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Nissan Maxima Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

The Nissan Maxima had come to the market for the family driver. Impressively, the Nissan Maxima has continued to deliver on the claim throughout its evolution so far. It brought plenty of updates along its journey to optimize the driving experience. The transformation includes upgraded powertrains, paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, and advanced safety systems. Today, however, we will share our research regarding the transmissions installed throughout its eight generations. So, let us get going.

The Nissan Maxima has used a 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual transmission from its first generation through the fourth generation. The fifth-generation has included a 4-speed automatic and 5- or 6-speed manual transmission. Meanwhile, the sixth generation has incorporated a 6-speed manual, 4- or 5-speed automatic transmission along with the CVT. The last two generations have embraced the CVT.

Down below, we attempt to explain transmissions at length that went inside the Nissan Maxima. We have provided you above with a compact overview to simplify the matter. Down the road, we find different models of transmissions that go inside it throughout its eight generations. Moreover, we explore the cost of replacing them and how long they last. At the same time, we unveil the problems that commonly surface during the lifetime of those transmissions. So, here we begin.

Also read: Is The Nissan Maxima A Sports Car Or Not?

What Transmissions Has The Nissan Maxima Used?

Here we highlight below what kind of transmission Nissan Maxima has used in its several generations.

First Generation (1980 – 1984)

  • 5-speed manual
  • 4-speed Jatco L4N71B automatic

Second Generation (1984 – 1988)

  • 5-speed RS5F50A manual
  • 4-speed RL4F02A automatic

Third Generation (1988 – 1994)

  • 5-speed manual (88–91 RS5F50A, SE 91–94 RS5F50V)
  • 4-speed automatic (88–94 RE4F02A, SE 91–94 RE4F04V)

Fourth Generation (1994 – 1999)

  • 5-speed manual
  • 4-speed automatic

Fifth Generation (1999 – 2002)

  • 4-speed automatic
  • 5-speed manual
  • 6-speed manual

Sixth Generation (2003 – 2008)

  • 6-speed manual
  • 4/5-speed automatic
  • CVT

Seventh Generation (2008 – 2014)

  • CVT

Eighth Generation (2015 – Present)

  • CVT

Also read: Types Of Gas A Nissan Maxima Takes (Explained)

How Long Does A Nissan Maxima Transmission Last?

It is crucial to highlight that the durability of Nissan Maxima depends on the kind of transmission that goes inside a car. On average, it can last up to 230,000 – 260,000 miles without needing replacement, provided that a driver maintains it properly. Read more about the durability of the Nissan Maxima in this blog post that we wrote earlier.

How Much Does A Nissan Maxima Transmission Cost?

It is necessary to find out the costs of various transmissions when one wants to replace them. Hence, we have provided them below that are used in the production span of the Nissan Maxima.

  • 4-speed Jatco L4N71B automatic: $3,220.00 (GoPowerTrain)
  • 5-speed RS5F50A manual: $419.69 (DriveTrain)
  • 4-speed RL4F02A automatic: $2,422.49 (GoPowerTrain)
  • 5-speed manual SE 91–94 RS5F50V: $528.29 (Vividracing)
  • 4-speed automatic 88–94 RE4F02A: $2,417.24 (GoPowerTrain)
  • 4-speed automatic SE 91–94 RE4F04V: $2,617.62 (GoPowerTrain)

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Nissan Maxima

Common Nissan Maxima Transmission Problems

Here we discuss a few common problems regarding transmissions that Nissan Maxima drivers face while driving. So, here we go.


  • Sometimes, a problem of overheating occurs, especially when towing heavy loads. A driver can overcome the issue by ensuring enough transmission fluid in the transmission. On the contrary, clutches, seals, and valve bodies may get damaged along the way.
  • On rare occasions, a throttle position sensor also fails on the transmission that triggers it to develop erratic shifting.


  • A driver with the RS5F50A manualtransmission may face trouble changing gear. A common reason is usually low oil level or the incorrect type of oil.
  • A driver senses a grinding sound from the clutch because of worn synchronizer rings when the transmission begins popping out of gear.

4-speed RL4F02A automatic

  • A common issue is related to the wear-out of friction components and the aging of rubber gaskets. As a result, it contaminates solenoids and valves of the valve body, blocking springs from moving valve cores.
  • The deterioration of friction elements firstly affects the torque converter lock-up mechanism. Later on, worn-out clutches begin slipping at some gears.


  • Drivers of Nissan Maxima with the RS5F50V transmission face transmission oil leaking on some rare occasions.
  • In addition, they sometimes experience transmission jumps out of gear into neutral.
  • Moreover, the drivers hear some odd sounds, such as squealing, whirring, and thumping.


  • The RE4F02A transmission sometimes does not respond to the gear. The problem indicates that it is time to get its services when the machine is not following the inputs.
  • Overheating is another issue of the given transmission. Thankfully, the working fluid inside the RE4F02A transmission takes away the heat.
  • Moreover, a driver may also experience a delay when a vehicle begins to move. It happens most often because of low fluid levels or a defective pressure pump.


  • Sometimes, the drivers using RE4F04V transmissionnotice a burning smell. It is usually an indication that something turned out badly with it.
  • Another issue is humming, clunking, or whining sounds. It often hints at a problem somewhere in the transmission.
  • On rare occasions, the transmission selects two gears simultaneously. It occurs when one shift solenoid fails to close when another opens.


  • Drivers hear noises with a rattling or clanging sound.
  • Besides, when the Nissan Maxima shifts gears, transmission slipping, grinding, jerking, or jumping occurs during acceleration.
  • There are also complaints of overheating.
  • Moreover, gears change at high RPM.

Differences Between Transmissions

The L4N71B is a 4-speed automatic transmission, and it has 2.4 liters of oil capacity. It is a light-duty unit for rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Alongside, Jatco, an automatic transmission manufacturing company, also offers a medium-duty unit as E4N71B. Nevertheless, it was used only in the first generation of Nissan Maxima.

The RS5F50A is a 5-speed manual transmission, and it was incorporated in the second generation of Nissan Maxima.

The RL4F02A is a 4-speed automatic transmission. It has four gears with 3.0 liters of oil capacity. Like RS5F50A, it was also included in the second generation of Nissan Maxima.

The RS5F50V is a 5-speed manual transmission, and it was incorporated in the third generation of Nissan Maxima.

The RE4F02A is a 4-speed automatic transmission, and it has 3.0 liters of oil capacity. That said, it was included in the third generation of Nissan Maxima.

The RE4F04V is a 4-speed automatic transmission, and it was also included in the third generation of Nissan Maxima.

Also read: How Well Does A Nissan Maxima Drive In The Snow?

Transmission Fluids And The Nissan Maxima

Usually, car manufacturers suggest changing transmission fluid every 45,000 miles as far as transmission fluids are concerned. However, it is essential to notice that separate transmissions need different types of transmission fluid. Below, we highlight the transmission fluids that work well with various transmissions of Nissan Maxima.