2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5 V6 from North America


Not bad, but look for an 07+ with CVT


1. Driver's seat was slightly cracked when purchased. I chalk it up to the previous owner.

2. Kick plate came off, reinstalled by dealer. Paid $17.00 for replacement clips.

3. CD player is going out. It only plays music on the right side. It comes and goes whenever I hit a bump in the road or come to a stop. Very annoying, I plan on just buying an aftermarket unit. Common issue.

4. Driver and front passenger doors will sometimes not open, although they appear to be unlocked. For instance, I got out of my car to check the mail, left the car running and closed the door. Had to call pop-lock ($40.00) to let me back in, even though the lock was in-between the 'lock' and 'unlock' position. My only guess is the force from closing the door caused this.

5. A.C. belt squeals horribly anytime it rains or water splashes under the car. I usually just ride in heat when it rains to avoid embarrassment.

6. My car makes the infamous 'chainsaw' noise at startup, especially when the car is cold. I've done some research on these issues, and I've been told it's the timing chain. Very pricey to remedy this.

7. Hear a knock and ping in the engine, although I only use premium gas and have had all oil changes performed at Nissan since purchase. I assume it's because of the larger displacement of the engine; I've heard other Maximas that sound similar.

8. My biggest concern is the transmission. Last winter I began to notice hard shifting between 1-2 and 2-3. Took it to Nissan and was informed that my tranny fluid was black and needed to be flushed and refilled, $140.00. This helped, but it's still there, mostly noticeable when the car is cold. A close friend of mine just experienced tranny failure in his 05, but I can't vouch for his treatment of his car.

General Comments:

After my Mustang was T-boned and totaled, I decided that I wanted my next vehicle to be a larger more sophisticated sedan. Something practical but with a sporty flair (TL, G35, CTS, etc.) It came down to my 04 Maxima and an 03 G35. I went with the Maxima because it was newer and had fewer miles. Sometimes I wished I had reconsidered.

Don't get me wrong, the Max hasn't left me stranded or let me down, but it definitely does not have the quality or sporty characteristics that I expected. Yes, I know it is an SL and not an SE, but sometimes I feel like I'm driving my mom's Avalon. You will be reminded of how large the car really is if you try to push it. Furthermore, the back does sag, especially when loaded with passengers so BE CAREFUL. I think I'm going to have some spring lifters installed. Under closer look, a lot of the interior plastics are sub-par to its competitors. Didn't really notice at first, but keep in mind I was used to my 2000 Mustang.

Overall, I am satisfied with my purchase, but after reading consumer reviews and the 'small' problems and abnormalities I'm noticing, I can't help but think that trouble is right around the corner. Reliability and dependability were issues I thought I would avoid in buying Nissan. I had previously owned a 90 Stanza and 96 Altima with no major issues. And was somewhat biased I guess.

I joined a Nissan forum just so I can keep in touch with other owners and share experiences, issues, pros, and cons. I've been eyeing an 07 G35, and I plan on trading as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Until then I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th October, 2010

14th Nov 2010, 14:04

I have had exactly the same problem, as the tranny kicks when shifts from 1-2 and 2-3 when cold. After the fluid heats up it's fine. I guess replacing the solenoid pack may solve the problem, but my transmission died before I could do it. Make sure you fix it.

2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5 from North America


So close and yet so far. Could be a money pit!


Jerking in 1st - 2nd and Reverse. Plus hesitation in Reverse to Drive. HARD shifting.

Sunroof not closing properly.

Front struts went out way too quickly.

General Comments:

The official Service Bulletin from Nissan is NTB04-035.

Do not allow a mechanic to tell you that you will need new motor mounts, unless he can personally show the broken motor mounts. The constant shifting from the engine and tranny moving could actually break motor mounts, and cause radiator hose and other fluid hoses to tear.

Do not allow a mechanic to tell you you will need a rebuilt or new transmission. This is a lie, unless you have driven the car and allowed the problem to get progressively worse.

A new transmission or rebuilt one can cost you 2 to 3 times more than a $1,100 or less valve body. They also sell rebuilt valve bodies for $500 to $800.

This would have been a great car, had Nissan taken more responsibility in its quality. They know something is faulty with the valve body in their transmissions! But they will not issue a recall. This is cause for a class action suit.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st October, 2010