what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

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AbbyJ
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:18 am
Car: 2002 Nissan Maxima GLE

what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby AbbyJ » Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:30 am

I bought my 2002 Maxima new and now have 188,000 miles on it. I only drive a few times a week and I'd love to drive it until 250,000 miles or longer! It looks great. I've had it serviced religiously up til about 2017. No major repairs, just power steering pump, radiator, alternator, and valve covers. Now I'm ready and able to get it checked out and update all needed maintenance. Online advice is mixed, some recommend routine maintenance based on mileage, some don't ever flush fluids, etc. until "needed".

I'm 70 year old woman with no car repair skills but research extensively, and on a limited income. I have questions about need for the following and sure would appreciate your input.

1. Double platinum spark plugs replaced at 117,000 - 70,000 miles ago. It's starting a little rough, then smooths out. I have visible exhaust when revving. Is it obvious when I need to replace them, or should I just go ahead and do it? Should PCV valve, ignition coils, oxygen sensors be replaced at same time? Oxygen sensors were replaced 35,000 miles ago.

2. Timing chain replaced around 100,000 miles, dealer recommended. Should I go ahead and replace it, or wait until I have a problem?

3. Fuel filter replaced 35,000 miles ago. Go ahead and replace it?

4. Brake fluid, transmission and power steering fluids all look good and flushed 40,000 miles ago, flush all of them?

5. Cooling system flushed 27,000 miles ago - go ahead and flush?

6. Valve cover gaskets last replaced about 20,000 miles ago. No visible oil leak but it does use some oil. Rear value cover replaced twice by dealer. 35,000 miles ago they told me it needed replaced again but new mechanic never saw a problem. Front replaced twice, last time 20,000 miles ago. Will it be obvious if I need rear valve cover replaced?

I'll replace air filter and in-cabin micro-filter myself. I'm asking that everything be checked - suspension, belts, brakes, etc. Am I missing anythng? Thanks in advance for your help!


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AZhitman
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Re: what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby AZhitman » Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:32 pm

Welcome aboard, Abby!

First off, congrats to you on keeping your Max on the road for so many years. The 02 is a sharp car, and one of Nissan's best cars, in my opinion.

1) Plugs are probably sneaking up on their due date, but you could probably wait another 10k miles on those. Everything else in your list will throw a 'Check Engine' code when it's time to replace, so don't worry about PCV, coils, or O2 sensor until they act up.

2) Timing chain should be fine. If it were a belt, I'd say it's due, but the chains last a long time (especially considering it's already been done).

3) Clean fuel filter is always a good idea, and not expensive.

4) Clean fluids are the best preventative maintenance you can do. I'd suggest brake fluid, transmission (and filter) and power steering fluids all be done within the next 10k miles.

5) Coolant should be fine for another 10k, maybe do it when you do the above fluid flushes.

6) VC gaskets are a common issue on the VQ engines, so I'm not surprised you've replaced them more than once. Unless you're seeing drips on the floor, I'd ride it out and not worry about a little valve cover seepage.

You mentioned a little smoke at startup. Is it more of a blackish (like diesel soot) or whitish (like you'd see on a cold day)? At 188k, I'm guessing it has a little ring wear, which can allow oil to seep past the rings and combust at startup, giving off a stinky darker smoke and would explain the oil usage as well as the semi-rough start.

If you see lighter colored smoke, that's likely coolant, and you'll want to address that ASAP as it indicates a compromised cooling system (and unfortunately, likely near the end of the engine's useful life).

You could switch to a 'high-mileage' oil for your next oil change, and just keep checking the level like you've done.

Your post made my day. My Mom is 76, and I sure wish she had the motivation and interest that you have when it comes to cars. I'm a big fan of getting as many miles as you can out of a good car, and maintenance is way cheaper than a car payment!

Thank you for popping in - I hope you'll stick around and keep us posted. I hope we can be a helpful resource to you!

AbbyJ
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:18 am
Car: 2002 Nissan Maxima GLE

Re: what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby AbbyJ » Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:44 am

thank you AZhitman! I appreciate your reply and compliment, and see quite a few folks read the post too. Whoo - that makes me nervous - I really have to rev it, but yes it is white smoke. Is that something that can be checked, and how would it be addressed to postpone the inevitable? Would coolant flush give an indication?
I am hoping this will be my last car - unless I win lottery of course - ha.

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PalmerWMD
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Re: what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby PalmerWMD » Wed Sep 30, 2020 1:31 pm

Generally if the coolant system is compromised you would see some oily sheen on it when you open the radiator cap to check it (as this indicates some mixing of oil and coolant).
Another thing to check is if your oil looks milky instead of just dirty when used.

However it is always possible that water has simply accumulated in your exhaust system..
This is common in cold weather and remember exhaust is by weight mostly water vapor so a certain amount of white exhaust on startup is common in colder climates...(not sure where u live.. weather makes a difference here.)

AbbyJ
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:18 am
Car: 2002 Nissan Maxima GLE

Re: what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby AbbyJ » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:57 am

Hi, so I finally worked up the nerve to take the car in. Here's what mechanic found so far, he hasn't told me yet what he thinks is urgent. I'd like to get y'all's opinions too. 1. Rear shocks/struts leaking $850 2. Right CV axle leaking grease $456. 3. Valve cover gasket leaking $583. 4. Fuel injector $150. 5. Coolant flush $125.
Prices sound high... I'm not really in position to buy new (used) car and no guarantee it wouldn't need similar repairs. It's definitely using oil but no puddles on the driveway.
I'll probably be back with additional items but so far - any advice? Thanks in advance!

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PalmerWMD
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Re: what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby PalmerWMD » Thu Nov 12, 2020 2:23 pm

Hi :)

5. I really do not think a coolant flush is needed at all if it was done 27,000 (or so) ago.
Some people dont do their coolant but every 100,000 miles, what with modern long life coolants.
Save your money.
4. Does the car show any symptoms that indicate a bad injector? like running rough or power loss?
3. Thats really up to you... do you see oil puddles on the ground under the car? Do you smell oil dripping on the exhaust manifolds and burning up? If the answer is no, you might not need it, a certain amount of seepage is ok...
2 ...cannot make a judgments here since i am not there.
1. OEM shocks/struts are not cheap. There may be cheaper aftermarkets out there. Did you get this estimate from an independent or a dealer?


I do not like to second guess the man on the ground over the internet never even having seen the car...
So in a pinch I recommend you look for a good independent and get a second opinion... :yesnod:

AbbyJ
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:18 am
Car: 2002 Nissan Maxima GLE

Re: what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby AbbyJ » Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:05 am

thanks for your reply. He's independent, and like most mechanics doesn't like to hear "I read on the internet...." ;)
I'll let him know not to do coolant flush.
thanks!

AbbyJ
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:18 am
Car: 2002 Nissan Maxima GLE

Re: what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby AbbyJ » Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:18 pm

Hello, let me know if I need to start a new thread --- I was told left rear strut is leaking but no urgency to replace since I only drive about 100 miles a week max.Does it make sense to replace both rear at same time? I'l need new tires in the next year. Maybe do it then?
BTW, mechanic told me main seals, compression, everything else looks good so I feel OK about putting a little money into this car.
I appreciate your input!

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PalmerWMD
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Re: what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby PalmerWMD » Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:59 pm

He sounds like a pretty good Mechanic.

I would not wait too long with (both) rear struts.
Controlling the vehicle is also a safety issue IMHO.
If one is leaking the other one is almost certainly a goner too.

I had problems with an 05 Xterra before.. Both dealer and independent told me shocks were "fine since they aren't leaking".. as we were chasing down the problem.
Months later and many other parts changed I replaced both struts with low mile used ones from a member of the Nissan forums.. problem solved.

What does he think about your tires?
How old are they?

The joy of new shocks combined with a fresh alignment and brand new balanced tires will make a car feel soooo much newer.

AbbyJ
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:18 am
Car: 2002 Nissan Maxima GLE

Re: what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby AbbyJ » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:21 am

thanks, appreciate your reply. I don't quite need new tires but they're close. They're Pirelli 70,000 mile tires, supposedly good til about 199,000, I'm at 188,000.With my limited driving he thinks about a year on the strut(s) but I can definitely feel the bounce. I'm reading I should replace all 4 struts at same time. Lots of money for tires & struts!

AbbyJ
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:18 am
Car: 2002 Nissan Maxima GLE

Re: what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby AbbyJ » Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:15 pm

Hi, Suddenly now there's noticable bouncing in the front on normal roads, so considering getting new struts all around since the engine is sound and I'm planning on keeping this car. Over the years I'm seeing a consensus for KYB GR-2 struts, Moog mounts and OE dust boots. I'm a senior woman with no garage on a budget averaging 50 miles a week. I was fine with the OE ride til lately. And obviously I'm not doing this work myself. My local mechanic or Pep Boys, etc. won't like me buying my own parts. PepBoys computer only shows Monroe on the front and KYB on the rear! Local mechanic usually uses Monroe. So for the regular consumer - what makes sense?

AbbyJ
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:18 am
Car: 2002 Nissan Maxima GLE

Re: what routine maintenance needed on 2002 Maxima?

Postby AbbyJ » Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:16 pm

Please let me know if I need to post a new thread for the struts.


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