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Nissan Maxima Maintenance and Repair



  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Ignition Coils(s)


    Remove the decorative facia on the valve cover, if equipped.
    Unplug the coil harness connector.
    Unbolt the coil retaining fastener(s). Some models have only one bolt, while others have two fasteners.
    Carefully pull the coil assembly out of the engine.

    To install:

    Place the coil into the spark plug recess. Make certain the tip of the coil is seated on the spark plug, and not beside it.
    Fasten the coil with the retaining bolt(s).
    Plug the harness connector onto the coil.
    Replace the decorative facia, if equipped.
    If you are removing more than one coil at a time, be sure to label each coil, harness connector and cylinder.


    Using an ohmmeter, adjust it to the low range, and attach the probes to terminal 1 and terminal 2.
    Measure the resistance; it should read around 0.8 ohms.
  • I have noticed a slight miss when I accelerate lightly. I'm going to have the coils looked at this weekend...

    I just had the TPS replaced a month ago. Perhaps the mechanic didn't properly install the sensor...

    thanks for the ideas; I'll be back with some results next week...
  • Hi all:
    I've had my 2001 Max for 3 years now (60k miles) and love it. I have not had any problems with it other than a couple of times the car wouldn't start after I had the radio on with the car off for around 30 minutes. I have my lights set to be on all of the time while driving so they were on also. The battery was so dead that I didn't even get a click, but it started right away with a jump. Very strange.

    Also, for those complaining about the ride, I got a set of Michelin Pilots, which were very expensive (~$210/each at BJs), but incredible handling and no road noise. These may be worth getting if you don't mind spending the extra bucks.
  • I had the diagnostic test done to my 2000 Nissan Maxima SE for the check engine light that came on. The dealer told me that 2 or more of the coils are bad and they need to replace all six. They also told me that they couldn't determine which coils were bad. Does this sound right?? At $75 a coil I would only like to replace the bad ones rather than all 6 of them.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    The coils can e checked for primary and secondary resistance, which will help determine which one is bad. For 93 and 94 coils these resistance values were 1 ohm for the primary side and 8-12 kohms for the secondary side.

    These values are not applicable for 95 and later coils. For the secondary circuit the resistance should be infinite for these coils. The primary side circuit is rather complicated as there are three terminals. Haynes manual #72021 for 93-99 Maxima specifies how to test the primary side.

    I would ask those Nissan parts changers for a copy of the shop manual and ask specifically where it says that these coils cannot be tested.
  • I have the Nissan service manual (electronically)for the 2000 Maxima.

    There are at least 10 pages of very detailed testing in the Engine Control System (EC) section (pages 585-595)of the manual. I'm sure the dealer (if they wanted to run all the tests), could find out exactly what's wrong with your Maxima and fix only the bad coils.

    It appears to me that the technicians maybe just jumping to the conclusion that just replacing all the coils will:

    a:Fix the problem (most likely).
    b:Keep you from coming back to complain about the same issue.
    c:Get them out of doing all that hard work without knowing how much money they'll make on the repair order.
    d:Be the most efficent way to solve the problem in the long run.

    You might want to consider another dealer (if that's an option) or buy the Service Manual yourself (if your so inclined) or know someone who is capable of doing the electrical testing that is required.

    You can download the entire manual in PDF format from
    for a fee of $19.99. You will need a high speed internet connection to do this efficiently as there's a lot of data (about 48MB).

    (The EC section itself is 9.5 MB.)

    You can also buy the coils yourself from an on line Nissan parts house and install them yourself. You could probably do all six yourself for the price the dealer would charge you to do 3 or 4 of them.
  • My 99 GLE would occasionally shudder - usually right after I started the car and put it in reverse. It ran fine otherwise. Eventually, it got worse and the check engine light came on. Dealer said it was a general ignition fault and all 6 coils need replacing because they can't tell which coil is bad. Cost - $800 (parts + labor). I declined.

    I did some research on and found out how to get the fault codes myself. I kept getting the general ignition code for awhile. At least the dealer told the truth. Finally, the car ran worse and it gave me a code for the exact cylinder. I bought one coil for $70 and replaced it myself. The problem was fixed.

    Comments (for 95-99 Maxima's):

    Coils seem to be a common problem.

    Testing coils with an ohm meter didn't work for me since it was an intermittent problem. I even used an oscilloscope and everything looked fine.

    Changing coils yourself is easy on the front row, slightly harder (but not difficult) on the back row since some brackets need removing.

    There are 2 different types of coils - the front row has a different connector orientation than the back row.

    The dealer wanted $400 in labor to change the coils, but only around $200 to change spark plugs. Considering you have to remove the coils to get to the plugs, this was a rip off.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    You have only reinforced some of my comments about the coils in the other Maxima forum. Apparently, Nissan dealers realize that most people do not consider spark plug replacement a very expensive job. However, some people do not have a clue what ignition coils do, let alone where they are located on late model Maximas. So they simply charge whatever they feel like for labor to replace them because some people do not know any better than to challenge these exorbitant charges. $ 400 labor to replace six coils on a Maxima is completely unethical as it takes a competent mechanic 1/2 hour at most. This is equivalent to charging $ 800 an hour for labor. $ 800 an hour is equivalent to about $ 1.6 million a year and not many of us are making that kind of money (at least not too many Maxima owners).
  • My friend has 94 maxima and wants to program the key pads on the door handle to be able to get in to the car without the key.

    how do i do such thing?
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    I had my 91 GXE taken to Nissan and they wrote it on a piece of paper for me. Free of charge of course.

  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    I got free instructions from my local Nissan dealer on how to program the remote for a 98 Maxima. But talking them into giving me a discount on parts is another story. Well, they are the ones who lose because I buy my parts elsewhere. The way I look at it, if somebody makes 40 to 50% profit on every part they sell and refuse to give you a 10% discount, they do not deserve your business. My local Mazda dealer gives me a 20% discount on every part I buy from them. There is no reason why the Nissan dealer should not give me a similar discount. I found several Nissan dealers on the Web who discount their parts 15% and ship free if you buy parts over $ 100. Plus you do not pay the sales tax.
  • hdaohdao Posts: 20
    Here are sites you can find out how to read ECM. I own a 99 Maxima. After the Service Engine Soon light was ON, I took my Max to a Nissan Dealer for a decode and diagnostic test ($65). They found "Ignition Signal Primary" code and recommended me to replace all six ignition coils since they could narrow down which one was bad. The cost will be $75 for each coil + $40 labor for each replacing coil.
    After I did some researches, here are the sites you may find some info how to read ECM code. If the flash code does not tell you which ignition coil is bad, then wait for the next Service Engine Soon light is ON. It will appear eventually.

    Replacing coils are not too difficult if you have hex screw driver and deep socket wrench set. Yet, for Maxima 95-00, you will have this ignition coil problem due to the defect by vendor. Nissan has admitted this problem but did not offer a recall. However, the new replacing coil has been re-desgined for better life
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    There are two sources of problems with the ignition coils. One is that the coil itself can fail. The coil is essentially a small transformer, which steps up the 12V delivered to the primary side, into a 30k + Volt discharge through the secondary side. The high voltage discharge occurs when the primary current is turned off momentarily and the magnetic field collapses.

    The second problem is deterioration of the coil spark plug boot. The coils on the Maxima are combination coils and spark plug boots. The boot is very long and fits into a deep plug well. The plug boot is subjected to very intense heat and will deteriorate in time. Also, if there is an oil leak from the valve cover(s), the plug wells can fill with oil, and this will surely deteriorate the boots very quickly.

    It appears that the coils and boots are assembled into a single unit and that the boot cannot be replaced separately. If this is true (and I have to verify this), it is unfortunate because replacing the boots say every 60K miles would make the coils last much longer and the boots would be relatively inexpensive. For DOHC engines using a single coil and plug wires, replacing the plug wires every 60K is a good idea. In fact, Mazda recommends this for their DOHC engine cars.

    In summary, even if the coil electrical checks show a healthy coil, there could be a boot problem which will result in poor performance of that coil and cause engine to miss. Maybe this is why technicians claim that they cannot pinpoint the defective coil. Replacing them all would not be a big deal if they were not so expensive, coupled with ridiculously high installation fees. Now that I have done it once (for purpose of replacing the spark plugs, not installing new ones), I believe I could replace all six coils on my 98 Maxima in 15 or 20 minutes. It is not much more difficult than replacing a spark plug wire set.
  • Hello, I have similar problem that was described by ahahn00. in message #1515 except my car starts shaking when the check engine light shows up. I went to the dealer and they told me exact same thing that it is the coil and told me that it willbe $75 to replace each coil. So I declined it and I went to this mechanic and I am not sure what he did but my check engine lights is gone. Looks like he has taken out some censor or some wire that indicates check engine light. I have went back to the same mechanic but he is no longer there. He has moved out of state. I don't think he has actually fix the problem because my car does shakes like it used to before when it showed check engine light. In fact he has given me more problems since now he has taken that light out so i can't even tell that if it is showing check engine. Please advise. My car is pretty new. I have only had $40,000 miles on it. My email address is
  • hdaohdao Posts: 20
    In my post # 1523, I have mentioned about the ignition coil problems. This could be the same problem on your Maxima. It sounds like your Maxima engine got misfire. All Maxima from year 95-00 will eventually have these coils turned bad after 40k-50K miles. Nissan has re-designed to replace these defective coils by its vendor (but not a recall). Once you "Service Engine Soon" light is ON, you can take your car to an Auto Zone Auto Parts store if there is one in your area. They offer a free of charge on reading EMC code in Dallas, TX. Otherwise, you may find out how to do it yourself. Try the websites I posted earlier. Bottom line, you have to take your car to a Nissan Dealer for decoding, likely $65 charge. If the code is exactly about the ignition coils, you can buy a Haynes Repair Book to find out how to replace them. It is a easy job that could save you over $200 from the mechanic.
  • hdaohdao Posts: 20
    The defective coil is not easy to find out. It usually cause the engine misfire while driving. So, measuring the bad coil with an ohm meter will not help. I tried to measure a bad coil but found no difference with other coils. Then I've cleared the ECM code and waited for a next Service Engine Soon light ON. The second time the light was on, it detected which cynlinder or coil # is bad. So, I just replaced that bad rather than replace all six.
  • Hello.I Bought a Maxima 1991 some time ago,but I've never known how to program the key pads on the doors.I would really apreciate it if anybody could help me with that,Thanks.
              Javier Guerra
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    Take it to a Nissan dealer. They'll get the code for you in minutes.

  • Dear '99 Maxima Owners,

    I'm the proud owner of a '99 Maxima which now has over 150,000 km on it. It has been a great car, the best one I've ever owned. However, shortly before the 100,000 km mark, it began to develop an intermittent problem.

    On occasion, the engine stutters or "skips a beat" at low RPM levels, say 700 to 1100 RPM's. If the car is put in Park, the stuttering disappears. The problem has worsened over time. I've taken it to a few dealers who haven't been able to solve the problem. One dealer changed a couple of ignition coils 12 months back but this just solved the problem for a few days.

    Does anyone have an idea what the problem could be? Most of the message group e-mails point to the ignition coils while another site listed the breaking of electrical wires in an engine harness as the potential problem.

    Looking for direction.
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    I think (or coils if you're unlucky).

    Start w/ the wires.

  • I am having problems with my 02' Maxima with the pinging.This problem has be going on since the car had only 20,000 miles. This noise or rattle occurs around 2000 RPM's. The dealer has replaced a sensor and it still happens, can someone help me get this problem diagnosed? They try to say it could be the gas, and I only use high octane 93'. Another problem is the car can be sitting idle at a stop light, etc and it will shudder or shake a little, is this all a part of the problem? I cant get these guys to fix the problem for me.
  • I had my ignition coils on my 2000 GXE go bad at 50K miles. I complained to the dealership that I shouldn't have to pay for that with my vehicle out of warranty only 14k miles. They basically said "tough luck." So, I complained to Nissan and they arranged for me to get the service done free of charge.
  • scaliscali Posts: 1
    walter3rd... I have the same problem with my 2000 SE with 60K miles. I would like to talk with Nissan as well about getting the coils replaced because it is a common problem and the dealer admitted that the parts are poorly made. How did you contact Nissan and how did they arrange for service? Thanks for all the help.
  • aristotlearistotle Posts: 123
    Hi mo_can/scali,
                    I had my 99 Maxima GXE coils go bad at around 40000 miles. I had very similar symptoms as you (mo_can) described. I took it to a local shop who thought it was a problem with the coils but were not 100% sure. Instead of wasting more time and money in diagnosis at that shop I took it to the Nissan dealer who said the coils had to be replaced. I called Nissan Consumer affairs (800-647-7261 )and requested them to pay for the coils as my bumper-to-bumper warranty had expired just a few months prior to that. They agreed to reimburse me the service fees for replacement. But I had to pay for the coils. The dealer makes a tidy profit when you buy the coil from them. But the car has been running very smoothly since.

    This seems to be a very common problem with the 1999/2000 Nissans. The problem seems to occur at different times for different people based on the following factors, in my opinion ( I may be wrong ):

    1. How cold it gets in your area in winter.

    2. Do you warm up the engine before driving, especially in winter? While you may not need to warm your car in summer, in winter somehow Nissan vehicles seem to do poorly over time when compared to Honda or Toyota and this affects the life of the coils. May be they have fixed the coil problem now.

    When you ask Nissan America be real polite with them. That seems to work better than if you demand reimbursement from them. Technically they are not required to pay for this beyond 36K miles and they will tell you that. But don't let them get off easily. be persistent and polite. The amount of reimbursement varies from person to person based on how close you are to 36K miles, whether you go to the Nissan dealer for all scheduled maintenance and whether you have been loyal to Nissan with your previous car purchases ( They look at all those factors, believe me! ).

    If Nissan refuses to reimburse you then you can purchase these coils at a lower price elsewhere and get it replaced by a local shop who may not charge you too much money for labor. My Nissan dealer recommended that I replace all coils instead of just the coil or 2 that went bad. I did not know whether he was saying this to make more money off me or whether that was indeed the right thing to do.

    Good luck to you both. New coils do make a big difference.
  • Scali--

    Is your check engine light on? Mine was and I took the vehicle in for service. After the dealer told me they wouldn't cover the cost of replacing the coils, I complained. They basically said, "tough luck," but gave me the number of Nissan customer service. They picked up the entire bill, but only after asking me how much I serviced my vehicle. They seemed to like the fact that I get all the regular maintenance done at the dealership. Interestingly, when I picked up the vehicle, "Customer Retention Credit" was listed on the service invoice.
  • wainwain Posts: 479
    I was told the japanese green is different from prestone green, in that the Japanese green is low silicate.
    looking for an aftermarket low silicate antifreeze
    dealers want $15 + a gallon
  • I have a 1998 GLE Maxima with 52k miles a few nights ago I stopped to get gas, about a hour later my Service Engine Soon (SES) Light came on and still is on. I thought the gas cap may not have been on tight so I rechecked it, and it was on as tight as it could be on. I do remember I was in a hurry and I didn't use the highest grade of gas at the pump but I have not notice and change in the way the car drives since the light has come on. I have read somewhere that after a certain amount of restarts and or removing the key the Service Engine Soon (SES) Light will go out by it self and reset. I am considering taking it to the dealer to have them check it out or just wait and see if it goes out in a few more days. Will this do more damage? What could cause this light to come on? Also is it true that Autozone will check the codes for free at any of their locations? What should I do at this points? Any suggestions?
  • lmp180psulmp180psu Posts: 393
    Yes, it is true, they will check codes for free.
  • ccermakccermak Posts: 260
    I had mine pulled for free at Autozone. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that it's your rear O2 sensor. I have 2K SE and as soon as I hit 54K my rear O2 sensor tripped the SES. I've heard fron TONS of others that this is way too common on Maxis. Get it pulled at Autozone and see. Otherwise to reset you can disconnect your battery for an hour and reconnect.
  • The Airbag light is flashing on my '95 Maxima after (I suspect) the battery was disconnected during some minor body work.

    Any ideas on how/where to look? The dealer here wanted to replace the SRS for $1700, but they have not been reliable in the past, and actually dishonest.

    thanks in advance
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