2004 Nissan Maxima Transmission Problems [Symptoms and Fixes]

Are you experiencing acceleration problems or jerking when driving your Nissan Maxima? These could be signs of transmission problems. This article covers the common transmission issues your Nissan Maxima (2004 model) may develop over time.

2004 Nissan Maxima

Quick tip: You can fix some of these transmission problems yourself. But in most cases, you will need the knowledge, experience, and specialized tools of a professional mechanic.

That said, here are some causes of transmission problems in the 2004 Nissan Maxima:

  • Low transmission fluid level.
  • Defective linkage or vacuum controls.
  • Worn transmission components.
  • Defective neutral safety switch.
  • Out-of-alignment shift linkage.
  • A faulty sensor.

Signs Your 2004 Nissan Maxima Transmission is Bad

1. Rough Gear Transition 

When your 2004 Nissan Maxima transmission slams into gear or you experience rough gear transitions, it is a problem you should not watch for long. Users may start experiencing this issue at 117,000 and this requires transmission replacement.

Your transmission problem may not be that severe. But get your vehicle to the nearest service center as soon as possible for a proper check-up and fixing.

2. Excessive Revving Engine

Most 2004 Nissan Maxima owners complained of this problem. Your vehicle’s engine will suddenly start revving excessively, even when your foot is not directly on the gas pedal. This means your 2004 Nissan Maxima can no longer detect whether or not to shift into higher gears.

A faulty sensor or mechanism could be responsible for this transmission problem. You will need to replace the defective sensor with a new one to eliminate the excessive revving engine problem, which costs slightly over $600.

3. Multiple Electrical Problems

The 2004 Nissan Maxima is known for having multiple electric problems linked to the transmission. This may cause the transmission to give out prematurely. Some owners have reported that their transmission suddenly stopped functioning at 95,000 miles.

If you are experiencing these transmission issues, get your vehicle to your mechanic as soon as possible. The mechanic will run diagnostic tests to identify the causes of the problems and fix them immediately.

4. Jerking or Lurching

If you are driving your 2004 Nissan Maxima at a constant speed and suddenly start experiencing lurching or jerky movements, it could be a pointer to a transmission problem. It is a transmission problem if the jerking problem occurs while shifting gears, mainly the first 2 gears.

It may also go from ‘Park’ to the first gear or from reverse to the first gear, taking up to 5 seconds to shift and jerk into the first gear. You can reset the computer and have your 2004 Nissan Maxima relearn to shift gears. But this doesn’t always solve the problem.

The only way out of this situation is to replace the entire transmission system. Check the section below for an estimated cost of replacing a 2004 Nissan Maxima transmission.

5. Transmission Slipping

Transmission slips are problems not commonly found in most Nissan Maxima vehicles unless they cover a mileage of more than 70,000 miles.

Several factors are responsible for this transmission slipping problem. It could be that the transmission components have run their course and started wearing and tearing, or it could be due to a faulty clutch. The vehicle will refuse to go into gear, which is a sure sign that you are having transmission slipping problems.

Get your 2004 Nissan Maxima to your mechanic. If it is confirmed that the issue lies in the slipping transmission, you may need to replace the damaged clutch with a new one. This is the step you should take if a run-down clutch is primarily responsible for the transmission slipping problem.

6. Missing Gears

Another potential sign of transmission trouble the 2004 Nissan Maxima exhibits is when one or more gears work intermittently or don’t work at all. In some cases, low transmission fluid may be the cause of this problem.

But in many cases, this situation occurs due to faulty linkage or vacuum controls. The internal clutch may also fail without warning, causing missing gear problems.

Take your car to a mechanic for proper diagnosis and fixes.

7. Shift Mechanism Issues

Another transmission problem associated with the 2004 Nissan Maxima involves shift mechanism issues. This transmission problem is noticeable because your 2004 Nissan Maxima will suddenly start moving while in ‘Park’ or may start in gears other than neutral or park.

This problem could be linked to your transmission’s neutral start switch, otherwise known as the neutral safety switch. In addition, the shift linkage connected to the transmission’s shifting mechanism may also be out of alignment, and this can cause transmission issues.

Get your Nissan Maxima to a mechanic for a proper diagnosis of re-alignment of the shift linkage.

8. Transmission Warning Lights

When something goes wrong with your 2004 Nissan Maxima transmission, you may not always perceive it with your senses (by hearing or seeing signs of transmission trouble).

However, if the transmission warning lights on your vehicle’s dashboard suddenly come on, you may have latent transmission problems.

Take your Nissan Maxima to the nearest service center for proper diagnosis using the appropriate diagnostic test kit.

9. Insufficient Transmission Fluid

Low transmission fluid can manifest several issues, especially when shifting your 2004 Nissan Maxima’s automatic transmission.

For example, you may have insufficient transmission fluid if you hear a whining or buzzing noise or experience rough or delayed shifting or even slipping gears.

Check the transmission fluid level to see if it is at the appropriate level. If it isn’t, or too low, top it up immediately until it reaches the recommended level. Do not keep driving your Nissan Maxima with low transmission fluid, as the transmission may overheat and cause other related problems.

Can You Drive a 2004 Nissan Maxima with a Bad Transmission?

It is always dangerous to keep driving your 2004 Nissan Maxima when you know its transmission is bad. Driving your vehicle in this condition can cause avoidable road mishaps, especially if the transmission fails suddenly while driving at a constant speed on the highway.

Get your Nissan Maxima to a service center as soon as you suspect a transmission problem.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a 2004 Nissan Maxima Transmission?

Research shows that the average cost of replacing a damaged 2004 Nissan Maxima transmission ranges from $3,500 to $4,800.

The actual cost depends on vehicle mileage, where you live, and related repairs, including transmission fluid changes. Moreover, taxes and fees have not been factored in.

Tips to Make Your 2004 Nissan Maxima Transmission Last Longer

These few tips will help extend the lifespan of your 2004 Nissan Maxima:

  • First, replace the engine oil and filter at 5,000 miles. Then consider rotating the tires after covering this mileage.
  • Inspect your 2004 Nissan Maxima automatic transmission at 10,000 miles. Check differential oil and brake pads.
  • Replace the transmission fluid and air filter after 30,000 miles.

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