How Many Catalytic Converters Does A Nissan Maxima Have?

number of catalytic converters in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 nissan maxima

Is the engine light on your Nissan Maxima on? You may have a defective catalytic converter. But how many catalytic converters does a Nissan Maxima offer? This guide will tell you.

How Many Catalytic Converters Does A Nissan Maxima Have?


Expect three converters to appear in your Nissan Maxima. You find one near the radiator (Front Bank) and the other near the firewall (Rear Bank). If you find the Y pipe into which both converters feed, you can follow it to locate the third converter.

If you don’t know where to begin your search, Auto Express wants you to check the vicinity of the exhaust outlet. Converters are not that difficult to locate. More often than not, the manufacturer will attach them to the exhaust pipe.

This makes the devices convenient to repair and replace and easy to steal. If you’ve decided to troubleshoot and repair the catalytic converters yourself, this is what you should know:

  • What do They do?

Cars generate toxic elements that harm the environment. Catalytic converters reduce the volume of harmful components a vehicle produces. They have mechanisms that decrease nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbon, and carbon monoxide emissions.

  • Does Your Car Have One?

All the Nissan Maxima models mentioned in the table above have catalytic converters because they came into existence after 1975. Older cars are exempt because manufacturers made them before rules and regulations mandating the use of catalytic converters were introduced.

Therefore, even if you don’t care about environmental pollution, you cannot drive your Nissan Maxima without a catalytic converter.

  • How Many Catalytic Converters?

The average vehicle uses one catalytic converter. But what about models with two catalytic converters?

Catalytic converters work hand in hand with the exhaust system. Therefore, a dual exhaust system needs two converters. Each set of pipes requires a converter. But the number of pipes is not always indicative of the number of converters.

According to Mechanic Base, some cars have exhaust pipes that serve an aesthetic purpose. They exist to enhance the vehicle’s look, which may paint an inaccurate picture of the number of catalytic converters in the car.

The exhaust system is not the only deciding factor where the number of converters is concerned. The regulations are just as important. For instance, some emissions programs demand sophisticated catalytic converters that don’t stop at processing hydrocarbons. They have filters that sieve tiny particles and chemical compounds that attack harmful gases.

Check your local regulations. Make sure your Nissan Maxima has the correct number and type of catalytic converters. Otherwise, you may incur penalties.

Read Can You Pass Inspection Without Catalytic Converter?

Why Number of Catalytic Converter Matters?

You need to know the number and location of the converters because these devices eventually wear out. And once the catalytic converter reaches the end of its lifespan, you must replace it, a task you can’t accomplish unless you know the locations of all your converters. Keep the following in mind:

1). Lifespan

According to 2carpros, your catalytic converters will remain in operation for roughly 140,000 miles. The actual lifespan depends on the quality of the converter and the way you drive. Aggressive driving will kill the devices at a faster rate.

2). Theft

Converters don’t always wear out. Some of them are stolen. Unfortunately, these devices are easy to identify and remove. You don’t need technical prowess to detach them if you have a good saw.

Criminals typically target large vehicles, such as trucks, with significant ground clearance. Thieves steal the devices because converters use precious metals like platinum and rhodium to remove toxic elements.

A car can work without a catalytic converter. In other words, you may not realize that your converter is missing if you don’t know how many converters the vehicle had in the first place. If you know the number of converters you have and their locations, you can install deterrents like cages.

3). Symptoms

If you have a bad or damaged catalytic converter, your Nissan Maxima will manifest the following symptoms:

  • The car’s acceleration will suffer.
  • Nissan USA expects the heat emerging from underneath the car to increase.
  • The fumes from the exhaust will smell like rotten eggs.
  • The exhaust smoke will take on a darker hue.
  • The ‘Check Engine’ light will come on.
  • Rattling from the engine.
  • Jerking
  • The car will become less fuel-efficient.

4). Culprits

The symptoms above should encourage you to inspect your catalytic converters. These devices can fail because of one or more of the following factors:

  • Clogging
  • Pieces in the converter broke off. They will produce the rattling sounds you hear.
  • The converter will overheat because the engine is running lean.
  • The engine is burning oil.
  • You bought a low-quality converter from a shady source.
  • The converter overheated because of bad spark plugs and misfires.
  • You keep using leaded fuel. Leaded fuel has components that destroy the metals in the converter.
  • The car has a coolant leak. Leaks can clog the converter.

Nissan Maxima cars have an O2 sensor that can disrupt the converter’s operations. The system adjusts the air/fuel ratio based on the information the O2 sensor provides. You get bad air/fuel ratios when the sensor fails because it starts submitting the wrong readings. If the fuel mixture is too rich, the converter will suffer.

5). Testing

You can perform tests to identify defects in the catalytic converter. The methods you use will depend on the tools at your disposal. For instance:

  • Infrared Thermometer

An infrared thermometer allows you to check the temperature. This means lifting your Nissan Maxima. You need to see the catalytic converters to aim the thermometer at the inlet and outlet. You don’t want the temperature difference between the two to exceed 10 degrees C.

A high temperature difference signifies clogging. In other words, you have significant back pressure because of obstructions in the converter. Make sure the engine is running before you perform this test.

  • Pressure Gauge

The pressure gauge achieves a similar objective. It identifies clogging. However, this tool is more accurate because it measures back pressure. You’re looking for back pressure that doesn’t exceed 3psi.

A psi higher than 3 points to obstructions. Like the infrared thermometer, you need to start the engine before you measure the pressure. Find the oxygen sensor and disconnect it. Connect the gauge and start the engine. Wait for the vehicle to attain operational temperature before taking the readings.

  • OBD2 Scanner

Your Nissan Maxima has onboard diagnostics. Connect the diagnostic tool to the OBDII connector. Provide the information the tool needs, including the engine type and vehicle identification number.

The scanner will perform an analysis and reveal an error code. Check the manufacturer’s online platform. It will show you the meaning of each error code. If you don’t recognize the error codes on the scanner, you probably entered the wrong information.

OBD codes are not necessarily interchangeable. Some codes are specific to particular manufacturers. Submit the correct information to get accurate error codes that apply to your Nissan Maxima.

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