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.

2.0

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
79,947 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 exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #16

Nov 052013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles

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

While my son was driving, the engine began missing and started to smoke. At the same time the heater quit producing heat. The check engine light came on. Engine diagnostics indicated cylinder # 4 misfire. Took to independent mechanic where it was confirmed that the engine was destroyed by failed catalyst in the pre- catalyst. Oil had fouled the missing cylinder's spark plug. The engine oil level was full and there had no previous indication of oil consumption, but the oil was found to contain coolant. These cars are popular for parents to purchase for teenagers and appear to be hazardous. NHTSA campaign id number: 03V084000 indicated that this pre-catalyst issue was a fire hazard back in 2003. It appears whatever was done in this recall did not solve the problem. This failure seems to be fairly common occurrence.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #15

Feb 212012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the check engine warning light illuminated. So the contact took the vehicle to the dealer. The dealer discovered metal chips in the engine due to a faulty catalytic convert. The dealer stated that the vehicle could not be repaired and the engine needed to be replaced. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign I.D. number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe) and called the manufacturer. The manufacturer advised that based on the VIN, the vehicle was not included in the recall. The failure mileage was 128,000. Updated 03/28/12 the consumer had the work performed at a repair shop. Updated 06/18/12

- Guilford, CT, USA

problem #14

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 #13

Jan 172011

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 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 that when taking her vehicle in for routine maintenance, the mechanic advised her that there was a recall 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling: Exhaust system: Manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe). Once the repairs were performed, they notified the contact and advised her that the vehicle was inoperable due to metal being jammed in the engine. Since the metal was not included in the recall they are not willing to repair the vehicle. The contact stated that prior to the mechanic advising her of the problem, she had never been informed of the recall. The vehicle was repaired for the engine components but not for the metal. The failure and current mileages were approximately 115,000. Updated 03/24/11 updated 05/02/11

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #12

Feb 152010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 134,147 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the catalytic converter failed causing the engine to burn oil excessively. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who replaced the catalytic converter. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the contact was informed that the engine would need replacing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted but offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 134,147. Updated 03/24/11 the consumer stated after the repair, the engine began to burn oil through the tail pipe excessively. Updated 04/22/11

- Tennille, GA, USA

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problem #11

Dec 012010

Altima

  • 158,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign id number (03V084000- engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe) and took the vehicle to the dealer for repairs; however, she continued to experience the same failure. The dealer was not contacted. The contact did not inform the manufacturer. The vehicle was not repaired. The current mileage was approximately 158,300. The failure mileage was approximately 158,000.

- Lasayette, GA, USA

problem #10

Jul 032010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 123,000 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 that while driving approximately 30 mph, she noticed that the vehicle started losing power. She drove the vehicle to a repair shop where she was informed that the catalytic converter was replaced. A few days later, the mechanic noticed that the vehicle was becoming low on oil. The contact filled the oil reservoir and noticed that there was very little oil left. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealership where the contact was told that she needed a new engine and the problem was widespread with the catalytic converter. The contact called the manufacturer who advised her to take the vehicle in for a diagnostic fee before they could escalate her case to a regional specialist. The contact took the vehicle into the dealership where it was confirmed that she needed a new engine; the manufacturer stated that there was nothing they could do to assist. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The contact believed the failure to be related to recall 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe) but the manufacturer refused to repair it since the mileage was too high. The current mileage was approximately 124,000. The failure mileage was approximately 123,000. Updated 12/02/10 updated 12/08/10 updated 05/26/11 updated 12/07/11 updated 12/12/11 updated 12/30/11 updated 06/27/12. Updated 01/29/14

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #9

Oct 092009

Altima

  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 60 mph smoke was expelled from the air vents inside the vehicle. The driver pulled over to the side of the road and inspected the vehicle. There was light smoke underneath the hood. A certified mechanic inspected the vehicle. The failure was contributed to a clogged catalytic converter. His vehicle identification number was excluded from recall campaign id number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe). No repairs were made. The failure and current mileages were 115,000.

- Coram, NY, USA

problem #8

Nov 082009

Altima

  • 88,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The vehicle started to make noise in engine after oil change. Two days after oil was topped off, oil level showed it burned 4 quarts with no leaks. Since, it has consumed an excessive amount of oil. The low engine oil warning light illuminated on the instrument panel again. The contact placed more oil into the vehicle before it was taken to a repair shop. The mechanic verified the low oil level and vehicle was burning oil at an alarming rate. There was no evidence of oil leakage anywhere in the vehicle. The contact found over 700 complaints on the NHTSA web site for the same failure. The failure and current mileages were less than 88,000 miles. Internet complaints show 4 cylinder Altima engines had design flaw and pre-catalytic converter overheats and ash material enters engine and scores cylinder walls causing excessive oil use and engine failure. NHTSA had recall for this in 2003 (NHTSA recall #03V08400.ODI) Nissan only inspected engines but did not repair. Engine failures continued to occur to date as NHTSA closed recall and did not monitor Nissan since. NHTSA is negligent in due diligence and follow up with Nissan by allowing failures to continue. In last several years, the pre converter has continued to fail and destroy engines. Original recall only delayed converter failure until warranty expired and $5000 engine replacement costs was pushed onto owner. Nissan will not acknowledge design flaw still destroying engines. Reinstate recall and payment by Nissan. *"TR

- Glen Ellen, CA, USA

problem #7

Apr 012009

Altima

  • miles
2003 Nissan Altima has had multiple problems with the engine. The consumer was informed, the cylinder 1 misfired which caused the engine light to illuminate. There was a problem with the head gasket consuming 3 quarts of oil every 4000 miles and running terribly rough. The consumer believed her vehicle was among the hundreds of vehicles having problems with the pre-catalytic converter where it deteriorates and becomes sucked into the engine, scorching the cylinders causing massive oil consumption then followed by the engine running rough.

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #6

Dec 232008

Altima

  • 85,000 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 that the oil in the engine was burning and damaged the engine. The dealer stated that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe). The failure and current mileages were 85,000.

- Brentwood, TN, USA

problem #5

Nov 202007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While the vehicle was in park, it idled very roughly and made a loud whistling noise. The contact took her vehicle to the dealer and they replaced the throttle positioning sensor. Immediately after the repair, the failure recurred. The dealer replaced the intake manifold gasket; however, the failure recurred shortly afterwards. The dealer was unable to determine the cause of the failures. The contact has not filed a formal complaint with the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 76,000 and current mileage was 78,000.

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #4

Dec 082007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
Car stalled. Wasn't firing on all cylinders. Car towed to dealer. Power valve screw that was fixed 11/20/2007 on recall by Nissan has been sucked into engine thus requiring new engine & catalytic converter.

- Lemon Grove, CA, USA

problem #3

May 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that her vehicle was excessively burning oil. She replenishes two quarts of oil every two weeks. When she adds the oil, white oil leaks from the engine compartment. She discovered recall number 03V084000 (engine and engine cooling: Exhaust system: Manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe) and took the vehicle to the dealer. The dealer stated that her VIN was not included in the recall, even though it is experiencing the same failure. The current mileage was 36,000 and failure mileage was 4,000.

- Brentwood, MD, USA

problem #2

Sep 092003

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
Engine noise (knock, clack or clatter) at idle. Nissan America has published several bulletins/recalls/alerts regarding noise associated with the auto-tensioner, pre-catalyst and/or valves but the manufacturer and dealer now claim the "noise" is normal. Also, the car still has a rattle in dome light that the insulation kit (tape) failed to fix. Service manager stated rattle was not heard while driving the car for 10 miles but if the rattle could be duplicated at 40,000 miles he would repair. Of course, I heard the knock and rattle while driving home from the dealership. Unfortunately, the car only has 12,500 miles. The radiator was also replaced which is when I began noticing the knock. This is a sour deal!.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #1

Mar 012004

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On December 14, 2003 consumer received NHTSA recall 03V084000, the exhaust pipe hanger pin may catch debris from the road that could be ignited. Dealership still does not have the parts available to conduct recall repairs.

- Miami, FL, USA

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