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Nissan Maxima Maintenance and Repair



  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    Check the plastic housing over the distributor cap, as it may be cracked. I experienced a similar problem a few years ago, especially when the weather was humid. With a cracked housing, the humidity may seep in, making it hard to start the car. I am no mechanic and may well be the last person to give advice. I am simply trying to share with you my limited knowledge and experience about cars.
  • bsummbsumm Posts: 25
    Good stuff, thanks for the advice...
  • because the Nissan 3.0 liter engines went to direct ignition starting in 1995. It could however be a bad ignition coil as there is one on each spark plug.

    Make sure you've got a spark between each coil and the spark plug when cranking the engine.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    The spark plug boots and the coils come together as one unit. Even if the coil itself is perfectly functional, the spark plug boot will definitely deteriorate because of high heat in the deep plug wells over the years in DOHC engines, and replacing the coils every 100K is a good preventive measure in any case. For example, Mazda recommends replacing spark plug wires for their DOHC engines (which use a single coil for ignition) every 60K miles. This is due to deterioration of spark plug boots which act as insulators.
  • Hello all,

    I just purchased a 2002 max SE (auto) with 29k miles. This is the first maxima I owned, so I am getting used to it. I wanted to know what the rpm's should be at when driving at 40, 60 and 80 mph. I think my rpm's are running to high at these speeds. My rpm's are running at 2k, 3k and 4k rpm's respectively. Do other 02 SE owners run at the same rpm's???

  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Your RPM numbers are too high for Nissan Maxima, either auto or manual. For comparison, 5 speed 98 Maxima SE will do about 3200 RPM at 80 MPH in fifth gear. On the other hand, my 99 Mazda 626 ES V6 5 speed RPM are exactly as you described - 3K RPM at 60 MPH, and 4k RPM at 80 MPH in top gear. These high RPMs are normal for the 2.5 liter DOHC Mazda engine coupled to 5 speed manual transmission.

    If your car is an automatic 4 speed vesion, it appears that you are running in 3 rd gear when your RPMs are 4K at 80 MPH. Make sure that your transmission overdrive gear is operational. (Or the speedometer is reading way too low).
  • I know that my friend's car is not a 00-03 Max, but he does have a 99 SE auto, and his RPM's at 80 is around 2700. There is definately something wrong with your car/transmission somewhere.
  • Thanks for the feedback. I will have to take it to the dealership and have them check it out. I don't think it ever gets beyond 3rd gear, which is obviously bad for the engine, but also bad for fuel efficieny.
  • I know this sounds a little silly, but a friend couldn't understand why he and his wife were getting such lousy mileage in their O2 and our identical auto was getting much better. He finally figured out he wasn't kicking the auto-trans selector to "D" - just down to "3". The position of drive - just a right click over from "3" - isn't perfectly intuitive. Just a thought.
  • ccermakccermak Posts: 260
    I have a 2000 Max SE Automatic. Loaded with leather, Bose, roof, etc. Often times, not all the time, when I put the car in gear, or come to a stop so the rpms drop down to idle, I feel a slight buzz/vibration in the steering wheel and the gauge cluster light, the headlights, dome light all flicker really fast. You can see on the wall of my garage at night a shimmy/flicker in the light from the headlights that matches the flicker in the gauge cluster. As for the steering wheel, it's the same buzz that you feel when you first put it in gear and it buzzes and then smooths out, well mine doesn't smooth out until I hit the gas and accelerate. When I'm at cruising speed the lights are fine, buzz is gone, all is ok. Could this be a voltage or alternator problem? If so, how do I test for this? Does Autozone test batteries and alternators for free? Could it be something else like spark plugs? I have 59,400 miles on the car. 600 left on powertrain warranty. Any ideas is appreciated as I want to keep this car for 100K+ miles but this has really been bugging me lately and I'm eyeing up other rides with 4x4 or AWD since I live in cold snowy MN Twin Cities. Thanks.
  • dirkworkdirkwork Posts: 210
    I'd take to Autozone and get it tested for Batt/Alt. Sounds like the alt is charging a LOT and at idle, its causing your lights to flicker. Also could be a bad battery / ground connection.

    I doubt its serious, but hey if a new car makes you happy....
  • ccermakccermak Posts: 260
    Yep, will try Autozone this week. Doesn't seem like battery since it starts great even when we had several days of 0 to 10 degrees temps. Pops right off every time. Will check connections tonight to make extra sure they're tight and corrosion free. Hopefully it is something easy like that. I'd like to keep the Max rolling along relatively trouble free for 3 more years and put my better half in a Murano next year. Gotta pump those Nissan sales since I'm a stock owner!
  • My car runs pretty rough from initial start until the car reaches a resting temp(approx. 2min of driving.) When I am not revving my car and letting it coast at a speed of 20-30mph, the car starts bucking, sputtering, whatever, like I am pressing and releasing the clutch too quick. This problem does not seem like a coil problem, but I don't know too much about cars. When my car reaches a normal temp(1/2 way between "c" and "h" the car runs like a champ. Any suggestions???
  • ccermakccermak Posts: 260
    Sounds like the old "fuel-cut" issue. What year is your Maxima? Search this board and 5th gen forum for "fuel-cut" and you'll find a lot. I believe this was for 2000 and 2001 Maximas. There is a TSB (technical service bulletin) about an ECM flash or something to fix it. That's engine control module, basically the computer.
  • Currently, I have 03' Maxima SE that has vibrated (at highway speeds) ever since I first had the tires rotated at 6500 miles. Since then, I've had the tires balance countless times by different places with different balancing equipment. Nothing really seems to solve the vibration problem throughout the car. This problem occurred like a light switch the day I had the tires rotated. My brakes don't really shimmy when their applied. Thus, I don't think they are out of spec from over tightening. Nissan has tried to blame the Bridgestone tires however they cannot tell which one or ones are bad. They all roadforce test within spec. Thoughts?
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Defective tires, no doubt about that. These tires are the reason why I did not buy a new 03 SE, because I could feel vibration in the steering wheel at 60MPH when I test drove 2 new 03 SEs. Nissan had to replace thousands of these tires. Get a set of decent tires if you want to resolve the problem. The Nissan dealer will order the same replacement tires. You may want to press on Nissan to get you a set of different brand tires. If they give a you a runaround, I would ask for an explanation why did they switch to a different tire brand for the 04 Maxima.

    Toyo tires may be a good choice. These came originally on my 98 Maxima SE and I never had any problems with them. They lasted almost 60K miles.
  • Thanks for the input p100. Does Toyo make a 225/50 R17 tire? I can't seem to find one. The Bridgestone factory tires were an extremely poor choice, I also have a problem with them flatspoting all the time. I thought about the Pilot A/S, however I'm concerned about excessive road noise. I tend to cruise at 78 mph to work on some pretty smooth roads.

    FYI.. I also spoke with a quality engineer at Nissan's plant in Symra, TN and the 04' Maxima owners are also complaining of some sort of vibration very similar to mine. I don't know if that is tire related or not, so be on the watchout.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    I checked into Toyo tires and could not find your size. I found P225-45-R17 and P225-55-R17 sizes, but not P225-50-R17. You could use the P225-45-R17 size without any adverse effects because the speedometer error would be negligible. The Pilot tires you mention are rather expensive (about $190 a piece) and they will not last very long. I had a set of Pilots on my 99 Mazda and they lasted only 30K miles and got very noisy toward the end. I would check into some other brands such as Dunlop.

    Thanks for the info on the 04 Maxima vibration problems. As far as I am concerned, I am not buying anymore Maximas until I see that these people are serious about quality. There is no excuse for this. What have they accomplished by increasing the tire size to 18 inch diameter if the car has vibration problems? My 98 Maxima does not have these problems and P215-55 HR16 Toyo Proxess tires can be bought for about $ 90 a piece.
  • Hello all. This is my first time posting in the town hall, but I am sure I will be posting alot more in the future as my mother just bought a used 02' maxima gle. So far everything has been okay, except for having to replace the front brakepads and resurfacing of the rotors and a new battery along with a reset of the computer. I guess thats enough for the 5 days she has only had it. But to get to the problem I've driven the car and tested it on all road surfaces and on bumpy roads there is a jittery bounce in the steering wheel and I dont know what it could be. I've never driven a max before and I didn't know if this is normal for this vehicle. In addition even on highways if you go over slight uneven pavement you can feel the steering wheel bounce, as if its a very light vehicle. However, when you are not driving and riding as a passenger the ride is very smooth and quiet, almost lexus-like. Any suggestions would be helpful, as we are trying to find out all the problems wrong with the car so we can get them rectified by the dealer before they start that "it wasn't like that when you bought it." Thank you.
  • Also, I've checked the tires and they seem to be in fair condition with enough tread left, but maybe its just the ride of the stock turanzas. I am hoping not every max drives this way, as I find it to be a premium car, but the bouncy steering and choopy ride over somewhat rough surfaces not worthy of anything premium at all.
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