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Redesigned for 2004, this version of the Maxima was signifcantly improved over the previous model. We like its quick, refined powertrain and roomy interior. However, a stiff ride and a wide turning circle detract from the overall package.
Alerts
There are 2 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
2004
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
2008
NA
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
NA
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
NA
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2000. Side air bags available, standard from 2004. Head protection air bags standard from 2004. ESC available from 2004, standard from 2009.
Road Test

Redesigned for 2004, this version of the Maxima was signifcantly improved over the previous model. We like its quick, refined powertrain and roomy interior. However, a stiff ride and a wide turning circle detract from the overall package.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Automatic
  • 4-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 3.5-liter V6 (265 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2004 Nissan Maxima owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“The chrome coating on the roof trim is peeling off”

Anonymous, KY (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“The clear coat is peeling off. The amount of clear coat applied must have been applied with a mister”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Hood and roof faded badly, had to have repainted”

Dennis M., KY (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“chrome trim peeled within first 5 years of ownership; trim around moonroof rusted”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“oxidation on roof”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“In three areas of the roof, dessert plate size, the paint has disappeared. It looks like bare metal but has not rusted”

David K., NJ (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)
Rust

“Subframe rusted and needed replacement”

Paul H., ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Passenger Floor panel completely rusted out”

Phillip M., NH (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Both driver and passanger floor rusted through so that the metal was gone and carpeting was the only thing between the persons feet and the ground. This happened in 2013. This year, significant rust was found in the passenger side sub-frame which w”

Anonymous, NY (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“Under body rust at the front passenger-side floor board is becoming problematic”

Anonymous, NY (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“Passenger side underbody was completely rusted through (probably due to salt)”

Matt M., MA (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Rust under vehicle, could not get a safety, had to have body work done even though I had rust check every year and they did not tell me, had brakes, tires changed, no one told me how bad the rust was underneath, body shop told me this was common for”

Sylvia B., ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)
Loose interior trim or moldings

“Overhead roof lining separating from the body and hanging down, obscuring view through rear window. Rear deck plastic speaker grilles have been broken down by sunlight. This significantly affects the sound system and looks poor”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

“Front driver's side suspension failed. Also had significant hole in subframe due to rust. Decided to replace car as repairs greater than value of car”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“power steering pump hose leaking”

John B., AZ (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Had to replace my struts several times over the past 10 years”

Anonymous, NE (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“We have had 3 consecutive hard winters resulting in serious pot hole conditions. This has caused the shocks and suspension to deteriorate”

Patricia S., CT (2004 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“Noise from front suspension every bump or uneven surface. Took it to the dealer, who said the RF strut had failed and needed to be replaced/”

Michael L., PA (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Annual state inspection failed due to leaking strut. Nissan recommends replacing in pairs, so quite an expensive repair”

Anonymous, NC (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“The car keeps having issues with regards to suspension. Engine always sounds great but every year i seem to be replacing struts or control arms, etc etc”

Matt M., MA (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“banging GOING OVER BUMPS”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)
Tire wear is uneven

“Have had to replace all tires several times; wheels do not stay in alignment”

Anonymous, MO (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Took car to mechanic. He indicated I needed to replace tires. Tires have only 25000km. Went to tire dealer. Yes, need replacement under warranty. Shoulders prematurely worn. Bad tires or unusual wear caused by car? Do not know”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“Left rear wheel bearing failed. Nissan could not replace the bearing, but had to replace the entire hub, so quite an expensive repair”

Anonymous, NC (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

“Sensor for ABS not working. Replaced twice to no effect”

Hazem A., VA (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“ABS control module needed to be replaced because the ABS system was kicking in during normal braking in normal weather. I had this same problem 3-4 years ago - annoying because it is a fairly expensive repair ($1,000 +)”

Anonymous, PA (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“The ABS system kicks in at slow speeds and causes a grinding noise. The dealer is still trying to diagnose the problem”

Anonymous, KY (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“ABS anti-lock brakes were deploying during normal breaking. The fix is to replace the ABS pump which is estimated greater than $1500 to repair”

Anonymous, ND (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“ABS comes on while I'm driving. Sensors replaced and a few hubs and can't get rid of problem. Think the whole unit blown at this point. Also think the constant activation is draining my battery!”

Richard B., NY (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)
Parking brake

“Same sensor for ABS affects the hand brake”

Hazem A., VA (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)
Premature brake wear

“Caliper spring break caused indue, premature rotor wear”

Anonymous, IL (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“Dealer recommends brake pad wear change when brakes only has approx. 30,000 miles”

Ivan P., AR (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“rapid and frequent brake wear especially given low annual mileage”

Bruce M., ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

“drivers lock frequently fails to respond to remote lock”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“Drivers window would not work, part very expensive, ended up getting it from a wholesaler, very frustrating when you can't open your window!”

Sylvia B., ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)
Doors or sliding doors

“The door would lock itself. Got locked out with keys inside on several occasions”

Brian C., BC (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)
Seat controls - movement

“one of the motors that controls the forward/backward motion of the drivers seat failed - it no longer operated. The seat was stuck in a specific location. The local dealer said that the entire seat assembly would need to be replaced - cost $2000+. S”

Anonymous, NY (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)
Sunroof

“Sunroof leaks when it rains or when I wash my car”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“I call this a MOON-ROOF because it does not open. It has developed several areas of rust / paint bubbles around the left, rear and right sides of the trim that holds the glass in place. Has not caused leaks as yet but I will get the rusted areas repa”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“My car came with the Mohawk sunroof option. It developed rust and soon after Nissan recalled it. When I got it back and after a year it began to rust even worse than before. I had the roof replaced along with new winshield and then painted. My Cos”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“Driver side power window malfunctioned and finally failed. Replaced motor and automated function”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Hydraulics (clutch master or slave cylinder)

“Sometimes the clutch pedal goes all the way down to the floor”

Anonymous, CO (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“I think the first problem is due to the second. Either a leak in the system, or a hydraulics problem, but the dealer seems incapable of finding the cause and fixing the problem”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“On turns, the transmission would hunt for the right gear then jerk hard when it found it due to very excellerated engine speed in the time it searched”

Paul H., ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Clunks in lower gears - problem experienced by other owners. Class action suit in discovery on 2004-2006 Nissan MAxima”

Jayme G., CA (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“clutch did not always fully depress which made for difficult shifting”

Bruce M., ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

“Rough shifting eventually led to stall, vehicle would restart in safe mode (4th gear) unless left off overnight. Diagnosis was a bad transmission sensor, once replaces problem was solved. Rough shifting sometimes still happens, usually subsides with regular transmission fluid change”

Anonymous, BC (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“One senor went out and the mechanic suggested that they replace a 2nd sensor which I agreed to have them do. Thus, they replaced two sensors. Total cost was just under $500.00”

S M., OH (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“slipped and bucked recently. Changed fluid without improvement. Top off fluid with much improvement”

Thomas H., WV (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

“belts cracked”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Have to change belts every 30,000 miles. In my old 2002 Chevrolet Pick up only change every 100,000 miles”

Ivan P., AR (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)
Engine computer

“Computer Control Module destroyed when other problem being fixed. I haven't been able to find a replacement computer control module (car hasn't run since last October). I was told the part is no longer available; I have also been told that legally Nissan is to have parts for 15 years”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Constant oil leaks”

Joseph J., NC (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Around 60K miles, an oil leak developed. 4 visits to the mechanic later, and two different shops, the issue was finally resolved. Now the leak is back, or a new one has developed”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“The leak occurred near the right wheel, it took two attempts to correct the problem, I use a very reliable independent shop”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Headlights

“Head lights blink on an o(life at night”

Lawrence M., AL (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“Headlight burned out - it was replaced”

Anonymous, MA (2004 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“Headlights were very dim - had to replace them”

Anonymous, AR (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)
Body control module

“door lock buttons, trunk opener button”

Anonymous, WA (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“daytime driving light”

Regina H., ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

“Squeaks & rattles when crossing road irregularities”

Anonymous, NY (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“My muffler came off and AAA fixed it, but not entirely. 2 motor mounts were loose, so those were fixed, but I still need to get the middle of the muffler reattached”

Elaine W., NC (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Recently I am hearing squeaks coming from under the car, I have booked an appointment to check out the issue”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“The wind noise in this car at freeway speeds is very annoying”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

“Clutch loses all pressure and goes to floor; at that point unable to put into gear. Had clutch replaced ($2,700) after about 5-6 times at the dealer. Having same problem now”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

“gas milage average went to 20-22mpg. Transmission slipping to point when putting in drive had to wait about 20 seconds or more before engaging”

Charles C., GA (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“When the weather is cold on the initial start up after backing up and shifting into drive, there can be a pause before moving forward of 2 seconds to 15 seconds”

Anonymous, MI (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“Dealership charges 2X more than the transmission shop the dealership takes theirs to. Replaced with remanufactured trans from Nissan”

Thomas G., PA (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

“Installing the third NEW compressor in it this week. Part is under Warranty but labor is about $400 per install with freon”

Anonymous, GA (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)
Condenser

“Replaced one time. Working OK”

Anonymous, GA (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

“leak in tubing”

G W., NY (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

“CD player stopped working a few years ago. Steering wheel radio controls no longer work”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“Factory/Built in Bose 6-disc CD-Changer failed. Its sounded like gears were grinding. The CD changer unit had to be removed and rebuilt to fix it”

Anonymous, ND (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“The CD player skips when playing CDs. I googled it and it seems to be a common problem with this make and model”

Anonymous, ND (2004 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel injection system

“The fuel injector was clogged and had to be repaired”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)
Emission control devices (includes EGR)

“REPLACED”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

“See other comments - Computer control module out so nothing works”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)
CV joint

“passenger side inner cv joint boot tore apart , as car drives grease sprays suspension and engine”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

“loss of power, loud exaust”

Anonymous, CT (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

“was clogged so replaced”

Anonymous, MA (2004 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Battery (not hybrid or electric)

“Batteries NEVER last more than 18 months to two years. They ALWAYS fail with no warning and leave me having to call for assistance”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Nissan Maxima SE 3.5-L V6)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Timing belt or chain

“Started making noise, decided to replace before it broke”

Anonymous, IA (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

“Heat does not work due to leak in coolant system. Radiator works fine but the heat exchange for cabin is leaking”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5-L V6)
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