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1996 Maxima Shifting Issues

On my 1996 Maxima (175k miles, maintained well, good shape, no CEL), whenever I brake beyond a “normal” stop but short of a panic stop, I then put my foot on the gas and it revs as though it’s in neutral. It then catches first gear, and the car drives normally.

As for the stopping conditions, I don’t mean a normal “here comes a stop sign” comfortable stop, and I’m not stopping so hard that I activate the ABS. More like, I look up, see a stop sign 1 second too late, and have to stop slightly shorter than a comfortable stop.

The ATF is fine, by the way.

Does anyone have a clue what this could be?

If your transmission revs like it’s in neutral, that is a very bad sign.
(Actually, it is the engine that is “revving” as your transmission slips)

I will leave it to transman, our resident transmission expert, to provide the specifics–but it certainly sounds like your transmission is on its way to automotive heaven.

You tell us that the car has been maintained well, but you did not provide specifics.
At 14-15 years of age and 175k miles, the trans fluid should have been changed at least 5, preferably 6 times so far. If that has not been done, then I have to say that the car has not been “maintained well”.

If you have not changed the trans fluid every 3 yrs/30k miles, then the transmission has actually gone further than transmissions usually do when they are not maintained properly.

What is the maintenance record of your transmission?

The factory manual says to “inspect” the fluid every 15,000 miles, but never says to change it. I know this, because I have my Alldata displayed on another browser tab. Nevertheless, I’ve been doing it at about 60,000.

I think I’ve figured out the solution on my own: It needed a top-off of ATF.

But a complete fluid change is on the agenda.

I would have suggested that your trans might need fluid, but in your original post you told us that “the ATF is fine”. (???)

Anyway–I am glad that you are planning a fluid change in the near future. I suggest that you have this done at an independent transmission shop, simply because if your fluid was low, that indicates a leak somewhere. If the leak is minor, I would suggest that you just ignore it, monitor the fluid level, and replenish as necessary. However, if the leak is more than minor, then you have to consider what to do about it on this rapidly-aging car. An indy trans shop should be able to give you an honest, competent diagnosis–unlike the chain transmission shops.

But, whatever you decide to do in regard to a leak, DO NOT take the car to a quick lube place for the fluid change!