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Old 10-18-2011, 10:52 AM   Thread Starter #1
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Default Is The Maxima Reliable?

Hi everyone, I am interested in getting an 04 Maxima SL 4AT w 64k miles on it. I need a car that will be reliable and not a money pit.

However, from reading on here, carcomplaints.com, and true delta, these cars (esp 04 model) seem to have nothing but problems.

Transmission failures, the timing chain guide that seems to have affected pretty much everyone, loud rattling from the rear struts, and various squeaks and rattles.

What do you guys think? Would you recommend this car as a reliable mode of transport? I definitely like the features and style of it...but not if it will require thousands of dollars soon after purchase.
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Old 10-18-2011, 11:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Get a Camry bro
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Old 10-18-2011, 11:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Coming to a Maxima enthusiast forum to inquire about a Maxima's reliability????

Timing chain guides/tensioners will eventually have to be replaced...just the way it is with this car/engine...not unique just to the 04 model.

Shocks don't last forever...they are rated for 50k miles. If they are rattling, replace them.

The only real problem I've ever seen with an 04 is the trans issues. A new valve body seems to be the answer there.

So, to answer your question "is the car reliable"? I guess it depends on your definition of reliable.

Can you drive it forever without spending any money on maintenance? Absolutely not. The biggest factor in your case is that you are buying a used car. Reliability is all going to depend on how the previous owner/s took care of the car.
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Old 10-18-2011, 11:42 AM   Thread Starter #4
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

I figure you guys would know best- having the most experience with them. Also nearly everyone here is an owner.

The trans issue appears to be much more prevalent on the 5AT , does the 4AT have similar problems?
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Old 10-18-2011, 11:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

I have an 07 with 85000 miles on it. So far I had to replace a motor mount and a A/C hose,both under warranty. I would say its been very reliable.

To me though,it does seem like the 04-06 seem to have a few more issues,but overall they seem to be very reliable as well.
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Old 10-18-2011, 11:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Here is my take on the car. I just purchased an 05. Both my wife and I love this car . I know the transmission is going to be an issue at some point, but I made sure my warranty would cover it in case it goes out any time soon. The car rides smooth as silk and will haul butt when needed. We love the look of the car and the sound . The only bad thing I have found is the turning radius. It takes alot of room to turn around. I got a really good deal on mine and would buy it again in a heart beat.
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Old 10-18-2011, 02:10 PM   Thread Starter #7
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Thanks for the responses so far. Any other inputs?

Judging from the stickys, over half of all 04 maxima owners have had trans problems or had them replaced. For the timing chain noise, most people have had those issues as well. Is this an accurate conclusion?
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Old 10-18-2011, 02:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

I have an 06 Maxima but only had for a couple of months. The main reason I am responding is because I have an 04 Altima with the 3.5 and the 4AT and have had no major issues at all. It has almost 114K and we have had it since 06.

The only real big(if you want to call it big) repair was the front struts. I did those around 85K and had to change the right front wheel bearing.

I replaced an 02 sensor(top front bank-very easy job!)

Other than basic maintenance which all cars have this car has been a gem! We consistantly pull 30-32MPG on the freeway with it loaded(family of 4 and all my wife and two daughters crap they alway take!) Just set the cruise on 70-75!

I have always run full synthetic oil and K&N filter. No other mods performance wise!

Just check the car out fully. If it has a full service history as did ours I'd say jump on it!!! That car is old enough to be able to see if it has been taken care of.
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Originally Posted by big_c View Post
Thanks for the responses so far. Any other inputs?

Judging from the stickys, over half of all 04 maxima owners have had trans problems or had them replaced. For the timing chain noise, most people have had those issues as well. Is this an accurate conclusion?
I would say that is a fair assumption. I have an 08 and have not had too many problems. I doubt i would buy an 04 though. I have seen and read all the horror stories. To be very frank, if anyone in my family came to me and said should i buy an 04-06 maxima, i will tell them definitely stay away from 04-05, the 06 not sure yet but would probably steer thenm to an 07-08.

Good luck
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Every car company has its flaws , so no matter what you jump into , you'll find some issues
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Well I have an 06, had 67k on it when I bought it and now it has 91k and I haven't had any issues or any signs of any. I change the oil every 5k miles and I haven't started with the synthetic blend yet. The worst issue I've had with my car is a flat tire caused by debris in the road. I F'n love my Max!!!
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

If you can afford it get a 07/08, 63k miles and going very strong, very reliable, just had to replace a belt, other than that, it has great response, great braking, and is able to keep plenty of friends happy, it is a well built car in my opinion, just the turning radius is very large, so parking might take 2 tries depending on the approach and size of space, other than that I commute 70 miles a day, the thing is perfect and safe, but overall, from owning a 07 and not having a problem with it, I would try to get an 07/08, they are quite cheap for a car that provides a lot of features and doesnt carry a brand name to the repair shop (cheap to repair to compared to other companies due to their name)
And I plan on keeping this car till 160k, so I would not have bought it if it could not! Good luck looking!
For Gas mileage I get 23mpg city + highway, 27 highway, anything over 75 mph it goes down to 24mpg for my car. 16 Gallons gets me normally 330-370mile to the tank.
I hope this helps also
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Originally Posted by big_c View Post
Hi everyone, I am interested in getting an 04 Maxima SL 4AT w 64k miles on it. I need a car that will be reliable and not a money pit.

However, from reading on here, carcomplaints.com, and true delta, these cars (esp 04 model) seem to have nothing but problems.

Transmission failures, the timing chain guide that seems to have affected pretty much everyone, loud rattling from the rear struts, and various squeaks and rattles.

What do you guys think? Would you recommend this car as a reliable mode of transport? I definitely like the features and style of it...but not if it will require thousands of dollars soon after purchase.

They are definitely not as reliable as the previous generation Maximas in my opinion. I have owned 3 previous and owned nothing but Nissans. Definitely had the most problems with my 06 Maxima. If I had to do it over again I would have bought a G35. If you really love the Maxima, I highly suggest you get an extended warranty.
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:40 PM   Thread Starter #14
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

From what you guys can tell- are the transmission problems isolated to the 5AT only? The vehicle in question is a 4 speed, there does not appear to be anywhere near as many reports of jerking and slipping during shift with the 4AT
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

big_c,
Welcome to the forum.

You are smart in doing your homework before making an expensive purchase.

I too did my homework before purchasing my 2004 Maxima SE with 5 speed automatic transmission.

I heard mostly good things that swayed my decision to purchase my Machine.



Overall I have found my 2004 Maxima a reliable Machine. I now have 94,000 miles on my Maxima I have been fortunate not to have the issues that we all seem to dread.

You can read all the reviews, positive and negative. You will find many people love the Machine and as an equal number seem to only find fault with it.

You now need to have a reliable mechanic check out the Maxima you are considering to purchase. As @1hawaii50 said, the future reliability will depend greatly on the previous owners driving habits and maintenance upkeep. If the Maxima you are looking to buy only has 64,000 miles, that is low mileage for a car approaching eight years old. (8,000 miles per year)

If you maintain your machine on schedule and do common sense preventive maintenance, you should have a Machine that will provide you with the reliability you are seeking. A machine requires maintenance. Wear and tear is normal. Replacement of worn parts is necessary. Transportation is an industry that comes at a high price, regardless of your choice of vehicles.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:49 PM   #16
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

I would call the reliability thing more of a "crap shoot" than anything. I bought my max brand new in 05'. I drove THE LIVING HELL out of that thing. But I also kept up with all the regular services up to about 85k before she was totaled. The only problem i had was a spun pass.-frnt. wheel bearing. My two Z32 Fairlady's I bought when I was stationed in Okinawa were also trouble free. I think you roll the dice every time you buy a car. Good luck in your purchase, whatever it may be.
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:14 PM   #17
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Originally Posted by big_c View Post
I figure you guys would know best- having the most experience with them. Also nearly everyone here is an owner.

The trans issue appears to be much more prevalent on the 5AT , does the 4AT have similar problems?
You're safe with the 04 SL 4AT. It's the 5AT (04-06) that's problematic.
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Old 10-19-2011, 07:57 AM   #18
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Worst that can happen is a bad transmission. But if you should happen to get a 6thgen thats been modified and returned to oem, then you might have a problem.

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Old 10-19-2011, 10:21 AM   #19
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

05 SE 5sp Auto with 133k

Two A/C hoses (fixed under warranty)
One transmission 5/AT (fixed under warranty)
Pre-Cats failed just past warranty at about 82k (this is kind of a big one too)

Everything else kind of normal maintenance issue.
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:03 PM   #20
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

It can be if you take care of it like keep up the maintenance on it.
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:48 PM   Thread Starter #21
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Thanks everyone for all the responses. Well, I decided to go for it and purchase the max. Already ordered the USA spec Ipod integration adapter. Its a one owner car, very clean, hope it lasts me a long time without all the dreaded problems that seem to plague these cars. Will be listening constantly for the timing chain rattle

I am a freak about maintenance so the first thing I will be doing is doing a drain and fill per the DIY guide here on the trans fluid, and putting in an OEM oil filter with oil change.

Will definitely be posting more on the forums in the near future
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Old 10-20-2011, 06:02 PM   #22
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Originally Posted by big_c View Post
Thanks everyone for all the responses. Well, I decided to go for it and purchase the max. Already ordered the USA spec Ipod integration adapter. Its a one owner car, very clean, hope it lasts me a long time without all the dreaded problems that seem to plague these cars. Will be listening constantly for the timing chain rattle

I am a freak about maintenance so the first thing I will be doing is doing a drain and fill per the DIY guide here on the trans fluid, and putting in an OEM oil filter with oil change.

Will definitely be posting more on the forums in the near future
Good luck dude!
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:48 AM   #23
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Default Re: Is The Maxima Reliable?

Originally Posted by big_c View Post
Thanks everyone for all the responses. Well, I decided to go for it and purchase the max. Already ordered the USA spec Ipod integration adapter. Its a one owner car, very clean, hope it lasts me a long time without all the dreaded problems that seem to plague these cars. Will be listening constantly for the timing chain rattle

I am a freak about maintenance so the first thing I will be doing is doing a drain and fill per the DIY guide here on the trans fluid, and putting in an OEM oil filter with oil change.

Will definitely be posting more on the forums in the near future
Good news, welcome aboard!
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