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. 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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
102,496 miles
Total Complaints:
131 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (36 reports)
  2. replace catalytic converter (27 reports)
  3. replace engine and catalytic converter (25 reports)
  4. not sure (20 reports)
  5. replace pre-cat with heat shield and replace engine if bad (10 reports)
  6. new cat/ new sensors (8 reports)
2002 Nissan Altima exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 6 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #31

Jul 012008

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


Unbelievable...what a piece of...?@#? same problems listed by everyone else; burning oil, stalling, bad cat caused engine damage so it needs to be replaced. Is there an existing law suit? I will buy American from now on!!!!

- , Linden, CA, USA

problem #30

Sep 012008

Altima L 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Here's Nissan's Scam with the oil consumption. It's an absolutely know problem. In fact, it's Recall #NTB03-070c.

The problem is that they check for this problem once, and if they don't see it, they avoid allowing you to have it checked again. That's why they looked for this ASAP. They want to check it before the part fails.

Don't let them beat you. Go to this link:

In here you will find the recall and the critical numbers needed to fight. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration knows about this and are looking into why people are being told differently from Nissan.

- , Barrington, IL, USA

problem #29

Oct 012008

Altima SL 3.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 65,000 miles

THis is the second engine replacement Nissan has said I needed. First engine also went bad with about 65,000 miles on it. Nissan fully covered the first engine, but now wants $4500 for replacement of the second one. I will never buy another Nissan car as this seems to be an on going problem with their engines which the refuse to address.

- , Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #28

Aug 042008

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles


Purchased brand new 2002 Altima 2.5SL. Have kept up on all maintenance and oil changes and recalls. Car started to use more oil but thought it was due to the car getting older. Check engine light came on, car missing for the first minute or so when driving, gas mileage dropped from 28 mpg to about 24mpg, excessive gas smell. Called Nissan and was told there was a recall for a software upgrade and it would take care of the problem Took car in to local Nissan dealer and was told the Service Engine Soon light came on due to "Engine misfire" diagnostic code. I called Nissan and filed a complaint. Was called back by a Regional Specialist and was told because of the number of miles on our car, Nissan will not work with us and that is their FINAL DECISION.

- , Galt, CA, USA

problem #27

Sep 012008

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Same problem as everyone else. Cat went bad, broken pieces end up in the engine and killed a piston. help

- , Middleton, MA, USA

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problem #26

Aug 202008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Ok, by reading the complaints of this Altima (used with 106,000 miles for 8,000), I've had nothing but sure "joy" of voicing my own problems and frustration of this car from day one. I purchased this car from a dealership that a friend of mine was working back in August 2007 in KY (which the name of this dealership WILL not be named...but you can fill in the blanks here S_ _ K A _ _ _ M_ _ L!). At the time I was in serious need of a new car because my 94 Pontiac Sunbird was smoking more than a Jackie Gleason fine cigar. I saw the Altima, test drove it, did a Carfax report on it and everything appeared to be OK but noticed that the engine oil was black and the check engine light was on. So I had him/the dealership to check on this problem so they changed the oil, and APPARENTLY fixed the problem (the oxygen sensor malfunctioned). Got the car and everything was cool. Well, a week later the check engine light came on again...took it back to the dealership and they told me that the other oxygen senor they repaired it and I was on my way. Well, about 3 weeks went by the guess what? The CE light came on need I remind you that I did have an extended warranty on this car so supposedly, everything would be taken care off. Not so! The "ignant" service department told me that the cat. converter is bad and the part will cost 775.00, and with the labor...over 1,000. Now, I was just starting grad school and NO WAY I could afford a cost like that. I have books to pay you know?!?!?! Apparently, the dealership never bothered to throughly check the car for its mishaps or if they did, they didn't check it properly!

So I drove without it until it went out on me back in December of last year...bought a new part (300.00) and had another mechanic to put it in...worked fine after that. Well, in April it went out on me again but this time the part, the mechanic told me was different...still the cat. converter but the part that connected to the manifold went out. So I spent another 500.00 to get the car repaired on a dealer specified parts from Kool Aid point driven whole sale companies. This mechanic put the part on with no trouble and I'm driving good.

At this time, my car had about 115,000 miles on it, and after a a tuneup (90.00), two new tires (275.00), ignition control motor (104.00), fuel filter (75.00) the car officially went dead! I was driving to TN one day for a job interview and what do you know? The car went out on me...but this time NO CE light came on. So I'm sitting on the side of the road, sweating b/c it was hot as HELL that day calling a tower to get my ride to a nearest mechanic. The only one that was nearby was Firestone. So the good men at Firestone tells me that my cat converter blew AGAIN...WTH?!?!?! So needless to say, It was either pay 300.00 to get my car towed back to KY, call the interview off, or have the good men at Firestone repair the car...and guess what I did? Repaired the car. They got another converter b/c TN is were Nissan HQ is now. Repaired and I was on my way. I DID make it to my interview! But GUESS WHAT?!?!?!?! I driving back to KY and the damn thing was loosing power, losing oil, with an oil leak, and then I'm smelling a foul odor of rotten eggs (Man! I thought I farted or something you know?). With it acting up as much as it was doing, I finally decided to take it to a Nissan dealer to have them look at it. Well, once I told them the symptoms, I already knew what had happened. New engine time! OH HELL NO! Yes I was pissed but there wasn't much I could do. I've invested too much already and wasn't about to do it again!! No engine for that I sold it and bought a 06 Hyundai far so good!

Sometime Carfax doesn't help much. If I wouldn't visited this site before I bought it, it would've saved me alot of time, money and headache. And oh, the "friend" that sold me the Altima...haven't spoken to him since that day!

Good luck with all that are doing these lawsuits, etc! More power to you!

- , Nashville, TN, USA

problem #25

Jul 282008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,797 miles


purchased '02 Altima brand new. 8/4/2004 crank angle censors & crankshaft position recall work done. 6/24/2005 check engine light on, brought in for service, Catalytic converter burnt out, needed to replace it. 9/2/2006 crank shaft censors & cam positioning again - paid out of pocket to get this fixed. 7/28/2008 check engine light on and I'm burning oil, brought in for service, catalytic converter needs to be replaced yet again. can't determine the oil issue without performing a $369 test.

Went on to consumer affairs and there is complaint after complaint of owners with identical problem - ultimately the engine needs to be replaced as well.

I contacted Nissan Headquarters, the regional specialist, Catherine, was extremely rude to me, as though I was putting them out with a complaint. after "reviewing" my complaint she said Nissan is not willing to assist.

I am locating every website and media outlet I can to bring attention to this matter.

I am not made out of $$ and thought purchasing a new vehicle would be less expensive than "buying someone elses' problems" and also a safety issue for my toddler. Little did I know that large investment would be dead in less than 7 years.

This is not right that Nissan is able to stiff loyal consumers as they are. This is an obvious problem and needs to be fixed.

- , Providence, RI, USA

problem #24

May 142008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 77,000 miles

Purchased this P.O.S. because we heard good things about Nissan. After replacing pre-cat and then the rear cat, motor blew after about 100 miles. Had dealership tear down motor and they stated that rod went through the block due to engine starving for oil...We just had the oil changed! They went on to say, due to the cat. failing, the debris from the Cat. was ingested into the motor sending debris throughout the motor scoring rings, piston and clogging up oil pump. I am still waiting to find out the results...It is BS that if the Cat. fails you have to replace the motor.

Update from Jun 7, 2010: Nissan would not cover the motor. Cost 4 grand and get this, the new motor Nissan put in, blew in less than a thousand miles...Cause? motor starving for oil! Same problem. They put in a third motor since. Nissan knows they have a problem but refuse to recall their motor. This is a pathetic company that well not work with the consumer. Beware!

- , Apple Valley, CA, USA

problem #23

Jun 032008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,900 miles

Car running rough, brought it to my mechanic, replaced sensors. Problem still exists.

- , Norwich, CT, USA

problem #22

Aug 012008

Altima 2.5S 2.5L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

F*ck these motherf*ckers! 47,000 miles on this piece of sh*t and it needs an engine! Oil changed every 6000 miles, I drive like my grandma who is dead, and NISSAN f*cks up a recall, then tells me I have to pay for this ECM reprogram and a f*cking heat shield? I am pissed as you can tell. This car is nice, but if Nissan can't be reasonable and pay the $6000 for an engine, then they're f*cked.

This is a DESIGN DEFECT that these f*ckers refuse to be accountable for. Class action?

- , King Of Prussia, PA, USA

problem #21

Jul 242008

Altima 2.5L Sl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles



- , Rocky Mount, VA, USA

problem #20

Jun 152007

Altima 2.5L Sl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles


- , Rocky Mount, VA, USA

problem #19

Jul 012008

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

Same problem as every one else. Cat failed and took out the engine. Nissan wont help. If any one know about a class action suit please contact me!

- , Pendleton, OR, USA

problem #18

Jun 302008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I have had nothing but problems with this car since the day I got it. I took it back within 30 days of purchase to complain it was running rough, they told me it was fine. A couple months after buying the car I need a new cat. A Cat?!? What the hell is that? Its brand new! Don't worry its under warranty under 8 years and 80,000 miles. Ok I was happy! Then I noticed that my headlights were always pointed at the stop signs and not toward the ground, I was always replacing them. Buying better bulbs everytime. Telling myself that maybe it was just a cheap bulb. After awhile I just started buying the cheapest bulb because now I'm just wasting on bulb after bulb. I get a recall in the mail for my rear subframe. When I take the car in for that they tell me that my headlights have been recalled also. Leave the car overnight and the next day I pick up my car I'm very happy. Very short lived when I get a call from my husband saying my car just died in the middle off the road. EXCUSE ME? MY CAR DID WHAT? Take it back to Nissan they tell me I need an alternator. How do I need an alternator, when my car cools down it starts right back up? If I need an alternator my car wouldn't start at all! I quit that dealership, I respectfully decline the work. I drive my car from Philadelphia to Charleston SC on that alternator. Crazy! I take it to place after place everybody says it doesn't sound like an alternator, but we don't know what it is either! Whatever I don't care its not doing it anyway! I forget about it until about april.When I get a recall on ECM, which may cause you car shut down while traveling at high speeds.WOW THAT MAKES SENSE! I also have my check eninge light on which is I know is my Cat again. I take it in for my new cat(which at this point I know what it is) and my ECM reprogramming and an 100 point inspection that Nissan is offering for free! This is great maybe my car will finally be back to what its supposed to be! OK get the car back its not quite right. Can't quite figure out what is wrong but somethings isn't right! Burning oil like crazy and gas more often. I think that might me driving more and maybe the guy who did my oil change last didn't do it right! Screw that I'm never taking my car back there again. Fill it with oil get my oil changed at the dealership to make sure its right! (That's a laugh now) At my 100 point inspection, they told that I should get my throttle body cleaned and adjusted and my fuel injectors flushed.I happened to be talking about to my friend who was at the time working on my husbands car( acura with 250,000 miles on it). He told me he would do it for 70 bucks instead of 300 the dealer wanted. Great take it in get a phone call saying your car is idling crazy we put a idle speed sensor, a new throttle body and its still crazy. He told me take it back to the dealer because there is something wrong with the computer and since they just reprogrammed it they should be responsible. They reprogram the computer again(at my expense$400.00). Hey this is good now finally I can have my car back great!(yeah Right) A week later its acting up again. Take it back like I have been saying for three weeks I needed a new computer! Great I get the new computer.I pick it up on Thursday I'm driving home could it be I finally have my car back? NO! Friday I'm going to drive to work and I turn the car on and the car is vibrating! Like a dog who is trying to dry off after a bath! I turn the car on and off a couple times and it stops. I do this for a week, CAUSE THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I WANT TO LEAVE MY CAR AGAIN! I call I tell them my problems and I don't want to leave the car, he was super nice bring it in. I'll have my most senior tech look at it, I drive all the way there. I was told there is nothing that they could do because its not happening now and if you LEAVE IT we can look at it, and get it fixed for you. NO YOU CAN'T HAVE IT AGAIN! I finally cave after my car just don't want to start at all! After alot of trying I get it on, I figure I better just give in and take it back to the dealer. I leave it the next day I get a call I need a engine. I call Nissan NA, I am still waiting for a return call. To see if they will give me a engine. An engine that is rebuilt from somebody else who was already broken that probably had 200,000 miles. I have contacted a lawyer. If anybody else wants in contact me back!

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #17

Jan 042006

Altima 2.5s

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I am really pissed about this 2002 Nissan Altima. I have had nothing but problems since I brought this damn car. The first problem was the engine light came on and when I had a diagnostic done on it, they told me that I needed to replace the catalytic converter which cost me $1200.00. The very next day the engine light came back on. I took it back to Tristate Nissan in Winchester, VA and told them what was going on they tried to tell me that I needed to do a diagnostic on the car. I told them they must be crazy because I just had one done and they stated it was the catalytic converter and I was not going to pay another $95.00 to have another one done. They told me that they would do it for free. That is when they came back and said that it was a cylinder misfire and that there was a head gasket blown. And that I needed to replace the head gasket. I asked them why didn't the dignostic pick up on it, and they had the nerve to tell me that "sometimes you have to fix one thing in order to find out what else is wrong with it". I told them they have lost their mind. I then asked them if the head gasket is blown how do I know the engine is not messed up. They had the nerve to tell me that they would have to take the engine apart in order to see if it is messed up. So they wanted me to replace the head gasket and to pay them for taking the engine apart to see if it was bad. I told them absolutely NO. I ended up getting a used engine put in the car for $1500.00 for the used engine and another $500 to put it in. Which I had the work done somewhere else. Now it seems like the transmission is going, which I am getting ready to have that checked. I think we should all get together and get a law suit started regarding these 2002 Nissan Altima's. I had contacted the Nissan Consumer Complaint, and needless to say it was a waste of my time. They were no help at all. Nissan does not look after their customers. I guess they are only concerned with people buying their piece of junk cars. They have the WORST customer service.

- , Winchester, VA, USA

problem #16

Mar 252008

Altima ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Purchased the car in 2005 with 52,000 miles. Spent $2,000 last year to replace cat, gaskets, etc. 5000 miles later, the cat went bad again and engine needed replacing, another $4,800.00. Complaints to Nissan Corporate and the dealership went unanswered. From what I've read, there are hundreds if not thousands who have had or are having the same problems. We are all screwed as there are no recalls or pending recalls that address these issues. If you see white smoke, this is the beginning of your steps to Altima Hell.

- , Durham, NC, USA

problem #15

May 202008

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

2002 NISSAN ALTIMA IS A LEMON.... Car rattles when starts up and sometimes doesn't start up....service engine light is on....First they told me it was my plugs $150 to get them fixed ...problem persists then they tell me its my cat converter $853 for parts and labor and Nissan refuses to assist or take care of the problem...After research I find out this is a recurring problem with the 2002 Nissan Altimas and that the dealer sells alot of cat converters for the vehicle(so many that they keep them in stock). I will never buy a Nissan again and will make sure everyone knows about how Nissan doesn't care about their customers

- , Delran, NJ, USA

problem #14

May 282008

Altima 2.5 S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,198 miles

I had my engine and cat converter replaced in Aug of 07 free of charge, due to only having 78,000 miles on my car. But they charged me for replacing my 02 Sensors, which was $450.00.

Just last month in April one of my ignition coils went bad. Dealership wanted to replace all four. I declined and just got the bad one replaced. Two weeks ago my car stalled out on me when I was getting off the freeway, and I was barely able to drive it to the nearest dealer. Intake manifold and gaskets were damaged; they also recommended changing my spark plugs.

Bottom line is these cars are pieces of crap; no matter how much money you are going to invest in these cars to fix them, something else is bound to go wrong. My suggestion to everyone is get rid of the damn car and get a Honda or Toyota or anything but a Nissan. The only way we can hurt this company is by spreading the word that Nissans are horrible. They have hurt themselves really bad by not accommodating their customers that have had problems with their cars. I guarantee in the future Nissan will be hurting in the long-run, because due to their horrible customer service and crappy cars, many people will not trust them and buy their worthless cars.

I am so sick and tired of hearing their commercial of how durable their new Altima's are. Just by that commercial it shows that they are already trying to mend the reputation of the Altima, which I believe is going to be tarnished for a long time due to our voices.

- , Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #13

May 102008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,200 miles

Like a majority of Altima owners I have the same issue check engine light came on and took it to Family Nissan in Rancho Santa Margarita and was told my cat. converter needed to be replaced and need a new engine which would run about $4,000. Based on my research on the net this is a very common problem and it sounds like Nissan does not want to fit the bill to pay for their crapy engine and cat. converter. I would love to place a full page ad in the classified section of the Nashville newspaper (Nissan NA HQ) with a letter to Nissan from all the owners that have this problem letting everyone know that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. I would rather spend my money on a full page ad to make Nissan come to the table and or their dealers to to address the issue head on. The only way to make Nissan fess up is to get in there face. If that does not work I'm going to spend my own money to buy billboards right out side of Nissan HQ with a letter to them. It will cost less then the repairs I will have to pay for. If that does not get any traction I will take out a full page ad in USA Today. FYI I'm in advertising and I know where to hurt these guys. I would suggest anyone out there contact their PR director at Nissan.

- , Rsm, CA, USA

problem #12

May 052008

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 88,000 miles


- , Newark, DE, USA

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