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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.

2.0

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
81,625 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 1 of 4)

problem #68

Jun 162016

Altima

  • 135,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact was unable to start the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the catalytic converter fractured and went into the engine. The contact was repaired per an unknown recall in 2003, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 135,000.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #67

Feb 052015

Altima

  • 123,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. When the vehicle was started, the contact heard a loud abnormal noise. The contact mentioned that after having replenished the engine with oil, the engine light remained illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. The approximate failure mileage was 123,000.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #66

Jul 052013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 187,000 miles
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 #65

Dec 152010

Altima

  • 140,000 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 the catalytic converter broke and damaged the engine. The engine also burned oil weekly causing the contact to add oil every two weeks. The check engine light illuminated constantly. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who performed a diagnostic test. The contact was responsible for paying $105. The dealer and the manufacturer were not contacted. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Parker, CO, USA

problem #64

Sep 222010

(reported on)

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
2002 Nissan Altima. Consumer states premature breakdown of the catalytic converter the vehicle was burning a quart of oil every few days, due to a defective catalytic converter that was deteriorating and its particles were sucked into the engine destroying its ability to administer power to the vehicle. Also the vehicle would stall when accelerating. Updated 01/21/11

- New Haven, CT, USA

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problem #63

Jun 212010

Altima

  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. An independent mechanic was performing a diagnostic test on the vehicle to determine what cause the check engine light to illuminate; however, he stated that the exhaust and the catalytic converter were defective. The vehicle was also consuming oil excessively. The independent mechanic informed the contact the vehicle needed a new catalytic converter system, oxygen sensors, a new ECM reflash and a new engine. The manufacturer was notified and informed the contact that she would have to pay to have the vehicle repaired. The vehicle was not repaired when the complaint was filed. The failure and current mileages were 78,000.

- Sterling Forest, NY, USA

problem #62

May 122008

Altima

  • 81,000 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 the engine light illuminated while driving 40 miles per hour. The contact was advised by an independent mechanic of a recall for the catalytic converter. The contact spoke with the dealer who advised there was no recall. The contact received a call from the dealer the next day who advised the catalytic converter was defective and the contact would have to pay out of pocket since the vehicle was not under the recall. The current and failure miles were 81000.

- East Northport, NY, USA

problem #61

Oct 212007

Altima 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
My engine blew up. I called my nearest Nissan dealer who forwarded me to Nissan Corp, who sent me to Nissan North America and after telling them my story 3 times, they advised me there was nothing they could do since it as not yet a recall. I looked online and many had the same issue and were trying to get this to be a recall. I had just moved to that area, I had no job, no money and was attending school. My car sat in front of my house for 6 months while I paid $430 a month on my note. When I finally had the money to fix it, I explained to them I had just gotten a new engine and only needed them to restart the computer. They advised me there was a recall on it, I asked for what and they could not explain. They then said they could not restart my computer or do the recall because it had a code that needed to get fixed. I said fine, and paid for them to fix it and the recall. Later that day my engine light came back on and they had me come back in a week later and advised me a new code came on. I asked why they didn't tell me about it when I was there and they said they didn't see it then. I did more research and found out that the codes they found were part of the recall, and that was the reason my engine blew up. But they would not fix or pay for it. I have been back and forth on this and finally I found a number to call regarding Nissan recalls. The person I spoke with advised me that it was Nissan's responsibility to have fixed the issue at no cost since it was a recall and it was all connected. (had that recall or problem been fixed my engine would have never blown up! recall or no recall, this was obviously a manufacturing issue! they never even contacted me about that recall! I found out about it when I took my car in!) she filed a claim for me and said someone would call me. It has been a week and no call from Nissan North America yet. I call them everyday and everyday they say someone will call me. At least Toyota is taking care of their customers! updated IVOQ 08/20/10 updated 10/27/10

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #60

Jan 182010

Altima

  • 133,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. Whenever the contact drove the vehicle at any speed he noticed a rattling noise under the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who stated that the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. The contact previously noticed that the check engine light appeared on the dashboard. The current and failure mileages were 133,000.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #59

Dec 102002

Altima 4-cyl

  • 21 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The air conditioning system will not circulate heat. Also after service the oil and antifreeze levels depletes prematurely. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, and she was advised that the catalytic converter and the engine coil needed to be replaced. A representative from the dealer and manufacturer stated that the repairs cost $1600. No repairs were made. The failure mileage was 21. The mileage was 105,000. The consumer stated the vehicle would stall while driving at any speed. The consumer took the vehicle to the dealer and upon inspection, the consumer was informed a sensor was soaked in oil. There was no oil leaking from the vehicle, but they were not able to tell the consumer where the oil was coming from. Soon after, there was a recall for the same problem. The wheel bearing and alternator had to be replaced. The engine light has been on for over 2 1/2 years, the vehicle has no heat and anti-freeze was evaporating, but there were no leaks. The consumer stated she could smell coolant coming through the vents. Updated 02/01/10

- Matteson, IL, USA

problem #58

Jun 122009

Altima

  • 101,000 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 30 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle coasted to the side of the road and roadside assistance was called to the scene. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing and they stated that the failure was contributed to the catalytic converter. The vehicle was previously repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 03V08400 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe); however, the remedy has not corrected the safety defect. The vehicle is currently inoperable and has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were less than 101,0000.

- Bayside, NY, USA

problem #57

Jun 012009

Altima

  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the catalytic converter was not working properly and the parts damaged his engine. The vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 03V084000; however, the failure continued. Debris from the catalytic converter entered the engine and caused more damage. The failure and current mileages were less than 103,000.

- Troy, TN, USA

problem #56

Feb 112009

Altima

  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. While the vehicle was at a service center, the technician observed that the engine oil reservoir was empty. An oil change was performed on the vehicle at that time. One week later, the reservoir was empty again. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and they stated that the catalytic converter failed. The vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe) in 2004, but the recall has not corrected the issue. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 100,000.

- Plainsboro, NJ, USA

problem #55

Dec 122008

Altima

  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact received a recall notice for NHTSA campaign id number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe). The recall repair was performed in July of 2004; however, the failure is recurring due to the catalytic converter. The failure could cause an engine fire. The contact feels that the vehicle is unsafe to drive. The current mileage was 100,000 and failure mileage was 85,000.

- St. Paul, MN, USA

problem #54

Mar 282008

Altima

  • 149,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. While driving at various speeds, the vehicle feels as if it will shut off, but it remains running. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic, who stated that there may be recalls on her vehicle. The manufacturer stated that there were four open recalls on her vehicle and advised her to go to a dealer for the recall repair. The repair was made, but the failure continued. The contact returned to her local mechanic and the oxygen sensor was removed. The mechanic discovered that the catalytic converter had shattered into pieces as explained in NHTSA campaign id number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe). The failure mileage was 149,000.

- Middletown, NY, USA

problem #53

Apr 152008

Altima 4-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
'service engine soon' light came on & would go on & off for the past 3-4 months. I took the car to a dealer due to a recall notice about something else and the dealer said the catalytic converter needed replaced. The exhaust system should not be failing on this car. When picking up the part from the dealer, the dealership told my father that they keep this part (exhaust manifold) in stock B/C they replace so many of them. My dad asked if they were going to recall the part, the Nissan service mgr said no. The catalytic converter should not be cracking or needing to be replaced. I got the part ($400) and my mechanic is fixing it today.

- Lenexa, KS, USA

problem #52

Nov 262007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles
Massive oil loss which causes numerous problems, C02 censor, catalytic converter goes out, head lights went out, car shakes and rattles. Plug wires, spark plugs all needed to be replaced.

- Muskogee, OK, USA

problem #51

Apr 042008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 110,000 miles
Car misfiring, took it to Nissan dealer was told that power valve screws located in the intake manifold became loose in to engine damaging #3 spark plug head cylinder and precat dealer estimate repair over $3,000.contacted Nissan Corp for assistance with no luck, recalls for the same problem on 04 and 05 but not for mine 02 or 03 although the engine is the same, and alot of complaints. Thank you.

- Haymarket, VA, USA

problem #50

Nov 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact noticed that the engine was using more oil than usual. While at the dealer for a 60,000 mile inspection, the mechanic stated that the catalytic converter failed. The catalytic converter was replaced; however, oil was able to enter into the engine valve and eventually the engine will also need to be replaced. The contact stated that he purchased the vehicle new and the manufacturer built the vehicle with a defected catalytic converter. The manufacturer stated that the contact will receive a call back from a regional specialist. It has been over a month and she has not received a call. The powertrain was unknown. The current mileage was 61,000 and failure mileage was 58,000.

- State College, PA, USA

problem #49

Jul 092007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. In 2007, the contact's vehicle burned 1 quart of oil per month. Within the last few months, the vehicle has begun to burn 1 quart of oil per week. A local mechanic inspected the vehicle and stated that the oil was burning through the catalytic converter, which caused debris to flow back into the engine. The contact was informed that the vehicle needed a new engine or should be sold. She received a recall notice and took the vehicle to the dealer for repair, but was informed that the service could not be performed because the error code for the catalytic code appeared. A local mechanic informed the contact of a service bulletin and NHTSA campaign id number 03V084. The mechanic advised her to check with the dealer to find out if the vehicle had previously been repaired. The manufacturer stated that the service had already been performed by the previous owner. The dealer wanted to assist, but the manufacturer would not let the dealer perform the service. The failure mileage was 95,000 and current mileage was 105,000.

- Fort Walton Beach, FL, USA

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