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Nissan Maxima Maintenance and Repair



  • greanpea68greanpea68 Posts: 1,996
    I have a 2000 Maxima GXE with 72000 miles on it. Over the last couple months it appears to be loosing a charge and stalls out. Replaced the battery. Brought to a nissan dealer and had the alternator checked and everything read fine on the computer. Also when it dies all the check lights come on. Wait a day or two and everything starts back up again. Anyone run into a problem like this before? Or any suggetions? :mad:
  • I dont know if i am luck or unlucky. I bought a 2003 Maxima GLE in july. Immediatley i noticed that the engine was not holding oil. There were no obvious leaks, but after about 1500 miles of each oil change, the engine would be almost bone dry. At first the dealer replaced the Gasket Seal, But this did not fix the problem. After taking it back to the dealer a second time, they ran some tests and took some compression readings and they informed me that there were some internal engine problems and that they would have to replace my entire engine. This isn't a problem for me because the car was certified and under warranty. But needless to say, I thought Nissans were pretty solid. I don't know if it was the dealership, previous owner or what. Has anyone had any similar problems? I guess I am really fortunate though, i am practically getting a new ride for free. I just hope there arent any other prblems lurking beneeth......
  • check out glove box light or other light also make sure you have no ground issues
  • your certified car was possibly a leased one in the past and most likely previous owner simply abused it. Its best to meet previous owner instead of trusting certified pre owned product.
  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    My '97 GXE 5 speed just turned 200K miles on the odo this week. Still uses NO oil, has no major leaks (needs new valve cover gasket seals, but nothing major) and returns an average of 29 mpg, 80% hwy driving. The VQ series V6's are known for their longevity, but it's possible yours was an abuse victim. I don't exactly baby mine, but I treat it with the respect I would hope for if I were buying from myself :shades: Just be glad you got the warranty and now you are getting a new VQ - what more could anyone ask for ;)
  • Hmmmm, Point well taken. I have wanted a Maxima for a while and I was really starting to worry that I got a dud. I can't wait to get it back!!!
  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    Enjoy - you'll be hooked. I'm planning to replace mine next year with either a new Maxima, Altima 3.5 SE or G35. I was considering a Camry or Accord until recently...I'm just hooked on the VQ and the Nissan products are a little more exclusive (don't them coming and going like the other two) and I like the handling better. The new Camry SE is a very tempting ride, thanks to Toyota's wonderful new 3.5L, but the styling isn't exactly me. Leaning toward the G35 now. Anyway, it really is a great car, one of the best I've owned (it's my second Maxima)...and as my name suggests I'm somewhat biased toward Toyota's and have owned several of them, so my expecations are high when it comes to durability. My Maxima hasn't disappointed for the most part, just minor stuff. The sheetmetal could be a bit heavier, but then the car would be too ;) so... would I change it? I guess not. I just wish other people were a little more careful with their doors. :)
  • asia2asia2 Posts: 5
    I also have a 2000 Maxima GXE and I described my problems - I think somewhat similar to yours - in my previous posts. After a week of checking different things, my mechanic finally replaced an air flow meter. Car runs like new now and just a couple weeks ago I was thinking of trading it in. Hopefully I will get couple more years now, I just like this car too much...
  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    Let us know how it is when you do get it back!
  • I will, if i ever get it back. The new engine was supposed to be in monday and it still has not arrived yet.... I getting a little anxious.
  • zhekazheka Posts: 18
    Newer Maximas, as all modern cars, are complex. Your mechanic, since he is working on lots of different cars, probably has a generic ODB II scanner. These scanners, even the pro grade, can only extract a portion of the data (error codes, warnings, e.t.c), stored in the car's memory - that is required by ODB II specification.

    Most manufacturers, however, build their cars to report much more than ODB II requires. This extra data is proprietary (in other words - not easily accessible) and most of the time, can be read by the manufacturer built scanner.

    As such, I would suggest taking your car to a dealer for the diagnostics, explaining in detail what you are experiencing. Do not give them any authorizations to go beyond diagnosing - tell them to tell you exactly what's wrong first. Once they tell you, ask them for a detailed explanation how their discovery relates to your experiences.

    Once you got this explanation, you can usually forward the info to your trusted mechanic, who can perform the repairs for the fraction of the cost.

    I had few electrical (engine, sensors) issues with my Maxima, and my mechanic could not figure out what they were. The dealer, for $70-100, did the diagnostics and gave detailed report of what they thought was wrong. Their estimate was very high though. My mechanic did the repairs for less than half of what the dealer wanted.

    Another tip, search or local mechanics for someone with recent ASE "Master" mechanic certification - this usually means they have brains and experience.

    I found a mechanic in Boston area, who has been certified Master Mechanic by ASE and Nissan, and opened his own shop. He's the best mechanic I've seen, and only charges $70/ hour.

    Hope this helps.
  • zhekazheka Posts: 18
    '97 Maxima SE 5-speed. It's been 18 months since the repairs, and the issue is back. Car is again hard to start. Dealership wants another $700 to lower the transmission and sand it.

    I still do not understand exactly what the problem is, but the dealer insists that the rust in the place, where the engine sits on the transmission, prevents the electrical signal from being read properly by some engine sensors, which results in hard starts and sometimes loud knocks during starts.

    Based on the fact that I had trouble free starting after their last transmission sand-down for at least 9 months(it slowly started getting worse after this - 10 more months and I'm back where I started.), I think they are right about what the issue is - but do not do a good job at fixing it. They said that the problem should not re-appear for 5+ years, so I am disappointed.

    Again, the dealer said that this is common with 95-99 Maximas, and they have seen many similar issues. Does anyone have a similar experience?

    Thank you,
  • rossm1rossm1 Posts: 14
    My Inlaws have 2004 Nisan Maxima with 40K miles on it
    They bought it new
    ABS system just broke (don't know details)
    To fix it dealer ask for 4K
    Is there anything they can do?

  • zhekazheka Posts: 18
    Before agreeing to the dealer's price, take it to few reputable mechanics for a quote. Do not show the mechanics the quote from the dealer, but do describe the problem in detail.

    You'll probably save ~50%

    If you're in the Boston area - I can give you few numbers.

  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    Hmmm.... $700 every 18 mos to R&R the transmission without really fixing the problem? I don't know technically what they are doing, but it sounds like they don't know either. They should be able to fix the problem and prevent the return of the problem. If it's a known issue, ask what the correct procedure is as described in the TSB (technical service bulletin) and find out what they did, and if they did follow the procedure, ask them why the problem has returned so quickly. Put it back on them - they obviously didn't correct the problem, and it isn't fair that you should have to keep returning it to them to have the transmission sanded down, whatever the crap that means. :shades:
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    Assuming the belt that he used was OEM or equal in quality, my best guess would be a loose tensioner that would need to be replaced. This is not uncommon. I would question any mechanic who "lubricates" belts as lubrication causes slippage something that you don't want. It is a quick fix to get rid of the problemsome customer.
  • zhekazheka Posts: 18
    Based on my experience with my '97 Maxima SE 5 speed, it can be some of the 4 things below::

    1. Ball joints are trashed. This would also make the car twitchy and unstable, and if not repaired on time, they start to rattle and eventually fall off, taking a wheel with them. A mechanic can check this in 5 minutes, once the car is lifted.

    2. Sway bar links are worn out. This will result in a knocking sound on every bump. A mechanic can check this in 5 minutes, once the car is lifted.

    3. Strut/Shock mounts. These, if broken, can allow the top of the shock/strut to have some horizontal movement - making a rattle on bumps. A mechanic can check this in 5 minutes, once the car is lifted by trying to move the top end of the strut, using a pry bar, from below the wheel.

    4. One of the exhaust heat shields has rusted and got partially loose. This can introduce a general rattle while the car is shaking (going over a bump, starting). Again, a mechanic can check this in 5 minutes, once the car is lifted, by starting it and listening to the rattles.

    Take it to a mechanic you trust and ask them to show you what they have found.

    I had to change the ball joints and links a couple of years ago. Since your car is older, you’ll probably need to change some of the above.

    If you end up changing the mounts, it makes sense to change the struts and strut boots at the same time. If it’s the ball joints, you’ll have to go with the aftermarket, as Nissan only sells them as part of the control arm.

    Here are the replacement prices based on $65/hour labor rate.

    Ball joints - front (replace in pairs): $58 part + $90 labor per wheel.
    Sway bar links- front (replace in pairs): $110/wheel for part and labor.
    Strut mount - front (replace in pairs): $35 part + $60 labor per wheel. + need alignment.

    Hope this helps.
  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    What are the symptoms when a ball joint is wearing out? My 97 GXE 5 speed has 201K on it now (I drive a lot) and the front end shakes on the freeway at speeds above ~ 75 mph. I also notice when I hit a bump at those speeds, there is some reverberation through the driveline for a moment. Accleration also produces vibrations through the steering wheel. I will probably replace it soon, but I'm wondering if my ball joints are worn out? I always said I'd drive it till the wheels fall off, but I really don't want to be in it if that happens :shades:
  • i had an aftermarket audio(JL audio) and alarm installed in my 1999 nissan maxima,my stock alarm is somehow stopping my car from starting, what do i do?
  • windy6windy6 Posts: 57
    My SES light came on yesterday, about 50K miles, gas tank was down to about 1/2 so I doubt if it's a loose fuel cap.

    Still I pulled over and tightened it again. I'm going to drive it a couple of days as the manual says it "may" go off by itself.

    On my Lexus I can turn this light off by holding in the "odometer reset" button and turning the key ON. I didn't see a procedure in the Maxima's manual though.

    I guess my regular mechanic can hook an ODB II analyzer to it, or I can go by the Nissan dealership (50 miles away) next time I'm in the "big city".

    I'm guessing that most things that turn this on are "emissions" related so covered by the 80K miles mandated warranty, correct?

    Thanks in advance for any ideas/hints.

  • I have a 97 maxima se 5 speed i battery light has been coming on for like a month now but when you run the rpms above 3000 the light goes off. i hooked a voltmeter up to this to see if the alternator was kicking in but it wasn't. If i hit a back road and give it in 3rd gear get it going like 90 and push the clutch in it would work and finally kick in. Now that its cold out it never turns on there so my car dies. I don't know if i have a bad voltage regulator battery or what but i have tested all the voltages from the alternator to the battery and grounds good and the cables are good. i have also tightened the belt. if it was bad i wouldn't think that it would kick in everyonce in a while. if this keeps up im just going to put a new alternator in it and hope im not wasting money any help on what to do??
  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    Not sure if this is related or not, but there was a recall issued for Maxima's, including 97's, for the althernator. Seems a diode was installed incorrectly and can short out later in life. I'd look into it if your not certain the recall work has been done yet. Here's the link:

    Good luck.
  • I own an "04" max. that I purchased in March "04" and I only have 35k miles on it.My co-worker also brought one in May "04" and she has 80k miles.Now she has the extended warranty to 100k but I don't.She noticed that the tranny was slipping and she taken it to Nissan dealership in Roswell,Ga. and after charging her $95 they said she needed to get her tranny flushed and she told them that Gwinnett Nissan had did it 3000 miles ago.They told she need to go back to them and did not tell her that she needed a new tranny. Nissan dealership in Duluth,Ga told her that the tranny need to be replaced & it will take about 4 wks for them to get it. Now she was also told she should have had done at 30k but it is suppose to be good for up to 100k.They told her the fluid was dark now because of the parts in her tranny brakering down.
    Heres the kicker ; they told her that NISSAN is aware that the tranny has this problem with MAXIMAS but becasue it is not a safety issue they have not did a recall.Also they said that the mechanic that flushed it before should have done a half flush.The mechanic even said that he had to put a new tranny in his wife's "04"
    max.I'm not sure how many mile she had. My co-worker has taken her care to the dealership for the regular maintenance schdule also.I AM GETTING RID OF MY BETWEEN 40K & 50K and only having half flushes. They also told her that they are told if they notice a small leak of any kind of fluid they are told to not mention it unless the customer specficly ask for it.
    HAS ANYONE ELSE HAD THIS TYPE OF PROBLEMS.I will provide the dealerships names upon request.THIS IS IMPORTANT.
  • there is TSB for leaks in tranny and I do normal flushes every 30K.
  • zhekazheka Posts: 18
    Ball joints are the pivot between the wheels and the suspension. They are rigid and prevent the wheel from folding sidewards.

    To check the condition of a ball joint: Raise the car with the tires pointing straight ahead, grab the top of the tire with one hand and the bottom of the tire with the other. Pull with the top hand and push with the bottom, then reverse. If tire moves at all, ball joint is on it’s way out. Movements of 1/4 inch mean that the ball joint is completely busted. Usually, if the tire has movement, it’ll be accompanied by a noticeable metal squeak.

    There is another, more reliable, way to catch the ball joint failing before it’s completely busted, but for this, you’d have to insert a pry bar between the axle(I think...) and the ball joint, and see if you can get later to move. Do not push against any rubber parts(boots) – you’ll break them.

    Nissan does not sell ball joints for this gen.(95-99) of Maxima's separately, but as a part of the control arm, which is more expensive.($160+ v.s. $60 for aftermarket ball joint) Unfortunately, most aftermarket ball joints have average lifespan of only about two years.
  • zhekazheka Posts: 18
    A month ago I finally changed shocks on my '97 Maxima SE, w/ 5-speed at 106k miles. The old shocks did not fail, but with time got too soft - so the car was leaning too much in corners and was wobbly at speeds of 60+.

    I first looked at the original equipment first, but decided to go with KYB AGX, since they were cheaper and have good reputation. These also have adjustable dumping, meaning you can adjust their firmness to your liking in 2 minutes. I changed the shocks, strut mounts, and boots at all four corners, and left the factory springs.

    Now, 2000 miles after the change, I still find myself looking for excuses to take an extra ride, whenever I have time. I'm enjoying the car as if this was a new toy. I drive at 1/4 firmness setting, switching to 1/2 firmness for fun once in a while. My average gas mileage dropped from 27mpg to 23mpg, as I find myself having fun pushing the car harder.

    I had the KYB front strut mount bearing squeaking at first, but my mechanic injected some lithium grease into it, and it was fine since then.

    At 1/4 max firmness the ride feels like the stock replacement, with better handling, less leaning in corners and less wobbling at highway speeds. I guess the ride is equiv. to KYB GR-2, which are cheaper, but are not adjustable.

    At 1/2 max firmness the ride is harder, but is still OK. I like this setting for drives on highway/back roads, but the road imperfections can get annoyingly noticeable during everyday commute. I have not tried firmer settings, as I feel they'd be way too hard for me.

    Anyway, when the mechanic removed the old shocks, they found that while the fronts were the 10 year old factory installed shocks, the rears were ~3.5 year old Monroe Sensatrack, prev. owner must have changed the rears. As I mentioned before, I felt the both the front and the back gotten too soft - which means that Monroe's got worn in less than 4 years. Will see how KYB does on the reliability.

    $310 KYB AGX shocks set
    $140 Front(w/bearings) and rear KYB strut mounts, 4x boots.
    $450 Labor to replace + 4 wheel alignment.
    $900 Total
  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    Out of curiosity, do you or anyone reading this know if you can damage the ball joints or anything else in the process of replacing the CV axles? I let mine go instead of replacing the boots when I should have (brilliant, I know) and ended up replacing the axles. Ever since, there has been a slight wobble at certain speeds, which is why I wondered about ball joints. It seems related more to a range of RPM's than vehicle speed. I haven't paid particular attention, but it seems to be worse between about 3000-4000 rpms. I am going to be selling the car soon anyway, so I'm not big on putting a bunch of cash into it now - I've got over 200k on it. Other than this however, it has been a great car and still runs beautifully. Thanks for the advice.
  • zhekazheka Posts: 18
    There is nothing complex about changing the CV axles. You'll get vibration if they are put in incorrectly, but this is rare and is usually discovered during the wheel alignment. Did you do the alignment after the change?

    Could it be that what you feel, is torque steer? Not having the proper alignment could make the torque steer feel worse. If this is tied to the specific speed range - check whether the tires are properly balanced, and whether the wheels are still perfectly round.

    I know I feel torque steer at 3.5-5k rpm, but it's not bad. Was much worse before I got the car aligned :)
  • i have a problem my nissan 1999 SE is staling in the stop light i just did a tune up
    and changed the air filter gas filter and the coil in one it is still stalling alittle the engine light is not on i dont know what to do i am worried please help me
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    Have you checked you Idle Air Controller? That sounds like your problem since your stalling while idling.
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