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USED GUIDE: 2016+ Nissan Maxima offered 'spirited' performance

2016 Nissan Maxima - Justin Pritchard

The Maxima has long been Nissan’s top-dog sedan and an accommodating four-door built to attract drivers after plenty of space, tech, luxury content and spirited performance.

This generation ran a standard 300-horsepower, V6 engine, featured comfortable seating for four adults, and content including Bose audio, Navigation, climate-controlled seating, and more. Advanced parking assistance and full multimedia connectivity were also included.

All units were front-wheel drive and included Nissan’s XTronic continually variable transmission (CVT).

Brakes first

For maximum confidence, avoid buying a used Maxima until its braking system has been inspected and cleared, ideally by a Nissan technician. Some owners have reported unwanted noises and sensations from the brakes, and Nissan recalled thousands of units to address a potential latent safety defect that could drastically reduce braking system performance. Recall work is performed by dealers, free of charge. The recall affected a portion of 2016 and 2017 models.

Curious vibrations

A portion of Maxima owners say that they’ve experienced unwanted vibrations from their car, that can be challenging to source and remedy. Make the cabin as quiet as possible, and be hyper-alert of a dull vibration or buzz through the vehicle, checking at a variety of speeds. Some possible causes include over-inflated tires, bad transmission programming, or improperly-balanced wheels. Any unwanted vibrations you detect on a test drive are your cue to have the vehicle professionally assessed before you buy — the problem could be minor or major.

Maintenance is not optional

A precise set of instructions is located in the back of the Maxima’s owner’s manual, relating to the maintenance, care, and inspections required to keep it running reliably for the long haul. Some owners consider this maintenance schedule to be optional, stretching or skipping service intervals all together. Protect yourself from buying a vehicle from this sort of owner by confirming that all service records are available, and vetting them against the service schedule in the owner’s manual. Note that warranty coverage does not apply to damage or wear caused by deviations from the factory maintenance schedule.

2016 Nissan Maxima- Justin Pritchard
2016 Nissan Maxima- Justin Pritchard

The CVT transmission

Some Maxima owners have reported issues relating to the transmission in their vehicle, and many have not. Confirming that all maintenance and care has been strictly performed is vital to the long-term health of any transmission, and a CVT transmission is best serviced exclusively in a dealer setting. To protect against transmission trouble, step one is confirming that all maintenance is up to date, followed by seeking confirmation from a Nissan service advisor that no transmission software updates are outstanding. If you notice any hesitation, banging, harshness, or otherwise unwelcomed sounds or sensations from the typically-smooth CVT on your test drive, move to another unit, or plan to have the vehicle inspected professionally before you buy.

Test the touch screen

Based on reports from some owners, test-drivers are advised to give the central touch-screen interface a good workout before they buy. Connect a smartphone and USB drive, set a navigation destination, and flick through all available functions and menus. At any sign of crashing, lagging or choking, you’ll want to consider a system hard-reset (with the sellers permission). If this doesn’t fix the issue, the head-unit may need to be replaced. This is a rare problem against total sales volumes, though a potentially-pricey one that shoppers should be aware of. Triple-check Bluetooth connectivity with your device, as well.

The information presented above is gathered from online owner discussion groups and collaboration with a network of automotive repair professionals. The above information is not a comprehensive list of all possible issues with the vehicle in question and is instead intended to draw shopper attention to possible trouble spots they may wish to investigate before they buy. In most cases, problems listed above are reported with relative rarity in comparison to total sales volume. Shoppers are advised to have a dealer-performed pre-purchase inspection on the vehicle they’re considering for maximum peace of mind.

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