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Nissan Maxima Maintenance and Repair



  • max04max04 Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a used 04 Maxima with 20,000 miles. I am very disappointed with the noisy ride. I guess when I test drove it, I was on a smooth street. You can hear every crack in the road with this car. Our cheap Mustang is smoother, and my neighbors Focus is alot quieter than this Maxima. This car came with Continental tires. Could this be the problem? I love everything else about the Max, but for the $$$, I thought it should be alot quieter. Any suggestions?
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    for what it's worth - i'd proceed to check the pressure in your tires comparing to the recommended inflation on the door jam? your tires may be overly inflated. this has been mentioned in other forums. my car transmits more road noise to the cabin when i over-inflate the tires. i presume the tire becomes "stiffer" and doesn't damp the road imperfections as much.


    just an idea. good luck.
  • can anyone please tell me where my lighter is located on my 2004 Maxima SE i have been looking and can't find it or any of the DC power outlets i have looked in the owners manual it's not listed. in the book it states about a cell phone charger area located near the console. please help. also what is the black film on the edges inside of the front windshild around the mirror?
  • I have a 2004 Maxima SE, and I just wanted to warn everyone. Never spray glass cleaner or in my case Armor-all on the dashboard. It has left this cloudy film all over the fuel, speed, and Rpm gages. It pisses me off and I can't get it off. Does anyone have any ideas, how I can get rid of this film? I'm at the point at just getting a whole new dashboard cover. Also has this happen to you guys, my automatic stick shifter is always loose and when I go to tighten it it pops up. I think it's spring loaded. The dealership I bought it at has not tried to help. Thanks, JFM
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    My windshield wiper fluid froze the first winter I had my car. I think my dealer just adds water when they do the oil change. Ever since, I make a point of filling up the winshield washer fluid tank with the proper fluid before going to the dealer for any service. That way they cannot add anything to it. Never had the fozen fluid again!
  • I recently encountered my first problem with my 02 Maxima since i first purchased it. After a long trip yesterday, i noticed that the Service Engine Sign warning light indicator came on out of nowhere. According to the manual, if the sign is steady and not blinking, that means the fuel filler cap wasn't properly tightened or there maybe a problem with the Emission Control System. The manual also claimed that after tightening the cap, it should dissappear after a few trips. Well, its been almost 2 days, and the sign is still there after about 10 trips. Is this something very serious? My car i still under warranty for a month. Is this something the dealer should take care of under the warranty?

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • aggiedogaggiedog Posts: 238
    It's probably not serious but it could be very costly if you miss your warranty cutoff. My light came on in my 02 SE at about 35K. It was an 02 sensor that the dealer had to pay for. If I had waited, I'd have been out of between $300 and $400. Any SES that appears when your car is under warranty is on the dealer. It shouldn't cost you a penny.
  • hdaohdao Posts: 20
    Your price seems right, the O2 sensor it self costs $80-$120 for each + $100-$200 for each installation labor. Since most cars today are using engine control module (ECU) to populate a trouble code(s) when something goes wrong. The problem is that most dealers don't want to narrow that problem further. Once technicians receive a trouble code from the scanner, they just want to go ahead to replace with new parts. For the O2 sensor related trouble codes, I would check the electrical connector, wiring harness, then erase the code. If the same code happens again, then he can replace a new sensor.


    Owner should do some research on internet, he might find some information of how to read these trouble codes. Here are the list that I have done for my 99 Maxima and saved alot of monies ever since.

    1) I saved $70-$80 each time, not to bring my car to dealer for code reading.

    2) My car had a code for EGRC solenoid/V. Dealer wanted to replace it with $140 part + $150 labor. At least, they should had narrowed down whether the wiring harness/connector was bad by measuring the resistance (according to the Haynes Book which I bought later). They didn't. I trouble-shooted myself, the problem disappeared without buying a new EGR valve. It might had been a loosen wiring harness/connector and vacuum tubes that run into the valve.

    3) I had bad ignition coil code in the past, dealer wanted to replace all six coils ($700 parts & labor). They did not want to find out which particular coil(s) was bad. Later, I found only one coil and replaced that bad one ($80). I have been driving another 30k miles and have yet seen another ignition coil problem.
  • hdaohdao Posts: 20
    Not only CT Nissan Dealer, but I have experienced with some Nissan Dealers in TX as well. I guess that most dealers regardless of car brand may be the same. It is hard to find a trusted dealer or technician nowadays unless you know him well. However, I found some so-called a good and honest technnician sometimes posting a very helpful message on internet. A most problem today is that cars are made up with a computerized engine control module (ECM or ECU). This box is to monitor any trouble signal. When something goes wrong, the ECU is likely pop-up a trouble code. It is good news that we don't have to do much trouble-shootings like an old car. The code usually tells us what part of the car need to be pin-pointed or replaced. The problem with most dealers is that they might not have time nor wanted to do more trouble-shootings. When they got a code, they would recommend to replace that part. What has happened to my 99 Maxima with the ignition coil was that they wanted to replace all six coils rather to replace just the bad one. I finally found information of how to read the flash code and pin point a particular ignition coil#. Yet, I have replaced only one bad coil for $80 while the dealer would have had charged me $700 for all 6 coils. I have been driving ever since for 30k miles and have yet seen a problem again. Same thing on EGRC solenoid/v trouble code, the dealer wanted to replace a new EGRC valve ($134 part + $100 labor). They supposed to check the wiring harness, electrical connector, and vacuum tubes that run into the EGR valve before concluded that the EGR valve was bad. I bought a Haynes Repair book and followed the troubleshooting. The problem was due to clogged and cracked vacuum rubber tubes. After carefully unplugged and plugged all wiring/connector and re-adjusted the vacuum holes, the problem was gone without replacing a new valve. The O2 sensor may be the same. One should check the wiring and measure the resistance of sensor before replace a new one. At least to erase the code to see if the same code populating again. Other o2 sensors may be hard to reach but replacing a downstream o2 sensor is just like changing a spark plug. Of course, one needs to have a jack to lift car up for more working space. If one can do it himself, he would save about $150 for laboring. I feel especially sorry for elders and women who driving a car with ECM. Yet, dealer usually charge $75 each time for reading the code.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    $ 700 for replacement of six coils, eh? No wonder these dealerships can afford fancy showrooms and employ scores of salesmen who jump on you the minute you pull into heir parking lot.


    Let's see: The dealer cost for these coils is about $ 40 piece, or $ 240 a set. It takes about 1/2 hour labor to install all six (I know because it took me that long to remove them and reinstall them on my 98 Maxima when I changed the plugs.) So $460 for 1/2 hour of labor equals $ 920 an hour. I wonder how much they pay their techs? Maybe $ 25 an hour?


    With this kind of profiteering, are you surprised that they are not interested in checking your coil resistance to determine which is defective? They just replace them all!


    This helps explain why the owner of our local Nissan dealership drives a $ 200K Ferrari.
  • I have a 96 maxima that when the engine gets cold, you have to pat the accelerator several times to crank it. I have replaced the temp sensor, the knock sensor, the air flow meter and cleaned the throttle body by hand and also had a nissan mech. run their cleaner through it also. I still ahve the same prob. Runs fine when warm. Does anyone have any ideas. Help. Thanks
  • I have a maxima '95 with 96k miles on it and now I have had problems for the last 2 month: The car is running perfect and then, without any light to check for code failure, it or stop running in a red light or stop sign or begin to stall at regular speed in the highway, always a great consume of gas and black smock is present in the emission (you can see it from the rear mirror), it resume to normal after a very short term, I went to a 2 separate shops and because of any light is present, the computer do not reflect the failure,in all the cases the car was running perfect and failure was not presented, some day a furious guy will kill me for delays in the stop sign or else, can any body can help me please!!!
  • I find it odd that there is little to no mention of the notorious shimmy problems well known in the 2004 Maxima. My 05 (owned less than a month) is going in this week for the fourth time for the same problem. It will be the dealerships last chance to fix it, lemon law after that.


    No shimmy problems out there? It's a major topic on other Maxima forums.
  • Try searching this discussion using the term "vibration".

    Karen-Edmunds Community Manager

  • 1996 Nissan Maxima SE owner since 1999. No major problems until paid off 6 mo ago.

    Brake light stays on- fluid ok, new brakes

    Brakes squeal in any weather, especially loud in summer,

    Bose system radio is fine, CD works when it wants to, usually when heater is on in car. No display lights on radio dial, must use psychic lady for correct scanning....

    lets see.....

    keyless remote stopped working, so I got battery replaced in both keys. Now nothing responds at all. Called dealership and they want me to "replace" system with new one, of course.

    Was experiencing unknown phenomenon of windows rolling down on their own at night during thunderstorms, alarms sounding briefly and trunk popping-causing light to come on and drain battery overnight. Other than that, we've loved the darn car.


    Checked with local dealer and BOSE wants entire system sent to them and $1500 to "look" at system, no repairs, no guarantees. The response made in 2001 of this is NO LONGER IN SERVICE.

    Q: regarding 2001 response: Which button do I press while turning the key in the ignition to reprogram the keyless remote? Do I do both keys this way?
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    The reason for the brake light staying on could be a defective sensor or a loose wire to a sensor.

    I believe that there is a brake fluid level sensor in the brake master cylinder.


    Brake squealing: did they reinstall the original brake pad shims when the pads were replaced? If not, you need to reinstall them, or at least buy anti-squeal paste and smear it on the BACK of the brake pads. This will usually solve the problem. You can get brake pad anti-squeal paste at any auto parts store. Just do not apply any on the busineess end of the brake pads.


    Bose stereo: forget the $ 1500 checkout/repair deal - this would be unacceptable even for a brand new Rolls Royce radio. With some luck, you can find a good Bose radio in a local junkyard for $ 100 and install it yourself. Usually they will give you some warranty on it, so if it does not work, they will exchange it or give you your money back. Not long ago, I saw a Nissan Maxima Bose stereo on E-bay for a very reasonable price. You may check there as well.


    To get remote programming instructions, go to any Nissan dealer service department, and ask them to print you out a copy of remote programming instructions. They did this for me for free. it takes only few minutes to do this. If this does not work, you will have an issue with the remote actuator in the vehicle.


    Windows operating on their own and other electrical malfunctions during thundrestorms: the only correlation i see here is potential water leak into electrical components, such as power window switches, thus completing the circuit. However, ignition must be on for the power windows to work. You could have a short in the wiring somewhere.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    I hate to repeat it, but the most probable reason for front end vibration is either improperly balanced tires, or bad quality tires.


    I assume that they tried to rebalance your tires several times and it did not work. I would recommend finding a tire shop what has the new Hunter GSP 9700 balancer. This machine is not just a wheel balancer, but it has the ability to simulate on-the-road tire behavior. It has a roller which is forced against the tire while it is spun, and the machine measures the variations in the road force in the tire. The main reason for these road force variations is the fact that no tire is perfectly round, and if the tire is poorly made and egg shaped, these force variations will be excessive. Usually, a good tire will be in the 4-6 lbs road force variation range, a marginal tire somewhere around 10+ lbs. The machine will automatically diagnose a tire problem and display the results.


    Low quality tires, especially in 18 inch size, are very difficult to balance. They must be mounted properly on the balancing machine and here is another problem. The best way to mount tires on a balancer is by using flange adapters with a centering cone on the back side of the wheel(e.g Haweka brand), which hold the wheel by the lug nut holes - same way they are mounted on the car. Usually, much better results are obtained this way. The worst and least reliable way to mount the wheel on a blalancer is by using a centering cone on the outside of the wheel, tightening the wheel against the balancer shaft flat flangen (unfortunately most places use this technique because it is the quickest way). If no lug hole adapters are available, a better way is to use a centering cone on the backside of the wheel, and a centering cup on the outside. Unfortunately, MOST places will use only a centering cone on the outside, and tighten the wheel too quickly, thus increasing potential for centering the wheel wrong, which will cause the wheel to be balanced totally wrong (the machine will still display all zeros when they tack the weights on, but the balance wil be wrong). One thing you can do in this case, if you suspect something, is to ask the technician to demount the wheel from the balancer, mount it again and spin it again to show you that it is still balanced. I tried this several times at the local tire shop and every time the results were unbelievable, usually .5 or even .75 of an ounce out on each side! This will cause terrible shimmy, believe me. In a passenger car, you will feel as little as .25 ounce imbalance on either side of tire at high speeds.


    I would invest in a high quality set of Michelins and find a place that can properly balance them before starting lemon law proceedings. There are other reasons for front end vibration, such as loose or defective suspension bushings, bad struts, defective or damaged steering box, etc. It is possible that new Maximas have issues with some of these, but these should be well documented and identified problems by now. Check all tech bulletins to make sure they are not hiding something.


    But tire quality and balancing are the principal reasons for shimmy/vibration. Front end vibration is usually perceived as shaking in the steering wheel, rear end vibration as vibration in the seat or floorboards. I have had very good luck with Michelin tires. Michelin LTX M/S is by far the best truck/SUV tire I have ever had, and Michelin Energy is the best passenger car tire in terms of smooth ride, even wear, and thread life. But even the best tire will cause an unpleasant ride when balanced wrong. An example: my coworker had Michelin LTX M/S tires on his Durango. He complained about vibration and had the tires balanced three times by the local Dodge dealer. They balanced them wrong three times! Rebalancing the tires on the Hunter GSP 9700 machine took care of the problem. When spun on that machine, all tires were ojut by as much as .75 ounce on each side! ?There was nothing wrong with the tires or with the vehicle. I must also mention that after the thrid unsuccssful try the Dodge dealer told my coworker that the vehicle needed new ball joints at the cost of something like $ 1000. He declined to have those replaced.


  • I really appreciate your comments. Just picked up my car, still the same. They have put on three sets of tires. They even took the tires off the General Manager's SL (that didn't shimmy on his car), but my car still had the shimmy. They have balanced three different sets of tires on the Hunter Machine, plus three different sets of rims. Still the shimmy. I will take your reply to them tomorrow and show the tech that has been working on it. They are out of solutions. They were wondering if there is something wrong with the suspension. I have no idea since this is out of my league. Thanks again!
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    There are many types of Hunter wheel balancers. Did they have the 9700 model that I mentioned? Measuring the roadforce variation is the exclusive province of that balancer.


    Let's assume that your vibration problem is not caused by faulty or imbalanced tires/wheels.


    Other possible causes:


    Defective inner CV axle joints can cause vibration upon accleration. I had this issue with my 99 Mazda. Replacing the inner CV joints and axle assemblies took care of the problem. I also had a problem with the left front hub assembly that was no pressed together properly and caused shaking of the hood and weird braking at times. The problem became obvious when I could not put the wheel on the hub without forcing it on because the lugs were not properly centered around the center of the hub.


    Defective tierods, or defective steering rack- these are possibilities also. They should systematically check the front suspension. struts can definitely cuase a vibration. I remmeber reading posts about defective front struts that Nissan replaced on many Maximas.
  • klg677klg677 Posts: 1
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