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We all want to get a vehicle with excellent reliability to avoid spending too much money on repairs. As with any brand, you’ll find good years as well as bad when it comes to purchasing used Nissan models. Here we’ll look at the Nissan Maxima, the brand’s midsize sedan, and which model years are some of the worst to get on the used market due to reported maintenance problems.

1. 2004 Nissan Maxima

A yellow 2004 Nissan Maxima full-size sedan model on display at the 2003 North American International Auto Show
2004 Nissan Maxima | Bryan Mitchell via Getty Images

The 2004 Nissan Maxima is one of the worst models of the Nissan Maxima you can buy. According to CarComplaints, this model year saw several issues. The most reported problems deal with the transmission, engine, and the body’s painted surface. 

Most complaints go to the transmission. Owners share their experiences of trying to accelerate the vehicle, and the transmission would “slam” into the next gear. Others complain that it wouldn’t shift at all. The average mileage that this would occur is 107,350 miles, and the cost to completely replace the transmission is around $2,530.

Another area of concern is the engine. Owners reported it would stall for no reason, lose power, and make a loud rattling sound when you started it up or when it was idling. Repairing it can warrant a replacement of the timing system, which costs an average of $1,180 to $2,130. However, one driver managed to get by with an $850 bill because they had a mechanic friend. 

Another frustrating issue owners dealt with is the defective paint/clearcoat jobs on these cars. Some vehicles experienced rust due to the chipping paint exposing the metal underneath. Sometimes, the paint would come off in large chunks instead of just chips. The average mileage this would occur was 105,650, and the average cost to repair it was $3,400.

2. 2005 Nissan Maxima 

The 2005 Nissan Maxima model has a few complaints reported concerning its engine, brakes, and seats. However, the most reported issue is with its transmission. Owners of this model report that it would slip in and out of gear, and slam into gear, and a few said their vehicle wouldn’t go over 20 mph. 

Owners who had the vehicle diagnosed with a transmission failure were quoted anywhere from $3,000 to $3,755 to rebuild it. In one case, the driver rebuilt the transmission at 111,000 miles, only to be faced with a complete transmission replacement at 136,000 miles. 

The average mileage where the transmission begins to fail is 97,550 miles. Some owners claim that they were warned by others that there would be issues once the model reaches 100,000 miles or so. Currently, there are no recalls posted on this issue.

3. 2006 Nissan Maxima

The third worst model of the Nissan Maxima is the 2006 version. This model has a few engine problems and body paint issues, but the most reported problem with this version is its transmission, just like the 2005 and 2004 Maxima models.

For the 2006 model year, owners report having problems with the linear solenoids and valve bodies, causing the transmission to jerk and slip in and out of gear. Some drivers were told they couldn’t replace those parts and could only replace the entire transmission. 

One owner reports getting a quote from Nissan for a $4,000 transmission, which didn’t include labor costs. A few drivers were able to replace the parts for a total of $1,330. However, in one of those cases, the driver reports still having issues despite replacing those items. This problem seems to be a carryover from the 2004 and 2005 models. 

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