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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
93,429 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 exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #31

Aug 012006


  • miles


I have a 2002 Nissan Altima that has been giving me nothing but problems. I have had the catalytic converter changed and now it needs another one. Oil is being consumed or at least that's what the Nissan dealer told me in 2006 he said I need a motor I have been taking this car to the Nissan dealer too many times to think they have claimed to change things every time I'd take it. It's always something different I don't think they knew the problem at first. Either they didn't know or they decided to wait until after my warranty ended to tell me that I needed a motor!! I have spent so much money on this car. I feel that I paid too much for this car to be trying to pay over $5000 for a motor. The car is now 6 yrs old and that's not old enough for a motor. Nissan should feel very bad that they a responsible for people paying too much money for that lemon of a car. I need transportation not a new car note!!

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #30

Jun 012008


  • 74,987 miles
I own a 2002 Nissan Altima which is exhibiting the symptoms very typical with 100's of other Altima owners. One month ago the check engine light came on, engine is consuming large quantities of oil, power is sluggish especially at startup, coolant is being consumed etc. Took the car in to the dealer and the fault code was for faulty catalytic converter. Dealer suggests complete replacement of long block. Since the recall (ntb03-070C) had been done on my car a few years ago, previous to me owning the car, they are "no longer responsible for the recall". seems unfathomable that so many owners are experiencing the same problem and no definite action is being taken from Nissan or being forced to be taken from the government oversight.

- Mountlake Terrace, WA, USA

problem #29

Sep 242008


  • 103,000 miles
Service engine light came on in my 2002 Nissan Altima. Took it to the mechanic and was told the cat converter was bad. Checked website to see if others had the same issue and discovered that hundreds of individuals had the same issue and after replacing the cat converter, had to replace the whole engine. The website is I would like to file a complaint or be directed on what to do next.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #28

Oct 042008


  • miles


The technician performed a diagnostic test on my 2002 Nissan Altima because the service engine soon light came on. The problem was due a defect in catalytic converter, which is damaging my engine. I have to get it replace, but it costs $1500. My car has only 84,000 miles on it. Also, I take it in for an oil change at every 3,000 miles and for regular check ups. So I researched it online and discovered that there are hundreds of complaints on the catalytic converter. Below are the links to some of the websites with complaints from the Altima drivers on their catalytic converter. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7),000 miles-I-w/index.html 8) 9) 10) I think Nissan knows this problem and they need to do something about it.

- Gilroy, CA, USA

problem #27

Sep 022008


  • 119,474 miles
File #6258697 2002 Altima my complaint involves a qr25de engine installed in my Altima. I like to give you some background on the engine and then talk about my problem. The qr25de is in the 2002-present Nissan altman 2.5, 2.5S, 2.5sl 175hp, hybrid 158hp. The qr25de sold in the United States has been subject to a significant number of problems in its short lifetime. A variety of mechanical flaws have led to numerous technical service bulletins, recalls, repairs, and outright engine replacements. Vehicles with the qr25de may ingest material from a damaged pre-catalyst resulting in increased oil consumption. The pre-catalyst was replaced at 79,000 miles and shortly thereafter realize the engine was consuming more oil but nothing that significant. I started to notice more oil being consumed at 117,000 called Nissan and started a file they suggested I take the car to a Nissan dealer and check out the problem. The car broke down and I had it towed to Nissan and they looked at the car and told me the catalytic converter was gone at 118,151 miles and it was replaced at a cost of $825.65. At the same time they checked for oil leaks and said there were no leaks and top off the oil and told me to bring the car back. The car was driven 1062 miles brought it back to Nissan dealership and was told it was down 3 quarts. They filled the oil back up and after 261 miles the oil light came on brought it back to Nissan and found it to be down 4 quarts and was told the engine was gone. Unsuspecting customers have let the oil run completely dry which could lead to engine fire or complete shutdown of engine while driving on the highway. Nissan Consumer Affairs reviewed the case and denied responsibility for a poor design and Nissan is letting many consumers in my situation pay for a new engine. I little research on this particular engine will yield many more unsatisfied consumers. The car had oil changes at 3000 miles intervals.

- Smithfield, RI, USA

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problem #26

Jul 012008


  • 85,000 miles
Nissan (woodfield Nissan, hoffman estates, il) is not forthright in acknowledging recall # ntb03-070C and is not willing repairing this know hazard.

- Barrington, IL, USA

problem #25

Sep 142008


  • 98,401 miles


I have a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 S model, the car started to use excessive amounts of oil and coolant. Took car to a Nissan dealer and the service dept. Told me I need a new engine and without having the service dept. Disassemble the engine they can't determine what the failure of is. This car only has 98K on it and is and was taken very good care of. I've heard of others who own Nissan Altima having the same symptoms and problems. The Nissan dealer told me there is nothing they or Nissan of America can or will do. I know that Nissan has had problems and they will not do anything to help.

- Huntingdon, PA, USA

problem #24

Dec 262007


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact noticed that her vehicle was consuming more oil at a rapid pace. The check engine light illuminated and she called the manufacturer. She was informed that there was an outstanding recall on her vehicle, NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was taken to the dealer and partially repaired according to the recall. The entire recall repair was not performed because the dealer stated that the ECM software was up-to-date and did not need the repair. The contact was informed that the check engine light illuminated due to an engine fire and that she needed to make an appointment for a diagnostic. She referenced NHTSA campaign id number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe), which was previously repaired partially. The contact was concerned that the hanger pin was replaced, but no heat shields were incorporated to complete the recall repair. She spoke with the manufacturer again to open a case in September of 2008. The current mileage was approximately 121,000 and failure mileage was approximately 110,000.

- Galt, CA, USA

problem #23

Sep 172008


  • 83,000 miles
My 2002 Nissan Altima needs a new engine at 83,000 miles. This is a widespread problem, I found and Nissan is not doing anything to rectify the matter. Engines that are well taken care of should not die at 83,000 miles. This all started in June when my car started becoming difficult to start. I brought my Nissan into the dealership for some recall items and asked them to check the hard start while it was in there. They couldn't find anything wrong and suggested a fuel system tune up (which I did) and if that didn't work I might need a new fuel pump. This worked well for a while but then it started again. I paid for new spark plugs, oil changes, air filters, all seemed to help for a day and the hard start would happen again. Suddenly the computer finally got a read of O2 sensor and catalytic converter. I called Nissan Consumer Affairs because this problem started happening before the 80,000 mile warranty ran out and it was mis-diagnosed. They told me that there was nothing they could do about it unless I brought my car to the dealer, which I did. When I got there they told me I needed a new engine on top of the O2 sensor and catalytic converter. And that Nissan denied my request to honor the warranty.

- Kennebunk, ME, USA

problem #22

Sep 052008


  • 115,000 miles
2002 Nissan Altima 2.5sl with 119K miles, purchased brand new from dealership, excessive oil consumption with check engine light on. Nissan refuses to accept any responsibility for poor emission/engine construction. Appears we need a new engine due to converter breaking down and being sucked into engine.

- Galt, CA, USA

problem #21

Sep 052008


  • 78,000 miles


At 78K miles, the service engine light came on, and soon after, it started excessive oil consumption followed by a significant drop in power, especially in take-off speed. Took it to the dealer and was informed that I need to change the engine for close to $5000. Apparently, there are hundreds if not thousands of customers with the same problem. I found out about the extent of the problem after I did a simple google search. The root cause of this failure mode seems to be the same as well as attested by people who have the problem. Catalytic converter that was oddly designed too close to the engine thermally wears and sends chips into the engine where by scorching the cylinder.

- New Hope, MN, USA

problem #20

Jul 132008


  • 108,000 miles
My complaint is the same as about 50 other complaints I found on this site. My check engine light came on and when we brought it to the dealer to get it fixed, we were told that the catalytic convert failed and the engine ingested particles that scored the cylinder heads. Now the engine needs to be replaced. We contacted Nissan to see if they would help differ the cost of the repair and was told the catalytic converter was past the 80,000 mi. Warranty period and we did not buy enough Nissan vehicles in the past to warrant any good will. In fact the region Nissan rep refused to even acknowledge that she had heard of this problem before even though the dealer told me that they see a large number of this same problem every year. In reading recalls like 03V084000, it appears that this is a known defect that Nissan has agreed to repair voluntarily, but is now not standing behind their agreement. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to persuade Nissan to help out. Also, my vehicle has been experiencing all of the symptoms of the 03V455000 recall but the dealer tells me that this recall was already performed by the previous owner. Even the dealers own diagnostic test shows the P0335 ckp sensor circuit error code is still a problem. Can a recall be performed twice if a failure occurs again" the info provide in your description of the remedy for this recall seems to indicate that the circuit boards installed under the previous recall 01V357 were still defective. What should I do"

- Dennisport, MA, USA

problem #19

Jun 152006


  • 80,000 miles
At about 80,000 miles my 2002 Nissan Altima had an issue where the coolant started leaking into to combustion chamber, had to have the heads resurfaced, and cat converters replaced. Now the car burns oil, has to be replaced at about 1000 miles (completely empty if I let it go to 1500 miles). The car now stops when driving at slow speeds, starts right back up, but dies while driving.

- Crosby, TX, USA

problem #18

Jul 202008


  • 120,000 miles
2002 Nissan Altima - engine is going through 2 quarts of oil every 100 miles. I have done some simple research on this and find that hundreds of people have the same problem and apparently Nissan is aware of it yet claim that there is no problem. The basics of the issue are that an internal part of the catalytic converter is getting sucked back up into the engine scoring the cylinder. My daughter's car has about 100,000 miles on it however there are complaint after complaint on various blogs of the same thing happening as soon as 50-60,000 miles. Her car has had regular maintenance and this should not be an issue. The cost of replacing the engine is $5,000. I have read stories of engines having been replaced 2 times on the same car. Does Nissan have to address this or can they just blow off the customer and pretend that there is no issue with the motor, converter etc?

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #17

Jul 282008


  • 126,797 miles
Own a 2002 Nissan Altima; replaced catalytic converter 6/2005 @ 71K miles. It fell under federal emissions warranty. 7/2008 service engine light on again and seem to be burning through oil. Took into balise Nissan - converter needs to be replaced again, needs more expensive tests to diagnose oil issue. Googled 2002 Nissan Altima problems, Consumer Affairs website had post after post of owners with the same problem as I've had/having. Ultimate fix, need to replace engine. One man replaced engine twice and car is still not correct. Called Nissan headquarters, the regional rep, catherine, who was extremely rude as though I was trying to accomplish something terrible, said she reviewed my complaint and there is nothing Nissan will do because there are no recalls pending and the car is a 2002 and now has 126K on it and my warranty expired. I told her the initial problem happened while I was still under warranty and obviously that had to be a problem also because a well maintained vehicle, regardless of mileage should not burn through 2 catalytic converters in 6 years and also need a new engine. I also tried to bring her attention to the countless other owners with the same issue, she did not want to discuss it. There is an obvious problem with the vehicles...please help!!!!!

- Providence, RI, USA

problem #16

Jul 202008


  • 90 miles
2002 Altima 2.5 engine- began using oil, a little between changes, increased to using 4 quarts for a 16 mile round trip. Car began to smoke, becoming a hazard to operate, due to the tremendous amount of smoke screen. Was told by mechanic, Nissan has issued a bulletin, but not recall on problem of cat. Converter failure, causing engine to fail around 100K.

- Waynesboro, GA, USA

problem #15

Jun 252004


  • 34,727 miles
NHTSA campaign # 03V084000. This recall was performed on my Nissan Altima back in 6/2004. It was not performed completely. Precat was found damaged and replaced but engine was not. Precat failed again in 5/2008 and was replaced under warranty. Engine was not replaced a second time. Engine is now using excessive oil and is a fire hazard. I have contacted Nissan North America and I am receiving resistance from them on replacing engine.

- Nipomo, CA, USA

problem #14

Jul 102002


  • 85,000 miles
In the beginning of may my oil light came on while driving. I stopped at the first store I came to and put oil in the car. Before this I had never had any issues with the car burning oil. Within a few days, the car was burning oil at a high rate, about a quart a week. I had a technician look at my car and was told that it looks like some kind of engine failure. At this point I went on line and found out that 2002 Nissan Altima's had a problem that created excess oil burn and engine damage. On May 23rd I contacted Nissan North America who did not respond. On May 30th I contacted Nissan North America again and they referred me to a local dealer. On the 30th I brought my car to the dealer who changed my oil ($36.32) in order to do an oil consumption test on my car. One week later I brought the car back and after driving 70 miles the car had burned 4 quarts of oil. When picking up my car, I was told that Nissan was not willing to fix my car because my brother was the first owner of the car and not me even though they were aware of engine problems with the 2002 Altima engines. They also quoted me a price of $3,792.70 to replace the engine. On Thursday, July 10th the engine failed and now needs to be replaced. Nissan had a recall to fix this problem but what ever they did did not work.

- Saratoga Springs, NY, USA

problem #13

Nov 292007


  • 50,438 miles
I own a Nissan Altima 2002 (54,000 miles) that consumes 3.5 pints of oil every 350 to 400 miles. My mechanic has identified the problem related to NHTSA # 03V-084 on 11/29/07 and tells me that my engine should be changed by Nissan. My muffler, catalytic converter O2 sensors had to be changed on 3/28/08 the Nissan dealership does not want to acknowledge the issue related to the recall. I have been trying to contact Nissan customer relations without success. What else can I do?

- West Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #12

Mar 042006


  • 78,000 miles
2002 Nissan Altima, case#5865538. The very public and well-documented problems with oil consumption in the 2002 and 2003 Nissan Altima warrant your immediate attention. I have spent over 26 months and thousands of dollars trying to fix my car. I first noticed an oil consumption problem at about 75,000 miles. I keep up with the required services on my vehicle and I make oil changes at the recommended intervals at a minimum, so I tried additional oil changes and oil refills. These efforts did not seem to work; so I replaced the catalytic converter, the two crank position sensors, the PCV valve, four coil packs, two oxygen sensors, and the spark plugs. Many of these items were on recall and Nissan should have paid for them, but I paid for them. I found countless numbers of Nissan Altima owners were having the exact same issues. In fact, there are now reports of the 2002/2003 Altima's engines catching on fire because of this oil consumption problem. This risk of engine fire presents a risk for injury or death to vehicle occupants, especially since part of the problem includes no warning that the engine is running dry. Nissan North America has it within their power to turn this apparent failure into a public relations and customer satisfaction and loyalty success story. I have done everything they have asked, which included multiple oil consumption tests. When these tests were being performed, I was told that if they cracked the engine and did an engine inspection to prove the engine was well maintained, I would receive a new engine. The local huntsville dealership cracked the engine and stated it was the cleanest they ever saw. When Nissan North America was informed of this they declined my request for a new engine or any assistance. After pressing the Nissan agent as to why, he said it was a business decision and Nissan North America could not afford to replace everyone's engine.

- Hampton Cove, , AL, USA

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