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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
116,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
2002 Nissan Altima engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #2

Aug 122009

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,000 miles


I bought my 2002 Nissan Altima new. I was driving it home from work which is only a 10 mile drive when I noticed at one of the stop lights while stopped that the car was surging. In 95+ degree heat I had my a/c running along with my head lights on for safety. I didn't have my radio on at the time. It was surging so quickly that it made me look as though I was dancing to the beat of a fast song. I tried turning off my a/c to see what would happen and the surging dropped in intensity. I then turned off my head lights and it dropped even more. The tack was jumping up and dropping down with a range of approximately 300 rpms while having the lights on and the a/c on.

I took it over to a local parts store to have them check out the check engine light and explained to them the problem. I asked them to check out the alternator as well. The results were: a good alternator and a bad catalytic converter. I explained that the problem was in the electrical part of the car and he said the catalytic converter will cause this when it needs to be replaced. I don't know if this is going to fix the problem but I am going to replace the catalytic converter.

- , Nashville, TN, US

problem #1

May 312009

Altima SL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

I have taken it to nissan and the computer does not read anything wrong with the car. But nissan says the car is surging! But they don't know why. They want to remove, clean, and replace, every ground wire on the car to go to the next step in diagnosing the cars issue. They don't even think the ground wires will fix the issue but perhaps let them go further in the diagnosing of the issue. They are saying since they don't know what is causing the issue it is not covered by the warranty. They want 88$/hr to do the ground wire thing and they can't even tell me how long it will take but a min of 3-4 hours and it might not get done in a that is a steep i don't know from nissan into my pockets!

- , Hephzibah, GA, USA

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