2018 Nissan Maxima Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Vehicle speed control, electrical, braking system and structure issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2018 Nissan Maxima is not a new car in the automaker’s lineup, so it already has it’s dedicated following. For the newest round of cars, Nissan claims this model is the “high-tech powerhouse,” but owners are starting to see the truth. This car features a defective electrical system, dangerous service brakes, a malfunctioning vehicle speed control and poorly-created structure.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Nissan Maxima

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Service Brakes
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Electronic Stability Control
Vehicle Speed Control
Air Bags
Engine And Engine Cooling:exhaust System:manifold/header/muffler/tail Pipe
Forward Collision Avoidance

Problems with the Automatic Emergency Braking System (AEB)

To look at the electrical system, one would have to rip the entire car apart. That’s because the car’s electrical system runs throughout the entire vehicle, supplying power to every aspect.

With the Maxima, customers have a lot to say, including this NHTSA review. “When driving, an error message on the front radar randomly appears. It says ‘unavailable front radar obstruction’ and affects the adaptive cruise control. This error is happening even in clear road conditions and for no reason. Other people are reporting the same error message for no reason also.”

Problems with the Electrical System

It turns out that there is an electrical system recall for the Maxima, even though it has nothing to do with the above system. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V654000 says that the back-up camera can stop displaying an image, leaving owners in danger when reversing. This recall affects well over a million vehicles, which further demonstrates the gravity of the situation. As a “high-tech powerhouse,” the Maxima fails on multiple fronts.

Problems with the Service Brakes

With the defects already illustrated, it’s helpful to know that the braking system works as it should, but that’s another sore spot with Maxima drivers.

Look at this NHTSA complaint. “I bought this car for my wife and long trip. It was rated satisfactory by Consumers Report. I received a recall from Nissan that the car could leak brake fluid and catch fire. They will not be able to fix it until Summer of 2020. In the meantime, if the ABS light comes on, I should pull it to the side of the road and call Nissan’s towing service. This makes the car unsuitable for long trips especially if my wife is driving. Calling the dealer and Nissan America got no response but that is the way things are. A woman pulling a car to the side of the road at night is not safe. Not having parts to replace a safety defect is unconscionable.”

The recall being referenced, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V807000, states that the brake fluid might leak into the ABS pump and start a fire. It affects almost 400,000 vehicles, but Nissan is having trouble making the necessary repairs. Instead, hundreds of thousands of Nissan vehicles could spontaneously burst into flames on a busy roadway at any moment. If owners wish to start a campfire, there are many other less expensive methods than by driving a defective car.

Problems with the Vehicle Speed Control

With all of the other safety concerns, it would be difficult to imagine any further, but it’s not over yet.

Here is one more safety-related concern left by a driver on the NHTSA website. “The cruise was set at 70 mph and my car approached a car ahead going 65 mph. My car’s adaptive cruise decelerated to 65 mpg. I steered into the next lane, and the space was not the required 5 car lengths, the car sensed a car closer than 5 lengths reducing my speed to less than 65 mph. My car was now slowing down below 65 mph in a lane with cars going 70 mph. I pressed on the accelerator, accelerating to 70 mph, avoiding a rear end collision.”

With this situation, Nissan chose to take the silent-route instead. There are no bulletins discussing the trouble and the automaker hopes people stop focusing on the defect. In the meantime, Maxima cars entering the passing lane regularly find themselves in danger, putting occupants at risk as well. So much for the “high-tech” qualifications, this model seems to boast about.

Problems with the Vehicle Structure

Finally, a look at the structure shows that this car isn’t built the way it should be.

One Edmunds review states, “It has had 2 separate cabin noises that the dealer is having difficulty fixing. Both occur intermittently. One of them is originating in the trunk, behind the rear seat, the other may be the driver’s side rear window or the area above the left rear wheel well. Frustrating for any new car, especially one that is not inexpensive.”

Thankfully, Nissan was kind enough to issue a statement regarding the structural issues. Service Bulletin #NTB18-032a states that a popping, tapping and ticking noise can come from the right rear parcel shelf and the right rear passenger seatback. To fix the problem, the dealers must widen the gap between the two pieces of body paneling and fill it with foam. That’s the “high-tech” solution to fixing the noise. It might be time for Nissan to hire some new engineers to fix these problems as the current team doesn’t sound much better than a bunch of kids building with LEGOs.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Nissan pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of bad manufacturing and run-arounds from auto companies. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. Call our Helpline today!  There is no charge unless we win.


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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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