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CarComplaints.com Notes: Here's a disturbing trend for the 2002 Nissan Altima: the engine starts burning oil like crazy, the catalytic converter goes bad, the head gasket blows and eventually the entire engine needs replacement. Sound familiar? Like a script from a horror film, these Altimas seem doomed to fail around 95k miles.

8.1

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,136.00
Average Mileage:
101,799 miles
Total Complaints:
33 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (14 reports)
  2. manufacturer fix problem (5 reports)
  3. signaled misfires - replaced spark plugs (5 reports)
  4. replace engine (4 reports)
  5. replace faulty crankshaft sensor (4 reports)
  6. replace mass air flow sensor (1 reports)
2002 Nissan Altima engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #33

Nov 012013

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Check Engine on again, where can I start with this car. First went the fuel pump-then the starter, misfire-- replace plugs coils packs and now the famous P0420 Code. Yea!!! Another cat-conv. on this car!! Awesome- No not doing it again. Avoid like the Plague!!! 2.5 L No burning oil problem yet.......

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #32

May 102012

Altima SE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

We bought this car 2 months ago ran great when we got it from a dealer ,The last week we had this I have had it it seems like everything evaporator and emission controlled is for sh*t . I like many others thought by going foreign we would be ok boy was I wrong, this car is a piece of s--t and parts are not cheap compared to so called American built cars i.e. Chevy Ford etc.... long and short of it this thing is a big money pit and the first chance I can to get rid of it ,Its gone and I will never recommend Nissan to any one .

Thanks for reading

- , Spring Grove, IL, USA

problem #31

Jan 202013

Altima 2.5S 2.5L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles

First off, lemme start by saying that this car is an absolute shitbox. I've only had it for about less than a year and its already cost me close to grand without resolution of the problem. Long story short, the car wouldn't start on cold mornings. I decided to have it checked and took it in to a local mechanic. After replacing spark plugs and taking the car for a test run, the car started cutting out and stalling with the engine shaking horribly at idle. The check engine light came on as well. The mechanic pulled it into his garage again and after some time informed me that cylinder 1 was misfiring and I would need new ignition coils. After a little groaning i decided to go through with the replacement. About an hour later I was informed that the fuel injectors need replacement as well since the ignition coil did not fix the problem. Replacing the fuel injectors fixed the jerking a little but the car still kept dying when coming to a complete stop. The mechanic decided to keep the car for another day to perform some diagnostics and called me the next morning to inform me that the jerking/stuttering problem had been fixed but the car still refused to start in the morning and took a few tries before firing up. I decided to let the mechanic spend some more time on it. The next morning, in relatively warmer weather, the car started up just fine and I got a call from my mechanic saying the car is all set. I was delighted and relieved and went to pick up my car with my dad. After taking it for a test run, me and my dad were satisfied and paid for the repairs, a total of 600 dollars. two days later, I try to start the car on a cold morning and it wouldn't fire. After cranking ti a dozen times, it starts up but started shaking violently. The check engine light came on as well. This time i decided to take it to a nissan dealer and have them look at it. After running a diagnosis that cost me $100, they were happy to tell me that cylinder 1 is misfiring and i need new spark plugs and ignition coils. WTF!! Furthermore, the car had a couple recalls on it one of which happened to be a reprogram of the ECM. The dealership spent 3 days on my car and still couldn't perform the reprogram for some obscure reason. They're now telling me that they would have to investigate the problem and reschedule for the reprogram. I have just about had it with nissan cars and nissan crappy customer service. I am being charged 50 dollars for a diagnosis that told me nothing new except for what i already knew about the misfires. They literally just pulled the codes of the CEL and fail to offer me an explanation as to why the misfires are happening. All i can say is STAY AWAY FROM NISSAN

- , North Chelmsford, MA, USA

problem #30

Dec 082012

Altima LS 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I bought this car at an auction in New Jersey on November 8, 2012. About a month later it started to lose power and make a rattling sound. I took it to a local mechanic and he said that there was no oil in the car. He added oil and I was on my way. Well around December 8 the rattling sound returned. I took the car back to the local mechanic and again he said the oil was gone and he needed to fix an oil leak. He made the oil leak repair and the car was fine. Well around January 3, 2013 the rattling noise returned. I took it back to the local mechanic and he stated at that time the engine was burning oil and I needed to replace the engine. He also announced that a used engine would cost 1,700.00. I am soooo angry. I cannot afford to purchase another car, nor can I afford to put more money into this car so soon. I am taking the car to the Nissan Dealership to get a diagnostic test tomorrow. I hope it is not as bad as it sounds.

- , Orange, New Jersey, USA

problem #29

Jun 012012

Altima S 2.5L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,800 miles

Owned '02 Altima for 4 years...first couple of years were fine except the car's heat wouldn't work whenever there was a change in season (defroster wouldn't work either). Beginning this past summer, "check engine light" comes on and off intermittently. Changed oil, changed plugs. Had diagnostics run - "random misfire" reported. Planned on replacing coil packs but this site seems to indicate this won't help either. Car starts in morning sputtering and trying to choke out. After driving a bit, it stops sputtering but still seems to run very rough. Two weeks ago it wouldn't start at all - had it towed to local, trustworthy mechanic who said he can't tell what needs to be replaced ... already did plugs yet "random misfire" is still coming up.

- , Cumberland, RI, USA

problem #28

Jun 052012

Altima S 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

This is a gently driven car, less than 7500/per year and maintained well. I have all repair documents since purchase in 2002. In Dec check engine light flashed on and it has been doing it intermittently since then. Immediately goes to my mechanic...1st time in Dec it was a P0302 coil failure, coils switched, then in Feb flashed again on freeway...went off immediately. Back to mechanic, found code P1564 unrelated to coils. Mechanic says has to do with holding cruise controls down too long! I hardly even use cruise control!

Then tumblers in fell in ignition...$300 fix. Next radiator blew, no warning, no lights come on. Luckily on the street where many people helped me and my daughter. $800 fix, Now one month later, car starts with shakily, goes away once driving, but idles roughly. While driving you can feel slight shake in the car. On goes the check engine flashing, pull over, turn off car, sit and curse at my car. Start is and it's fine.

Call my mechanic describe everything including how the tailpipe was spitting out water this AM, but not much steam. Says possible blown gasket. Taking it in tomorrow. What's up with this? I read so many people have the same problem. Beautiful car but engine s**ks. Too bad Nissan, I'll never buy another. Hope I'll be able to keep this car another 2-3 years.

- , Emeryville, CA, USA

problem #27

Jan 252012

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,346 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

HOW CAN NISSAN DO THIS TO SUCH A BEAUTIFUL CAR? CAR THEY SALE THEIR MANUFACTURER RIGHTS TO A BETTER COMPANY?

- , Lowell, MA, USA

problem #26

Mar 312011

Altima S 2.5s

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

My used car Nissan Altima 2.5S is consuming too much oil. I have to put oil in the car like every two weeks and the car just consumes it leaving no signs behind like some thing that could tell that the car is either burning it or going somewhere else. We have taking it to several mechanics and the car is not leaking any oil and the only solution that we hear is that is the engine that needs work or to be replaced. And they have also told us that the catalytic needs to be replaced also. The car still runs but is starting to loose power. We are afraid that our investment in this car is going to be just a failure. If this is happening to so many people then this should be definitely considered a RECALL. Nissan please pay attention to these complaints.

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #25

Nov 012011

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

I would like to be added to any lawsuit for this problem. I have had this car for 1 yr and 5 months. I bought this car 6/2010. Since the first week I noticed it was burning the motor oil fast. I put oil every 4 days. In July 2010 was the first time the check engine light turned on. I had the head gasket repaired. Still kept on burning oil. In June of 2011, the second time the check engine light turned on and this time I repaired the caliber converter. Now 11/1/11, the third time the check engine light tuned on and they say I need a new engine. I have no money to get a new engine and I'm still paying a loan for this car. If any one has a solution, please let me know.

- , Springfield, MA, USA

problem #24

Aug 262011

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,350 miles

I've had my 2002 Altima 2.5S for 5 years. I bought the car with 17k and initially had no issues with my car. In 2008 w/ just under 50k my head gasket blew! I had it towed to a local Nissan dealership (who I will NEVER go to again- Hudson Nissan) ended up messing my car up so much that they had it for 3 weeks and I have a 2008 engine, entire set of new valves, a new timing chain oh of course the head gasket!

Yesterday (8/26/11), I went to get gas and turned the car back on afterward and had issues w/ it wanting to start (chugging). After the car finally starting (after 3 attempts), I did notice that the "service engine soon" light was on. My car has continually had issues starting since yesterday. I went by Advance auto Parts today and had the computer attached and it stated that I have a Crankshaft Position/Crank angle sensor Malfunction (Code: Po335) and also a Engine Speed Sensor Circuit Malfunction (Code: Po725)

I did some research tonight and found out that there is a RECALL on this specific issue!

Please do research on the Altima for RECALLS, there are a few! Go to www.safercar.gov and you can check out any recalls for your vehicle! Don't depend on Nissan to send you a letter, b/c I have never received one!

I love my car but very aggravated!

Thanks!

- , North Charleston, SC, USA

problem #23

Jun 012011

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My 2002 Nissan Altima has the engine light on stating that cylinder #3 misfire.....car shakes at times and almost stalls.....and has been doing this on and off since I bought it....it can go 1yr being fine but then comes right back!!!!....my brother in law going to change spark plugs and wires....but have a feeling from all these people complaining about the same problem that that's not going to fix it!!!! Oil consumption is another problem.....Nissan really should recall these engines, from what I hear when this car was first made back in 2001...people who bought them had blown engines at 2,000-3,000 miles due to an oil consumption problem.....and EVERY car this year make and model has the same problems!!! Unreal.....who would have thought that a Nissan would be so unreliable????????

- , Fall River, MA, USA

problem #22

Feb 262011

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I found this web site with so many complaints exactly like mine with most Altimas. I bought a 2002 Altima brand new. It gave me problems a few times with stopping with no warnings. I took this to the dealer to fix and spent many more dollars, and finally they said the have a recall with Altima 2002 with some sensor problems. In 2008 I noticed the sign saying the Service engine soon light. Then I took the car to one of the fine auto repair place(fast lane) and they stated that I need to replace thermal sensor and the catalytic converter. I spent little more than $ 500 for this to repair. Then car seemed to be Ok and I put new brakes, new tires in 2010 thinking that I can use this car for at least another 2 to 3 years with no big problems. But since 3 to 4 months after we took it to the dealer for a regular oil change, and found the dipstick was dry. After monitoring it, adding oil and taking in to the dealer twice more for them to check it and they I had to add to add more and more oil may be 6-7 times until now since the meter panel shows a oil lamp with oil drop. I gave a call to Nissan and asked about this and they stated to take the car to the dealer to check it. This is not a matter of faulty maintenance, she has had this car since it was new and has always taken it to the dealer for regular service. and we had planned to keep it for at least couple of years until my children finish with the college since I am paying parts of tuition for them, but now our car is gone, it stopped working while my daughter was driving it on freeway luckily nothing happen to her. We had to tw the car to the dealer and they said we have to pay at least $5200 and need to replace with a new engine. which is not a good investment. Either that or keep adding oil each week, but by reading the other posts, it looks like there are several cases of even replaced engines having the same problem soon after, also related to the converter. I will talk to both the local dealership and Nissan Motor Corp, but I don't expect much given the responses others have gotten. I was surprised to find the problem this widespread, since the dealer never said that this was a known/recurring issue. Seeing what has happened to Toyota, maybe its time people went to the media and made this problem public!

- , Canton, MI, USA

problem #21

Dec 022010

Altima LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I bought this car 5 years ago. At the day I made the last payment the engine was done: the consumption of gas is awful, the catalytic converter is done and the engine is done. Nissan has to take responsibility for its own failure in quality and pay for the fix. They have to have recall, and 'be a man', in times of their failure. Somebody from Nissan plant has to step in.

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #20

Nov 172010

Altima 2.5 S 2.5L 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

The check engine came on and off when we about 40 miles from home. After that it didn't want to start...would crank but wouldn't fire. We sat for about 10 minutes and tried again and it started. The mechanic said it was the crankshaft sensor that was supposedly fixed in a recall and that we were lucky it restarted at all.

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #19

Sep 082010

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,764 miles

Well I wish I could yell at Nissan for the damn problem this car has been giving me I had to replace plugs and all on this car and still im seeing smoke behind me when im driving down the damn road I cant even see if a damn car behind me when im looking back cause of all the smoke the car smoke more then I do and I smoke alot I think my damn heads are gone but im not sure into I take it back to the shop the oil looks a lil milky but hell its a Nissan it can be a number of things im really a chevy man but nall I wanted to try some different like a Nissen the hell with those cars they suck.

- , Valdosta, Georgia, USA

problem #18

Feb 022004

Altima

  • 80,000 miles

As a mechanic (of over 30 years), I've repaired many vehicles... and have never had so many problems with a vehicle's having such consistency with the same malfunction as does Nissan's 2.5L! Nissan did have several recalls on their Crankshaft Position Sensor (CKP) and their catalytic converter (amongst their many other problems since the Altima's conception). The CKP will malfunction within the first 2 years and continue malfunctioning every 2 years for the remainder of the auto's life!! The converter will disentigrate... and the fine metal particles will be sucked into the engine (via maniold vaccum) causing, first, high oil consumption and then motor failure.

This problem has been positively identified as an inheirant manufacturing flaw. However, although the Fed Gov. mandated that Nissan recall those vehicles ( the 2.5L since 2001 thru 2006)... Nissan, now, refuses to acknowledge said governmental orders. I' ve had personal involvement in two such disputes which resulted in Nissan not acknowledging such responsibility. Nissan Corporate actually stated (to me) that the recall notice (which they did-in-fact post on the internet) was posted by some unknown person!!!!! It is a verifiable notification... complete with the Corporate document numbers and Government citation numbers. They must stand accountable. A class action suit is the remedy.

- , Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #17

Mar 312010

Altima S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I have only owned Nissan, I bought a Sentra when I was 19 and drove that car for 12 years and never had any issues anything let alone with the engine . My current car is a 2002 Altima, I have had one engine issue after another camshaft sensor, Oxygen sensor, engine mounts, catalytic converter, crankshaft position sensor, cylinder coils (more than 1), 11 months ago I replaced 3 cylinder now my engine light is on again with P0302 code - 2 cylinder misfiring. I know this a silly/simple thing but it was great customer service and I felt like a valued customer and proud to be a Nissan owner . Nissan used to wash my car inside and outside when I had any service done, they don't anymore. I could understand for simply having your oil changed not to offer this but when you spend 2000.+ you would think they could. My husband's Ford F250 needed repairs done and when it came back it was washed and detailed inside and out. I agree with other people's posting, Nissan put out a horrible engine. I always thought Nissan would be the only car maker for me but after this experience with my Altima I have started looking at other car makers.

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #16

Jul 182007

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,345 miles

I read several of the complaints and it sounds just like my story. I replaced my engine in 2007 and I'm having the same problems again and they say I need a new engine again. I am so frustrated with Nissan I sure they know that this has got to be a manufacture defect with these 2002 altima's. I hope something will be done some and maybe I can recovery the 8,000 dollars I have put in this car.

- , Nashville, Tennessee, USA

problem #15

Dec 022008

Altima ES 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I bought a brand new 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 engin. I purchased this vehicle when there was no milages on the engin. After the engine received 80,000 miles It started to giving me holly hell. it started with the airconditioning system not working, then the eating system went, followed by check engine light that the mechanic could not find out what was the cause. The car started loosing oil, however there where never eany oil on the engine nor the ground, however every 2 days I had to fill up with oil. Smoke started coming from the rear of the car, finally the car wouldn't,t crank. It caused me hundreds of dollars to search what could possible be wrong with my car, in which I really needed. The car finally was said to have a blown head gasket, in which diden't seem possible however it could be true.I had to go out and buy another car to get to work, because this Altima practically gave me heart attack with all the problems it was having. I am not in conversation with the manufacture about this situation because I believe they should take responsibility for apparently a bad batch of engines

- , Mobile, AL, USA

problem #14

Feb 132009

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

I am so disgusted at the amount of time and money I have had to spend on this issue, with other serious problems with the car. How I could kick myself in the ass for walking into a used auto dealership and say "I want no American cars", see this Nissan and fell in love, and since then I have had nothing but problems with this car. Sure, it is cute as a button to me but I have discovered that American cars are cute as buttons too! I have problems with the catalytic converter and check engine light, rumbling noise and excessive oil loss.

I am at my wits end! I only purchased the car 2-7-09 and today it is 3-26-09. I want to know if anyone out there can help me please i am not a rich person and am really angry at whoever is responsible for this

- , Chapel Hill, NC, USA

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