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: The 2013 Nissan Altima has multiple problem trends including the CVT transmission, and now that this model is out of warranty, it earns our "avoid like the plague" badge.

Owners complain about vibration and transmission failure related to the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), a whining noise from the power steering pump, and constant windshield problems that appear to be the result of poor design.

Be warned: the 2014 & 2015 Nissan Altima appears to share these same problems.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,008 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.

2013 Nissan Altima drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2013 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 7 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #43

Sep 032013


  • 4,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the torque converter would remain locked until the vehicle came to a stop. In order to maintain the torque converter in the locked position, the rpms would have to be high above 1,000, which the contact stated that the normal idle was 750. The contact stated that the brakes were also prematurely wearing due to the engine not assisting in decelerating. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was advised that the vehicle was performing as designed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 4,000.

- Agoura Hills, CA, USA

problem #42

Sep 172013

Altima 6-cyl

  • 1,700 miles
Sporadically when starting car (from a cold start or after 2 hours) the rpms will do the normal going up then slowly down and then lower once in gear; however, once started to drive and stop the car will shake and appear to be trying to choke....took to service dept could not duplicate the problem and nothing is in the log.....took to dealership while problem occurring the mechanic felt the shaking and the big bump and said the idle rpms needed to be changed to higher level within 36 hours the car would do the same sporadic problem just at a higher RPM......took it to dealership again left overnight they did not find a problem stated everything is normal and the salesperson demo supposedly does the same thing (which it started normal).

- Alexandria, LA, USA

problem #41

Aug 232013


  • 10,500 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact was driving approximately 45 mph when the vehicle down shifted automatically. In addition, the contact stated that the vehicle would jolt forward and exhibit an abnormal banging noise when the air conditioner was activated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 10,500. The VIN was not available.

- Skokie, IL, USA

problem #40

May 152013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles


The contact stated that while using the air conditioner and coasting from 45 mph to 35 mph, the vehicle downshifted hard enough to jolt the car. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The mechanic and service manager test drove the vehicle and stated when inspecting the vehicle the failure could not be duplicated. It was recommended to bring the car back when the problem recurred. The failure recurred numerous times. Around 20000 miles the hard shifting also began to occur while the car was accelerating. The owner requested to bring the car to the dealership while the incident was occurring, but the dealership declined as they were busy and to call back after the holiday. When the owner called back after the holiday, the service person asked if the car felt like it was shifting hard. The owner stated yes, and was told that this feeling is normal in a cvt transmission and there was no need to bring the vehicle into the dealership. The car shifts so hard, sometimes the tires squeal. This happens often in traffic and will cause an accident, especially in icy or wet conditions. To date, the vehicle had not been repaired.

- Levittown, PA, USA

problem #39

Jul 012013


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph, the vehicle shook violently without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the power transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the part needed to complete the repair was on back order. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 15,000 and the current mileage was 16,300.

- Kent , WA, USA

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problem #38

May 012013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
We first began noticing what felt like a hard downshift when coasting at speeds under 50 mph. The problem was first diagnosed as a antilock brake programming error, but repairs did not solve the problem and the severity increased. When traveling at a speed of 30 - 45 mph and we'd take our foot off the accelerator, it almost felt like we were being rear-ended. It became clear that this was a problem with the new continuous acceleration transmission (I.e., no shift). Once the maintenance technician felt the problem when it happened, a new transmission was ordered and installed (approx. At 10,000 miles). After the new transmission was installed, we had no problems until around 15,000 miles, when the problem resurfaced. We took it back in for repairs, as the vehicle is not safe to drive with such a hard jerking problem. They tried replacing the transmission controller, but that also did not work. When they told us that they were going to need to install another new transmission we told them we didn't want the car any longer. The dealership worked on our behalf to try to get help from Nissan for a new vehicle, but with very little success. Fortunately, our dealership still did the right thing and we have a new vehicle.

- Satsuma, FL, USA

problem #37

Jun 032013


  • 1,100 miles


The best I can do to explain the problem I am having with my 2013 Altima is to compare it to the jerking you will experience in a stick shift vehicle if you do not clutch and shift properly almost causing the vehicle to stop. Once I was entering onto the highway, the car acted as if the parking brake was applied while driving. I took my car to the dealer from which I purchased it (St.clair auto mall), the mechanic drove it and almost immediately he experienced the problem. We drove back to the dealership (service dept.). he looked up some information in the computer, said diagnostics tests were ran but the test(s) turned up nothing. And also there were no lights on the dash indicating a problem. So, for that reason nothing could be done.

- Ofallon, IL, USA

problem #36

Jan 232013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 8,324 miles
Noticed problem back in Jan. Car would make a banging noise & jolt forward when coasting to a stop. Same problem also occurs when stopping and going to accelerate after stop. Have take car to dealer I purchased it at 5 times & was told there was nothing wrong, they could not duplicate the issue I was having. On July 11, 2013 the technician took the car home & they finally and was able to document the issue was real and now a new transmission is required! in Dec 2012 there was a recall done on the tcm that's when the problem started after recall.

- Clifton Heights, PA, USA

problem #35

May 202013

Altima 6-cyl

  • 800 miles
Resuming after a stop the car was sluggish. It felt like the transmission was slipping. There were several strong jerking motions for a few seconds. Then when it fully engaged the car lurched forward at a higher than expected speed. I did not have enough reaction time to brake and I hit the car in front of me. I didn't realize what had happened at the time but since then the car has done the same thing starting out from a stop. It happens several times a week. I have to leave plenty of distance between me and the car in front to avoid another accident.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #34

Jun 072013


  • 800 miles
Turning right from a stop and as I was accelerating, had violent thunk and vibration in car with loss if acceleration for 1-2 seconds. Before and after that, consistently experience vibration/shudder and decreased acceleration at about 20mph when I let off the gas or don't continue with same level of acceleration.

- Swansea, IL, USA

problem #33

Mar 022013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 100 miles


The cvt transmission causes the vehicle to shutter and vibrate at light acceleration between 1200-2000 rpms. I have contacted Nissan Consumer Affairs division 800-343-6913 ext457206 several times and have case #'s [xxx] and [xxx] on two separate vehicles with the same issue. I have been told repeatedly that Nissan engineers are aware of the problem and are working on a solution. There are many, many complaints of this same issue on several web sites. I have heard nothing since 3/26/2013 from Nissan in regards to my complaint. I have had my car in for service at orland park nisan, orland park, il and have also contacted them numerous times to see if there was any repair that has been issued to rectify this problem. They acknowledge and are aware of this problem. There answer is they have done the recommended service bulletins sent to them from Nissan to repair this problem. There is absolutely no difference in the performance of the vehicle after performing these repairs. Nissan knows they have a problem and should be forced to stand behind the performance of their product. Please help!!!!!!!! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Romeoville, IL, USA

problem #32

May 292013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
Transmission is locking up at any speed while coasting or decelerating, feels like motor and transmission is going to come right out of it. On way back to dealership, it happened at 55mph going around a bend, and front tires locked up and chirped, this was the worse one, if this happened on snow covered roads, there's no doubt that I would have went right into the ditch..we've only had the car 3weeks and put less than 1500 miles on it.the car started doing this 3 days ago, today took it to dealership, took serviceman on test drive and within a 1/4 mile, he had seen enough, what is wrong with these cvt transmissions, this is a very dangerous situation when a transmission locks up at highway speeds!!!

- Fulton, NY, USA

problem #31

Feb 082013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Well I have noticed that I have a bad vibration and grinding noise between 1,200 and 1,800 RPM's worst at 1,500. This happens no matter what speed. I have brought it in to the dealership 2 different times for this and they tell me this is normal. I am sorry but when a transmission is vibrating or making bad noises like this it has something wrong with it. I believe this is contributing to my very poor gas mileage. Also while from a stop and accelerating I have had my car surge and have no power while trying to accelerate. This has happened three times and 2 of the times I had a car come up on me fast because I was not able to accelerate. This can be a big safety issue.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #30

Feb 072013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Well the main selling point on this vehicle is that the dealer told me they were top in mpg's with 27 city and 38 highway. After a week or so I noticed that my mpg average is no more than 23.1. and that was with more than 50% travel on highways with no traffic(never went under the speed limit). I figured it had something to do with it being new and it would average out better later. So after 5,000 miles on the car I took it in and they told me that this is just because every driver averages different and I kept saying but I am not even getting close to the 27 city and I drive more highway. But they told me that everything is normal and they reset the average calculator. After a week it was worse than it was before and I was bringing it back for my many other problems I have with this car. They had my car for 4 days and finally told me that while they had it a check engine light came on saying that my air fuel ratio sensor was faulty. They replaced it and told me that was the fix. I have put about a tanks worth of mileage on it since and I am getting under 23 mpg still. Either something is very wrong with my car or Nissan is lying about the mpg's and yes I get that they are presented by the epa but Nissan does the test first then sends it to the epa and then the epa tests later on. Either way the mpg's are wrong and I drive to try to get the best mpg's I don't even go over 2,000 RPM's unless going up hill. Which brings me to the vibration from the trans. But that's in another complaint. Nissan needs to fix this problem because I chose this over the Honda Accord just for the mpg's.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #29

Mar 152013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 14,000 miles
RPM drops suddenly from 1200rpm to 800rpm in 20-30mph speed level and vehicle bounces with bang sounds at transmission area. When I feel car loosening the power at low speed driving by dropping RPM gauge, I have to press brake or accelerator to keep vehicle's RPM safe level to run the car. This is very nervous thing. This problem have happened since middle of March and went to car dealer to check this point. But they said no problem in my car. I will visit again next week for this issue. I found many of cases this in Nissan Altima forum and other sites, all owner complained about this but Nissan did not reply any yet for this. This is a major problem related with safety issue.

- East Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #28

Aug 312012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle jerked violently while the contact was attempting to decelerate. The failure recurred intermittently and without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be duplicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 500 and the current mileage was 6,000.

- Arroyo Grandy , CA, USA

problem #27

Mar 202013


  • 900 miles
Vehicle stutters and vibrates at lower speeds. Also their is a knocking sound coming from underneath the vehicle. Brought back to dealership 3 times since March. All 3 times I was told it is perfectly normal for the car. I read online that other people have experienced similar issues.

- Port Jefferson Station, NY, USA

problem #26

Sep 122012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
When coasting from a low speed (45-55) to near stop the transmission "locks up" while nowshifting. The vehicle violently locks up, so bad that it feels like you've hit something. The steering wheel is also affected to the brute force. Nissan issued a mandatory recall transmission reprogram which I promptly had done to the vehicle. However, just this Friday, 5/3/13, the transmission again did this. Both times I was lucky that I was on back roads with little to no traffic and that I was able to maintain control. This is a serious problem that in the wrong conditions (ice/snow/rain) or when oncoming traffic is coming could get someone killed. I can't explain just how violent the downshift is, other than to say the first time my 6 year old began crying in the rear seat because he thought we wrecked, and that the 2nd time my cell phone was jarred from a very rugged cradle.

- Dry Ridge, KY, USA

problem #25

Dec 142012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 20 miles
There is a shuttering vibration in drive train when engine is at 1500 RPM and going up an incline. Eventually it is going to cause loosing of bolts and cause crash.

- Throop, PA, USA

problem #24

Apr 192013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
The cvt transmission is vibrating violently from 1200~1800 RPM which could potentially cause premature transmission failure during driving. Such vibration also compromises the mileages that Nissan has declared therefore more green house gas emission for same miles. Many 2013 Altima owners complained about the same thing in forums such as edmunds, and etc. It is a mechanical design flaw the could severely jeopardize the car and hurt the people in it though Nissan never admit it or fix it in the past one year. I sincerely request NHTSA to look at this issue. Thanks.

- Chester Springs, PA, USA

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