2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5L from North America


Beautiful appearance, but completely unreliable vehicle


I have a 2004 Nissan Maxima SE with what you won't believe as a list of problems, but here goes:

1. 11 engine coils have been replaced, yes that is correct, 11 coils

2. 2 ground wires replaced after wearing through near the transmission.

3. Two headlight bulbs (and the third just went out).

4. Replaced the front rotors twice on the front and the shimmy is back.

5. The serpentine belt was replaced twice.

6. The engine caught fire when coils 8 and 9 were placed, so Nissan replaced the entire engine after Nissan corporate technicians spent two weeks tearing down the engine. Five months later two more coils failed and the ground wire that was replaced 6 months before was worn though again (Obviously a bad ground point in the vehicle).

7. The tires (4) all had sidewall failures (cracks) and were replaced, then Nissan technicians blew out two tires when test driving the vehicle and replaced them both.

8. The right rear rim was scored by a tire changing machine which the dealer said was from a curb until I showed them the concentric cuts around the entire rim. They polished the rim and now it has dark marks where the cuts were.

9. The brake pads changed twice already.

10. The transmission was slipping and jerking going into first gear and was told the fluid which was replaced with the engine swap was dirty - they charged me $200 for a flush.

11. I got the car back, drove 100 feet from the dealer after the transmission flush, and the car would not move. Diagnosis, the transmission has failed completely and is being replaced. I should have the car back next week after Christmas (I have not had the car for a Christmas since I bought it).

The shift selector would not register in 'Tiptronic' mode when shifted over to that position - replaced the shorted out shifter.

12. The check engine light came on and they replaced the O2 sensor and some sort of emission control module.

13. I have over fifty repair orders and have been without the vehicle for more than 80 days total and am in a rental right now since last Sunday (12/17/06 and counting).

14. The sunroof would not close due to a plastic molding strip that was replaced.

15. The left rear power window module is failing and needs to be replaced.

This sounds unbelievable, but is true.

General Comments:

If and when the car runs correctly, it's fun to drive, although the turning radius is horrible. I have been without the vehicle so much, that sometimes I have to remind myself what car I actually drive.

The dealership has asked me to trade the vehicle several times calling it a "Piece of ****" Nissan would not honor any "goodwill fixes" that were submitted. I filed for Virginia Lemon Law and was told that since I have had the car for more than 18 months it was not eligible, although the repairs were started well before the warranty period and 18 months of original in service date had occurred.

My brother owns a 2004 Nissan 350Z which finally got its Service Bulletin to replace the front tires that wear out at 7500 miles.

Nissan customer service has been horrible and service technicians seem to be guessing how to diagnose and repair problems. There's no worse feeling than getting into your car and every time you hit a bump in the road, fearing that your car is breaking down again.

I have no confidence in the vehicle or Corporate Nissan's desire to support the service after the sale. I am a one-time Nissan owner.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd December, 2006

29th Dec 2006, 18:36

I've Had a lot of the same issues and also now someone else who drives the same car has issues as well! I just got rid of mine and you should do the same!! It is a great car to drive, but too many problems.

30th Dec 2006, 10:03

This is all very disappointing and probably not down to bad luck either. When the Japanese were able to make their cars independently of Europe and America they seemed much better made albeit not very exciting.

Build integrity (engine, gearbox, fixtures etc) were so much more durable and well thought out in the mid to late eighties. To be fair legislators want engines to be air cleaners these days and the restrictions on manufacturing integrity appears higher than ever before. If this quality evaporates then the big Japanese companies will have nothing to trade off as some of the cars today are positively ugly in my view.

As I have commented in other forums.. When companies and manufacturers merge it can go up or down... Unfortunately for the consumer we see too much decline. You should check to see who owns or now works with Mazda, Nissan, etc. Like the English at cricket... Every picture tells a story, though we may not like the outcome.

2004 Nissan Maxima ST-L 3.5 V6 from Australia and New Zealand


What a mistake - I should have gone with my initial choice of a Subaru Liberty


1. Occasional short rattle on cold start appeared after about 2,000km. Gradually increased in frequency, intensity and length over time until it was doing it every morning by 10,000km.

2. At about 8,000km, the engine started to ping loudly when fully warmed up under medium throttle with engine speed of between 1,800 to 2,200rpm.

3. Engine oil consumption appears to be higher than any the most recent 3 cars I've owned.

4. Engine appears to me to be harsher under acceleration than I remember it being when new.

5. Passenger side front window rattles occasionally.

6. Passenger side A-pillar internal cover often rattles against windscreen.

7. Driver's side door armrest padding partially unstuck.

General Comments:

1. The performance, smoothness and economy superb when new. However, over time, the performance has diminished, the smoothness has gone, but it is still economical. The consistent pinging is a big concern - extensive reading indicates it causes long term engine damage. This would explain the drop in performance, possible increased oil consumption and harshness under acceleration. Dealer has tried to resolve, but support to dealer from Nissan is terrible. I have serious reservations about its long term reliability.

2. It looks great and the interior is one of the best around in terms of appearance and efficient use of space. Quality of plastics (and the whole car) is dubious. This is not up to usual Japanese standards.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th December, 2006