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 1 of 12)

problem #228

Mar 012015

Altima

  • 119,500 miles

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

Purchased vehicle pre-owned, seller appeared honest & truthful about the vehicle, however after about 2 weeks of ownership I noticed high oil consumption, probably about a quart a week, ,didnt think much about it, except that I probably have bad rings, or leaking intake valves/seals and would require costly engine repair.my daughter came home one day and mentioned the car wouldnt go over 15 mph, so I took it for a ride & as she said, intermittantly the vehicle would only go 15-20 mph, rendering the car unsafe to drive, ,when I got back with the car I opened the hood only to see the front catalytic converter was glowing bright orange and no exhaust exiting the tailpipe, ,,I know enough about cars to know that can only mean the converter is clogged solid, ,,,inquired at a local Nissan dealer what the warranty was on the the cat and they said it was 8 yrs,80K miles, ,,did some research on the web and find out theres a recall on it, the cat coming apart & pieces of it getting sucked up into the intake causing catastrophic engine damage, ,,Nissan was replacing the cats, installing heat shields, and replacing engines to to the defect of the cat, ,,,,dealer says he cant help me, ,,,,check the web, its an ongoing problem with the Altima as well as the Sentra, ,,this is something that Nissan knows is an issue and should take care of this..

- Medford, NY, USA

problem #227

Aug 042014

Altima

  • miles
I have a general question please. Someone in my home purchased above mentioned car recently from dealer and was never told of the recall or the problems these cars have. When my friend called the dealer asking why the oil continued to be eaten up, they responded that it was normal. Tonight this individual drove it home from work, it acted up, and had "engine over temp" according to machine that gives codes when there are problems, and said other codes about random multiple cylinder misfire. Could this be related to the recall you issued on this 2002 vehicle. Also what can she do to ensure her safety. This person was sold this without being told. How can we ensure the company complied with the recall and "fixed" safety issues?the recall information sounds very dangerous.

- Yeagertown, PA, USA

problem #226

Aug 132011

Altima

  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated while driving 70 mph, the vehicle decelerated without manual force and a fire emerged from the harness of the vehicle. The fire was put out by the contact. A police report was filed. The contact did not sustain any injuries. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnosis where it was stated the wiring harness needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000. Updated 12/12/13

- Goldsboro, NC, USA

problem #225

Jul 052013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 187,000 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 while driving 55 mph, the vehicle began to shake and stalled. The contact stated that he had to add two quarts of oil to the engine in order for the vehicle to operate correctly. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 187,000. Updated 09/06/13

- Avon Park, FL, USA

problem #224

Jun 082011

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that after having the vehicle serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling), the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 122,000.

- Conroe , TX, USA

problem #223

May 012013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed an independent mechanic for diagnosis. The mechanic stated that the crank position sensor would have to be repaired. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling) but was advised that the VIN was not included in the recall campaign. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 89,000.

- Randelstown, MD, USA

problem #222

Nov 182011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 100,351 miles

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

The check engine warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle would also stall while driving at various speeds and would often hesitate to start while parked. The vehicle was inspected by an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The mechanic stated that the crank shaft and the cam shaft position sensors would have to be replaced. There was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling) that could have been related to the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and advised the contact that the VIN was not included in the recall. Also my car is loosing coolant and don't know where the cooling is going, took it to Nissan they don't have a clue either. Also I sometime smell gas when the car start up after a long stall crank.

- North Lauderdale, FL, USA

problem #221

Mar 292012

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the engine was consuming oil rapidly and every two weeks, he would have to add oil to the engine. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who advised the contact that the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. The mechanic was unable to replace the component. The dealer was notified of the failure who advised the contact that there were no recalls for the failure. The manufacturer was also contacted who confirmed that there were no recalls for the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000. The dealer didn't know the exact cause of the problem. However, the dealer recommended replacing the catalytic converter and the entire exhaust system at a cost of $2000. The consumer was informed it was not a guaranteed fix.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #220

Apr 042003

Altima 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
While driving at 65 mph, vehicle stalls without warning, vehicle is unable to re-start right away leaving driver in eminent danger of been rear ended by on coming traffic. No codes or lights turn on dashboard signaling a malfunction of vehicle. After letting the vehicle cool off for about five to ten minutes it re-starts again. Vehicle was taken to dealer who was unable to diagnose failure because no lights are coming up on the dashboard and when hooked to a scanner no failure codes were produced. Manufacturer was made aware of failure but offered no assistance because vehicle was "repaired" under the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 03V455000( component: Engine and engine cooling ). this recall calls for cam, crank and variable timing sensors to be replaced, however only the crank sensor was replaced. Failure mileage was 43000 when vehicle was first taken in for recall but it is currently failing again at 160,000 miles with above symptoms and manufacturer won't offer assistance. They have advice to take it to a dealer again and they will be able to keep replacing parts until problem is "found". due to lack of codes their technicians will have to "guess" what the problem is. All this at my own expense of diagnosis, parts and labor. In September of 2011 a dealer performed a re-program of the main computer as part of another recall from manufacturer concerning vehicles stalling. This re-program of the main computer did not fix anything and right after I took vehicle out of the dealer it started stalling again. This vehicle keeps stalling at high speeds (65mp), there are no codes given out and manufacturer offers no assistance. Afraid I am going to get seriously injured as the problem continues but can't figure out what's wrong with the car.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #219

Mar 122012

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,295 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the service engine soon warning light was illuminated on and the contact experienced a reduction in engine power. The dealer was notified of the failure and the contact inquired of NHTSA campaign id numbers: 03V084000 ( engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe) and 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). The dealer advised that the vehicle was not included in either recall campaign. The dealer diagnosed that the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 148,295 and the current mileage was 148,300. Updated 05/03/12

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #218

Feb 122008

Altima

  • 43,000 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 while driving 65 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but offered no assistance because the vehicle was already repaired under the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 03V455000 (component: Engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 43,000 and the current mileage was 173,000.

- San Diego , CA, USA

problem #217

Feb 272012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
I believe that this engine defect caused the pre-catalyst to overheat and damaged the catalyst substrate. These particles entered the combustion chamber and probably scoured the cylinder walls prior to recall 03V-084 implementation. This resulted in increased oil consumption throughout the lifetime of the vehicle which in turn adversely affected the heater system not working properly, coolant reserves disappearing, engine started to heat-up, and ultimately engine seized-up. Prior to this I had to be adding engine oil and coolant every two to three weeks since engine would start to make noise and start to heat-up, but there was no leaks or engine light did not turn on. Previously, mechanics did not see any problems when taking it for oil changes and service. It is now at the dealership and they state that it will cost me $2100 to $5500 to fix this. I told Nissan service personnel that I found the same thing happening to many Nissan 2002 owners on the internet. I found several websites with hundreds of complaints just by goggling "2002 Nissan Altima oil consumption". even Nissan service personnel told me that this is not normal since these vehicles should last over the 200 thousand miles, especially since we are the original owners and have always done routine oil changes and service. Please help me and the many owners of these Nissan Altima who have trusted Nissan in building long lasting dependable vehicles.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #216

Dec 012008

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
The cooling system has failed twice, each time I had to replace the head gasket. Now it is doing this again. Noticed there were 3 recalls about this. Two before I purchased and one after, but I do not recall getting a notice about the recall. Much money has been spent, now dealer is telling me I need a new engine. How do I find out if any recall was performed? do not trust this dealer.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #215

Jul 102009

Altima 4-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
Our first problem came when the Altima had several holes blown into the engine when the catalytic converter failed to hold up because of a defective design in the engine. I did take the car in for the recall, but what they did not fix the issue, and my mechanic told me I was fortunate that the entire car did not set on fire or that it didn't happen when I was on a highway. I fought hard and spoke to person after person and finally found the president of customer relations number(4 weeks into calling), they told me that because I had kept such great records of our service history that they would replace my engine. Now I have a new defect in this car. The metal floor pan has a defect and there has been no recall! there are actually huge holes in the floor of my car that could prove deadly and make my car not road worthy. They are asking $2,000 to $3,000 to fix this!!! fraud. I am so livid. This car has been one nightmare after another. I want to feel as if my family is safe in the car I am driving. Who worries that the floor might fall out from underneath them when they are driving"?" or heaven forbid, something hit the bottom and come right into the car! I'm so angry about this car. Please tell me that I am not helpless.

- West Reading, PA, USA

problem #214

Feb 272012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 79,700 miles
Hi, I own a 2002 Nissan Altima. It shows up a check engine light with issue on catalytic converter and consumes a lot of oil. I am very much concerned on the safety of the car. Requesting Nissan to fix this issue as this is a very much known issue with recalls. Thanks!

- Champaign, IL, USA

problem #213

Dec 152009

Altima 4-cyl

  • 92,156 miles
Car was diagnosed with a head gasket leak, consistent details with all the other noted head gasket failures.

- Mount Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #212

Jan 222012

Altima

  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact shut the vehicle off and once restarted, the vehicle stalled a second time. The vehicle was towed to the contact's place of residence. The contact did not take the vehicle to a dealer or a local mechanic for diagnosis or repairs. The failure mileage was 160,000.

- Lake Elsinore, CA, USA

problem #211

Dec 152011

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Will not start, replaced crank an cam sensor nothing they are recalls on these cars for lots of problems I purchased this car thinking it was a good car for my wife two days later it leaves her an my daughter stuck on the freeway. I have done resets nothing works is there something yall can help me with im out of pocket cause this car. Can I take it to Nissan dealer an they fix it for a recall.

- Arab, AL, USA

problem #210

Aug 102011

Altima

  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 60 mph, there was an unusual noise emitted from the front end of the vehicle. The contact maneuvered to the side of the road and inspected underneath the hood and detected there was no oil in the reservoir. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who informed the engine would need to be replaced. The contact planned to have the vehicle repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Lynnwood, WA, USA

problem #209

Nov 112011

Altima

  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle was abnormally consuming four quarts of engine oil in under a month. The contact referenced NHTSA recall campaign id number: 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling: Exhaust: Manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe) and stated that the vehicle was taken to the dealer where he was advised that the vehicle was not included in the recall. The dealer replaced the catalytic converter at the contact's expense. The failure mileage was unknown, but the current mileage was 135,000.

- Schenectady, NY, USA

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