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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:
4 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,438 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

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 3 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #214

Jul 312011

Altima

  • 209,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated the vehicle was loosing two quarts of oil per day at an alarming rate. The contact stated the engine seized without the check engine light or oil light illuminating on the instrument panel. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer who stated it looked like the pistons or a cylinder had failed. The dealer stated they no longer sell that model year and the 2002 model year because of the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 209,000.

- Culoman, AL, USA

problem #213

Jul 242011

Altima

  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and was told the crank shaft position sensor failed. The dealer stated the vehicle was not included NHTSA recall campaign id number: 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling); therefore, the recall would not apply. The failure and current mileage was 68,000.

- Lakeland, TN, USA

problem #212

Jun 112011

Altima

  • 69,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 55 mph the vehicle suddenly stalled. The contact was able to start the vehicle after it stalled. The failure occurred intermittently at various speeds. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated there was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling) that was related to the failure but the VIN was not included. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 69,000. Form returned no change

- Bayonne, NJ, USA

problem #211

Jul 042011

Altima

  • 120,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact was driving 35 mph when the contact stated that the vehicle abruptly stalled without warning. Also, the contact expierenced a no start condition. The dealer advised the contact that his VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was neither inspected nor repaired. The current and failure mileages were 120,000.

- Orem, UT, USA

problem #210

Jul 022011

Altima

  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact was sitting at a traffic stop when the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was then towed to an independent mechanic where the contact was advised that the engine would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was then contacted and they advised the contact that he was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). The failure and current mileage was approximately 61,000.

- South San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #209

Dec 282010

Altima

  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, a loud ticking noise began to come from the engine. The contact looked under the engine and noticed that the oil reservoir was empty, but there were no signs of leakage. Oil was added to the vehicle, but the failure continued. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the catalytic converter was faulty. The vehicle remained in the possession of the dealer for further investigation. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Chadds Ford, PA, USA

problem #208

Jun 212011

Altima

  • 123,358 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact heard a loud noise coming from the engine and noticed smoke coming from the vehicle. She then discovered that there was no oil in the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic who inspected the vehicle and informed the contact that there was no oil leak however, the vehicle was burning oil rapidly. The dealer advised the contact that her vehicle was not included in any recalls. The manufacturer was not notified and the vehicle was not repaired. The current and failure mileages were 123,358.

- Hartford, CT, USA

problem #207

Apr 202011

Altima

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated the vehicle would intermittently stall while driving at various speeds. The contact also stated the vehicle would intermittently hesitate after it was started. The vehicle was taken to an independent repair shop where the contact was informed the crank position sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed the vehicle was not included in the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 81,456.

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #206

May 042011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated while driving approximately 10 mph the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel and the vehicle began to shake. The vehicle also began to perform as if it were going to stall. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who stated the crank shaft sensor needed to be replaced. The manufacturer informed the contact that the vehicle was not included in the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 67,000. Updated 06/14/11 updated 07/08/11 updated 3/15/12

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #205

Apr 082011

Altima

  • 122,277 miles
My husband and I bought this car in Feb 2011 with around 118000 from a buy here pay here and two months later the motor went out on it. We drove it to church and turned it off and it didn't want to turn on again my husband checked the spark plugs and they had water in it. I have read that this car have bad motor problems, our mechanic checked it and said we need a new motor

- Winter Haven , FL, USA

problem #204

May 062011

Altima

  • 48,686 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated while driving, the vehicle seemed as if it would stall and she smelled a burning odor. She also noticed that the lights on the instrument panel flickered. The failure was frequent and occurred on a daily basis. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic who informed her of recall 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who stated that the vehicle was not included in the recall. The vehicle was repaired at the contacts expense. The manufacturer was not notified. The current mileage was approximately 49,000. The failure mileage was approximately 48,686.

- Bel Air, MD, USA

problem #203

May 162011

Altima

  • 96,500 miles
This situation has happened a few times; I park my car (turn engine off) do groceries, shopping, etc, come back, I turn the car on and the car is like stalling, like its idle but you can feel the shaking on the steering wheel. I didn't want to drive on this situation. I turned the engine off, turn it back on and still the same situation. I have to wait 3-5 minutes with engine off, then I turn it on and the car starts working normal. There is no "service engine soon" light on the dashboard. This is happening time to time. At first I thought it could be someting with the gasoline in the tank, that is not the case because I left my tank almost to empty and load a new tank, different gas station and still does the same. I called the dealer where I bought it, asked for any recalls on my car's model/year. They say no recalls for this year/model. I started searching for similar problems and I read a few articles that the '02 models have been recalled for similar issues, also that the same '03 model in Canada has been recalled and serviced for same issue. Although I cannot prove that what I read is true, I believe this problem should be checked by Nissan dealership maintenance centers since there is no alert signs on the dashboards.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #202

Jun 012009

Altima

  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact noticed the engine was consuming oil faster than normal. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who performed a diagnostic test that located the failure in the catalytic converter. The oil escaped into the catalytic converter causing the engine and the catalytic converter to fail. The dealer stated that the engine and the catalytic converter had to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer filed report 7135820 but would not assist with the repair because the warranty expired. The failure mileage was 85,000 and the current mileage was 14,000.

- Leonavalley, CA, USA

problem #201

Sep 182010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
I own a 2003 Nissan Altima. Back in September of 2010, I was driving on my way to work. About 4 miles from my home. (my car is right under 107K miles at the time). I was driving normal, or correctly. All of a sudden my car shuts off! I have to jerk my wheel to the right and break my car before I caused an accident. I am so thankful I was not on the freeway when this happened. My life and the lives of others were put at risk that day because of this problem with your car. There is a recall for your car, actually quite a few, but the one I'm most interested in getting fixed is the one that determines my lively hood. All I am asking is you please fix this. I can go without the ac or having weak headlights to drive at night with. I just can't depend on this car to not kill me one day. Please, I am begging you. Once again for my life & the lives of many others that will be involved. Please fix this problem! I cannot afford to pay for a new engine for the Altima out of pocket. Recalled on : 7/7/2006 influenced by: Office Of Defects Investigation recalled for: Engine and engine cooling.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #199

Mar 302011

Altima

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 30 mph the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. He stated that the vehicle continued T function normally and was immediately driven to an authorized dealer. The dealer advised him that the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated that the failure had been on going for three to four weeks. The manufacturer had not been contacted. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 100,000.

- New Windsor, NY, USA

problem #198

Apr 102009

Altima

  • 125,463 miles
Vehicle stalling while driving, burning oil quickly doing oil changes every month, Nissan service station said catalytic coverter. Car still making noise other complaints that this is a normal problem then engine blows due to debris from converter getting into engine. This should be a recall

- Lakeport, CA, USA

problem #197

Jan 082011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
2003 Nissan Altima 2.5 litre engine. Blowing oil out tailpipe with 101,000. Many blogs report same problem with same make and model. The consumer stated a couple of months after purchasing the vehicle, she discovered the vehicle was consuming excessive amounts of oil in a short time. The consumer found a recall regarding the engine. However, the recall has since closed. The consumer was informed the catalytic converter, engine and throttle body needed to be replaced. The consumer stated she has documentation the vehicle was fixed under the recall in 2003. However, she did not purchase the vehicle until 2010, but the problem has since resurfaced. Updated IVOQ 08/07/12

- Blue Springs, MO, USA

problem #196

Mar 242011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 91,050 miles
The car would intermittently stall and sometimes would lurch when driving. We replaced spark plugs and a coils, but periodically the check engine light would still come on. I was driving around town and was stopped at a stop light. As I took off from the light, the car stalled and suddenly stopped. I tried to restart the vehicle, the engine revved and smoke filled the interior of the vehicle and a strong burning oil/gas smell. I then had to have the car towed as it would not turn over. The person behind me nearly ran into me since the car stopped so suddenly. The mechanic replaced the crank position sensor and the pre catalyst and catalytic converters. It was discovered at that time that the vehicle had used about 2.5 qts of oil and no oil light came on. Today, I drove the car for the 2nd time since the repair and it is losing power and lurching while on the highway. There is a ticking noise in the engine, and the car shudders like it is going to stall. It is being brought back to the mechanic today. The engine light started flashing and then turned solid. Clouds of smoke began coming out of the exhaust. I'm afraid that the car will turn off while I'm driving on the highway and cause a crash. This problem has been ongoing for 2 years (begin around 65,000 miles) and occurs at various speeds from stopped to 65mph.

- Warwick, RI, USA

problem #195

Mar 092011

Altima

  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle would stall without warning when driving various speeds. The failure would also occur when first starting the vehicle and shifting into gear. The dealer was contacted and the contact was advised that the vehicle was previously repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling) and that the contact would be liable for any further repairs. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current was 100,253. Updated 04/06/11

- Valrico, FL, USA

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