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:
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 7 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #134

Feb 012009

Altima 4-cyl

  • 66,138 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The vehicle was purchased used. The contact received a recall notice in August of 2006 for NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was not experiencing any failure at the time, but the contact still took the vehicle in for the recall repair. Three years later, the vehicle began experiencing the failure listed in the recall. While driving 10 mph, the vehicle stalled and had to be restarted. Prior to the failure, the service engine indicator illuminated permanently. The dealer stated that the crankshaft position sensor failed. The contact stated that the recall repair should have corrected this issue years ago, but the manufacturer stated that they were not responsible for the repairs. The vehicle was repaired again; however, the contact believes it should have been performed under the recall. The current and failure mileages were 66,138. Updated 4/16/09 updated 04/20/09.

- Toano, VA, USA

problem #133

Jan 202009


  • 38,000 miles
Camshaft position sensor failure on highway. Engine almost turned off on highway. Engine hesitation atleast once every 50km. Corrected with replacement of camshaft position sensor (sensor was redesigned) and not covered under recall.

- Richmond Hill, 00, USA

problem #132

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 #131

Jan 042008


  • 22,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while idling at a traffic light. He was able to restart the vehicle and noticed hesitation when accelerating. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was driven to a local repair shop and the mechanic stated that the failure was due to a defective crank position sensor. The dealer stated that the crank position sensor needed to be replaced; however, they were not liable for the repairs. The manufacturer was notified and they stated that the vehicle was not included in any recalls. They also stated that they were not liable for the repairs. The failure mileage was 22,000 and current mileage was 23,500.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #130

Nov 012007


  • 76,000 miles
Several times over the past two months, my 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5S has stalled out during operation. Speeds ranged from 5-15 mph during stall. Car also stutters periodically while in operation, but does not stall. Two weeks ago my vehicle stalled while pulling into traffic, almost causing an accident. Now vehicle takes 3-5 minutes to start.

- Apo, AE, USA

problem #129

Jan 102009


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the service engine warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. She received a recall notice for NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling), which stated that a variation in temperature occurs due to the unique location of the sensor in the engine. Under certain driving conditions, these variations in temperature can be large enough to cause a brief interruption in the signal output from the sensor. The vehicle was serviced by an authorized dealer for recall repairs and the ECM sensor was reprogrammed; however, the service engine indicator continued to illuminate. On a separate occasion, the vehicle hesitated to start and the check engine warning indicator illuminated once again. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 69,540.

- Longwood , FL, USA

problem #128

Dec 092008


  • 68,000 miles


My 2003 Altima 2.5S started having problems the day I took my car in for a recall to reprogram the ECM. That night my engine bogged down and would not accelerate even when the gas pedal was mashed to the floor. The next day I called the Nissan service dept. And they told me there was no way their reprogram could have caused the problem. I noticed that when I turned my car off and then back on after about 5 seconds the engine would run fine, this by the way is going down the road with the car in neutral and turning off and back on. I have been dealing with this problem for a while and my service engine light comes on and says there is a camshaft and crankshaft sensor problem that is recalled on 2002 2.5S Altima. It came to a head the other day when I was taking my kids to school and it bogged down on me while pulling out into traffic and about getting me and my kids killed. There are numerous reports of this same thing on Nissan forums.

- Portland, TN, USA

problem #127

Oct 062008


  • 72,800 miles
I have a 2003 Nissan Altima - there has not been an accident yet in my car. I am writing to prevent this from complaint is the crankshaft - the car shuts off in low speed driving - which there is a recall on the ECM (engine control module)) - but not the defective crankshaft it is on the 2002 model but not the 2003 but it should the same is happening with both models. The defective crankshaft will cause the engine to shut off as well. When the temperature changes it sends a signals to the sensor that goes to the engine - without the signals the ECM will not function properly - the point is there is a recall on the 2002 crankshaft and not the 2003. Which the crankshaft is defective in both not just the 2002.

- Saraland, AL, USA

problem #126

Dec 152008

Altima 6-cyl

  • 99,403 miles
I have a 2003, Nissan Altima, 3.5L 6-cylinder. Car has 99K miles. Car recently stalled with no warning after warming up. Car started up right away, so I continued driving. Dealer did a diagnostics and found nothing. So I continued driving and car stalled (again with no warning) on a major interstate while traveling at 65 mph. Dealer now diagnosed issue as a failed camshaft sensor, which is a known issue, but the recall does not apply to my 2003 6-cylinder Altima. Clearly, this is a known issue and the recall must be expanded to cover all Nissan Altima 2002-2003 (at a minimum). This was an extremely unsafe situation.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #125

Dec 052008


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the check engine indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. She took the vehicle to a local repair shop and the mechanic stated that the crankshaft position sensor and catalytic converter failed. In November of 2007, the contact took the vehicle to the dealer for NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling) and they reprogrammed the position sensor circuit. The following day, the camshaft position failed. The contact was informed that the dealer's repair would not have affected the failed component. The camshaft was replaced and the vehicle began operating normally. In December of 2008, while driving 60 mph, the vehicle would "skip" intermittently and lose power between 40-60 mph. The contact also noticed that the vehicle drove roughly when shifted into drive; however, it was not as bad when shifting into neutral. The dealer stated that the VIN was not included in any relevant recalls. The current mileage was approximately 125,700 and failure mileage was approximately 125,000.

- Starke, FL, USA

problem #124

Nov 182008


  • 97,000 miles


On November 18th while driving my 2003 Nissan Altima my car stalled then the check engine light came on. I brought my vehicle to a mechanic who told me the crankshaft sensor was bad. I then called Nissan usa who said they couldn't do anything because this particular model was not recalled. However, when I researched online, I found numerous people with the same complaints.

- Rensselaer, NY, USA

problem #123

Jul 122002


  • 68,000 miles
2003 Nissan altima2.5, crank position sensor, stalling all the time, trouble starting, also car using alot of oil, alot of run around by Nissan dealership continuous problems never has been solved or fixed. Very upsetting that Nissan has over looked all the complaints that they have had since 2002.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #122

Nov 082008


  • 81,769 miles
I have a 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5S 4 cyl. While driving, the check engine light illuminated on.I took the vehicle to the dealer for a diagnostic and they identified the cause of the failure as the crankshaft position sensor, the code is PO335. The vehicle hesitated as if it were about to shut off. While accelerating, the vehicle would hesitate as well. Will not start. My ses light kept coming on and my car would die at traffic lights. There was no recall on my 2003 model; so I paid $224 for parts and labor. I had to replace the crankshaft position sensor on 2003 Altima, had it repaired at local Nissan dealership, wasn't under recall for 2003, does any one know who I can get in touch with to get my money back?seems like this is an ongoing problem with the Altima that the company needs to deal with..

- Greenwell Springs, LA, USA

problem #121

Feb 242008


  • 135,000 miles
The check engine light will come on and stay on for a cycle and then go of. The car will turn off while driving or idling, or when first start and put in to gear. Also the vehicle will not pick up speed as it should when this occurs. Happens several times per day at least 3 times a week. Was diagnosed as the crank shaft sensor.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #120

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 #119

Sep 012008


  • 82,000 miles
I have a 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5 S model with a 4 cylinder engine. My problem is with the crankshaft position sensor. There is currently a recall out for the 2002,2005,2006 models regarding the crankshaft sensor. No recall is available for the 2003 model. If the 2003 model is having the same problem as the 2002,2005,2006 why no recall was put out for the 2003 models. It seems to me that all the same make and models should be recalled if the problems are the same. Just because the years are different do not mean the problems are different. It is clear that your aim is to protect big business. Not the consumer who spent$ 15,000 on a product that is defected. I am sure that if you spent $15,000 on a product you would what it to work correctly. Lets be fair! this is not something that cost 20 bucks.

- East Orange, NJ, USA

problem #118

Sep 102008


  • 127,000 miles
I have had many problems with my 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5S. Currently excessive oil consumption code P0422 - replaced catalytic converter and pre-cat.

- Wilson, PA, USA

problem #117

Aug 272008


  • 55,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle shut off in the middle of the expressway. It continues to shut off intermittently and takes 5-10 minutes to restart. The vehicle had to be towed on one occasion due to the failure. A mechanic stated that the crank angle sensor needed to be replaced. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling). The recall states that the dealer will reprogram the ECM for free; however, the contact's recall notice stated that they will do more. She is able to fax or send the notice she received. The current mileage was 56,000 and failure mileage was 55,500.

- Alton, TX, USA

problem #116

Sep 102008


  • 50,000 miles
The engine stopped while driving. Several times the engine stopped on red light. The last time was today 09/11/2008. I know there is a recall on the 2002 model related to the same problem. In some way 2003 owners will benefit for the same or similar recall?

- Palm Springs, FL, USA

problem #115

Aug 102008


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 60 mph, the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle hesitated as if it were about to shut off. While accelerating, the vehicle would hesitate as well. The dealer stated that there was a recall on the 2002, 2005, and 2006 Nissan Altima's, but none pertaining to the 2003 model. They also stated that they were aware of the crankshaft failures, but there was no recall on the 2003 model; therefore, they could not assist. The failure mileage was 58,000 and current mileage was 84,000.

- East Orange, NJ, USA

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