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:
3 / 7
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
76,816 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 6 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #64

Dec 252005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

I have a 2002 Nissan Altima that began consuming oil. Previous to having any problems, Nissan had a recall on the precatalyst which said that materials could be caused to go into the engine and increase oil consumption. I had this recall done along with a number of other problems. Now, I and other Altima owners are experiencing oil consumption. I was told that the problem was with the catalytic converter which has now messed up my engine and both needed to be replaced. When I questioned the dealership regarding the previous recall, they told me that they would have look for damage when the recall was done. Obviously not, since now a number of Altima are having this same problem after the recall was done. I have spoken with a former engineer that said there were a number of design issues with the 2002 model. I have also found on the internet that the catalylic converter may be located too close to the engine which is causing the problems. So if if the engine and catalytic converter were replaced, the problem can start again. Some owners who have paid for replacement have eventually starting experiencing the same problem. The 2002 model year is not the only model with engine problems.

- Smyrna, TN, USA

problem #63

May 302007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles
Starting at just over 100,000 miles the engine began making strange noises. But once I changed my oil the noises would go away. I also noticed that my car was having difficulty shifting gears and even would just stop running at low speeds. After about 4 months of this is when we realized that the engine was consuming a lot of oil. So, basically my car was running on no oil for months at at a time. I took my car in and they said that the only way to get around this is to put oil in her every 2 weeks! that, or get a new engine. My car has never been recalled for this issue and Nissan refuses to fix it, simply B/C of the mileage.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #62

Sep 172007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89 miles
Engine cylinder walls are scored and using an excess amount of oil also catalytic converter is no good.

- Derby, CT, USA

problem #61

Oct 052006

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,432 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 5 to 50mph, the vehicle began idling intermittently. Speed was not a factor. The failure has occurred since October 5, 2006. The dealer replaced the throttle body; however, that didn┐T correct the failure. The contact assumed the cost of $42 to have the vehicle re-set due an idle error. The manufacturer has given the contact five authorization numbers; however, the dealer is unable to diagnose the failure.the dealer also stated that his two top technicians attempted to diagnose the failure and that the failure was characetistic of the catalyst throttle on the exhaust. The fuel pump and catalyst throttle warning indicator lights that were illuminated. The contact has detailed invoices regarding repairs performed on the vehicle. The VIN is unavailable. The failure mileage was 74,432 and the current mileage was 88,000.

- Church Point, LA, USA

problem #60

Jun 252007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,800 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. On July 23, 2007, the check engine light illuminated. The contact noticed massive oil consumption and smoke coming from the tail pipe. The catalytic converter had to be replaced at 50,000 miles and currently must be replaced again at 110,000 miles. He stated that the failure has caused engine damage. NHTSA recall number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe) was referenced. The current mileage was 110,000 and failure mileage was 109,800.

- Centrailia, IL, USA

problem #59

Jul 062007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle experienced difficulty starting and consumed large amounts of oil and coolant. The dealer changed the spark plugs, but the failures still persist. The failures began six months ago. The VIN was unknown. The current mileage was 70,400 and failure mileage was 60,000.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #58

Jul 132007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 230,667 miles

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

Car engine began to misfire, the "service engine soon" dashboard light came on and was sometimes flashing. Proceeded to drive car at less than 80 kph (per owner's manual recommendation) to dealer for service, dealer advised that "power valve" (part of intake manifold) came apart on 2002 Nissan Altima, resulting in metal parts entering the combustion chamber. Dealer made repairs, but now the engine is burning oil excessively (have had to add 2.5 L over 1400 km). There is a recall related to this problem on the 2.5L engine for the 2004 Nissan Altima, which apparently has identical engine to the 2002 model. Car has 230,000 km so is beyond warranty. Dealer not willing to pay for repairs.

- Grimsby, Ontario, Canada, 00, USA

problem #57

Apr 072007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
My engine still dies out while driving.

- Barrigada, GU, USA

problem #56

Jun 172007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 66,900 miles
2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 began to chug violently while being driven at highway speeds. Drove the vehicle to the next exit, but was unable to determine what was wrong with it. Shut off the car, and restarted to examine the engine while idling, noticing an intermittent shuddering of the engine. Drove the car a few miles to my destination, and it stalled several times. After the last stall O the check engine light finally came on. Had it towed the next morning to the nearest Nissan dealership. After running the code, they immediately went to work on the power valve. Both screws had come loose from the metal plate in the power valve, and the screws had gone through the engine crushed the spark plug in cylinder #1, and they made their way into the exhaust manifold. The dealer had to replace the screws, the plate in the intake manifold, the exhaust and adapter gaskets, and the spark plug. There is currently a recall for this problem on 2004 and 2005 Altima, though not on 2002 and 2003 models, which share the same engine. This problem is documented in other 2002 and 2003 models on this ODI website and on various internet forums.

- Concord, OH, USA

problem #55

May 092007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,493 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact takes her vehicle in regularly for scheduled maintenance and is upset that at 60,000 miles, the engine needs to be replaced. She stated that the vehicle failed to start properly on June 9, 2007 and took it to the dealer. On May 13, 2007, the vehicle began overheating and shaking. The contact stated that she has been battling with the corporate office every since. The purchase date was unknown. The current mileage is 60,604 and failure mileage was 60,493.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #54

May 102004

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 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 engine is making a loud noise and burning oil. The service engine light illuminated. The dealer diagnosed the vehicle as needing a new engine and will not replace it free of charge. The VIN and purchase date were unavailable. The current mileage is 110,000 and failure mileage was 45,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #53

Jan 012004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that there was a recall for his vehicle. The dealer stated that he needs a new engine, but the contact believes that the dealer damaged what they were trying to prevent. Nissan and the Consumer Affairs office did not offer any assistance in the matter. The recall repair was performed in January of 2004 and the head gasket was repaired that same year. The engine size was unknown. The current mileage is 145,400 and failure mileage was 67,000.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #52

Apr 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle would not start. The dealer stated that the head gasket was blown. The contact spoke with the manufacturer who stated that they were unable to repair the vehicle because it was no longer under warranty. The current mileage is 112,000 and failure mileage was 90,000.

- Covington, GA, USA

problem #51

Apr 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact complained about oil consumption failure. The check engine light illuminated, and the vehicle was taken to the dealer. The dealer stated that the catalytic converter was failing. Through further investigation debris was discovered in the engine. The dealer stated that replacing the motor would be the only way to remedy the failure. The cost of the repair would be $4,000. The vehicle was under investigation # PE02078 for the same failure in 2003. Nissan issued a recall from this investigation. The contact brought the vehicle to dealer for the recall repair, but the failure was not remedied, and recurred. The current mileage is 89,000, and failure mileage was 80,000.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #50

Apr 172007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,500 miles
Design flaw caused catalytic converter breakdown which resulted in engine failure despite proper maintenance. Car only had about 85,000 miles when problems began and 90,500 when failure occurred. New engine is needed at no fault of my own and despite proper car of vehicle. Ninety thousand miles is too soon for engine replacement.

- Hillsboro, OR, USA

problem #49

Jan 052007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
-the contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima there is a recall on the fuel pump screen which caused the engine to stall, and the engine service light to remain on. During the diagnosis they found a service engine code pertaining to the catalyst. He took it to the dealership and called Nissan, who inform him that the dealer would fix it, but Nissan called back refusing to cover the cost of the repair. The failure mileage was 74,000, and the current mileage was 80,000. The manifold exhaust was replaced, when the vehicle was in idle, it would surge. The air bag sensor was replaced. Updated 05/22/07.

- Church Point, LA, USA

problem #48

Apr 072007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,730 miles
I purchased a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S in December 2001 and currently have 113,000 highway miles and have maintained my car with oil changes and recommended services. Though I never received a recall notice, I have done all recalls when the service dept advised that there one on it. About a week ago my service engine light came on while driving. I immediately made an appointment with Nissan service dept. I was informed that the catalytic converter broke into pieces and went into the engine causing it to fail ($5,000). After paying the $550 fee for Nissan basically telling me that I had a defective catalytic converter which cause the damage, I went home and did some research. I find that there are thousands of frustrated Altima owners. I called Nissan headquarters to advise them of my situation. I was contacted by Nissan 48 hrs later basically telling me that my car had to many miles on it and past the warranty. I told them that I was aware of the many people with this same problem and can't believe that Nissan is choosing to ignore that they have made this car with defective parts. I also can't believe that they are choosing to risk people lives and ignoring the many customers who are having the same problem. Their excuse is that the car is past the 80,000 mile warranty, although I'm sure they will come up with some other poor excuse. The message I got from Nissan is that they stand behind their product only until the warranty and although they have made their cars with a known defective part, basically it is the consumers problem for putting their faith into supposedly a company that stands behind their product. I'm currently awaiting word from the local dealer to see if they would replace the engine as a goodwill. Although I doubt this will happen. Maybe Nissan will finally do something when unfortunate people really get hurt or lose their life! I can't believe that they also know about this problem and continue to close their eyes.

- Wood Ridge, NJ, USA

problem #47

Feb 192007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 90,000 miles
My 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S appears to have pieces of the catalytic converter in the engine cylinder, causing an engine misfire. When doing research on the internet I find hundreds of owners of this same model vehicle with the same problem and in most cases they are being denied any help from Nissan due to the vehicle being out of warranty. It is obvious that there is a definite pattern of premature problems/failures with this model that Nissan refuses to address. It is time that nhsta uses their influence to get this company to stand behind these defective vehicles!

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #46

Jul 022005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles
: the contact stated the engine was burning oil at a rate of 5 quarts per 1000 miles. The vehicle was provided with the proper oil service. The vehicle was taken to the service dealer, who determined that the engine needed to be replaced.

- Herndon, VA, USA

problem #45

Oct 132006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,850 miles
My 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 S started engine misfiring and stalling while in heavy traffic. This occurred with no prior warning lights or unusual performance from the engine. The malfunction indicator light then started alternating from flashing to constantly on. I consulted my vehicle manual and followed the directions to drive my vehicle at speeds less than 45 miles per hour to the dealer to have it serviced. The dealer diagnosed the problem and told me that a power valve screw had come loose and damaged the spark plug. The suggested replacing all of the power valve screws, but they indicated that I may have internal engine damage and catalyst failure that could not be seen. They further advised that I may have future problems with the car. I understand that the 2003, 2004, and 2005 versions of this car may have the same problem and that Nissan had a voluntary service campaign for 2004 and 2005 engines. I believe that the damage which might have been caused is potentially catastrophic and should be attended to by the manufacturer in the form of a recall and repair of any damages.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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