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:
32,873 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 8 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Dec 212012

Altima 6-cyl

  • 500 miles


Purchased a new 2013 Altima sedan 3.5sl in November 2012. At approximately 500 miles, upon acceleration from a stop, the car jerked violently for 2-3 seconds before kicking in and accelerating (as if driving a manual transmission and attempted to start in 4th gear). This has happened 2 more times since. Additionally, often while accelerating the rpms will drop significantly and the car will shudders before kicking back in and accelerating. Lastly, on occasion, while decelerating, the car will jerk harshly (as if driving a manual transmission and shifting into too low a gear for the speed). Took the car into dealership and they said they could not duplicate the issue. Contacted Nissan corporate 2/6/2013 and the representative told me she hadn't heard of anyone else having this problem, but that she would open a ticket. Called back to Nissan corporate 2/27/2013 to follow up and was told that my previous ticket had been closed.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #15

Feb 172013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 1,600 miles
Started to drive from a park position I was going already around 15-20 mph before transmission kicked into gear.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #14

Feb 152013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 1,585 miles
Transmission slipped I was at a red light turned green started to move when I felt a pull back on the car and then car shot forward.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #13

Jan 252013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 4,500 miles


Purchased brand new with 2 miles. At 4500 miles, heat gauge indicated an increase in engine temperature. Drove 2 miles to a service station, and upon opening the hood, anti-freeze was sprayed everywhere. Car was towed to dealer. Dealer inspected, and said the radiator had leaked, so the dealer replaced the radiator. After replacement, the dealer performed a test drive, when the check engine light came on. Dealer performed pressure tests, and said the engine would need replacement.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #12

Jan 292013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 600 miles
I have owned this car for all of a week. There are at least 2 major safety concerns. The first is the passenger air bag. The light on the dash indicates that the air bag is "off" when my wife sits in the passenger seats. She is an adult, height about 5' 2" and weighs approx. 120 lbs. Apparently I am not the only one with this issue. Calls to Nissan are a waste of time at this point as I'm told nothing about how this will be resolved. The other issue is with the cvt transmission. Under light acceleration, at about 1200-1500 RPM there is a vibration and its very noisy. It almost seems like the car is going to die out. The other issues I am having with the car of which there are a few are not necessarily safety related so I wont post them here. Needless to say, there are better and safer choices out there. Choose wisely.

- Buffalo Grove, IL, USA

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problem #11

Dec 242012


  • 2,000 miles
Vehicle has been in the service department five times for different things in less than 2 months. Main problem reported each time in service is my transmission. Between 20-50 mph and 1000-2500 RPM the car will violently shake and lose power. I have to press the gas pedal harder to get the car to stop shuddering and pick up acceleration. I have almost been involved in tow rear end collisions B/C of the lose of power and shuddering. Nissan states that I must wait for a reprogramming fix. I have filed a complaint with Nissan Consumer Affairs. In the meantime I have to sacrifice my safety? totally not acceptable. I have owned 3 previous Nissan products with no problems.

- North Augusta, SC, USA

problem #10

Jan 022013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 400 miles


When accelerating gently or decelerating you can heard a rumbling and vibration noise.

- Woodside, NY, USA

problem #9

Sep 122012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 600 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that after 20 days of driving, while stopped, a strange vibration was emitted from the undercarriage. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the contact was informed that there were no failures. The contact stated that the failure recurred several times and was taken to the dealer on each occasion. The manufacturer was contacted and informed the contact that the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 600 and the current mileage was 3,333. Updated 03/13/13 the consumer stated a mechanic test drove the vehicle and confimed the vibration. On the second visit to the dealer the general manager and service manager suggested to buy a new maxima or Altima. The consumer declined. The vibration only worsened causing a third visit to the dealer. Updated 03/28/2013

- Fall Church , VA, USA

problem #8

Jan 022013


  • 2,430 miles
Brought car in to dealer for a recall that the transmission needed to be reprogrammed. Several weeks later noticed that the engine sounded louder and rattled on acceleration. Proceeded to get worse by the day. Brought to dealer on Wednesday and was told the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle has approximately 2000 miles on it.

- Seymour , CT, USA

problem #7

Sep 032012


  • 30 miles
Since buying the car new, there has been a vibration/shudder coming from under the vehicle when slowly accelerating. The dealer has looked at the problem twice and has been unable to find the source of the problem, even though a tech has heard the vibration while riding with me on a test drive. I'm concerned about this because powertrains that are functioning properly should not make this noise.

- Plymouth, MN, USA

problem #6

Nov 202012


  • 560 miles


Approximately two weeks after purchasing my brand new 2013 Altima 3.5 S the car developed a shudder and vibration when I would accelerate slightly. It also occurred going up small hills, and when I would come to a complete stop then pull off (for instance at a red light). After noticing this, I scheduled an appointment with the dealer, and we did a test drive in hopes of mimicking the issue. The mechanic advised me that this was normal for a cvt engine, and that everything was fine. I wasn't quite convinced, but I wanted to trust his opinion, since this was my first time driving a car with a cvt engine. However, a few weeks passed and the shudder and vibration got worse. The car even jerked forward once when I was pressing on the brakes. This prompted me to schedule another visit with the dealer. This time the same mechanic from the first visit and the manager rode along with me. During this test drive the manager felt the sudden shudder, once we came to a complete stop and slightly accelerated. This prompted them to replace my transmission, not even 30 days after my purchase. I picked my car up from the dealer on 12/7/12 after they changed the transmission and the car drove perfectly fine. The bad news is that now the car has developed the same shudder and vibration even more now. I will be calling for another appointment tomorrow, because something has to be done about this. It's very dangerous, especially when this happens and you have another car riding directly behind you. ## VIN failed

- Athens, GA, USA

problem #5

Nov 152012

Altima 6-cyl

  • 1,890 miles
Altima 3.5 transmission has a severe shudder when accelerating normally at about 15-25 mph. This is intermittent but serious as it results is severe shock to the drivetrain. This was not present when new and has been increasing in severity over the last 1000 miles. The dealer says that Nissan engineers claim that it is "characteristic" of the 3.5. this is not true as it was not present when new and is constantly getting worse. It will probably soon result in transmission damage or complete failure which could be a serious safety issue.

- Brooksville , FL, USA

problem #4

Oct 182012

Altima 6-cyl

  • 400 miles
On October 4, 2012 I purchased a 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 sl. It was obvious almost immediately that there was a problem with the transmission. Upon taking off from a stopped position the first shift of the transmission is very hard, especially under light acceleration. Two weeks after purchasing the veh. With approx. 400 miles on the odometer I was pulling away from a stop when the veh. Started shuddering and shaking violently before shifting into gear with a hard bump. This incident lasted approx. 2 seconds. For the next 700 miles or so the shuddering and shaking occurred six more times. I took the veh. Into the Nissan dealer where it was purchased and after driving it they advised that they could not duplicate the problem. Over the next 500 miles the incidents became more often and at times more severe, one incident lasting for several seconds before finally shifting into gear. On December 5, 2012 the veh. Was returned to the dealership. I spoke with service manager explaining the problem and my concerns of maybe the veh. Stopping in the roadway during one of these incidents and being rear ended. This time the service manager rode along with me and drove the veh. Duplicating the problem several times. The engineers at Nissan was contacted by the service manager and they confirmed that there was a problem with the transmission software on the V6 Altima, however they had no fix for it at this time.

- Covington, GA, USA

problem #3

Oct 172012


  • 500 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle would go into neutral while idling and would slam into gear when attempting to accelerate. The contact mentioned that immediatelly after the failure the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who has not been able to diagnose the failure. The failure mileage was 500 and the current mileage was 700.

- Pace, FL, USA

problem #2

Jul 302012


  • 100 miles
The vehicle surges at around 25mph. It cuts out, slows down for a couple seconds, then jerks forward. When it jerks forward, it slam hard like it is doing damage to the transmission.

- Providence Forge, VA, USA

problem #1

Sep 102012


  • 800 miles
The problem began with the transmission locking up or shuddering going down hill, throwing the vehicle and me forward. Ever been on a golf cart going down a hill where the governor throws you forward? multiply that by about 5 and that's what you get. It has progressively gotten worse, to the point where it actually causes the wheels to stop and "chirp" on the pavement. Now, it even happens on relatively flat areas and, going up some hills, the transmission just about gives out. It's a safety issue for several reasons: (1) locking up going down a hill is unsafe if someone is behind you, (2) the severity of it could cause you to lose control of the car, (3) losing power going up a hill could cause you to be rear-ended. Nissan has been slow to respond even though other people have had the same problem. My dealer says that they searched Nissan's "tech talk" across dealers and found nothing. Do a google search on "Nissan deceleration shudder or lockup" and you'll find lots of folks with the same problem. Very unfortunate for an otherwise great car. They need to identify the problem and recall some or all of the 2013S.

- Mobile, AL, USA

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