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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
35,514 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #33

May 012013

Altima

  • 60,000 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 there was a haze covering the headlights on the vehicle. An independent mechanic cleaned the headlights, but the failure recurred multiple times. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #32

Feb 192008

Altima

  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. Initially, the rear seat belts on both sides of the vehicle would not release on an intermittent basis. Currently, they do not work at all. The dealer has not yet been notified. The front driver and passenger side headlamps dim on their own; however, the instrument control panel show them as being activated. NHTSA campaign id number 073054000 (exterior lighting:headlights) was referenced. The contact received a ticket due to the headlamp failure. The current mileage was 96,791 and failure mileage was 95,000.

- Callahan, FL, USA

problem #31

Aug 022007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles
My 2002 Nissan Altima vehicle was taken in for service at bob bell Chevrolet Nissan, 7900 eastern avenue, baltimore, Maryland, 21224, on Thursday, August 2, 2007. It was brought in for servicing of all the vehicles' recalls, a soft grinding noise that could be heard when turning the steering wheel and low freon levels for air conditioning. On Friday afternoon, August 3, 2007 around 5pm, I was contacted by the service department and strongly advised to pick up the vehicle before the service division closed at 6pm. The dealership stated that all recalls and issues had been resolved and completed. I picked the vehicle up around 5:45pm and proceeded to travel home. After only fifteen minutes, the vehicle engine started to smoke profusely. The engine started shaking harder and harder and a loud rattling noise could be heard from within the engine. The teenage passenger in the vehicle began to vomit and her eyes started swelling due to the volume of fumes expelled from the cars engine through the ventilation and into the car. I immediately pulled over (3700 eastern blvd.) and rushed to get her out of the seat where she continued to vomit once outside the vehicle. The dealership now denies ever seeing smoke from the engine (see attach.), as well as, denied causing damage to my car that potentially resulted in the engine smoking. The vehicle was picked up on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 with the engine rattling uncontrollably even after being returned a second time to the dealership. The vehicle cut off while attempting to de-accelerate at a red light the following day. Uncertainty surrounds whether the vehicle will cut off again while de-accelerating proving it hazardous to drive, whether the vehicles five recalls where all properly addressed, and if the engine will start smoking again.

- Baltimore, MH, USA

problem #30

Jul 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

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

Defective headlamps. Clip melts from high heat, bulb loses contact. Requires replacement of entire assembly, or if not, removal of front bumper just to replace bulb. First time occurred at night on a highway -- went to auto parts store but could not access to change the bulb. Dealer charged two hours to pull front bumper -- only took one hour. Cost of replacing bulb about $260. Bulb by itself is less than $30.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #29

Jul 012007

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Continual failure of low beam headlamps on 2002 Nissan Altima SE. Have replaced lamp numerous times. Bad ground contact. Due to failure of lamp, have had to drive at night either with one headlamp, or with high beams on.

- Freeport, FL, USA

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problem #28

Mar 232006

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles
: the contact stated the air bag light on the dash flashed constantly. There is a safety improvement campaign, # 02I001000, regarding the air bag. The vehicle has the same problems as indicated in the safety improvement campaign; however it is not included in the safety improvement campaign due to the VIN. Updated 4/17/2006 - the vehicle was taken to a dealer who indicated that eh air bag was defective. The dealer refused any assistance because the vehicle was 2000 mile out of warranty. The check engine light illuminated. The dealer found antifreeze leaking into the cylinders. The driver's side low beam headlamp was inop. The tech replaced the right side headlight bulb. Radiator leaked coolant. The heater blew out cool air when the vehicle was stopped. The tech found an air pocket in the coolant system. Replaced clutch assembly. Cylinder head gasket was replaced.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #27

Jun 152005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

The driver's side headlight in my 2002 Altima went out and now the whole headlight assembly has to be replaced. The bulb has somehow melted the assembly around it. As I have seen in previous complaints, this is a very expensive problem to fix when all the while it was a manufacturer defect. I would like to know what Nissan plans to do about this continuing problem, if anything.

- Vancleave, MS, USA

problem #26

Oct 112004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,087 miles
The first thing was the oxygen sensor. Then the oxygen sensor again. The dealership fixed the problem. Mext there was, and still is, the jerking transmission. When driving in rush hour traffic or driving on the open highway, the trans shifts hard comming out of first into second. I have taken this car into several Nissan dealerships and to this day, no one has found the problem. They keep telling me that this is normal. I have driven other Altima including several rentals while mine wasin the shop and they didn't shift like mine. The next problem is those headlights. They have replaced one of my light asemblies an great river Nissan but the other has not been replaced. Next, there was the heater coil that leaked and it took almost 6 months to determine because it didn't leak inside the car. Next there was the ignition coils that were replaced 2X within a week and still caused the check engine light to come on. After the ignition problem the mechanics at sterling mccall Nissan told my that it was my sparkplugs that had hust been checked about 2 weeks prior at great river Nissan in Mississippi. I went back to the dealership and invited the service man to a nice long ride. After driving about 20 miles, I stopped the car and le it sit for about 5 minutes. The car started and he smiled. He said, "see there is nonthing wrong." After explaining that he needed to let the car set for a while and then try to start it, he said that it is still going to start.after sitting for about 2 hours, I asked the service man to step outside and lets giv the car a start... to no suprise, when I turned the key the car puttered, spitted, jerked, and everything else but started. It was determined the next morning that there was a blown head gasket that could have been caused by the catalyst that was just replaced due to a recall.

- Missouri City, TX, USA

problem #25

Jan 202005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
I too have had problems with front headlights in '02 Nissan Altima. Replaced the driver's side bulb only once; and the passenger side 3 times. Lights will work fine for awhile then intermittently; and then not at all. Contacted the dealership & was told I would need to replace entire light assembly & not just the bulbs because the housing melts. Replacement of assembly without paying the dealership would be difficult (if not impossible) because it requires the removal of the front bumper. If we could repair it ourselves, the cost for the part alone is still $188. This is obviously an issue in the '02's - newer models have been redesigned using metal to address this problem; unfortunately, it has been at the consumer's expense.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #24

May 192005

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
2002 Nissan Altima headlight assembly needed to be replaced. The heat from the headlight melted the terminals which caused the malfunction of the headlights were not working. The consumer requested reimbursement.

- Central Islip, NY, USA

problem #23

Jun 152005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles

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

I really do not know what is going on but I really rhought that I was the only person experiencing those headlight problems. I have changed my passenger side bulb 10 times and the driver side 5 times. It is extremely difficult to get to and it is very time consuming. From reading the complaints on this site, it is obvious that the dealership wont take care of repairing the problem since my car has 64000 miles on there. I am frustrated and I have spent alot of money in changing these stupid blubs, not to mention time. On the 15 of this month will make it the 11th time that I have had to change the passenger bulb. On the 6 of June the driver's side went out. I am wondering if it is an electrical problem.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #22

May 272005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
VIN#[xxx] miles: 50,372 on 15 May 2002, he low beam light on the passenger side of my vehicle went out. After trying a couple of times, low beam came back on.(sometimes it worked, other times it didn't) a week later the driver side low beam was out as well. The advance auto store clerk told me that they couldn't replace the bulb for me because the parts had to be removed to get to the bulb. A local Nissan dealer recommended that I bring the car in and gave me a quote of $45 ea. Headlight. He advised me of an ongoing defect with the 02 Nissan Altima headlight that involved the heat from the bulb melting the panel around it. He said that if this was the case, then the additional part would be $85 plus. This part would prevent further damage. After taking my car in to the dealer, I received a call back advising me that the damaged caused by the heat was beyond repair and the entire headlight assembly had to be replaced on both sides. He then gave me a quote of over $700. (beyond belief) I questioned as to why this was not a recall" he didn't have an answer so immediately I called nissanusa at 800-647-7261.tammy took my complaint, and she gave me a reference number [xxx]. she assured me that I would receive a call back in reference my issue by cob 31 May 05. I have yet to receive a response from anyone. I have made several attempts to call, however, I could not get through to talk with someone about this matter. My car is barely 3 years old and not longer under warranty. I have been faithful in getting all of my services as required. I would like to know why this wasn't told to me while my car was still under warranty. Considering that this is a safety issue, why hasn't there been a recall" unfortunately, I had to pay the unexpected discounted $617.71 that was originally quoted at $45 each. This payment was indeed a hardship. Any assistance that you can grant me in resolving this matter will be greatly appreciated [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #21

Apr 222005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles
Both the driver side and passenger side halogen headlight would work intermittently before finally going out for good. When I brought the car to the dealer (herb gordon Nissan), I was informed that the back of the halogen headlamp was plastic had the headlamp overheated which melted the plastic back to the headlamp causing the lamp to blow. I was told that no recall has been issued therefore it would not be covered by the dealer. This is clearly a manufactures defect and a recall notice should be issued. It cost me over $700 to replace the entire halogen housing units. I was told the replacement halogen housing unit is now metal and will not melt. This is now the twentieth complaint about this problem. How many complaints will it take before a recall notice is issued?

- Burtonsville, MD, USA

problem #20

Feb 172005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Passenger low/beam headlight went out-took it to raceway Nissan-was told the ground wire clip that holds the bulb melted, created the bulb to burn out-was told the entire headlamp assembly needed to be replaced and woud cost $296. I had someone else fix the problem for just $40!-it's obvious that there is a defect in the housing unit that causes the light to burn out. Although there are so many complaints for the same problem, with the same year and model - Nissan refuses to aknowledge the fact that it's a safety issue that should be recalled. I live in a very dark neighborhood and I really need both headlights to work for safety issues. Nissan does not want to take the responsibility for their factory defect headlamp housing unit - that is the 'reason' why Nissan changed the design of the headlamp housing unit for in 2003. What is it going to take for Nissan to pay attention to all these complaints? I will never purchase another vehicle from Nissan ever again!!, I should have stayed with Honda.

- Nuevo, CA, USA

problem #19

Jan 202004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving at night driver was informed by a police officer that the headlights were inoperative. Vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection, and mechanic determined that the headlights blew out, and the bulbs needed to be replaced, and replaced. Them. However, the problem recurred, and the vehicle was taken back to the dealer. Then, mechanic determined that the headlight assembly needed to be replaced.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #18

Feb 042005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles
I have a 2002 Nissan Altima. My passenger headlight had gone out. I took my car to the dealer because I could not figure out how to get to the bulb to replace it. The dealer told me that the backside housing had melted and I needed a new headlight assembly. The dealer told me that the light/bulb reflects off of the back of the headlight assembly and shines out. Apparently, the heat from the light/bulb had gotten so hot it melted the backside housing (where it is grounded). There is no way to tell if this will happen to my other headlight, whether it will happen to my new headlight, or if it will happen to both lights. In my mind, this is a safety issue. Also, I am not the only person who this has happened to (according to two dealers). I am concerned that the bulb could get so hot as to melt something else in the car. I do not know much about how cars are assembled and about car engines, but what if the heat from the bulb could melt further into the car, or even start a fire? the chance of more damage to a car occurring from a hot light bulb should be investigated. It seems there is a flaw in the design of the light or of the materials used. I think the 2002 and 2003 Altima have the same type of headlight assembly and Nissan changed the headlights in later models. I no longer leave my automatic headlight switch on for fear of the bulb getting too hot. Please investigate and, if there is a flaw, get Nissan to take care of it.

- Thompsons Station, TN, USA

problem #17

May 152002

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles
Headlight problems.

- Powder Springs, GA, USA

problem #16

Feb 042004

Altima

  • miles
I have a serious problem with the front struts of my 2002 Nissan Altima. Everytime I drive over a washboard or speeding bump, the struts make a popping sound as if a hammer is hitting underneath the vehicle. As a matter of fact, any sort of irregularities from the road causes such noises. If you take time to go to 3rd generation Altima forums, you will realize tons of people going through my same situation. Please, if anyone from Nissan is reading this, you should know the Altima has it's faults, fix them!!!!!

- Kissimmee, FL, USA

problem #15

Feb 012005

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,427 miles
The driver's side headlight went out and the bulb was replaced. Approximately 1 month later, the passenger's side headlight went out and the bulb was replaced. The bulb replacements were done at a local mechanic shop to avoid driving in the dark without a headlight. He charged me $70 to replace each light versus $145 that the dealership was going to charge for each light. About 1 month after the last replacement, the driver's side headlight went out again. I took the car to the dealership to find that the entire headlight fixtures were defective. According to the service advisor, something was melting the base of the light bulb causing them only to last a couple of months before going out again. I was also told that several other vehicles (of the same year, make and model) had been brought in for the same problem, but not enough for a recall. I was also told that the dealership would have covered the expenses under 60,000 miles, which I think was irrelevant if this was happening on other vehicles. I believe that this is a very dangerous problem, and should be addressed. I travel a lot, and I could have been in a unfamiliar area at night with no headlights!!

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #14

Jan 282005

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I brought my 2002 Nissan Altima to woodbury Nissan to have the drivers-side headlight replaced. I was told by the service manager that I needed a whole new assembly around the headlight because it melted. The total cost is $305. I will have my car 3 years at the end of this month but I am over my mileage. My car has 43,000 miles. I was told by josh hill at woodbury Nissan that it now comes with a metal part to correct the issue.

- Mantua, NJ, USA

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