1991 Nissan Maxima SE 3.0L V6 from North America


Worth more than nickels and dimes


Purchased the Maxima with missing radio antenna and driver's speaker blown. I replaced the factory stereo with my own after market one with my teenage know-how (see: complete idiot) and installed 4 new speakers (only the passenger-rear worked).

Went through one radiator when it blew on me. Something like 1-2k.

Brakes needed replacement several times throughout the 7 years I had it. I estimate it would have cost (without the warranty I had, which cost me nothing) to be around $2,000. The calipers tend to not let go, causing excess wear.

I had to replace the power window motors twice in the 7 years I owned it, as they wouldn't come back up. About $400 to replace those each time.

A non-custom upper radiator hose eventually wore down against the inside of the vehicle and burst, causing me to replace it with a shorter one. $200.

Rear spoiler rusted out the left and center bolts. Still stayed up, though.

Rusting occurred along the wheel wells, frame and underbody (Michigan, Nebraska winters...)

Heat crack in the sunroof when my grandmother (previous owner) didn't roll down a window or two on the black - black car.

Fog lights had been broken since I bought it, never thought enough of them to get it replaced.

Sometimes had to fiddle to get it in reverse? (manual shift)

General Comments:

I absolutely loved my Maxima. The corduroy seats were exceedingly comfortable.

The car was like a greenhouse of visibility. At 6'2", I never felt cramped in any way. In fact, it consistently the most spacious vehicle I have ever driven (Taurus, 4Runner, BMW 5 series, Sentra, Monte Carlo, Grand Prix, etc) with exception to my mother's Town & Country. Wonderfully large vehicle.

The clutch is also the smoothest manual I have ever driven. What an incredible car to learn to drive a stick with.

The engine was responsive and powerful (big ol' 3.0L V6) and never stalled, shifted on its own, stuttered, shook, squealed... nothing. Yeah, some engine components were going, but the power was always there.

It was attractive, a little boxy and safe as a... safe. I loved the way it looked.

It had a definite lack of cup-holders. That was annoying. I had lived in Japan previously, and luckily had some cupholders that fit right into the air-vents so, problem averted.

I felt the A/C was a little weak.

It had always been a dream of mine to rip out the driver's seat when I was done and make a house chair from it... maybe I still will.

I fully admit that is was starting to nickel and dime me past 100K. But I still have great loyalty towards this car, and would definitely buy from Nissan again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th August, 2010

5th Aug 2010, 10:24

Nice review. I too own a 1990 Maxima that I purchased 3 years ago by necessity. But now, even after a new engine and a fully rebuilt transmission (not the car's fault), I do not regret it at all. It seems that every owner falls in love with this particular model (89 to 94), just like I did.

1991 Nissan Maxima SE 3.0 VG30E from North America


You've got to love this car to keep it


At about 150K, 2 of 6 fuel injectors started going bad. As soon as problems (engine stutter, poor running performance) began, I drove it at least 3-5K before needing to change the injectors. I changed all 6 at the same time, even though there were only 2 causing the issue. That cost approximately $1000 ($600 for 6 injectors, $400 for labor + some gaskets changed in the process).

At about 190K, the original transmission started slipping. I am not sure if it were worn transmission bands or if it was failing "coils" or "packs" (in other words, the electronics that mitigate which bands are engaged - shifting). I quickly purchased a used transmission from a wrecking yard and had a shop install it. Used tranny was $700, labor was about $400, but also R/R'd the engine/tranny mounts, which added another 300-400, making a total of about 1500, spent on transmission.

I have 1 or 2 hydraulic lifters that have "dried" up and cause some chattering when engine is cold. After warm up, the chatter is gone. But turn the engine off for even 10-20min, the chatter will return. I have yet to decide to fix it or wait until the engine gives up. This started at about 170K.

Regular maintenance includes:

1. Timing BELT (OoOoOO) every 2 years (about $100 parts + labor)

2. Drain and fill tranny fluid every 6 months - cheap if you do it yourself.

General Comments:

I once ran over a football sized rock that was in the middle of a 50mph zone. It wrecked my driver side front strut and swaybar. I thought the car was dust, as I was sure there was significant damage to the strut tower or it wouldn't be worth it to fix. The result was only the strut was damaged and the swaybar was bent. I replaced the strut ($200 parts/labor) and got an aftermarket swaybar ($400 front and back). I guess this is a comment on durability, but of course your "mileage" might vary.

This car has lasted up to now, 200K+ miles. With proper maintenance and care, I truly believe this car can last a long time.

For the the age of this car, this car still looks up-to-date and stylish.

Mileage is about 20-23mpg with 50%hwy 50%city driving.

For a nearly 2 decades-old car, it still has sufficient power to keep up with the newer cars. I'm not talking about racing anything; I'm talking about power to get on highways, running smoothly, retaining smooth idling at stoplights, strong startups (although I live in good weather, northern Calif.)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th November, 2008

12th Nov 2008, 14:13

You could try a "fix in the can" to reduce that lifter noise in your high mileage engine: Lucas Oil Oil Stabilizer.

14th Nov 2008, 12:38

RE: Lucas Oil Stabilizer, by OP

Thanks for the input. I've used it for about 2 years (so, consistently in about 6-8 oil changes). Even with the Lucas oil in along with the regular oil I used, I still get the tick. I'm going to try put another mechanic-in-a-can in the oil and see what happens; Mystery Oil. I'm crossing my fingers something else doesn't get screwed up ;)