The most common and cost-effective performance upgrades for the Nissan Maxima involve air induction systems, exhaust systems, ignition wires and spark plugs, suspension systems, and wheels and tires. For the dedicated racer, additional upgrades are possible, including the clutch (for manual transmissions), brakes, engine internals and forced induction process.
An air induction upgrade usually consists of replacing the factory airbox and air filter with a K&N air filter and then replacing the hose that connects the airbox to the engine's intake manifold with a metal tube. An exhaust system upgrade replaces the factory exhaust pipes and muffler with larger versions that reduce backpressure, resulting in more power and improving the look of the car. Both of these upgrades improve horsepower and fuel efficiency but also cause the car to make more noise, which not all drivers want.
Installing ignition wires and performance spark plugs is another inexpensive upgrade, which reduces emissions and increases power, reliability and fuel efficiency. Suspension upgrades such as Tokico shock absorbers, performance tires and Eibach lowering springs improve handling and appearance but can result in a stiffer ride. Gude Performance manufactures a racing camshaft for the 1988-1996 Maxima, which, when paired with a ported and polished cylinder head, adds a dramatic increase in horsepower and torque. Since the Maxima V6 has the same engine as the Nissan 300ZX from those model years, it is possible to install turbochargers on this vehicle. However, this upgrade is complex, very expensive, and might result in drivetrain wear and reduced reliability.