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Nissan Maxima: The Most Common Complaints You Should Know About

Originally called the Datsun 810 when it debuted in 1977, the Datsun Maxima was introduced in 1981, becoming the Nissan Maxima by the mid-1980s. For many years, Nissan has marketed the car as a “four-door sports car.” Car and Driver even says the 2020 Maxima is the “full-size sedan for those who wouldn’t be caught dead driving a full-size sedan.”

With such a long history over four decades, many model years are available for used car buyers. It’s always good to have more info before making a decision on a used car, so here’s a look at the top four Nissan Maxima complaints that owners have submitted over the years to RepairPal.com.

Nissan Altima information from RepairPal.com

RepairPal.com provides one source of info from other vehicle owners. Owners can submit their complaints on this website and also get connected to repair shops. On the website, owners have submitted 28 different problems about the Nissan Maxima in model years going back to 1990. Across these model years, every year from 1995 to 2008 has 10 or more complaints. The worst three are 2002 (17 complaints), 2004 (16 complaints), and 2005 (15 complaints).

Low-pressure AC hose may leak at crimped connection

If the AC hose starts leaking refrigerant at the crimped connection, there will be low pressure in the system, and the air conditioner will blow warm air rather than cold. This is the most common problem on the Nissan Maxima, and it has been reported by 161 people. It costs about $88 to $111 to have the AC diagnosed. Some owners mentioned their repairs cost $200 to $400. The issue affects 10 model years: 2001 and 2004 through 2012. On average, the problem appeared around 87,453 miles.

Check engine light on due to failed ignition coil

There have been 99 owners who reported that their check engine light came on, showing a primary ignition signal fault caused by an ignition coil failure. Damage in one coil can also cause damage in the other ignition coils. Getting an ignition coil replaced costs roughly $764 to $922. The problem has been reported in 11 Maxima model years, from 1995 to 2002 plus 2004, 2007, and 2009. It started happening on average around 136,382 miles.

Camshaft sensor leaking oil into the connector

The third biggest issue with the Maxima is a problem with the camshaft position sensor causing it to leak oil into the electrical connector. When this happens, the check engine light turns on and the engine could stall periodically. There have been 91 people who reported this problem, and it cost them $88 to $111 to have the check engine light diagnosed and tested. This appears in 10 model years from 2002 to 2010 plus 2014 at 113,800 miles on average.

Leaking power steering pump can cause noise or steering problems for the Nissan Maxima

The fourth biggest problem found by Maxima owners is that the power steering pump can develop leaks, which then can drip down onto the lower control arm bushing, causing deterioration. Drivers then hear a knocking sound, especially when driving over rough roads, and have more trouble controlling the car. 

There were 86 owners who reported this problem, and it cost between $458 and $995 to get the power steering pump replaced. The issue affects a lot of model years, including 1995 through 2009 plus 2012 and 2013. The problem shows up, on average, around 122,561 miles.

Some of these issues are serious and also moderately expensive problems. They also affect such a wide range of model years that people considering buying a used Nissan Maxima should be aware of the potential issues. However, they generally don’t occur until close to 100,000 miles.