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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,500 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.

2002 Nissan Altima drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #2

Sep 012007


  • miles


Engine and engine cooling:exhaust system:manifold/header/muffler/tail pipe; I went to kraft nissian dealership to have this recall fixed; after about approximately 2-3 weeks later I experience a shut-off in traffic. I return the car back to kraft nissian and they stated that they did not see a problem. It did not happen a agin, but afterwards I notice my car was burining alot of oil. I replace the oil every two-to three days. Then one day it just died on me. I then had the car tow the car I could not afford the repair of the replacement of the engine and was told I had to rmove the car from the premises immeditely. I explain to the top/head service guy that I would have someone come and remove it that Friday. He called on Friday and I told him that it would be after 5pm but the person would be there to move it. I got there around 5:15 and was told the car had been towed. I believe that there is a continous problem with the recall and that nissian dealership do not want to replace the engine and makes the consumer feel as if it was theere fault. I had taken the car back several times without any satisfaction, I not sure if they treated me that way because I was a woman or what but I really felt belittled by this dealership.

- Havana, FL, USA

problem #1

Jun 132009


  • 139,000 miles
I was on vacation, driving to cleveland, oh with my wife & parents on 6-13-09, sat in 2002 Nissan Altima, 2.5 sl. Around 9.00 pm, on I-80, apprx 40 mil from cleveland, suddenly smoke started coming from the car hood, causing poor visibility. Temp and oil level indicators did not show any sign of problem with the engine. After narrowly escaping crash with other vehicles by grace of god, we could stop the car with smoke still coming out. By the time I moved everybody away from the car, the smoke stopped. This sudden failure of the engine could have been more disastrous, endangering precious lives. On cranking the engine, loud noise from the engine made us believe that car was in bad shape, so car was towed to Nissan of North olmsted, oh (dealer). After inspection on mon, 6/15/09 I was informed that the engine casting had a big hole apprx 2" big. We were asked to either scrap the car or replace the engine with estimated cost of $4500. We were not told any good reason for this engine failure. Being stranded with my family for 3 days and despaired, I decided to replace engine hoping to get compensation from Nissan. Initial positive response from Nissan customer affairs became very dissatisfying and frustrating after I paid the dealer. It was a shock to us that after calling so many times Nissan did not took any responsibility stating on 6/24 that "the vehicle is outside of manufacturer's warranty" later I found many publications stating that 2002, Nissan Altima-2.5L engines have faced similar engine failures but Nissan has not done enough to avoid such incidents. Irresponsible behavior like this is not expected from such a reputed org. There had been multiple recalls on my car including "engine sensor kit" and " engine cooling system". I would like to request you to look in to this matter so as to contain further damage to precious lives of people at large. I further request you to impress upon Nissan to reimburse us for total cost of replacing engine and mental agony.

- East Hartford, CT, USA

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