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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,541 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.

2003 Nissan Altima electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #42

Feb 172009


  • 87,000 miles


The failure occurred for the first time February 17,2009. I was driving down the road and the power to my 2003 Nissan Altima SE 3.5 completely cut out. I was stranded in the middle of the road with a service engine light, the battery light, oil light and brake light all on. I tried to re-start my car and it would not start. I was finally able to get it into neutral. At first the engine turned over like it wanted to start but it did not immediately start. After the 3rd attempt it started up. I was able to make it to my destination 5 minutes down the road before anything else happened. I am very lucky and was not rear ended. When I pulled into my parking spot the same thing happened. This time it took about 5 attempts to get it to restart. The car was taken to our local repair shop and I was told it is a crank/cam position sensor. We replaced this item at a cost of $185.21. My husband did an internet search and found out Nissan usa did a recall on 2002 and early 2003 Nissan Altima's for the crank/cam position sensor. I contacted Nissan to find out if my car was included in this recall and was informed I was not. I explained to them that this problem is a hazard to motorists and it should be addressed by Nissan. I was given a file #6422418 and that was all they could do for me. Meanwhile I have investigated to see if others have had this problem and it appears to be wide spread among the Nissan Altima's and some maximas. It is also not just an issue with the 2002-2003 models but extends up to the 2005 models. Most of the consumers have either made a complaint with Nissan or the better business bureau-automotive line. Nissan did make a recall on the 2005 Nissan Altima for the ECM which just resets the "check engine light" but still does not address the issue of the crank/cam position sensor. Some of these consumers have spent up to $500 to get this sensor fixed.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #41

Jan 062009


  • 41,500 miles
I have had the service engine soon light come on and twice I have had the crank shaft sensor replaced in the last 6 months. Periodically my car will stall, sometimes when I am moving, and other times it is really hard to start. I have only 42000 miles on my car. I wrote a letter to Nissan and have not heard back from them. I took my car to the local dealership and asked her about the 2006 recall I found on line and she told me my VIN number did not fall under the recall and the problems I was experiencing were coincidental. That doesn't even begin to make sense to me. What can be done to have this ongoing problem resolved? it's obvious it is happening to numerous Nissan Altima owners.

- Eastlake, OH, USA

problem #40

Oct 062008


  • 60,000 miles
I have a Nissan Altima 2003 3.5 with 60,000 miles and it just turned off on me and when I was able to turn it back on if wont drive more than 5 miles left it unused and when the mechanic came he turned the car on took it to auto zone and they said its the throttle control actuator this car does not have the miles for this part to be damaged.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #39

Sep 182006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 65 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact shifted into neutral, restarted the engine, and drove to her residence. She called the dealer and was informed that the vehicle was not being properly maintained. Later that week, the contact received a recall notice stating that the vehicle's electrical control module (ECM) needed to be reprogrammed. The vehicle was returned to the dealer and they reprogrammed the electrical control module. Immediately following the repair, the vehicle stalled again and the power steering became inoperable. She returned the vehicle to the dealer and they reprogrammed the ECM for the third time due to consistent stalling. Six months later, the stalling recurred. She called the dealer and was informed that the recall was satisfied and they were not liable for further repairs. A diagnostic test was performed at a local repair shop, which revealed that the crank shaft positioning sensor was defective. The mechanic informed her that the crank shaft positioning sensor was supposed to be repaired before reprogramming the ECM. The manufacturer stated that the vehicle was not included in any recalls for the crank shaft positioning system. The vehicle has not been repaired. The NHTSA campaign id number was unknown. The current mileage was 125,000 and failure mileage was 62,000. Updated 10-30-08 updated 11/03/08.

- Powder Spring , GA, USA

problem #38

Aug 062008


  • 65,000 miles
2003 Nissan Altima stalled and would not start in traffic at 40mph. Would not start for approximately 15-20 minutes. Situation was dangerous but no one hit us. Computer codes say crank position sensor and camshaft position sensor. If codes are cleared (and after vehicle cools) they reappear immediately at the stall point. Time to stall varies apparently with heat. 2003 Nissan are under voluntary recall for this problem. Nissan says this vehicle is not covered by the recall. It seems to me that it should be. This is identical to the problem described in the recall.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #37

May 102008


  • 62,486 miles
Car will not start at times, car will start and not idle past 1500 RPM's or drive over 5 miles an hour. Service engine soon light stays on. First I was told the anti theft in the cars computer system was causing the problem, next I was told the computer did not re-learn the setup. Next I was told it is a throttle position sensor. Tired of the same problem being blamed on different things and then re-occurring. This problem do to the speed of the car can cause serious hazards by not having the power to maintain the speed limits !

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #36

Jan 122008


  • 101,000 miles


I have had my Nissan Altima 2003 since may of that year. Starting a year ago I began to notice signals on my dash indicating check engine. I then was pulled over for a non working tail light. I had it fixed and a day later the bulb blew later. I changed the bulb three times before they issued a recall on that wire. Soon there after the check engine light would come on again now the car would shut off while sitting at the light. I then received another recall notice on the computer chip which causes a faulty signal to the starter. I took that in to get fixed. A month later the car would begin to shut off while I was moving. I took it back into Nissan, they exclaimed that there was nothing to fix. After the same occurence continued I then took it to other mechanics who would see that there was a faulty computer chip which needed to be replaced. In January of this year I paid about $1,800 in repairs and still the car would shut off while driving and I became scared to drive the car due to the severity. I then called customer care for Nissan which exclaims that I would have to have the car towed to them, pay $80 again to see what is wrong. There is another recall on the Nissan Altima, pertaining to the computer which causes the car not to run. They deny this and I am left paying for a car that does not work. I don't know what else to do, but I have met other owners who are experiencing the same problem.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #35

Jun 272008


  • miles
I have a 2003 Nissan Altima that when driving will cut off. This occurs at least 4 or 5 times while driving. I received notice that the car is under recalled. After taking my car to a diagnostic shop, it was determined that the codes matched the recalled part. Nissan dealership located at 2207 wake forest road, refuse to make the repair to the recalled part. The diagnostic test stated that the car was cutting off because of the recalled part and the dealership refused to make the repair claiming that I would have to pay first and then they would make the repair just in case other codes are found and if other codes are found I would have to pay to have them reset before they would fix the recalled repair. I have a daughter ( 3 years of age) and I am concerned that I will get hit causing both of us injury.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #34

Jan 202006

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,767 miles
On or about Jan. 20, 2006 while driving my vehicles' check engine light would come on and then the vehicle would cut off. We took it took it to fontana Nissan for repairs. The car was returned to us on Jan. 28, 2006. Maybe 2 - 3 hrs. After getting the vehicle, we were driving to L.a. area and the check engine light came on again. We called the service mgr. At fontana Nissan and he said to bring it back and they would look at it on the following mon. Well, we never made it back because while we were in route home (fontana) I lost control of the car while it was shutting off on the 91 fwy. To the 605 interchange. After the crash, the car was towed and the insurance company repaired the external damages (body work) but the internal was not fixed. Then in June 2006 while driving home, the car cut off again. Fontana Nissan said it was the battery. So we purchased a battery. I refused to drive the car because we feel that the next time we might not be so lucky. In Jan. 2007 there was a recall on the Nissan Altima for the same problem we had and consequently caused the crash. We were being represented by a law firm but as time passed our warranty expired. I am very afraid to drive the vehicle. Which I have not driven since 2006. I would really appreciate someone's help in this situation.

- Gardena, CA, USA

problem #33

Nov 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,280 miles
Check engine light. The code was crank sensor needs to be replaced. Car stops running when you are driving.

- Norcross, GA, USA

problem #32

Jan 072006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,767 miles


In January 2006 I began experiencing stalling episodes with my Nissan Altima 2003 while driving the car would without warning stall. This occurred more than once and twice happened on my way to work on I95. The dealer was not able to identify the issue until Feb 2007 (in the meantime I drove this unsafe car). In Feb 2006 a sensor was replaced that had been causing the problem. I paid close to $2,000 in unnecessary repairs and was charged for a rental car. I found today that Nissan is officially reporting my 2006 issue as a recall. While I'm very thankful that I was not seriously injured or had a car crash that resulted in anyone else being hurt by the unidentified recall at the time of my experience I would like to receive compensation for the funds that I paid and I'm not sure how you place a price tag on the car stalling several times and 2 of those times being on 195. I have received to date after months of working directly with Nissan and prior to today's announcement finally that Nissan is recognizing my issue as a recall and hopefully saving several future accidents and/or fatalities a small check for $550.11. Which comes nowhere near covering the monetary lose I suffered forget the mental anguish of the car stalling with no warning.

- Stratford, CT, USA

problem #31

Nov 102006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62 miles
2003 Nissan Altima was at the dealer for the recall ECM re program, after that down hill, dealer told me the code also called for a catalytic converter, the car stalled 15 times, one time I had to stay over night on a fast food place. Next day a mechanic changed the crank pos sensor, then called for another sensor similar on shape, then back to the dealer, this time the car accelerates for no reason, they try to charge me for the diagnostic(for catalytic aging) they told me it was not the catalytic converter (and I have that in writing) that I need a throttle ? chamber 959+ tax. Finally I think I make a mistake going in on the first place or the same issues the 2002 Altima had is repeating on the 2003 and Nissan is waiting for something real bad to happen, by the way, I call them about 6 times and no real solution just passing the buck.

- Brandon, FL, USA

problem #30

Sep 252007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the windows in her vehicle would not go up or down, the doors would not lock or unlock, and the driver seat would not move back and forth. The dealer stated that there was electrical failure, but could not determine the cause of failure. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling) and was repaired in January of 2007. The contact stated that her vehicle had no electrical failures before the recall repair was performed. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 42,000.

- Poughkeepsie , NY, USA

problem #29

Jan 012003

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the doors on her vehicle are getting jammed, making it impossible to exit the vehicle. The consumer must place the key in the ignition and quickly roll down the windows to open the door from the outside. She also stated that the vehicle was purchased brand new and has never been involved in a crash. The Nissan dealer wanted to charge her $400 to repair the vehicle and stated that they cannot do anything because her warranty has expired. The powertrain and failure mileage were unknown. The current mileage is 50,000. The consumer believes the vehicle has electrical problems. Updated 08/07/07.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #28

Jul 032007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact received a recall notice for the crank angle sensor and the electronic control module. The dealer charged her $190.13 to replace the crank position sensor. She thought the cost was covered by the recall and felt that she should not have been charged. The recall campaign id number was unavailable. No failures have occurred at this time. The current mileage is 57,300 and the failure mileage was inapplicable.

- Hayward, CA, USA

problem #27

May 222007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,975 miles
Two days ago, my car stalled while I was turning left into a parking lot. Thankfully, I was able to coast the car to a safe location since I am six months pregnant and unable to push a car. The car was towed to Nissan of elk grove, where the next day they diagnosed the problem as a failed crank position sensor. I was upset, because I had the crank position sensor replaced last year after my car starting cutting out on me while I was driving on the freeway and the same dealer determined the crank sensor needed replacing. I had the dealer replace the crank sensor yesterday and assumed the problem was corrected. However, as I was backing out of the parking spot, my car stalled and I was unable to restart it. I promptly informed the service manager for Nissan of elk grove, and he managed to start my car after with great difficulty. He drove it around for a few minutes and then informed me that the car almost "cut-out" on him a few times and that the RPM needle was "stiif" and "acting strange". presently, my car is still at the dealer while I await an update on the cause.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #26

May 172007

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,900 miles
2003 Nissan Altima dies while driving down the roa could very well cause accidents and was very dangerous. Have replaced cam shaft sensor, crank sensor, and it still was having problems. We left the dealer after getting it fixed and it died on the way home going 60 miles an hour!

- Wylie, TX, USA

problem #25

Apr 032007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,873 miles
The 2003 Nissan Altima recently started stalling for no apparent reason. Initially it happened while at a stop light, then pulling out of a gas station there was minimal risk of an accident. Then yesterday as I was driving down the road the car hesitated briefly before accelerating and then within seconds all power was lost. It took nearly 15 tries to restart, at which point, I parked it and had it towed to the dealership, who wa stelling me that there was no sign that the crank sensors need to be replaced, which was what I was told would take care of the problem), and therewas nothing they could do if they can't get it to repeat what happened yesterday. A month ago, I had II at dealer when this problem originally occurred and the computer was reprogrammed. I was told that it took care of the problem in about 85% of the cases. I' was at a loss. I have only one car and I need it to be reliable. I could not take a chance of being on the interstate at rush hour in a car that might decide to stall on me. I have seen many complaints of this same nature, and was wondering why no one seemed to know what the problem was. Any help you could provide would be most appreciated.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #24

Apr 262006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,013 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that on 3 or 4 occasions the vehicle shut off while driving 45 mph. The contact stated that each time this occurred the vehicle would not restart immediately. However, on one occasion the vehicle wouldn't restart for an hour. The mechanic serviced the vehicle due to the failure on 04/26/2006. Then, on May 1, 2006 Nissan replaced the crank and cam sensors. On January 4, 2007 the contact received a recall notice for the crank and cam sensors. The contact has an invoice for the repairs. The current mileage is 69,000 and the failure mileage was 49,013 the consumer has since had the vehicle repaired and wants to be reimbursed for expenses. Update 4/30/07

- Anchorage , AK, USA

problem #23

Feb 082007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,174 miles
My wife's 2003 Nissan Altima died while driving down the highway. She had to get out and push the car to the side of the road with my 8 year son trying to steer the car. Then the car would not start. When I arrived I got the car started and attempted to drive it to the local Nissan dealership since the "service engine soon" light was on. While crossing the intersection to get into the dealership parking lot, the car died on me. I had enough speed to coast through the intersection and up to entrance to the parking lot. The next day the service advisor for the dealership calls me and tells me the car need 2 recalls ( one of which I knew about -headlights, the other was to reprogram the ECM. They would have to also replace the cam & crank sensors for $213 which of course was not under warranty. We have had the car for 3.5 years and it has 33,174 miles on it. After reading that the recall involving the ECM reprogram was to repair a problem that could cause the engine to stop running due to an electrical problem between the crank angle sensor and the ECM - electronic control module. It stated that the "service engine soon" light could come on, the engine stops running while driving and that this could result in a crash without warning! I called 1-800-nissan1 and logged my complaint that my wife (or myself) could have been killed and the very least that Nissan could do was cover the repair under warranty. I received a call back from some kind of engineer type guy who gave me the 20 minute technical version of why Nissan was sorry but tough crap on us covering this. I demanded to speak to someone else and was given your web address. I still say Nissan knew this was extremely dangerous and should have made a stronger announcement sooner to get this corrected. They should be on the hook here not me!!

- Montgomery, AL, USA

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