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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,578 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.

2008 Nissan Altima brakes problems

brakes problem

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2008 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #56

Mar 162011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


Stepping on brake pedal intermittently fails to activate brake-lights, which also inhibits starter.if brake lights don't work once vehicle is underway that is a safety hazard. I have been repairing thing for 50 years and am 99.9% sure the pins of the brake pedal switches are hanging up inside the bores, since wedging snow scraper against brake pedal and pushing plungers until they popped all the way out allows starting. Phoning a Nissan dealer's parts department confirmed availability then gave me a price of $39.17 for switch(ES). Not looking forward to hunching under the dash, I talked to service to find out how much to "improved brake wiring harness"is needed for "rare" occurrences at cost of $238 and labor of $149.when I asked if this might be a recall or under warranty he said"could not make any money" that way. If it is a design/construction problem Nissan should eat the cost.internet search has some dealer recommending pushing harder on pedal or pounding-pulsing.some replaced switches showed pitting of contacts{too much current too often"} do dozens of cars have to get rear-ended before action takes place??????????????????????? or does my wife have to have a heart attack because the car won't start and she will lose her job"

- Westfield, NJ, USA

problem #55

Feb 242012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 9,696 miles
Pursuant to appearance of brake warning light vehicle taken to Nissan dealer for replacement of leaking master cylinder.

- Sun Lakes, AZ, USA

problem #54

Jan 102012

Altima 6-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
Brake light began going on/off intermittently starting on January 10, 2012. Definitely more common on days with temps at freezing or below. Light would eventually go out once car warmed up, but would come back on after using the brakes to slow down or stop. Brakes did seem to stop okay, although there were a few times very recently that they made an unusual noise. Checked/added brake fluid several times over the past two months. Had car serviced at local Nissan dealership last week and was told that master cylinder needed replaced due to a leak. Cost was $100 out of pocket -- remainder covered under extended warranty as my vehicle now has 41,494 miles on it.

- Greensburg, IN, USA

problem #53

Feb 112012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles


The foot brake light comes on randomly during driving.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #52

Feb 072012

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
I took my car for service at the Nissan dealer for a oil change and to check up my brakes pad because the car feel weird when braking. Come to find out that my brake pads are good but my master cylinder is leaking. I refuse to pay for the service because this is a manufacture problem because my brakes light hasn't came on. Please investigate if this is a defect from manufacturer because they don't want to replace it and they have more than 400,000 cars report it their system.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #51

Jan 152012


  • 56,000 miles
Brake light keeps coming on, suggesting I need to add brake fluid. I've read this is becoming a common problem for this vehicle model and people are having to spend a lot to replace a leaky master cylinder. Please initiate a recall to correct this defect.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #50

Jan 232012

Altima 6-cyl

  • miles


Leaking master cylinder caused brake light and vdc/slip lights to come on intermittently. My car has 54,000 miles. This same issue happened at 31,000 miles, but the dealer told me it was my brake pads and replaced the front and rear brake pads at that time. The brakes have squeaked horribly since the pads were replaced. Now having trouble finding a part because apparently this is happening to many, many Nissan owners.

- Eden, NC, USA

problem #49

Apr 042009

Altima 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
Brake lamp switch malfunctioned at 10000 (April 2009) and 43000 (January 2012) miles, and replaced. When this occurs, the brake lights will not illuminate when the brake is applied, which is a hazard that could result in a crash. Because brake must be applied for engine ignition, the vehicle will also not start.

- Westford, MA, USA

problem #48

Jan 012012

Altima 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
The brake light started flashing intermittently even though the hand-brake wasn't on and there was no noticeable problem during braking. The dealer said there was a leak in the brake booster and that I would have to have it replaced. It was not covered under warranty. I reluctantly agreed to pay the $560 for the replacement because the dealer said it was never a good idea to take risks with your brakes.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #47

Dec 092011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
Brake light started coming on intermittently. Car was in motion. Brakes were not in use when light came on. Brakes functioned normally. Nissan dealership diagnosed the problem as a leak in the brake master cylinder and that the brake fluid was leaking into the booster assembly. $476 repair. This is definitely a design flaw or inferior workmanship/parts.

- Conway , AR, USA

problem #46

Dec 092011


  • 17,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the brake light on the instrument cluster was illuminated so the contact took the vehicle to the dealer. The dealer advised that the master cylinder needed to be replaced. The contact stated there was an unknown manufacturer's recall that was previously released but the contact did not confirm with the manufacturer if the vehicle was included. The failure mileage was 17,000.

- South Boston, MA, USA

problem #45

Nov 252011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
Dealer discovered that the master cylinder was leaking brake fluid out the back of the cylinder into the vacuum housing. The leak was not noticeable on the ground or on the motor. Hadn't noticed that the brake pedal was getting lower and lower. There is a small brake light on the dash. The light was on and had been on for some time. It's the same light that comes on when you apply the parking brake. This masked the seriousness of the problem as we thought there was an adjustment needed to the parking brake pedal and instead the master cylinder was leaking.

- Kearney, MO, USA

problem #44

Nov 172011


  • 68,000 miles
Master cylinder leak, had to replace master cylinder or it could have lead to a brake failure.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #43

Nov 202011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 36,780 miles
While driving, and even a few seconds right after stopping, the brake light continues to stay on, sometimes blinking. After checking that my pads were still in good shape, I did some research and found a lot of Altima owners that were having issues with their brake master cylinders. I checked my mc but found no visible signs of leakage. However, I noticed that my fluid level was on the minimum line. After having a certified mechanic look at it, he advised me that the mc was faulty and was leaking into the brake booster. After reading that are more than hundreds of documented cases, and possibly thousands of undocumented cases, I feel that Nissan has an obligation to inform their customers about the faulty brake master cylinder and replace the faulty part free of charge.

- Levittown, NY, USA

problem #42

Nov 122011

Altima 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
Purchased used Nissan Altima 3.5 V6 engine vehicle with 18K miles on 10/29/11. On a couple times before when slowing down to brake the car felt as if I was no longer in control of it and accelerated. However on 11/14/2011, I slowed down to stop at a busy intersection. I applied the brake as usual slowly to come to a complete stop and the engine began to rev up and made an increasingly loud noise. The vehicle felt as though it wanted to move forward in to oncoming traffic. The harder I pressed the brake the more it revved up. My foot was not on the accelerator at any point. After the light turned green, it lurched forward and I immediately drove to the dealership where car was purchased less than a block away. The service man placed it on the computer and all kinds of red lights flickered. He said something is wrong but we don't no what. They seemed to be at a lost. Finally I was told they needed to drive it to try to recreate the occurrence. Car is still at the dealership after 3 days. They have given me a car to drive. I am so disappointed in this purchase. Certified vehicle with a wrap around service warranty will hopefully save us expensive repair bills. In any case I don't want to drive it anymore because I don't feel safe at all. I want to trade it and request a buy back if this matter is not resolved. Having the mechanic tell me there is nothing wrong is just not acceptable because we could have lost our lives. Our 11 year old son was in the car with me and was very frightened. No car is worth the risk of driving dangerously.

- Jefferson, GA, USA

problem #41

Nov 092011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 33,500 miles
I have a 2008 Nissan Altima 2.5S. At around 33,500 miles I noticed my brake light coming on. I promptly took the vehicle to my local Nissan dealership and was informed that my master brake cylinder had a leak in it. I was told it needed to be replaced and the warranty on it expired at 30,000 miles. I was quoted a price around $450. Bewildered by the cost and upset that they wouldn't cover it so close past warranty I left and had a friend who works at a auto repair shop replace it w/ a genuine Nissan part for $240. I ate the cost of repair thinking it was bad luck and moved on. My Altima is now at 78,000 miles and once again the brake light is coming on. I'm positive that once again the master brake cylinder will need to be replaced. I have visited the website and also saw that NHTSA has opened an investigation into this. I would like my Altima recalled or to be compensated for both repairs. (this letter has also been sent to Nissan usa. Awaiting feedback).

- Ellington, CT, USA

problem #40

Oct 252011


  • 41,321 miles
Service brakes, hydraulic-foundation components-master cylinder : after a few days of driving with a brake indicator light coming on, crown Nissan service representative indicated that the master cylinder was leaking into the power booster, lowering the brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoir. Total charges were $684.55 to repair. This is a 3 year old car with 41,321 highway miles driven lightly. It appears to be a similar situation as the 2007 and 2008 Nissan Sentra and although the two models do not share the same parts, the manufacturer is likely to be the same. This should be a factory recall issue.

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #39

Nov 052011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 49,653 miles
Brake light came on/off while driving. Took vehicle to shop and was diagnosed as a faulty master brake cylinder. The faulty master brake cylinder was leaking brake fluid internally into the booster. This manufacturing defect should not have occurred with a newer model Altima with under 50,000 miles on it.

- Kulpmont, PA, USA

problem #38

Oct 312011

Altima 6-cyl

  • miles
My brake light kept coming on. Took vehicle to dealership they immediately informed me that it was probably the master cylinder and that this was a frequent and recurring issue with the 2008 Altima. They checked the car out and confirmed that the master cylinder was leaking and needs to be replaced. If they know about the faulty part then why not a recall as with the Sentra?? $550 to repair an issue known by Nissan to be a faulty part. That is just crooked.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #37

Oct 222011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 63,500 miles
This was a one vehicle crash (total loss) that occurred when the brakes would not work causing our car to strike a brick wall (also emergency brakes did not work). None of the vehicle airbags deployed except for the drivers steering wheel airbag which deployed once the vehicle came to a stop. The accident occurred at approx. 11:45 pm, 22 October 2011. No drugs and or alcohol were involved. The car was recently purchased from a Lexus dealer and the same company owns a Nissan dealership which confirmed that all Nissan recall items were complied with. We have several professional photographs to prove that there is still something going on with the Nissan Altima 2.5 brakes and air bags to allow something like this to happen. I have personally talked with[xxx] about this and left a voice mail with [xxx] at their NHTSA office. My insurance company confirmed that this car was a total loss and the vehicle has been now been removed from the towing and collision facility here in Indiana and sold to a parts salvage company. I was trying to have someone inspect this car before it was destroyed, but it appears that it is now to late to do anything about this. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

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