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
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
80,595 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #13

Jan 202016


  • 129,000 miles


I have a 2002 Nissan Altima that I took to get inspected. The car failed inspection due to heavy corrosion in the floor boards. The inspection station indicated that they could not pass inspection because the car was unsafe and any passengers foot could push thru the floor boards. I contacted the local Nissan dealership, however, they indicated that there are no recalls for this VIN # and could not fix the issue in house. It will need to go to a body shop. When I got off the phone with the dealership, I searched the internet and discovered this to be a design issue with the floor pan not draining properly. There is a class action lawsuit for Nissan Altima owners, just wanted to see if there was something that your organization may be able to help out with. Please let me know something on this. Thank you.

- Harrisonburg, VA, USA

problem #12

Sep 182015


  • 105,000 miles
I was involed in an accident going around 40 mph when the collision happened. My entire front end of my car was crushed to and beyond the radiator, as well as the hood bent like an a shape. None of my air bags deployed at all and Nissan has not contacted me after there first email saying someone would be in contact with me within 2 to 3 days. I was driving in the right lane on a two lane road when a vehicle from the left lane moved over right in front of me and locked up their brakes for no reason. I didn't even have time to hardly hit my brakes before we colliding. The was a police report and everything, but know they cant find the driver of the other vehicle and I cant get Nissan to talk to me about why my airbags would not work at a crash at that speed. This took place in a city. I still have not gotten any police report or anything and its been almost a month. Im having doctor bills pile up and don't know what to do.

- Georgetown, IN, USA

problem #11

Aug 042015


  • 200,000 miles
Well one day I was going grocery shopping and we get to the store take the key out the ignition lock the car up. So when I come out the grocery store get in the car my ignition was like it was locking up on me. So I played with the ignition for about a hour then finally my car turned over. Now its a brand new start and ignition switch on there and it keeps doing the same thing I really thing this is a safety problem or there should be a recall on this.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #10

Mar 012015


  • 119,500 miles


Purchased vehicle pre-owned, seller appeared honest & truthful about the vehicle, however after about 2 weeks of ownership I noticed high oil consumption, probably about a quart a week, ,didnt think much about it, except that I probably have bad rings, or leaking intake valves/seals and would require costly engine daughter came home one day and mentioned the car wouldnt go over 15 mph, so I took it for a ride & as she said, intermittantly the vehicle would only go 15-20 mph, rendering the car unsafe to drive, ,when I got back with the car I opened the hood only to see the front catalytic converter was glowing bright orange and no exhaust exiting the tailpipe, ,,I know enough about cars to know that can only mean the converter is clogged solid, ,,,inquired at a local Nissan dealer what the warranty was on the the cat and they said it was 8 yrs,80K miles, ,,did some research on the web and find out theres a recall on it, the cat coming apart & pieces of it getting sucked up into the intake causing catastrophic engine damage, ,,Nissan was replacing the cats, installing heat shields, and replacing engines to to the defect of the cat, ,,,,dealer says he cant help me, ,,,,check the web, its an ongoing problem with the Altima as well as the Sentra, ,,this is something that Nissan knows is an issue and should take care of this..

- Medford, NY, USA

problem #9

Apr 182014


  • 124,000 miles
When retrieving my car after an oil change the mechanic asked me if I knew the passenger side floor board is rusting and falling apart. He took a piece that came lose and showed it to me. After checking complaints on this I found several not just for the passenger side but also the driver side floor boards. I have smelled exhaust as well.

- Monroe, OH, USA

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problem #8

Nov 062014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 143,000 miles
My car is burning 3 quarts of oil evry 2 weeks..I tryd replacing parts..using different oil..nothing works..I looked online to get some ideas of what the problem might be..but most people with the same model have the same problem and still haven't found a answer.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #7

Jun 112011


  • 93,535 miles


This complaint is a continuation of your investigation PE02078. Nissan only addressed a part of the problem by recalling cat converters. However, this did not solve the problem as the engines were damaged causing excessive oil consumption. The problem is all connected but they didn't replaced the engines which has since been upgraded. Here's a link to the number of complaints even after the recalled parts were replaced (keeping in mind that not everyone makes a report). Nissan knew that this problem was connected but they only addressed a part of it. As you review the complaints, you will see that their recall did not solve the problem. Some had this excessive oil consumption problem as early as 20-40K miles. I think Nissan should replace the engines, along with a new converter and manifold. If the whole thing is not replaced the problem will continue to repeat itself as one part will cause the other to fail. A new engine for this car is roughly $2900 + taxes, manifold $500 installed, not sure of the cost for the converter. I am not bashing the company, I have owned a Nissan for 16yrs with no problems other than normal wear and tear. Replacing the engine is something they know they should have done but only choose to address a part of the problem. I plead that you investigate this as there are many people upset and angry because they did not get a full and proper resolution from the company. Again this problem is directly related to the previous issue. The debris from the cat gets sucked up into the engine and damages the cylinder wall causing excessive oil consumption and eventual engine failure. I had to refill (not add) my car with oil every 200 miles driven.

- Bellevue, NE, USA

problem #6

Aug 162010


  • 133,500 miles
My daughter had complained of the clutch in her car loosing pressure and basically dropping to the floor, interfering with her ability to shift gears, and it sometimes lurching forward on occasions when this happens. In August 2010, she was sitting at a stop light, in first gear with her foot on the clutch when this occurred, causing the car to jump forward into the back of another vehicle. At the time, I felt that her foot may have slipped off the clutch instead, until it lost pressure again a couple of days ago while driving in the mountains. I started researching on the internet and discovered that many people have had the same problem with this vehicle model exhibiting very similar behavior. When this happens in traffic it's dangerous, because it can lurch by itself or you may not be able to shift into gear to move out of the way of oncoming vehicles, like if you're crossing traffic. It also inhibits the ability to downshift when going downhill. Nissan does not recognize this as a manufacturing problem, although many people have badgered the dealerships into replacing the clutch master cylinder and/or slave cylinder under warranty, and Nissan has not had a recall for the problem. Mine is way out of warranty, so my only recourse is to file a formal complaint so that hopefully others will not become involved in an accident as a result of faulty parts or fluid being used in the clutch system. The general consensus is that the master cylinder is allowing air, and/or moisture, to enter the system, but moreover, the dot 3 fluid that is used seems to be the major factor in the failure, where as dot 4 or 5.1 should be used instead. I have not done any repair to the car since she has it at school, but I will have it fixed as soon as I get it back home.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #5

Jun 012004

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Problems with 2002 Nissan Altima. The consumer was not listed as the owner of the vehicle as the dealer did not change the name. The consumer cannot get assisted with the recalls issued for her vehicle.

- San Clemente, CA, USA

problem #4

Apr 152003


  • Manual transmission
  • 200 miles
Cutch pedal did not return while driving after the third day I purchased. I brought the car back to the dealer (wondries Nissan in city of alhambra)try to solve the problems (four times). They kept saying they couldn't duplicate the problems. One day the clutch started having some sort of noise everytime I stepped on it and I brought it back to wondries Nissan and they finally fixed it after four five months I got the vehicle.

- Alhambra, CA, USA

problem #3

Mar 132002

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Exact date of initial incident not known. My center console was in use while highway driving behind a commercial vehicle in the far right hand lane. Debris fell onto the road and in an effort to avoid it, I swerved to the left. This action placed more of my weight on the consule and it collapsed. When it did so, I fell to the right away from the steering wheel and placed additional pressure on the gas pedel nearly sending myself into the median and possibly flipping over. I did manage to compensate and avoided an accident but was very shackened and had to pullover to compose myself. Since then the consule has been replaced 3 times. The parts department has acknowledged that this should be looked at by Nissan and the service department advised me I use the center console incorrectly and no presure or weight was ment to be placed on this component. In my 30 years driving I have driven many cars with consols and have never encountered this problem. I am of average height and weight and do not believe that I have caused this problem and that a console should stand up to average use.

- Wesly Chapel, FL, USA

problem #2

Jun 242002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The instrument panel is not visible enough for consumer to quickly and safely check the gauges while operating vehicle in daylight. A glance at the instrument panel should be all that is needed to check the gauges. This is not the case. Consumer feels this is a safety hazard that could result in danger if one has to stare longer than a brief momment in checking the gauge temperatures.

- Benicia, CA, USA

problem #1

Mar 262002

(reported on)


  • miles
Reflections of dashboard into windshield on vehicles with frost interior color are hazardous and excessively obscure drivers vision at all times, pedestrians and other vehicles are sometimes impossible to see. Nlm

- Everett, WA, USA

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