand car of same year and miles. If you buy a used Honda and maintain it well, you will probably be able to resell it later with little difficulty. I had no trouble in finding buyers for a 195K Mi Prelude and a 247K Mi Accord.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'm sorry, I think I misrepresented or you misunderstood my point.

    I have paid a fair amount for "repairs" on my Maxima over the past 18 months. But, next to nothing in the first 8 years and 130k miles. Nothing that I would consider a major mechanical system and the engine is still very strong.

    If you think you might have as good of luck with a Ford or Chevy product, be my guest. One of my "frugal" business school buddies got a Ford Taurus (using a lot of Ford credit card points) at about the same time I got my Maxima. He limped that pice of crap along for about 85k miles before he dumped it for $2,500 a year an a half ago. He had major repairs on an annual basis and the car left him stranded more than once.

    Re-read my post. I think the Maxima is a great car and has held up well. should a water pump or starter last longer than 130-150k miles??? I don't know, but the the major mechanical and drivetrain components are still running very strong. And it's fit and finish at 150k miles has held up very well - better than the average domestic car at a third of the age or mileage.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    Sorry about the typo. I sold my 92 Max in Sep 02 when I bought my 03 Max - my third Max. I agree with the posters here that the Max is a reliable car and Consumer Report consistently shows that year after year. I also agree that Japanese brand cars (especially those made in Japan) are generally more reliable than American brands, and Consumer Report consistently shows that as well.
    I had my share of Ford and GM cars in the 80s, and I was not impressed with them, to say the least.
  • No habitat, I did not feel you misrepresented your faith in your max. Just the amount of repairs you have had on it just seems like lot to me, as I said, I have heard mnay others with uite a few less repairs then you. But every car is differant as is every driver. I am not saying just because this car is Japanese that I never expect it to break down. I just think that if my repair costs end up costing more then my monthly car payment, then we have a problem. I get your point and am still strongly considering a max, as well as trying to listen to others advice to maybe get something else for now.

    One thing I need to point out is that I am not buying a car to get me around for a few years and then resell it. I want to get a car I can use for a few to several years and then assuming it is still running well give it to my wife or keep it myself. So resale value doesn't matter much to me. Although if you are speaking in the sense of getting an early 90's honda and driving it for a couple years then reselling it to get a max or whatever I want at that time, then i understand, and if that is a btter route for now, then i will have to strongly consider it. But it wouldn't be my first choice.

    According to consumer reports a 1997 Maxima proved more reliable then a 97 accord in several major areas. But a 94 accord was far more reliable then a 94 maxima, so i guess if my budget is tight, then I should consider getting and early 90's accord.

    I find myself caught in a catch 22 at this point. I am living currently with my wife and son in her parents basement. I am soon planning to get us our own apartment. I need to get a car before I can even consider moving out. But without actually moving out and figuring out exactly what costs I have, I have no way of accurately coming up with a budget. I have very educated guess as to what costs I will have, but they are not perfect.

    I guess i will continue studying. Thanks for your help everyone, you are providing me with great info and advice.
  • andmoonandmoon Posts: 320
    I love my 02 6spd (~35K) but since new I have had to

    1) Have rotors resurfaced (<1000 miles)
    2) Dash replaced due to bubbling.(~ 5K miles)
    3) Have rotors replaced (@< 10K)
    4) Recall for some suspension crossbar
    5) Recall for posible sticking throttle
    6) Recall for some engine sensor
    7) Stereo replaced due to some CD error code (~30K)
    8) 2nd set of rotors resurfaced (~30K)
    9) Have a clip that holds splash guard under front bumper replaced 3X.
    10) Left Rear light assembly replaced due to fogging (~15K)
    11) Dealer installed some anti theft device and stickers for the HID lights.

    In addition I have had to play with the hood adjustments to keep it from fluttering.

    No major failures and I have had to pay only for the last rotor resurface. It also grinds going into 3rd when changed trans fluid but it still grinds.

    Although it has not cost me in terms of money, it has been a pain and I do not consider my time to be free. Many of the above repairs took multiple trips for parts etc. So I have to say my Maxima has not been as reliable as my prvious vehicles but I still find it a joy to drive. (I feel my 92 was a subjectively better car)

  • I will admit I have not read every word of this rather lengthy discussion over the past week or so, ;) but I'll just put in my experiences so far. I have a 00 Max SE, with 46K. My repair history:

    1. rotors resurfaced ~19K
    2. Power mirror switch motor replaced
    3. Transmission Control Module replaced due to big kick from 1-->2.
    4. pads/rotors replaced.

    I think that's it. My Max has been more trouble free than my first-year G35. The G seems to be much better now in 04 - none of the problems I experienced. The only item I paid for above was (4).
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 884
    I have an '01 GLE (32,000 miles) -- so far the only thing I have replaced is tires, otherwise just the basic maintenance intervals at 15,000 and 30,000 miles.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    97 (36,500 miles) -- one set of tires, Diehard Gold battery; 03 (6,500 miles) -- nothing.

    Few complaints -- crummy OEM tires (97 and 03), so-called "premium" Bose speakers (03), inferior rear suspension (97 and 03).

    Best feature -- VQ engine.
  • I never had an opportunity to do a post-mortem on the Maxima I rented from Enterprise a few weeks ago, and how it compared to my 2002 Intrigue.

    Obviously, the Maxima is more of a performance car. Acceleration was great, although I had difficulty smoothly accelerating in slow traffic. According to the cool trip computer, my average speed during my morning commute in Metro DC was 14 mph. I would say that as much fun as the Maxima was, it is a TERRIBLE car to drive in that kind of traffic. Gas mileage was substantially worse than the Intrigue, again, according to the computer I average around 13.5 mpg, the Intrigue gets around 16 in the same driving.

    The instrument cluster did grow on me quite a bit, although the stereo system was not as good as the Bose system on the Intrigue. Comfy seats, but visibility is not very good--I'm sure more familiarity alleviates this problem, but I was doing a lot of guesswork backing up.

    The single biggest complaint I have about the Maxima (and the biggest reason I was happy to go back to the Intrigue) was the borderline ridiculous turning circle. Turns and u-turns I routinely make in the Intrigue were not possible in the Maxima. Driving in tight spaces, such as the parking garage at work, was very very difficult and required all kinds of extra turns. I know that the Intrigue is remarkably nimble for a car its size, but still, this was hard to overcome.

    So, in short, the acceleration, roominess, and interior style (exterior is hit or miss) are advantages for the Maxima. The Intrigue is smoother, has better ride insulation (the Maxima is SO rough!) and more nimble. If I drove long, twisty roads every day I'd probably prefer the Maxima, but for real world driving I'm sticking with the Intrigue.

    Tough to evaluate build quality also. I would say that the Maxima has a better reputation, which may be warranted. My Intrigue as around 15k miles (same as the Maxima rental) and has had no problems at all (except for getting hit, which is why I was in a rental to begin with). It also comes with a 5/60k standard warranty, and it is substantially cheaper than a Maxima (I paid $19k for a new GL with the sun and sound package (sunroof & Bose 8 speaker system), dual climate, stability control (called Precision Control System, is that even offered on the Maxima?), traction control, spoiler, etc.) The Maxima I had as a rental was fairly beat up and the interior was not holding up well--the suede was scraped and worn out on both door panels, there was a loud rattle coming from the shifter panel. I don't think its fair to evaluate the Maxima on this though since rentals are beaten up pretty hard.

    One final note--I loved the manumatic. I wish my Intrigue had this, it was a lot of fun. Anyway, compared with the Accord/Camry, I can see why those of you who are performance oriented love your cars.
  • aggiedogaggiedog Posts: 238
    02 SE @ 25.5k miles -- 4 Bose replacements and that back window wind noise issue that I'll address at my next oil change. That's it.
  • I concur with kenm8, "It seems that there have been more difficulties reported on this message board on the next gen (2000 and later) than there were on the 95-99". I can testify as I own a 2003 Nissan Maxima with the dreaded COLD ENGINE RATTLE that is common with this car. It makes you question Nissan's reliability and quality and where they are headed.

    Onto another subject, but closely related, one should consider how a car company&#146;s customer service treats their customers. I wish there were a place you could rate a manufacturer&#146;s customer service and then prospective buyers could review these ratings before buying their new car. I mean really get a &#147;real&#148; feeling for how they treat their customers. This would be especially useful when buying a car from a manufacturer with reliability and quality issues.
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