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Nissan Maxima Maintenance and Repair



  • Hello,
    I am new to posting on this board, but I have been lurking for months. I have an 88 Maxima GL that I was hoping my 17 year old could drive through high school. One of the rear struts has locked up. It has the electronic adjustable struts. The dealer wants $196.00 for one replacement cartridge and suggests doing both sides ($800 parts & labor for two wheels). I would like to replace it with the non-electronic non-adjustable cartridge for $27.00 but it won't fit. Has anyone found a cheaper fix for this system that is safe? So far the only place I can find the electronic replacement part is the dealer. I have the strut out and disassembled. Jr. would like a quick response because he really hates riding the big yellow bus. Thanks for any suggestions. John
  • brucer2brucer2 Posts: 157
    KYB makes rear struts to replace the electronic ones (without electronic control) for $36.95 (nopi # 492+0470) at Nopi (

    Note: I have no connection with NOPI, or KYB, but have used both.
  • Thanks to Brucer2 and NOPI. The replacement struts for my electronic struts were bought at my local NOPI in Forest Park, GA. They saved me over $300 from the dealer. They are installed on my 88 Maxima and work great.
  • Purchased a ax used with 20,000 miles, about 3 moths ago.

    The interior noise appears a little excessive when getting above 25 miles/r. I noticed that the upper molding on the front windshield is not sealed tight against the glass, and thought that was contributing to the problem. The dealer attempted to glue it down(no charge), but with winter (in Ontario,Canada), that didn't last long.

    They had said bring it back if it didn't help, so I plan to do that shortly.

    Just wonder if any others have had this issue. I thought I read somewhere it(wind) was problem on earlier models; but I thought it had been eliminated on 4th generation models.

    any input is appreciated.. thanks
  • I have a '97 Maxima. I hear a whine or something sorta like what a radio controlled airplane sounds like. It's rather faint when I do hear it, but incredibly annoying, especially since can't determine where it's coming from. It's rather evasive. I've thought that it could be the wind or the sound of the wind coming through the vents or something but I am totally baffled. I hear it when I get up to about 60 or so. There also seems to be a correlation with temperature; I believe I hear it mostly when it's cold. (I'm in Alabama so twenties and thirties are frigid.) Somebody help me!
  • I had a problem starting my maxima in the cold yesterday. The temperature was below freezing. I called the dealer and they told me I need to hold the accelerator 1/3 of the way down when starting in the cold. I can't find this suggestion in the manual and it seems strange for a fuel injected car. A brand new one too. Has anyone ever heard of this?
  • My Nissan Maxima GLE is having difficulties starting first thing in the morning. I just replaced the battery last month when it went completely dead. I thought this was the problem, but now it is trying not to start in the morning again. Could it be the alternator? This car has been riddled with problems for being only 3 years with 38,000 miles.
  • Okay if anybody hears a whine or something that sounds sorta like a radio controlled airplane but rather faint, email me at
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    I HAD a 95 maxima with problems that included the cold weather starter problem. Maximas have several Temperature sensors (I really dont know why) and even if one of them mulfunctions the cold start injector or its equivalent injector doesnt come on. This injector puts in more gas so as to make it easier to start. You shouldnt have to even touch the Gas pedal when starting let alone push it half way down.

    mind you debugging this problem could be costly as they have to replace a sensor cool the car down test it and move on. Its better done in the winter.

    The whining might be the belts because of the cold. Hopefully your alternator is fine. i replaced one of those too.
  • Hello all,

    I am seriously considering purchasing a used 1996 Maxima GLE fully-loaded. It is in great shape and only have 50,000 km on it! Are there any suggestions on things I should look out for when I test drive it? Any known problems with the 1996 model? Any advice in general? What is everyone's opinion of the 1996 Maxima.

    Thanks for your help. I really appreciate any feedback.
  • I called the Nissan dealership (where I purchased my Maxima brand new) when I discovered a rack seal leak at 37,450 miles last month. The dealership told me sorry, I am "expired" which I thought was quite rude. I then called Nissan Consumer Affairs and was told that they would not extend their warranty to cover this.

    My say on this? A rack seal shouldn't be leaking now or at any time in these cars. I purchased this car because of its supposed mechanical reliability. Yesterday, I had to replace the alternator. I would not advise buying a Nissan if this is how they back their vehicles.
  • Just had our son's Max, which had been pulling a bit to the left, aligned. Now it seems to be pulling just a bit to the right, a bit more so under acceleration. The dealer says that the car is perfectly aligned and to expect pulling to the right under acceleration. I do believe that I have noticed in the past that hard acceleration requires extra steering, but now I notice the pull under light acceleration. Can anyone shed some light on this? What causes this? Is there a fix? Should I take it back in?
  • qx4qx4 Posts: 99
    i read somewhere that the new maxima
    will have 276HP for the 2002 model coming
    this summer or fall

    any one has any correct info?
    i thought it was suppose to get 260HP but now
    i read 276

    well its gonna be the 3.5V6 which is under the
    hood of the new Z.
  • mhammy84mhammy84 Posts: 167
    First 1997 Infiniti I30 makes a low squeak noise that I can feel in the seats when I start the car COLD every morning (when its 30 degrees and lower). I read some posts on the Maxima Problems board and found that someone posted something that may be the same as my problem...but his description wasnt clear. The squeak (which is quite loud) lasts for a second RIGHT after the car starts. What is this!!!

    Also, I have the tan leather interior in my car, and there's a whole bunch of black spots and stains all over the seats and on the vinyl side armrests etc. What is a GOOD, QUICK and EASY cleaner to remove this without causing long-term harm to these surfaces?? Any suggestions? Thanks!
  • I have a 1999 Maxima Limited SE and have the same starting problems I've been reading about here. For me, however, it seems that it won't start on very hot days and only after it has been sitting for a couple of hours. I turn the key and get nothing. I do this three or four times and then finally it will kick in. The dealer has "never seen or heard of this before" and was no help. I have found that if I take the key out and reinsert it the car will start 90% of the time. It's a really annoying problem and makes the car unreliable in my view. I won't buy another after the terrible service and unresolved starting problem.
  • It's true about the car pulling. What happens under acceleration is what's called torque steer. This happens because of the way the motor is seated. Under acceleration the torque force created will make the car pull slightly to one side. If it is only pulling under acceleration then you have nothing to worry about.
  • Just had the clutch replaced along with input bearings and shaft on a 96 Max SE (100k). All of the balls had fallen out of the input bearing ring. This resulted in a loud and constant tapping whenever the clutch was out. The repair seems great except that it now takes extra effort to shift into 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears. It seems more difficult to "find" the gear, then it seems you have to manhandle the stick a bit to get it to slide in. It used to move from gear to gear like butter. Can I expect this to go away or should I return it to the shop? Thanks in advance!
  • Thanks for the info maxdave. Now I am wondering about expected vs extreme torque pulling. I can really notice pulling to the right when I max out the revs. Heck I could easily change lanes without meaning too. But I also notice a slight pull to the right putzing around the city at 2000 rpm. Are the rest of you experiencing the same or does this seem out of the ordinary. Thanks in advance.
  • I have the same problem with my 98 Max. I took it to nissan several times to have the alignment redone and they continued to tell me that it was within dealer guidlines. They mentioned it could be the balancing or wheels that caused the problem, four new tires and still the same problem. I have 58,000 miles on it now and have been dealing with it for the past 15 months.
    I had previously owned a 94 Altima which I got 240,000 miles out of with regular oil changes and maintenance, so when it came time to trade it in I went up to a Max GLE and thought I would get the same reliability, I was wrong. I guess when I trade the maxima in, within 2 years, I'm going to purchase a Toyota.
  • qx4qx4 Posts: 99
    I think its not a reliability issue
    personally i think nissan has bad service dealers...the sales department has been exceptional but the service is horrible.

    TOO MANY unresolved issues

    but i would not question the reliability....and once again...if i wanted better service i can simply go to different dealer...thats why i will keep buying nissans.
  • Hello all. I'm new to the car market and am looking at a 98 Maxima GXE that fits my price range. Does anyone have any advice on what in particular to keep my eye on? I would be buying from another person (not a dealer) and am hesitant. The miles are low, barely 25k, and I just don't want any surprises (if I were to buy.) Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • schnpaurschnpaur Posts: 3
    Buying a new car can have surprises...but at least you have a warranty. I want to find out how reliable the Maxima is because I am about to buy a 2001. I plan to call people selling Maximas in the paper and asking them about their experience (after explaining that I am about to buy a new one).
  • qx4qx4 Posts: 99
    you can buy the nissan extended warranty if you are hesitant about surprises. i have it and it happened to pay for itself.
    its not cheep though. the extended warranty which you are still eligible for (as along as you do it around the time the original warranty expries) will go up to 100k miles and 6 years.

    factor that into the price and see if the car is worth it. it will probably assure you that any problem you would get is not more of a wear and tear thing...brakes, and so on. so pretty much like buying a new car.

    at least from my experience that has been the case, either covered under warranty or expected stuff like tires and brakes. my muffler was rusted and had a hole in it they replaced it under warranty. other than that...the car is really reliable...if i replace mine it would be with another max.

    oh ya...oxygen sensor..many times.. under warranty though..
  • qx4qx4 Posts: 99
    i also have all service and problems
    history in an excel file. i don't mind
    sharing it if you are interested.

    for a 95GXE now has 170,000km
    original owner
  • with a '94 maxi gxe with 119k, what should i watch out for ??was the fuel ijection and exhaust studs not in that year, heard several problems with those particular things and are quite inda scared now people say the auto tranny goes bad in these and the ful and exhaust can cost thousands. please let me know if the 94 gxe is a good car thanks, brett, other than that the car seems to run good...
  • problem in the 94's??thank for any advice u can give me, i would be spending everry last penny own on this car and dont wanna have to do any major work,,thanks peep.
  • brucer2brucer2 Posts: 157
    The transmissions and exhaust studs of the 94's are supposed to be better. If the car was driven hard I would still be concerned about these two items though. In addition to checking the condition of the tranny fluid also check the motor mounts. You can check the motor mounts by bliping the throttle and watching how much the engine moves (a better way is observing the engine when it is put in gear and given some throttle with the brake on). If the engine moves much it means the mounts are worn. They tend to get worn from the engine rocking under hard acceleration. The rocking of the engine also puts a lot of stress on the exhaust mount studs.
    Even if everything looks good enough to buy it I would get the transmission fluid flushed and install a transmission cooler.
    Other items that may need replacement are the struts. The stock GXE struts were rather soft to begin with and the cars handle like a boat well before 100k miles. (I put in KYB GR-2's, and they work very well.) The other thing is the timing belt. This year car had a belt that was good for 100K miles, so you may still have the original belt.
  • i thought the radiator cooled the transmissuion? i will check those things, the owner says nothing besides tires and oil changes, the tranny fliud is kinda brownish red, a friend of mine said there is no acessible filter, u just drain the tranny fluid and refill it?is there anyway to tell if the studs are good or not, i love this ride i just dont wanna have to fix stuff like that, i plan to do some custom work on it!!so thats what i wanna spend it on not repairs,,,,any info would be helpfull thanks guys,,brett
  • brucer2brucer2 Posts: 157
    There is a transmission cooler at the bottom of the radiator, but it's marginal. If you do any engine modifications at all, add another cooler. They are under $40 and you can get them at Pep Boys or Autozone.
    There is a drain plug in the transmission, but only a portion of the fluid will come out, because most of it is in the torque converter. You can change all of it by either taking it to a place that does this, or do it yourself. When a machine is used for doing it the return line (the one close to the drivers side of the car) from the cooler is disconnected from the transmission and hooked to the machine. The transmission pumps the old fluid out into the machine and fresh fluid from the machine flows into the transmission (another hose hose goes from the machine to the return inlet of the transmission.
    You can do this yourself by just disconnecting the return line from the transmission and putting the end of the hose into a container, starting the car and letting the transmission pump the fluid out. You do have to do this a bit at a time (a couple of quarts) so the transmission doesn't go dry. After a couple of quarts come out refill the transmission with new fluid. There is very little mixing of fluid. Keep repeating until the fluid coming out is clean. This would be a good time to put the additional cooler in, since it should go in the return path to the transmission.
    From what I've read, the typical symptom of broken studs is that there is the sound of an exhaust leak, under the hood, for several minutes. In the begining, the noise will go away after the engine and manifold heat up, expand and seal the leak. As more studs fail the noise will no longer go away.
    One note of warning: many people who start modifying these cars to go faster and then run harder start to have maintence problems ( Although they don't look as good, to me, it might be better to start with a '95 or later Maxima, if speed is what you're after.
  • mhammy84mhammy84 Posts: 167
    Was thinking of buying the Extended Warranty for my car (factory one of course). I know the price is very high...was wondering if I can bargain the price on this warranty, or is it a set price (like paying for a service visit...obviously cant bargain that price, unfortunately!). Thanks!
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