Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
101,615 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Nissan Altima engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #51

Jan 202012

Altima

  • 37,027 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling). The approximate failure mileage was 37,027.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #50

Apr 012009

Altima

  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle was consuming an excessive amount of anti freeze and oil. The contact mentioned that the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the head gasket and the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. However, eight months later the check engine light indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to another independent mechanic who diagnosed a cylinder 3 misfire codes which caused the pistons to freeze and as a result, the engine would need to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 76,000.

- Jewett City, CT, USA

problem #49

Sep 012014

Altima

  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. While stopped at an intersection, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was able to restart, but the failure recurred on numerous occasions. In addition, the contact stated that the vehicle would consume oil rapidly and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 77,000.

- Melbourne Beach, FL, USA

problem #48

Oct 122014

Altima

  • 140,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle consumed excessive amounts of oil. The dealer suspected that the failure was probably associated with NHTSA campaign number: 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Newport, TN, USA

problem #47

Jun 232014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 131,000 miles
This was not an accident but a manufacturer fault. The engine is burning excessive amounts of oil to the tune of 1 qt per 200 miles.

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #46

Aug 012014

Altima

  • 199,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that oil was leaking into the radiator and the vehicle was using one quart of oil per tank of fuel. The contact also stated that the he could smell smoke emitting from the passenger's side compartment. The dealer diagnosed that engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 199,000.

- Thomasville, NC, USA

problem #45

Sep 252014

Altima 6-cyl

  • 54,048 miles

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

- faulty intake valve timing control solenoid valve - intake valve timing control solenoid valve harness is open or shorted - intake valve timing control solenoid valve circuit poor electrical connection - faulty camshaft position sensor - camshaft position sensor harness is open or shorted - camshaft position sensor circuit poor electrical connection - faulty crankshaft position sensor (pos) since the intake valve timing control solenoid valve uses oil flow to control timing, dirty oil can cause the valve to stuck open or close. Before replacing the valve, change engine oil and filter and reset engine code. When there is a gap between angle of target and phase-control angle degree, the valve will stop working and the ECM will trigger the P0021 code. Possible symptoms - engine light on (or service engine soon warning light)- lack/loss of power- engine rough idle P0021 Nissan description this mechanism hydraulically controls cam phases continuously with the fixed operating angle of the intake valve. The ECM receives signals such as crankshaft position, camshaft position, engine speed, and engine coolant temperature. Then, the ECM sends on/off pulse duty signals to the intake valve timing control solenoid valve depending on driving status. This makes it possible to control the shut/open timing of the intake valve to increase engine torque in low/mid speed range and output in high-speed range. The intake valve timing control solenoid valve changes the oil amount and direction of flow through intake valve timing control unit or stops oil flow. The longer pulse width advances valve angle. The shorter pulse width retards valve angle. When on and off pulse widths become equal, the solenoid valve stops oil pressure flow to fix the intake valve angle at the control position.

- Austell, GA, USA

problem #44

Apr 232010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
If you google 2002 Nissan Altima problems you will see hundreds if not thousands of people complaining from about 60K to 100K about a design flaw of having the pre catalytic converter too close to the exhaust valves. The pre-cat was found to be a problem of breaking down the metals inside and causing them to be sucked into the engine and ruining the piston rings and ultimately blowing the engine. Nissan had said my car was not part of that recall but low and behold I experience the same symptoms. 2 quarts a week oil consumption, smoke coming out of the tail pipe, no heat until about 4K RPM. Many calls and complaints went upon deaf ears. Why is it so hard for them to see that they missed some on this recall. Many with this engine like Sentra's with the 2.5 engine have the same problem. Some have replaced the pre-cat just to have it fail again and ruin the engine after repairs.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #43

Aug 202014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
This car almost killed me. While I was driving in the traffic, the engine suddenly died, there are no power, no steering, no brake, and will not start again this time. The engine has been eating oil and coolant like crazy.

- Belmont, CA, USA

problem #42

Jun 092014

Altima

  • 185,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The vehicle stalled while idling at a traffic light and the check engine indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The failure occurred on several occasions. The dealer stated that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 185,000.

- Winchester, KY, USA

problem #41

Jul 012014

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles

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

Engine light continues to come on after replacement of spark plugs and wires. Car shakes and stalls. Idles roughly and will not "go" upon acceleration. Have been given the run around and recently viewed recalls online for faulty engine and cooling system. I have never received notification that a recall was issued. Problem has persisted and only gotten worse for over 6 months.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #40

May 222014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 99,975 miles
Problems: Service engine soon light, no start condition, reduced engine power, stopped running during vehicle operation. Car was parked and when started would not go over 15000 RPM - would not back out of the parking space. After several attempts at restarting it I was able to drive it to my local mechanic for him to check why the service engine soon light was on. Code he received did not give him any information so he turned the light off and I continued driving the car. On June 26, 2014 the engine stalled as I pulled up to a stop light. After putting the car in park and turning on my emergency blinkers it began running again. No service engine soon light came on. The next day the car failed to start. After several attempts it started and this has happened multiple times since then. A recall notice for all of these specific problems had been issued in December of 2003.for 2002 Altima manufactured between June 2001 and June 2002. My Altima was manufactured in October 2001 and I purchased it in November 2001. I was told by Nissan when I called on June 27,2014 that my vehicle was not included in that recall even though all of the consequences of the recall were documented on my car. I did receive a recall notice in February of 2009 at which time the local dealer reprogrammed the ECM (R0712). Not sure that worked because in July 2010 the service engine soon light came on - took it to repair shop which replaced the crank position sensor (which could have been defective also since all of these problems are occurring). I paid out of pocket for the same thing others are getting repaired by Nissan for free. Recall no. R3022 and 03V-455 describe these problems.

- Broken Arrow, OK, USA

problem #39

Jun 232014

Altima

  • 86,655 miles
TL * the contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph, the vehicle decelerated and lost power. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the pre-catalytic converter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The contact also mentioned that the vehicle had excessive oil consumption, and was making the catalytic converter failure worst. In addition, the contact mentioned that the vehicle had experienced the exact failure related to NHTSA campaign number: 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling)the manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage 85,655 and the current mileage was 86,100.

- Council Bluffs, IA, USA

problem #38

May 012014

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
The catalytic converter below threshold light came on then afterwards it got sucked up into engine and caused the engine to burn oil ridiculously fast causing me to buy hundreds of dollars in oil and oil changes. Now the engine doesn't run right it seems and needs to replaced among with catalytic converter.

- Pocatello, ID, USA

problem #37

Apr 012014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
Nissan Altima 2.5 auto transmission. Nearly killed me. Car suddenly went to 20 mph on the interstate in heavy traffic with 18-wheel 30 ton vehicle behind me. Burns oil like crazy. Put in better synthetic oil, burns faster. Had the car die on the interstate at 75mph right in front of an 18-wheeler. Could have died. Could have been killed by the Nissan corporation. Know any good lawyers? this is really dangerous, Nissan should recall and replace this engine. Replaced catalytic converter, O2 sensor, pre-catalytic converter, spark plugs, some other related stuff. Burns oil even faster than before. Completely ran out of oil in 300 miles. I am trying 10-40 oil to see if the oil burning problem will slow down. Car only has 125000 miles on it. Complete pos. Never buy a Nissan, I never will again. This was my first, only 125K on it. I am used to selling perfectly good Ford and vws at 250K miles. On the internet most people fail the pre-cat and catalytic converter by 95000 miles, then overheat and blow the entire engine. Cars stopping suddenly at 75 miles an hour are going to kill people. Since Nissan is well aware, this is pre-meditated murder. Other symptoms: No power, no acceleration, no response by Nissan dealer. Nissan "service" is a joke. Never take a car to Nissan for repairs. Unrelated sign of really really bad engineering: Paint is falling off car. Never had that happen to a car before, I have a 14 year old Ford with 240K and the original paint job, even though it is not garaged.

- Monument, CO, USA

problem #36

Apr 212014

Altima

  • 151,757 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while idling at a stop light, she heard a knocking in the engine. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection where they stated that the catalytic converter, spark plugs, boots, and coils needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 151,757.

- Somerdale, NJ, USA

problem #35

Mar 282014

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Driving vehicle at a low speed and vehicle stops running without warning.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #34

Nov 132013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
I bought my car brand new in 2002 and there was a series of recalls for different items. I noticed that the engine was not keeping a clean idle after about 69,000 miles in 2010 so I had to have it computer tested due to maintain lights etc. I got P0420 code for catalytic converter not working properly. I took the car to the star Nissan dealer where I bought it, and the service writer told me there was no issues with the cat or pre cat which was a lie! since that time I have been losing about 2 1/2 quarts of oil every couple of weeks and then the engine quit on me and now I am told it is a extremely common problem with no answer and that I need a new engine!!! Nissan just told me oh well!~ is there anything I can do about this I have seen thousands of exactly the same problem from other consumers? thank you for your reply.

- Oceanside , CA, USA

problem #33

Jul 092008

Altima 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
My car keeps consuming oil 2qts every couple hundred miles. This is outrageous. I've been told that I need to replace my engine and that this is a common problem with the year and the vehicle I have. Not only this but also my catalytic converter needs to be replaced!!! please help!!

- Chicopee, MA, USA

problem #32

Oct 292013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
My car won't accelerate beyond 20 mph, then engine would stall while in drive gear. Took it to my mechanic who turned off the engine service light which allowed me to accelerate to normal speed. However, the engine keeps stalling while I'm driving. I nearly had several accidents while driving on the street and exiting the freeway. Luckily I can notice the engine failing before it completely shut down so I hit my hazard lights each time to avoid accident and notify motorists behind me something is wrong. Several times car had to swerved suddenly around me to avoid rear ending my car. Then yesterday when my engine stalled while pulling out of a parking lot my engine stalled again and the steering wheels locked which almost caused my car to roll straight into a brick wall. I had to quickly turn off the engine put my gear to park then turn back on the engine to get power to steer away from the brick wall just in time. I took my car back to my mechanic today who ran diagnostic and said the car's crankshaft and crankshaft need to be replaced. I searched online and read about the recall for similar incidents with my make and model. However, when I contact the local Nissan dealer they say my VIN is not included in the recall. Something is wrong here if so many 2002 Nissan Altima have this same problem but only a selected vehicle are included in the recall. Please investigate and fine Nissan for this faulty parts endangering public safety and the drivers.

- Garden Grove, CA, USA

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