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Here Are The Nissan Maxima Years To Avoid

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White Nissan Maxima

Nissan Maxima by Kevauto - CC-BY-SA-4.0

Automakers are constantly improving their vehicles over the years. As a manufacturer makes major modifications to their already well-known model vehicle, they start a new generation of said vehicle. The new generation usually comes out more stylish and powerful, equipped with improved car technologies. However, that’s not all.

When a manufacturer starts a new generation of their vehicle, the new improvements haven’t been tested enough, so the manufacturer only fixes the issues for future models. The most crucial Nissan Maxima years to avoid are from 2004 to 2006. Nissan fixed the problems for the 2007 model year and only two years later started a new generation of the Maxima in 2009.

Let’s pop the hood of the quick and stylish Nissan Maxima and discover the best and worst model years.


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Nissan Maxima Years to Avoid

There’s only a single generation of Nissan Maxima you should run from. Nissan Maxima 2004-2008 are the years to avoid. 

According to the CarComplaints database, Nissan Maxima 2004, 2005, and 2006 model years are plagued with problems. The 2004 model year, notably, has ranked highly for the repair cost and average mileage when problems occur. CarComplaints badged the 2004 model year “Avoid Like the Plague,” which speaks volumes. 

The issues for this generation of the Maxima were linked to transmission slips and jerks after roughly 100,000 miles. The repair costs went from $2,500 to $3,500, and many owners didn’t even bother fixing the problems.

Nissan received a class-action lawsuit for the entire 2004-2008 Nissan Maxima generation— that’s just problematic these model years have become. The choice is ultimately yours, but Nissan Maxima 2004-2008 are the years to avoid, and we advise staying as far away from them as possible.

Suppose the transmission problems bound to happen on a sixth-gen Maxima weren’t enough. In that case, you could also expect to encounter issues with the camshaft position sensors, the crankshaft position sensor, the power steering pump, the AC lines, and a few more.


Over the decades, the car has served as the perfect bridge between mainstream affordability and upscale characteristics. And for many, it makes the ideal used car. So, knowing the most reliable years of the Nissan Maxima is essential. 

Major transmission problems ended with the sixth generation, but the 2009 to 2011 model years still had issues. Most of the issues weren’t as severe as the transmission problems that plagued the previous generation, but these model years had steering and electrical problems. The steering lock problem, in particular, was a nuisance since it cost around $1,000 to fix. The electrical problems are also linked to the steering lock problem. 

The 2011 model year was mostly reliable. It isn’t a model year to avoid altogether. There were a few transmission failures at the 100,000-mile mark, but they were rare.

Lastly, the 2016 model year has seen some relatively minor issues. The issues come from this new generation of the Maxima, and they were fixed for future years. Still, you can safely purchase a 2016 Maxima.

Best Nissan Maxima Years to Buy

According to CarComplaints, Nissan Maxima 2004-2008 are the years to avoid. Any year before 2004, although it might not have the best reliability due to being an older model, will serve you well. However, purchasing such an old vehicle might not be a great idea because issues can arise out of nowhere unless the car’s been well taken care of.

Any model year Nissan Maxima after 2011 should be a great purchase, but to avoid any and most problems, here are a few years you can purchase safely!

The 2011 Nissan Maxima

This choice of model year might come as a surprise, but as mentioned before, this is a reliable model year, and only a few vehicles have had transmission failures. Those vehicles have been fixed by now, so you can purchase a great Maxima for about $7,500. 

The 2011 model year is a modern-looking, comfortable car with a touch of sportiness. Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower, and if you purchase a model with a sport-tuned suspension, you’re bound to have fun driving this car. 

Although these vehicles look like coupes from the outside, they’re pretty spacious inside and boast a beautiful interior.

Overall, the 2011 model year Nissan Maxima is affordable, reliable, comfortable, and fun to drive.

The 2014 Nissan Maxima

With the 2014 Maxima being the last of the seventh generation, most of the issues were fixed. From the start, this was a very reliable car, earning a perfect reliability score from CR after 420,000 vehicles were evaluated.

There’s nothing to dislike about this model year. It has good fuel economy for a larger vehicle, is impressive to drive, and comes with newer technology compared to previous years.

If you have a $10,000 to $11,000 budget for your new vehicle, the 2014 Maxima is an excellent choice!


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2017 and Newer Nissan Maxima

The 2017 Nissan Maxima models are pretty dependable. These vehicles come with a V6 engine that produces 300 horsepower. That power will be fun to handle because even though this is a large vehicle, it has a great suspension making it fun to drive.

The drawback of these cars is that they require premium fuel. The 2017 Maxima does offer good fuel economy, but the requirement for premium fuel somewhat counters that. 

The 2017 model years have more than a few fun and safety features, and it’s a spacious car with a great interior. 

The newer model years still have to stand the test of time before we can discuss their reliability, but still, there haven’t been many issues reported so far. 

Common Nissan Maxima Problems

Over its long run in the market, the Nissan Maxima is one of the more reliable sedans available. However, it does have some severe issues that every prospective buyer should know.

  • Faulty Takata airbags: Like many long-running models, the Nissan Maxima was also affected by the dreadful Takata airbags – particularly the 5th generation Maxima (2000-2003). The Takata airbag inflators can explode and shoot metal fragments after deployment, which led to 27 deaths worldwide.
  • Defective AEB: The 7th and 8th generation Maxima were affected by faulty automatic emergency braking (AEB), which caused the vehicle to brake suddenly without obstructions on the road. This issue eventually resulted in multiple lawsuits.
  • Transmission issues: Owners of 2004-2006 Maxima sedans complained about slipping and overheating automatic transmissions. This particular issue may lead to a destroyed transmission with symptoms such as rough shifting, poor acceleration, and hesitations between gears.
  • Premature timing chain failure: Several Nissan models struggled with early timing chain problems, including the Maxima. Some reports claim that the Nissan timing chain was too sharp and sawed through its guide quickly, while some reported that the chain might be too weak and prone to stretch.

Nissan Maxima Years to Buy and Avoid

Forty years ago, Nissan debuted their Maxima. Ever since then, it has been a go-to model of choice for many Nissan customers. During those 40 years, only 2004 to 2008 are the models to avoid. If you avoid them, you will have a reliable car that’s comfortable and fun to drive!

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