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.

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.

2.3

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,695 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 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #28

Mar 152006

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima with a 2.5 liter engine. The contact stated that the check engine light illuminated on two occasions. The first failure occurred approximately in March of 2006 and again in may of 2009. She found NHTSA campaign id number 03V084000 on the internet and realized that she was experiencing the same issues with her vehicle; however, the dealer stated that her VIN was not included in the recall. In 2006, the dealer stated that the catalytic converter was clogged and charged $1,000 to have it replaced. A recall notice in 2002 did not state that it was related to a VIN at that time. The recall was later amended in 2006 and 2008 to pertain to a specific VIN. In may of 2009, while driving 20 mph, the check engine light illuminated again and black smoke and oil poured out of the tail pipe. The dealer stated that the catalytic converter and engine needed to be replaced because the engine had consumed oil. The vehicle can be driven as long as the oil does not leak. An independent technician stated that it was unusual for the catalytic converter to be replaced this frequently. The first failure mileage was 60,000 and the recent failure and current mileages were 129,000. Updated 062909 updated 07/02/09.

- Chattahoochee , FL, USA

problem #27

Jan 122009

Altima 4-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact experienced an issue with her catalytic converter. When she took the vehicle in for emissions testing, she was informed that the catalytic converter was faulty and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer stated that there was no recall for this issue. The failure mileage was 114,000. Updated 06/10/09 updated 06/11/09 updated 06/30/09. The consumer wanted to know the status of his/her complaint. Updated 03/01/10 updated 03/05/10

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #26

Mar 012009

Altima

  • 104,000 miles
A month or so ago, the check engine light went on and I took it to the Nissan dealership for diagnosis. My car is a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S, 104,000 miles and the mechanic stated it needs a catalytic converter and possibly a new engine. 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 that recall has not corrected the issue. The vehicle has not been repaired yet. This is ridiculous- there are hundreds, if not thousands of exact failures and no recall"?" Nissan should be investigated for not repairing the matter. The small fix in 2004 did nothing to avert the long term issue. The maintenance records to this car are impeccable. Oil changes documents every 3000-5000 miles using top grade synthetic synpower motor oil. There is no reason for this type of failure aside from design flaws.

- Richmond, KY, USA

problem #25

Mar 132008

Altima

  • 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 her catalytic converter will not pass inspection and needs to be replaced. The dealer stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe), although the failures were identical. The contact is in the process of having the vehicle repaired. The failure mileage was unknown and current mileage was 118,000. Updated 05/08/09. Updated 05/08/09.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #24

Jun 122008

Altima

  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that her vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe). Several months later, she noticed that her vehicle began consuming an abnormal amount of oil and the engine warning indicator was illuminated on the instrument panel. The dealer stated that the catalytic converter would need to be replaced at the cost of $900. The vehicle has not been repaired and the manufacturer did not assist. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 85,000. Updated 02-11-09 the consumer stated the catalytic converter was placed too close to the exhaust. Updated 02/12/09.

- Hinckley, OH, USA

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problem #23

Dec 192008

Altima

  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the check engine indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. He took the vehicle to the gas station from where the vehicle was purchased and they referred him to a dealer. The dealer performed an oil consumption test and discovered that the vehicle lost three quarts of oil after 630 miles. The dealer stated that the vehicle was outside of the warranty; therefore, they could not assist. The manufacturer stated that they could not assist due to the expired warranty. The current and failure mileages were approximately 103,000. Updated 3/19/09 the consumer stated the problem was due to a defective catalytic converter installed as original equipment. Material from the defective catalytic converter has damaged the engine causing excessive oil consumption. Updated 03/26/09.

- North Easton, MA, USA

problem #22

Nov 132008

Altima

  • 87,000 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 catalytic converter needed to be replaced. The check engine indicator illuminated and the dealer stated that it needed to be replaced. The engine was damaged; however, the dealer did not know the severity. The Nissan manufacturer stated that there was a recall for the catalytic converter, but the vehicle was never repaired according to the recall. The recall was actually from 2003, and that the dealer said that there was engine damage and that the engine would have to be replaced. This syptom was also stated on the recall notice (the catalytic convertor and the engine would need to be replaced). The contact stated that there was no failure with the catalytic converter, which is why he never took it in for repair. He also completed a claim with Nissan, but he received a denial letter for the repairs. The failure mileage was 87,000. Updated 02/10/09 updated 02/11/09.

- Kulpmont, PA, USA

problem #21

Jul 172008

(reported on)

Altima

  • miles
2002 Nissan Altima recall for catalytic converter. Consumer states that the mechanic stated that the vehicle is not safe for the road. Dealer says they can't do anything due to the fact that the consumer is over the 80,000 warranty. The consumer was told by the dealer, the catalytic converter was too close to the transmission which could cause heat build-up and break down the catalyst which could cause pieces to spray back into the engine.

- Unkown, DC, USA

problem #20

Feb 152008

Altima

  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The service engine light began illuminating intermittently and then remained lit. When starting the vehicle and taking off, the vehicle made a strange noise and jerked as if something were slipping. Once the vehicle gained speed, the noise stopped. The dealer stated that the following components needed to be replaced: The catalytic converter, two major sensors, and the heating and air conditioning systems. The vehicle was burning oil on the inside of the engine, which caused it to fail. The vehicle could have an oil change and then four days later, the oil would have burned out completely. NHTSA campaign id numbers 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/ header/muffler/tail pipe), 07V527000 (engine and engine cooling), and 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling were referenced. The current mileage was 116,000 and failure mileage was 50,000. Updated 06/05/08 the driver side power mirror was replaced, the gear selector was sticking. The cylinder head, gasket radiator and thermostat were replaced. Were replaced. Updated 06/04/08

- Hoffman Estates , IL, USA

problem #19

Oct 012007

Altima

  • miles
2002 Nissan Altima problems with the engine consuming oil. Consumer states that her VIN and production date is not in the service campaign for the problem. Therefore the dealer told her they cannot fix her vehicle. The consumer she took the vehicle to a repair shop after she noticed the vehicle began to loose oil and the vehicle made a rough idling sound. The mechanic informed the consumer that the catalytic converter had gone bad, and being that it was attached to the engine, the engine would need to be replaced. The mechanic also stated that oil and other debris had extracted back into the engine block which caused the pistons to grind on broken converter pieces.

- Lancaster, SC, USA

problem #18

Feb 162008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

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

I purchased a new 2002 Nissan Altima that falls within NHTSA recall # 03V-084 (campaign id# R3007, R3014, R3015, R3016 & R3017). The recall campaign (ntb03-070B) was done in 2003 with approximately 20,000 miles on the vehicle. However, sometime before 95,000 miles on the car, a failure of the pre-cat occurred with exactly the same symptoms as described in the recall campaign bulletin. Material from inside the pre-catalyst entered the cylinders and resulted in high oil consumption and now Nissan is recommending a new engine. This demonstrates that the recall campaign was not sufficient to solve the problem with the car or the dealer did not follow the recommended procedures. Even with a new catalyst there is still a high likelihood of another failure and possible fire as noted in the recall campaign bulletin.

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #17

Jan 152008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,777 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. While driving 10 mph, the check engine light illuminated on the instrument control panel. The contact took his vehicle to a local mechanic and they stated that an error code appeared for the catalytic converter. The mechanic stated that the failure was caused by the same issued outlined in NHTSA campaign id number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe). The manufacturer stated that the engine needed to be replaced. An authorized dealer stated that the vehicle was previously repaired for that recall in March of 2004. The vehicle has not been repaired. The contact filed a formal complaint with the manufacturer. The failure and current mileages were 136,777. Updated 03-04-09 updated 03/05/09.

- Sommerville, MA, USA

problem #16

Dec 282007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles
Nissan Altima have an engine flaw that Nissan is aware of and refuses to correct.

- Coppell, TX, USA

problem #15

Jan 232004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,930 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). Three years later, the contact stated that she smelled smoke underneath the vehicle. The local dealer stated that the catalytic converter was completely destroyed, which was causing the oil to burn. She took her vehicle to an authorized dealer and they stated that they would not assist because her vehicle exceeded the warranty. The contact filed a complaint with the manufacturer. The purchase date was unknown. The failure mileage was 67,930 and current mileage was 143,000. The consumer stated initially car was burning oil not leaking then heavy smoke was exiting the exhaust. Updated 12/19/07

- Waretown, NJ, USA

problem #14

Nov 242007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles
I've recently heard loud noises in the engine of my 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S. I took it to a mechanic and was told the engine needed to be replaced because the precatalytic converter broke apart and was sucked into my engine. He also told me this was inevitable in all the 2002, 2003 Altima's because the placement of the pre catalytic converter was so close to the engine that the heat disintegrated the converter which gets sucked into the engine. Nissan's website claims that they have been working on addressing this issue since March 2003 yet nothing is being done. Nissan has told me since my car is outside the warranty they will not assist me in purchasing a new engine.

- New Hyde Park, NY, USA

problem #13

Oct 102007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact heard a loud knocking noise coming from the engine compartment. The dealer stated that the engine was consuming a lot of oil due to the catalytic converter and the engine needed to be replaced. The manufacturer stated that the VIN was affected by NHTSA campaign id number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe); however, the recall was closed and the repair could not be made. The current and failure mileages were 96,000.

- Conway , AR, USA

problem #12

Jul 172007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles
2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S 77,000 miles. July 2006 took a road trip to Chicago, when we arrived the check engine light came on. We took it to the dealership and we were informed that the catalytic converter had gone bad. It was replace under warranty. Prior to that we notice that there was no heat while the car was idling, rough starts, "whooshing" noise under the dash. July 2007 check engine light came on, took it to the dealership, multi-cylinder misfire, coolant in cylinder 3, which was the result of a leak in the head gasket which is going to cast $1500. This car only has 77,000 miles, why do we need to replace the head gasket so soon. Upon doing further research, I find that there are hundreds of other whose 2002 Altima had the same problems, same diagnosis (www.carsurvey.org). called Nissan Consumer Affairs, and there is nothing they can do about it.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #11

Jun 212007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The service engine warning indicator light illuminated. The dealer stated that the catalytic converter was sucked into the engine and a new engine was needed. The catalytic converter was replaced in August of 2005. The failure mileage was 99,000 and current mileage was 101,000. Updated 01-11-08. The consumer discovered a recall had been issued for the very same problem. The consumer was told the problem had been fixed, but obviously it wasn't fixed properly and the consumer had to pay for the repairs. The consumer stated the part has since failed. Updated 12/31/07.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #10

Aug 062007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles
At 6:30 pm I turned left out of a restaurant parking lot. There was plenty of time to cross traffic and enter the vacant turn lane. My 2002 Nissan Altima lost power leaving me in the path of oncoming traffic. Luckily, the approaching traffic was able to brake before hitting me broadside. In the previous two days the car had briefly lost power while driving on the highway. There were no near accidents on these occasions. The problem was diagnosed as a faulty crankshaft sensor. It was replaced at our cost. This was the same part recalled in 2005. It was replaced then also. There was also a near accident before the first replacement. This part has failed twice, with near accidents. Both were potentially fatal. The dealer also performed a exhaust hanger recall on the vehicle. Updated 09/18/07

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #9

Jul 122007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. While driving 55 mph on a smooth surface, the tail pipe began to smoke. The check engine warning light illuminated prior to the failure. The vehicle was serviced for NHTSA recall # 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe) at 33,000 miles. The manufacturer stated that the failure was related to the recall, but they will not make the repair because it was previously repaired. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 107,000.

- Vernon, CT, USA

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