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.

1.6

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
105,249 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 engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Nissan Altima:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 5)

problem #92

Dec 012015

Altima

  • 90,000 miles

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

Everything I have had to replace/repair on this car is linked to recalls, but Nissan is denying this & refusing to help. They said my vehicle was not part of any recalls but everything that's failing is related. It has died on me in the middle of highway traffic w/ my child in the car several times. This car is defective & no one from Nissan is concerned!!!! butterfly screw/valve issues, cam/crank shaft issues--related to engine cooling, high oil consumption; alternator failing; oil leaking

- Annapolis, MD, USA

problem #91

May 102016

Altima

  • miles
Nissan Altima recall I was driving down the road an my 03 Nissan died an would not start back it doesn't turn over

- Pleasant Plains, AR, USA

problem #90

Jan 012015

Altima

  • 131,000 miles
The floor boards rotted out, just found out about it, give it a few more months. I can become fred flintstone and start pushing my car around when the camshaft/crankshaft sensor goes out again. Both sensors have been replaced and still had not corrected the problem. Brought the car in today and was told there are no recalls for your car. That's interesting when you can't go anywhere and you are sitting at a light with traffic behind you. That's were meet the flintstones comes in, using foot power to move the car.

- Hazelwood, MO, USA

problem #89

Mar 162013

Altima 6-cyl

  • 152,134 miles

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

I have had my car shut off on me while driving down the road causing it hard to steer almost causing other cars to rear end me. Then the car wouldn't start. Every year I have had to buy a new cam shaft sensor since the install of the new engine that was put in by Nissan. There is a recall on the cam sensor but my car is not under that recall.

- Palm Bay, FL, USA

problem #88

May 032016

Altima

  • 185,202 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the service engine soon light illuminated constantly. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the crank shaft position sensor failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). Due to the failure, the vehicle could not pass the state emission inspection. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 185,202.

- Acuscnet, MA, USA

problem #87

Feb 012015

Altima

  • miles
I purchased a 2003 Nissan Altima with 106,000. As is no warranty. Within the first month it blew the head and needed a new engine which I paid for out of pocket. They supposedly replaced the enigine with a new crate engine once again the car lasted about 3 weeks before it was smoking so bad and will only drive at idle speed.. I dont think the place I bought it has a very good mechanic and I really would rather take it to a Nissan dealer.. but I dont want to pay for another engine I feel like ive already bought the car twice.

- Belfair, WA, USA

problem #86

Jan 172016

Altima

  • 209,982 miles

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

Loss of all power while driving

- Louisville, TN, USA

problem #85

Jan 192016

Altima

  • 86,000 miles
My wife was driving our Nissan Altima with our kid when all of a sudden the car started to stutter and then it just stopped in the middle of the road. Luckily the car behind her did not hit her. She was able to start the car again after a few minutes and then was able to drive it home. After she reached home, I then took the car to a nearby auto shop when the car just stopped again in the middle of crossing an intersection. The steering wheel was stiff and it could not be turned. I tried to start the car but it wouldn't start. I waited for a few minutes and then I was able to start and drive the car. I turned on the hazard lights and then drove the car to the auto shop. The mechanic mentioned the cam shaft sensor was bad and upon searching online I found similar drivers mentioned the same issue and that there has been a recall on this. I have all the paper work from the mechanic as proof that this was the same problem as mentioned in this link. repairpal.com/nissian-crankshaft-and-camshaft-sensor-recall-492 I contacted Nissan Consumer Affairs and they claimed that there weren't any recalls. They weren't willing to admit this issue. It seems like they will act only when there is a serious injury or loss of life.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #84

Jan 182016

Altima

  • 97,284 miles
Loose power valve screws - while driving my 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5 S both on city streets and on the freeway, the vehicle arbitrarily ran super rough to the point of almost completely cutting off in middle of traffic lanes. One instance was particularly dangerous because I was making a left turn across traffic lanes, and the engine stalled in the middle of opposing traffic lanes and I was almost T-boned by oncoming cars. Finally the engine wouldn't start at all one day, so I had the car towed to the dealer, and they identified a problem with intake power valve screws that needed to be replaced at a significant price. I had to get the car towed once before, and the dealer diagnosed the problem as a defective camshaft position sensor, not covered by any recalls, but obviously a significant problem for 2003 Nissan Altima owners. After doing my own research, there seems to be a large number of owners of this same car experiencing the same power valve screw problem also. I also believe there is a recall on 2004 and 2005 Nissan Altima for this problem, which have the same engine as my car.

- Highland, CA, USA

problem #83

Aug 102015

Altima

  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the service engine warning light illuminated randomly. The contact stated that the vehicle consumed an abnormal amount of oil as the failure progressed. The vehicle stalled several times and was able to be restarted but the failure continued. The vehicle was taken to multiple independent mechanics but was not diagnosed or repaired. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine assembly needed to be replaced. The contact was not included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling), 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 140,000.

- Amarillo, TX, USA

problem #82

Dec 122015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 132,000 miles

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

My Nissan Altima 2003 2.5 sl has been experiencing lot of vibrations and power lost while traveling on city streets and highways, the problem seems get worse once your exit the highway sitting at the light the car want idle. It seems like it wants to shut off. Now my engine check light comes on so I took the car to tire plus car care, they told me the ECM program is out dated and the code they read indicate new program update and possible catalytic converter problem, I took my car to have catalytic converter changed $400 dollars they cleared the engine check light and said this should take care of the vibration and engine idle problem, one week later engine check light came back on, problems of vibration has gotten worse. I decided to take the car to courtesy Nissan dealer had them to perform diagnoses service person told me the ECM was out dated so I paid $120 dollars to update ECM program, the service person told me the vibration is because maybe the throttle body (power valve screw) may be going bad and if power loss happen again I will need to replace the throttle body at my expense. Note: I have done some research and found Nissan North America (in their voluntary service campaign papers) refers to it as the power valve. There are small screws on the valve that come loose and get sucked into the engine. Even though the 2002 through the 2005 Altima 2.5S' all have the qr25de 2.5S engine (which is the exact same engine with the exact same problems), the manufacturer, in this case nna is able to loophole the laws concerning a recall. Like in my case and other people's cases, we have the 2002 and 2003 Altima that is experiencing this problem, but nna won't take care of it even though they are aware of it and currently have a vsc on the 2004 and 2005 models.

- Tampa, FM, USA

problem #81

Sep 162015

Altima

  • 122,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while driving low speeds. In addition, the service engine soon light constantly illuminated. The contact was able to get the vehicle operational after manually restarting the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the ECM, crank cam position sensor, and cam position sensor malfunctioned and needed to be reprogrammed and replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact was made aware of NHTSA campaign number: 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling); however, the VIN was not included. The failure mileage was approximately 122,000. Updated 02/23/16

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #80

Mar 092015

Altima

  • 91,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the service engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for routine maintenance and they cleared the code; however, the failure progressed and the vehicle stalled more than five times. The contact had to wait a brief moment and was able to restart the vehicle. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The VIN was also included in NHTSA campaign number: 03V251000 (fuel system, gasoline); however, the dealer stated that the recall did not apply to the vehicle. The approximate failure mileage was 91,000. Parts distribution disconnect.

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #79

Oct 282015

Altima

  • 3 miles
Car suddenly stops while your fmdriving at a low speed. Check engine comes on andturns vehicle off. This is very dangerous and I font understand why it hasnt been recalled. Most of the comments are said to be either the camshaft or crankshaft. They replaced the part and it was fine for 3 months and it ccontinues to do it. Im going to end up causing an accident and Nissan doesnt even care....

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #78

Aug 252015

Altima

  • miles
Check engine lights - oxygen sensor - brakes and router - seatbelt

- Clarkston, GA, USA

problem #77

Sep 252015

Altima

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 65 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact was able to restart the vehicle after some time. The check engine warning light illuminated. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who diagnosed that the cam shaft and the crank shaft needed to be replaced. The cam shaft was replaced. The contact was aware of NHTSA campaign number: 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling), but the VIN was not included. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown. Update 1/13/16

- Watertown, CT, USA

problem #76

Sep 132013

Altima

  • 99,000 miles
Catalytic converter broke down and particals caused internal wear to the motor. That causes the motor to burn oil.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #75

Mar 152015

Altima

  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 40 mph and accelerating, there was an abnormal noise coming from engine. The oil warning indicators illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was informed that there was excessive oil burning. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 38,000. The VIN was not available.

- Reistertown, MD, USA

problem #74

Aug 262015

Altima

  • miles
Like many others my 2003 Nissan Altima has stalled in traffic while driving. It reads no codes. There could have been a serious accident! this is a major concern I could have been on the interstate or in having traffic. I called Nissan and they state there was a recall for a problem to this affect and it was already fixed on this vehicle in 2007. They will not fix it again. Unbelieveable! also like many other my floor board has rusted. I had a patch repair to pass inspection. This car is a saftey hazord. After reading numerous reports that others have experienced similar situations of cutting off in traffic! I have not read any fatalities yet thank goodness! recall this car befor someone is killed!

- Harrisonburg, VA, USA

problem #73

Jun 262015

Altima

  • 133,000 miles
Whie driving about 45mph the engine shuts off, steering was very hard. Tried too restart engine, hard to restart. At tiomes the car is hard to start after sitting for awhile. Engine also stumbles, or seems to miss fire while driving. This not the first incident. Had the sensors replaced after the first problem.

- Orlando, FL, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?