Problems, but it never left me stranded. Car changes its own oil. .
By driftisfun on
2002 Nissan Maxima SE 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6M)
Ok it's been 5 years since we purchased our gunmetal grey 2002 Maxima w/6 speed manual. The car had roughly 78k on it at the time certified pre-owned vehicle from West Covina Nissan. Now has well over 160k fast, hard miles. Maintenance has been: Front brakes three times, goes thru tires a lot. Front right wheel assembly and hub became loose. Replaced clutch as well. Sound system broke. Power steering leak. Uses 2.5 quarts of oil every month or so, which is a lot. This is very common as are the individual coil packs failing (there's 6), and O2 sensors (4 I believe),Catalytic converter failed. These days my Maxima is firing on only two cylinders and we have thrown in the towel. Car still runs!
Some of my favorite features are the power and torque which are both about as much as you'd want thru the front tires really. It was great for the first few years, but these days the car drives like its in limp mode due to the aforementioned issues. I also like the HID headlights, power seats and sunroof (which works sometimes), 17"alloy wheels. Great handling for a front driver. Love the limited slip diff, I can lay down two stripes forever in this car. But most of all, aside from all those things is the fact that this car literally took this abuse. We drove this car with most of these issues for many miles. It says something about its absolute durability, down to the last two cylinders.
Lose the wing on the SE..it's front wheel drive and doesn't need a wing.
Also, I'm fairly certain that everyone hates the stock 6 cd changer, it sounds great but looks cheap and will likely malfunction. Don't put your favorite cd's in there, you'll never see them again! The stock suspension is awesome but it can rattle itself to pieces in the SE model...it might be just a tad too stiff for me. Like Edmunds recommends, the GLE model has the best balance for the Maxima unless you need a manual transmission. Which I do. Besides that, I would say this car is very reliable so long as you are aware of these few common issues, and that not all Maximas are plagued.