Nissan Maxima Vacuum Leak Symptoms

by Steven Symes

A vacuum leak in a Nissan Maxima is caused by air infiltrating the engine. Instead of this air passing through the throttle body where the amount of air is regulated by the car's computer, the air passes through a leaking gasket or other leak in the engine. Vacuum leaks in a Maxima can manifest themselves in a variety of ways.

Erratic Idle

Nissan Maximas with a vacuum leak can idle very rough, like the engine is struggling while the car is stopped at traffic lights. A vacuum leak can also cause the engine to idle at a higher than normal rate, around 2,000 RPMs or higher. In some cases, a vacuum leak can cause a Maxima to go from a rough idle to idling at too high of an RPM, then go back to a rough idle.

Acceleration Problems

If your Maxima is hesitating when you push on the accelerator, it could be due to a vacuum leak. A vacuum leak in a Maxima can also cause the car to sputter and backfire as it starts to accelerate from an idle. The sputtering or backfiring is caused by too much air being sucked into the engine's cylinders in comparison to the amount of gas, which stops combustion in the engine momentarily.


In some cases, the Maxima's vacuum leak may be in just the right area or large enough that you can hear it. If you hear a hissing noise under the car's hood that is similar to a fast leak on a bicycle tire, it is a sure sign of a vacuum leak. If the vacuum leak can be easily heard, it helps a mechanic pinpoint the exact cause of the leak with greater ease.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera new car engine with red trim image by Raxxillion from