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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
118,594 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
  2. overhaul engine (1 reports)
2002 Nissan Maxima engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Nissan Maxima:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Nissan Maxima Owner Comments

problem #6

Nov 192015

Maxima SL 2.5L V4

  • Manual transmission
  • 125,500 miles


There was no indication by previous Carfax, or mechanic receipts that there was any problem with the Catalytic Convertor. Seems it was never touched, except by the mechanic,( that was supposed to only do an oil change by the way), who "worked" on it as soon as we bought it used. He decides that certain sensors needed replaced which then lead to the engine light coming on. Strange thing was that it only came on after this mechanic touched it. Then we took it back to him to find the reason the light is on and he refuses to look at it...ever! ?? The mechanic was Fast Lube 529 McHenry Ave. Modesto, CA 95354. So I google problems with Nissan Altima and low and behold the #1 problem is excessive oil consumption. Well this might be the #1 complaint and all, but it doesn't explain why the shady mechanic pulled this stunt to begin with. Anyways I know the code reader from pepboys brought up code P420 which they tell me is the convertor code. And it has used up 10 quarts of oil so far. It has gone about 1750 miles since I bought it. So now the question is whether the mechanic did something to it or if it's based on this common problem with large oil consumption and bad catalytic convertors among Nissan Altimas. I'm more pissed about the mechanic refusing to look at it than I am finding out it's a common problem among all 2002 Nissan Altimas.

- , Modesto, CA, USA

problem #5

Sep 262014

Maxima GLE 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

3.5L Nissan engines burn serious oil. Dealer claim to not know of the problem..yeah right.

- , Franksville, WI, USA

problem #4

May 012013

Maxima SE 3.5V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 211,000 miles

Purchased car in Jan. 2011. Service records indicate valve covers were replaced on 01/03/2011. Car is now leaking and using oil to the point it is not drivable. Oil was changed every 3,500 miles. Contacted Nissan NA, Inc. and they have not addressed the issue. To replace the motor is expensive, and most mechanics do not want to rebuild the engine. Found this information on the Maxima via the internet:

The precatalyst breaks down and sucks back into the combustion chamber which wears walls/rings, valves and causes excessive oil consumpition and low compression.

Why hasn't Nissan addressed this issue? Seems like a lot of Nissan Maxima owners have this problem.

- , Columbus, OH, USA

problem #3

Jan 152008

Maxima SE 3.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 70,000 miles


I own a 2002 Nissan Maxima SE which I bought new. After 5 fears driving at approx 70000 miles I noticed the engine started to rattle when driving in curves. I have checked the oil level and was low 1.5 quarts. I have always changed the oil at 3000 miles (used synthetic all the time) I was shocked. My car was burning oil. It was of warranty so I keep adding oil one quart per 1800 miles. It does not smoke and it passes the emission tests. What can I do? I keep adding oil. This is not acceptable for a car of this caliber: 255 HP, V6, 3.5 Liter engine. Now the car has 112000 miles. So far the oil consumption is at the same rate. Do not buy 2002 or 2003 Maximas. They all burn oil.

- , Toronto, ON, canada

problem #2

Aug 312011

Maxima SE 3.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 118,061 miles

Engine consumed oil. Mine wasn't as bad as other owner's experienced but still needed to keep an eye on it. Apparently bad or cheap piston rings are the cause. Too bad....great car. Nissan quality is dropping. See my other complaints.

- , Mississauga, Ontario, canada

problem #1

Jan 112008

Maxima GXE 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

By recommendation of our local Nissan dealer, I had a oil consumption test on my car because we were having to add so much oil.between changes. The estimate to fix it was $3600 and you were not going to pay any of this cost, we just ask for you to pay half. I had already looked at problems on the internet and knew that this was a reoccuring problem with 2002 Altimas, and that there was one instance where Nissan fixed it for free. This was our 3rd Nissan vehicle which we were expecting the same great reliability we had in the other two, over 200,000 miles with no major problems, we thought they were #1. Now we don't even think about getting another one.

This car was suppose to last me into retirement, or so I thought when I purchased it. Now I am going to have to go through the agony of trying to find something I can feel secure with and rely on, with a lot more expense I wasn't counting on.

Our son in law had a 2000 Toyota Pick up with over 149,000 miles, it rusted out, Toyota took his truck and are going to pay him 150% of the kelley blue book price $11400.00. That's what I call standing behind your product. I think I'll look hard at buying a Toyota next time.

- , Wytheville, VA, USA

Not what you are looking for?