Here Are The Worst Nissan Maxima Years to Avoid for Used Models

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you in the market for a used Nissan Maxima? Then buckle up, because not all models are created equal.

Some years have been plagued with problems that could leave you stranded on the side of the road. But fear not, because we’re here to give you the inside scoop on which Nissan Maxima years to avoid.

Get ready to make an informed decision and drive away with confidence, because we’re about to reveal the most troublesome years for this iconic car.

Despite its reputation for performance, luxury, and reliability, some Nissan Maxima models simply don’t measure up.

So, if you want to save yourself time, money, and potential headaches down the road, pay close attention to our expert advice.

Worst Nissan Maxima Years

Nissan Maxima Worst Years

In this section, we’ll cover some of the worst years for this model, detailing specific issues that you’ll want to keep in mind.

2004 Nissan Maxima

The 2004 Nissan Maxima has been consistently flagged as a year to avoid, as it ranks highly for repair cost and average mileage when problems occur.

The most notable issue with the 2004 model is problems with the vehicle’s transmission which resulted in costly repairs and inconvenient downtime. If you’re considering an older Maxima, the 2004 model is one to steer clear of.

2005 Nissan Maxima

Similar to the 2004 Maxima, the 2005 Nissan Maxima also suffered from transmission issues, making it another contentious model to avoid.

High repair costs coupled with a less dependable version of the Maxima make it less favorable than other options.

2009-2014 Nissan Maxima

During the 2009-2014 period, Nissan Maximas experienced a significant dip in quality compared to previous and later models.

While the 2009-2014 Maximas did not have as many engine or mechanical problems, the seventh-generation car strayed from what made the Maxima great.

Issues reported include lower performance and a less distinctive style compared to the Maximas of the earlier or subsequent years.

2010 Nissan Maxima

Additionally, the 2010 Nissan Maxima is another year that may not be the best choice for a used vehicle.

While specific issues aren’t mentioned, the model’s included in the questionable 2009-2014 era and has been mentioned as a year to watch out for.

2011 Nissan Maxima

While the 2011 model sits within the aforementioned 2009-2014 timeline, its reputation is slightly different.

According to Nissan Maxima enthusiasts, the best models are from 2011-2015, signaling an improvement in quality and dependability compared to the earlier years in the range.

2016 Nissan Maxima

As the current-generation Nissan Maxima hits six years old, keep in mind that a full redesign could be in the future for the sedan.

The 2016 model introduced Nissan’s futuristic-inspired “V-motion” front-end design language, but improvements in newer models may make them a better choice if you’re seeking a more recent vehicle.

Common Problems and Issues

One of the most notorious periods for the Maxima was between 2004 and 2006, where transmission problems were prevalent.

Some of these issues had been resolved by the 2007 model, but the 2009 to 2011 model years still had some lingering concerns.

Another group of Maxima years to be cautious about are the 2009 to 2014 models.

While not suffering from the same engine or mechanical problems as earlier years, these models still had issues that deviated away from what made the Maxima a reliable choice.

Some common problems you might encounter in these problematic model years include:

  • Transmission issues: These can range from malfunctioning to complete failure, and have been one of the primary concerns for Maxima owners.
  • AC lines: Be aware of leaking and low-pressure AC hoses, which can negatively affect your car’s cooling system.
  • Power steering pump: This component may malfunction, potentially leading to a loss of power steering and difficulty maneuvering your vehicle.
  • Crankshaft position sensor: Failure of this sensor can cause engine performance issues and difficulty starting your car.
  • Ignition coil failure: A faulty ignition coil can lead to misfires, rough idles, and decreased fuel efficiency.

In addition to these mechanical problems, some Maximas have been reported to suffer from electrical issues, such as defective front seat wire harnesses and problems with the electronic steering system.

It’s always a good idea to cross-reference any used vehicle with resources like carcomplaints to get a better understanding of the specific issues facing that make and model.

Recalls and Consumer Reports

As a potential Nissan Maxima owner, it’s essential to stay informed about the recall history and consumer reports on this car.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an excellent resource for checking vehicle recalls. For instance, the 2020 Nissan Maxima has been recalled once by the NHTSA.

According to Consumer Reports, the 2017 Nissan Maxima is one of the best pre-owned large sedans recommended for purchase. Additionally, later model years like 2021 and 2022 are also expected to be reliable.

However, some Nissan Maxima years are known to have more problems than others. Notably, the 2004-2008 models are the years to avoid. These years faced several issues.

Some common problems with these model years include:

  • Electronic steering column lock failures
  • High repair costs
  • Low average mileage at the time of repair

Although not specific to the Maxima, you should keep an eye out for any news of class-action lawsuits involving Nissan vehicles.

In the past, they have been known to impact various models and years. Staying informed about any potential lawsuits might help you be aware of any significant issues affecting the Maxima.

Nissan Maxima Best Years

There’re few standout model years which include the 2017, 2014, and 2016 Nissan Maximas. Each of these models offers reliability and performance, making them great options for your next car.

2017 Nissan Maxima

The 2017 Nissan Maxima stands out as one of the best pre-owned large sedans you can buy. It offers a comfortable and spacious interior, as well as powerful performance.

An added bonus is its impressive fuel efficiency, which is a plus if you’re looking to save on gas expenses. If you’re in the market for a reliable and well-rounded Maxima, the 2017 model year is definitely worth considering.

2014 Nissan Maxima

Another excellent option is the 2014 Nissan Maxima. This model year is known for being reliable and enjoyable to drive.

It offers a smooth ride and a strong engine, which makes it an appealing choice for both everyday city driving and longer road trips.

With its distinctive styling and practical features, you can’t go wrong with a 2014 Nissan Maxima.

2016 Nissan Maxima

Lastly, the 2016 Nissan Maxima is a solid choice for those seeking a stylish and high-quality vehicle.

This model year introduced Nissan’s futuristic-inspired “V-motion” front-end design language, giving it a sleek and modern appearance.

Additionally, it boasts a comfortable interior and a smooth driving experience, making it a great choice for your next sedan.

Performance and Features

During the problem years (2004-2008), you may find that the V6 engines were plagued with various issues, impacting their reliability.

However, the Maximas after 2011 generally had improved engines, exhibiting better performance.

Safety features can vary among years, but some notable features include:

  • Anti-lock braking system
  • Electronic brake-force distribution
  • Traction control system
  • Vehicle dynamic control

In terms of handling, the sport-tuned suspension was present in some Maximas, improving the ride and responsiveness.

While exploring different model years, you may want to prioritize those with sport-tuned suspension for a more engaging driving experience.

The interior quality and design of the Nissan Maxima have had their ups and downs over the years.

Generally, the models after 2011 have a more refined and stylish interior. It’s essential to pay close attention to these features as you shop for a Maxima.

A quiet cabin is always a desirable feature in any vehicle. While most Maxima models offer a relatively quiet ride, make sure to test drive the car and pay close attention to the noise level to ensure your satisfaction.

Acceleration is another key aspect of performance. In general, Maximas are known for their brisk acceleration.

However, problematic model years might not exhibit the same level of performance. Ensure the Maxima you’re considering meets your expectations in terms of quickness.

Some Maximas have a navigation and infotainment system. While not present in every model, these features can add convenience and enjoyment to your driving experience.

Make sure to explore these options when shopping for your Maxima.

Known Issues with Specific Years

We will cover issues with power steering pump leakage, faulty Takata airbags, transmission malfunctioning, and timing chain rattle.

Power Steering Pump Leakage

Some Nissan Maxima models from the years 2004-2008 have been reported to experience issues with their power steering pumps.

This problem can cause steering difficulties, affecting your driving experience and safety.

Be sure to remain vigilant when considering these years and pay close attention to steering resistance or unusual noises when turning.

Faulty Takata Airbags

It is important to be aware of the risks associated with defective Takata airbags found in some Nissan Maxima models.

These airbags have been known to cause serious injury or even death due to their faulty inflators. Nissan issued recalls for certain vehicles, including Maximas, to replace these dangerous airbags.

Make sure to check whether any recalls apply to the specific year of the Maxima you’re considering.

Transmission Malfunctioning

Nissan Maxima models from 2004, 2005, and 2006 have been known to suffer from transmission problems.

These issues can include difficulty shifting gears or a complete malfunction in the transmission system.

The CVT transmission found in certain Maximas has also been reported to cause problems for some owners.

Keep an eye out for any signs of transmission issues, such as hesitations during acceleration, slipping gears, or unusual noises.

Timing Chain Rattle

Another issue that has been reported in some Nissan Maximas, particularly from 2004-2006, is the timing chain rattling.

This can be an indication of a problem with the tensioner or the timing chain itself. If left unaddressed, this could lead to serious engine damage.

Listen for any rattling noise coming from the engine area when considering a Maxima from these years.

In addition to these highlighted issues, you may also want to be aware of the following concerns in some Nissan Maximas:

  • Electrical problems
  • Exterior styling
  • Front seat wire harness
  • Oil leak
  • Service brakes
  • Strong V6 engine
  • Simple infotainment controls
  • Defective AEB
  • Low-pressure AC hose

Nissan Maxima Competitors

In the market for a new car? Let’s compare the Nissan Maxima to some of its top competitors. We’ll briefly explore similarities and differences, while touching on a couple of key problems for each.

Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima is another popular Nissan sedan. It shares many similarities with the Maxima, but has a slightly lower price point.

While the Maxima is known for its sporty, powerful engine, the Altima offers fuel efficiency and comfortable ride quality.

Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is a long-standing competitor in the sedan market, offering reliability and a smooth driving experience.

It is often compared to the Nissan Maxima due to Camry’s reputation for stability and practicality.

  • Key Problems: The Camry may lack the sporty performance of the Maxima, and the Camry’s cabin noise may be more noticeable.

Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is another close competitor to the Maxima; being a popular family sedan, the Accord has a reputation for reliability, safety, and efficiency.

The Accord also offers the convenience of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

  • Key Problems: Some owners have reported issues with the infotainment system, and road noise may be more noticeable at highway speeds.

Toyota Avalon

The Toyota Avalon is a full-size sedan that offers a spacious and comfortable interior, making it an alternative choice if size matters.

Like the Maxima, the Avalon packs a powerful V6 engine and modern technology features.

  • Key Problems: The Avalon may be more expensive than some competitors, and the handling might feel less sporty in comparison.

Hyundai Sonata

The Hyundai Sonata is another midsize sedan option that offers comfort, affordability, and reliability.

The Sonata has a more subdued driving experience compared to the Maxima but is well-known for its value and fuel economy.


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