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.

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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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 7
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,400 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 7 of 12)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #108

May 222002

Altima

  • 83,000 miles

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

2002 Nissan Altima. 1)rear pads + rotors worn at 35,000 miles: Replaced at owners cost. Now 83000 miles(may '08): Dealer has told rotors and pad need replacement and possibly calipers need to be evaluated. At 75000 mile check everything was ok. (per the service record). In Jan'08 I had specifically asked the breaks to be inspected. Told ok. Now suddenly the rotors are shot. Other than a squeal sound for 2 days no other symptoms. Concerned about how brakes go from fine to shot in 3 months. I think it is a big safety concern if the time it takes breaks to disintegrate is less than a 3 month period. 2) engine not starting after parked in the cold. Happened twice once at 48000 miles. (lower bill. ) 2nd time at 78000 miles. (huge bill ~$1000). Multiple parts replaced and serviced. Highlighted as problem on various forums with this particular Nissan model. Evaluate possibility related to ECM timings etc.

- Wappingers Falls, NY, USA

problem #107

Mar 012006

Altima

  • 90,000 miles
Losing oil and coolant which led to complete engine failure in March 2006. Replaced engine and 50K miles later losing coolant and misfire on cylinder 3. suspect head gasket problem.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #106

May 152008

Altima

  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. While driving at any speed, the vehicle would shut off and take 5-10 minutes to restart. The failure worsened over the course of a few days. The dealer stated that the crank shaft positioning sensor needed to be replaced. There are two NHTSA campaign id numbers (03V455000 and 07V527000), both for engine and engine cooling; however, the contact was informed that there were no recalls on her vehicle and she would have to pay for the repair. The current and failure mileages were 114,000.

- Annapolis, MD, USA

problem #105

Apr 142008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 49,555 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact received a recall notice for NHTSA campaign id number 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). He called the dealer and had the vehicle repaired. Several years later, while driving 25 mph, the vehicle failed without warning. He took the vehicle back to the dealer and a representative informed him that because the vehicle had previously been repaired under the recall, he would be responsible for the repair costs. The vehicle has been repaired. In addition, the representative at the dealer advised him that when the vehicle was repaired in 2004, the technician used the same exact part that they removed to repair the vehicle. The contact called the dealer, but they did not provide any assistance. The failure mileage was 49,555. Updated 06/09/2008. The crank position sensor was replaced. Updated 06/09/08.

- Draper, UT, USA

problem #104

May 062008

Altima

  • miles
2002 Nissan Altima catalytic converter failures that are increasing according to reports widely publicized on the internet. There is a recall in Canada for the problem, but not in us. In speaking with a representative from Nissan Consumer Affairs, I have been advised that the reason for the recall being recognized in Canada but not in the U.S. is due to the factory in which vehicles were produced. Seems to me this reason is ridiculous if this problem is happening in the U.S. too! see info below: Transport Canada recall number 2003060. Units affected: 30589. 2002-2003: On certain vehicles equipped with the 2.5 liter engine, the exhaust pipe hanger pin may catch debris from the road which could be ignited by contact with the main catalyst. Correction: Dealer will remove the protruding portion of the exhaust pipe hanger pin. Also, certain operating conditions may cause the pre-catalyst to overheat and damage the catalyst substrate. If substrate particles enter the combustion chamber, they may score the cylinder walls, resulting in increased oil consumption. Correction: Dealer will reprogram the engine control unit to prevent the possibility of the pre-catalyst overheating. If the conversion efficiency of the pre-catalyst has deteriorated, then the catalyst will be replaced. The original pre-catalyst will then be inspected for evidence of damage to the catalyst substrate. If damage is present, the vehicle engine will be replaced. While I have been obsessive about ensuring my vehicle is serviced routinely, I have recently experienced engine failure which will result in having to replace my engine. I do not have the finances to just drop $2000 on a new engine! my case is currently in the hands of a regional specialist (file # 6149122), but I have not gotten the outcome of the review to date. I am respectfully requesting review of this problem. Thank you.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #103

Feb 152008

Altima

  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The service engine light began illuminating intermittently and then remained lit. When starting the vehicle and taking off, the vehicle made a strange noise and jerked as if something were slipping. Once the vehicle gained speed, the noise stopped. The dealer stated that the following components needed to be replaced: The catalytic converter, two major sensors, and the heating and air conditioning systems. The vehicle was burning oil on the inside of the engine, which caused it to fail. The vehicle could have an oil change and then four days later, the oil would have burned out completely. NHTSA campaign id numbers 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/ header/muffler/tail pipe), 07V527000 (engine and engine cooling), and 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling were referenced. The current mileage was 116,000 and failure mileage was 50,000. Updated 06/05/08 the driver side power mirror was replaced, the gear selector was sticking. The cylinder head, gasket radiator and thermostat were replaced. Were replaced. Updated 06/04/08

- Hoffman Estates , IL, USA

problem #102

Apr 172008

Altima

  • 94,400 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact received a recall notice for NHTSA campaign id number 07V527000 (engine and engine cooling). Nissan refused to perform the recall repair because the check engine light was illuminated. The vehicle does not always start, it is losing coolant, and the oil and check engine lights illuminate intermittently. The failure mileage was 94,400.

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #101

Apr 302008

Altima 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
2002 Nissan Altima began overheating, losing coolant rapidly and gauges indicated rapid temperature fluctuations. Upon taking vehicle to dealer, visual diagnostic suggested a replacement of valve cover gasket. Gasket was replaced for approximately $300. Overheating resumed after repairs in addition to overheating, vehicle began producing white smoke as well as misfiring upon start-up. Computerized diagnostic was then completed. Diagnosis was a blown head gasket. Repair cost was quoted at $2100 plus taxes. I did research online and investigation revealed that the blown head gasket wasn't isolated to me alone and that there are many 2002 Nissan Altima that blow the head gasket around 70,000 to 90,000 miles. Many customers appear to have tried to contact Nissan but company will not own up to apparent defect with the model. It is quite difficult to blow a vehicle's head gasket and it is unfair for a model to have such a major defect and the consumers have to assume responsibility and cost of repairing the problem - a major engine overhaul. To present, no injuries or crashes have resulted, however, dealer has warned that without repair, engine parts may continue to warp and may result in complete engine failure.

- Aventura, FL, USA

problem #100

Sep 252007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 130,000 miles
Catastrophic engine failure for Nissan Altima related to power valve/butterfly valve intake manifold design. Third generation Altima's qr25de 4-cylinder and vq35de 6-cylinder engines have unfortunately been affected by a recall related to the intake manifold and the power valves, also known as the butterfly valve. The technical service bulletin P5202 - does not mention all affected vehicles for production years w same design. This has left some owners affected by the problem with no recourse/remedy for what in some cases has amounted to catastrophic engine failure. The power valve is a series of four plates in the qr25de 4-cylinder and 6 plates in the vq35de 6-cylinder engines, one per cylinder. The plates open and close simultaneously to allow more air into the combustion chamber for increased power. Each plate is held in place by two screws. The screws have been known to come loose as well as the plates and are then ingested into the engine via the intake ports. Problem is initially exhibited by ses(service engine soon) light coming on and/or blinking. Upon obd meter reading, code will be P0304, or similar which is random cylinder misfire or cylinder 4 misfire. Electrode on spark plug has been bent closed as a result of the power valve retaining screw vibrating loose and being ingested into the engine. The screw then bounces around in the combustion chamber, hitting the spark plug and bending the electrode shut, preventing spark in that cylinder. Additionally, the screw(s) and part of the broken plates, in some cases have made their way through the engine and into the exhaust manifold and the catalytic converter, thus causing the catalytic converter to prematurely disintegrate as well as become ingested into the engine. For some reason, Nissan North America has decided to not remedy all vehicles affected by this admitted flaw obviously, this could cause engine failure at the wrong place and the wrong time, resulting in serious bodily harm and/or fatality.

- New Windsor, MD, USA

problem #99

Apr 112008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle shut off after the electronic control module (ECM) was replaced under NHTSA campaign id number 07V527000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was taken back to the dealer for a diagnosis, but no failure was identified. The current mileage is 109,000 and failure mileage was 108,000. Updated 05/13/08. *ljupdated 05/13/08.

- Holly Springs, MS, USA

problem #98

Jan 082008

Altima 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 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 shuts off while stopped at a light, idling in traffic, driving downhill, pulling out of a parking space, or when the vehicle is first started. The failure occurs everyday. While driving between 65-70 mph, the vehicle will jerk hard. This failure has occurred on three occasions. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 07V527000 (engine and engine cooling) in March of 2008, but the stalling recurred three weeks later. The dealer has not yet been notified. The current mileage was 111,685 and failure mileage was 108,000.

- Lithonia, GA, USA

problem #97

Apr 062008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles
No heat, oil loss, coolant loss, check engine stating misfire, O2 sensors replaced, replaced spark plugs, currently car will not start.

- Perryville, KY, USA

problem #96

Apr 032008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact received a recall notice for NHTSA campaign id number 07V527000 (engine and engine cooling). The contact is experiencing difficulty getting the recall remedied because she lives in a remote area with the nearest Nissan dealer being 2.5 hours away. She is fearful of driving the vehicle due to the safety defect. She called the manufacturer to have them tow the vehicle, but they have not returned her messages. There had been no failure to date. The powertrain was unknown. The current mileage was 23,000.

- Roswald, NM, USA

problem #95

Oct 012007

Altima

  • miles
2002 Nissan Altima problems with the engine consuming oil. Consumer states that her VIN and production date is not in the service campaign for the problem. Therefore the dealer told her they cannot fix her vehicle. The consumer she took the vehicle to a repair shop after she noticed the vehicle began to loose oil and the vehicle made a rough idling sound. The mechanic informed the consumer that the catalytic converter had gone bad, and being that it was attached to the engine, the engine would need to be replaced. The mechanic also stated that oil and other debris had extracted back into the engine block which caused the pistons to grind on broken converter pieces.

- Lancaster, SC, USA

problem #94

Mar 292008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,495 miles
Car engine stopped working on the road.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #93

Feb 162008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles
I purchased a new 2002 Nissan Altima that falls within NHTSA recall # 03V-084 (campaign id# R3007, R3014, R3015, R3016 & R3017). The recall campaign (ntb03-070B) was done in 2003 with approximately 20,000 miles on the vehicle. However, sometime before 95,000 miles on the car, a failure of the pre-cat occurred with exactly the same symptoms as described in the recall campaign bulletin. Material from inside the pre-catalyst entered the cylinders and resulted in high oil consumption and now Nissan is recommending a new engine. This demonstrates that the recall campaign was not sufficient to solve the problem with the car or the dealer did not follow the recommended procedures. Even with a new catalyst there is still a high likelihood of another failure and possible fire as noted in the recall campaign bulletin.

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #92

Feb 092008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,900 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle completely shut down and lost all power steering. The contact had the vehicle repaired on February 6, 2008 for NHTSA campaign id number 07V527000 (engine and engine cooling). Approximately three days after the recall repair was performed, she noticed the same symptoms with the engine, but of a milder degree. The vehicle appeared as if it would stall after the repair was made, but did not. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle is currently at the dealer. The purchase date and powertrain were unknown. The current mileage was 78,000 and failure mileage was 77,900.

- Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #91

Jun 242004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles
Well I have 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 I have about 66,000 miles on the car and it has been having the same problem. It first started when they had recall oxygen sensor. I have had to replace the same sensor 3 times already at about cost of $350 each time. Now my check engine light keeps coming on the replaced the catalytic converter and told me I had to change my engine coils and spark plugs for about $1000 dollars. After that was completed there was no change my check engine light still comes on engine idles rough always having to fill coolant. And have had to been towed several time to the dealer with no explanation as to what is wrong.

- Rahway, NJ, USA

problem #90

Dec 162007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles
Throughout the last 4 yrs, on several occasions when shifting the transmission it doesn't engage. I have pulled from a parking spot using reverse, and just when I am pulling into traffic and shift to drive the car doesn't respond. The engine doesn't react to the accelerator; the engine is running but the car is unresponsive. When it happens I have to push the car to the side of the road and turn it off. One time it took about 15 mins to be able to restart and restore all functions. On another occasion I ended up having to wait until the next day. The scary part is that the engine and transmission are completely unresponsive when you need it the most; getting into traffic. I have been blessed and very lucky that it has only happened when pulling out of a parking spot or my out of my driveway. What I am extremely afraid is if this were ever to happen when pulling out into a highway or busy street traffic. This is similar to the risk associated with recall NHTSA campaign #07V527000. Please correct the problem before someone gets kill; we should never wait that long or let it go that far.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #89

Sep 222007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. While driving 35-60 mph, the vehicle suddenly lost power without warning. The dealer and manufacturer stated that the VIN was included in NHTSA campaign id number 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). The recall repair for the engine was performed in 2004; however, the failure recurred and stalled on several occasions. The current mileage was 99,000 and the failure mileage was unknown.

- Indiannapolis, IN, USA

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