I have a 2000 Maxima with about 155k on the clock. I purchased this car in Los Angeles and since 2005, it’s lived in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The main issue is that I can tell the transmission is starting to get a bit soft on the 1-2 upshift, specifically once it starts getting cold out. I presume the primary reason for this is the abuse it’s suffered at my hands. As it was a California car, it has no traction control and though I love it nine months of the year, it is utterly helpless in the snow—snow tires didn’t seem to help tremendously. I’ve had to rock myself out a number of times and I presume the trans has gotten overheated at least once. I’ve been good about changing the fluid (drain and fill 3x, filter too) about once a year but I think I’m near the end on this trans.
So the question is should I seek out a used AT and have it swapped, send out for a quality rebuild or just replace the Max outright? It’s been quite good to me with only minor repairs such as a cat, MAF and coils. I can happily say that it’s a car that I’ve enjoyed quite a lot and wouldn’t mind keeping—the 3.0 VQ is still strong despite the miles. The main complicating factor is that my wife’s car is not yet paid off and I don’t think I’ll be able to take on a 2nd auto loan; we still have about 3 years left on the current loan.
I’ve toyed with the notion of adding an older Miata to the stable for summer fun and occasional project; though affordable enough to buy outright and I wouldn’t mind it as a daily driver, I’m sure that it wouldn’t be much fun in the winter. If I dump the Maxima, what would you think might be a suitable replacement?
Keep it, because you can’t afford a second loan. And why would you? This is far from a death sentence to your automotive needs, its just giving an old friend a helping hand when they need it the most.
You mentioned regular fluid changes. Good for you! There’s a slim chance that adding a transmission additive (some recommend Lucas, I will not go that far) will fix the problem and this will be the end of the story for months…or maybe longer. If so…perfection!
But if not, buying a remanufactured transmission is your best bet. The moment someone cracks open your autobox for a visual inspection is the time when your hard earned dollars are wasted, misused. At this age and mileage, and transmission should be rebuilt/replaced, not somewhat disassembled, inspected, and a couple of parts fixed.
Who rebuilds a Nissan transaxle decently? Not entirely sure. I’ve been bitten by local shops that never knew the specifics of a certain manufacturer’s design, so I tend to err on the cautious side: either get one from Nissan with a factory warranty or ring up the folks at Jasper. As their website says, the 3 year warranty and quality control procedures gives “Peace of Mind” that isn’t available by a local shop. And they usually drop ship to your trusty mechanic, for a quick install. I am usually hesitant to outright recommend a particular vendor, but Jasper seems to give people on many forums just what their website promises, no matter the make and model.
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