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Correct oil for 2009 nissan maxima

I just had first oil change and the service manager informed me that the maxima required a special oil you can only get from nissan.

It is Nissan Ester engine oil @ $12.59 per qt. My owners manual States that it is recommended, but do I need to Buy this high priced oil to protect my engine from damage?


P.T. Osborne

Please quote exactly what the manual states.

While I strongly suspect that “recommended” can be taken literally, it is not a good idea to take advice other than the manufacturer’s or importer’s when it comes to a new car, so anything that you are told on this site is clearly unofficial.

In your Owner’s Manual, there should be a toll-free telephone number for Nissan of America (or whatever their corporate name is). I suggest that you telephone their customer care people, and that you pose this question to them.

They will probably advise you that you can use any major brand motor oil that meets the American Petroleum Institute’s “SM” specification, but rather than assuming anything, get the information from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

Agree; first read what the manuual says, then check which widely available oils met whatever spec Nissan requires. Up till now we have only had German cars such as Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagen require a higher grade of oil. Even those are available from your friendly retailer.

Years ago I bought a Chrysler product, and it’s manual said to use “Chryco Motor Oil”, this was a standard motor oil in a can with Chryco on it and a jacked up price.

As suggested, there will be a Nissan help line which can explain the spec. Don’t believe what the dealer tells you.

My owners manual States that it is recommended,

the OP already said the manual recommends it.
So, if the manual says to use it, use it. Though I’m sure if you called their corporate office, they might say you can use X brand motor oil as long as it meets certain requirements. However, since the car is under factory warranty, it’s best to use the stuff for now.

Recommend is exactly that; if the Nissan oil was REQUIRED, it would say so explictly. My Toyota recommends a lot of Toyota products, but I would only buy their engine coolant since it is used for topping up and I don’t want to mix different preparations.

The key is how the recommendation is stated, such as ‘Nissan recommends use of Nissan Ester Oil, or other oil that meets specification so and so.’ If we know what ‘specification so and so’ is, we can refer the OP to other oils that would meet the specs.

My Ford manual REQUIRES Ford ‘Super Premium’ motor oil, OR EQUIVALENT, meeting Ford Spec WSS-M2C153-G. Well, a quick Goggle check shows any motor oil meeting API SM Certification meets the Ford Spec. I use Castrol GTX at less than half the price of Ford’s ‘Super Premium’.

Absolute BS. The Maxima has used the same basic engine 3.5L VQ that they’ve been using for years. See what is recommended in the owners manual. I’ll bet that it specs a 5W-20 oil and nothing more.

I’m sure that the oil has to meet at least the API’s SM specification also.

They are having problems getting rid of the Nissan oil since nobody is crazy enough to pay that much. If they don’t make an effort to sell it, they will be fired. The mechanics won’t buy it for their own cars. The owner’s manuals for all cars will recommend only their own oils. They don’t make the stuff.

The 2009 Maxima owner’s manual is below.
The chart on page 9-2 does have a bullet recommending the NISSAN Ester Oil.

However, the “Engine and Oil Filter Recommendation” section on page 9-5 makes no mention about Ester oil. It only specifies the need to use an API certified oil (or the international ILSAC equivalent) along with the SAE viscosity standard.

There’s a discussion of this on’s forum. Apparently it’s a 5W-30 dyno oil with an Ester additive. Some of the forum entries say Nissan uses it to quiet engine ticking noises. But then other comments say that every oil contains Ester additives.

I stand corrected. The recommended oil is 5W-30. Not 5W-20. I guess Nissan hasn’t jumped on the 5W-20 bandwagon yet. However there is nothing in the manual about the Nissan-branded oil being required. So I still do think that the dealer was just trying to scare the OP into coming to the dealership for service. And of course selling you oil at $12 a quart would help him with his yacht ownership aspirations.