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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
74,522 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
2002 Nissan Altima engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #3

Jan 012005

Altima LE

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles


Pre-catalyst failed due to design flaw that sucked in catalyst substrate into cylinder #1. Burns oil about a quart /month but no smoke and yet passes emissions. Also coolant goes quickly as well. Generally drive vehicle 12 miles RT to/from bus station. Replaced catalyst with new converter bought from dealership by my mechanic.

Several years ago I took car to Thornton, CO Nissan dealership and they told me about the pre-catalyst failure and could replace engine for about $5,000++. The service manager was bragging about how many engines they have replaced and that there was an inventory in Dallas of new engines they could drop in.

Nissan successfully fought the recall in spite of the potential of engine fires and seized engines. I now have about 120,000 on vehicle but have to add oil / coolant about every two weeks, even though car is used about 12 miles/day.

I'll never buy a Nissan again after this one dies. Thinking of a Toyota and will send a copy of the purchase to Nissan America just to show them I am done with Nissan.

- , Westminster, CO, USA

problem #2

Jun 122014

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,567 miles

Stated at 98,0000 to burn oil, the oil is really black and I have to keep an eye on it every week and refill oil as needed

- , Hacienda Heights, CA, US

problem #1

Mar 102014

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Bought a 2002 Nissan Altima with 90000 miles on it. After driving it for 3 months it started burning oil. Had it for a year now and now it burns qt every 50 miles.

I always I liked Nissan but I will never own one again. These cars are junk.

- , Keyser, WV, USA

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