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:
Average Mileage:
96,201 miles
Total Complaints:
242 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace the engine (80 reports)
  2. not sure (65 reports)
  3. add oil as needed (38 reports)
  4. new engine (22 reports)
  5. get rid of it asap (10 reports)
  6. nissan should replace the engine for the 2nd time (10 reports)
2002 Nissan Altima engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 10 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #62

Sep 242008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,748 miles


This Nissan is already on its 2nd engine, was replaced at 84,500 miles from hummels Nissan, at the present time, the car has 116,748, I add a quart of oil once a week to this car, being the replacement motor has around 30k miles on it, ive done all the maintenance changed the oil every 3k miles, drive the car like a grand mother very slow, 55mph on the highway. right around 100k miles, was told by the dealership the motor needs to be replaced, since a bolt dropped into cylinder 1, which a fuel injector was replaced, some how it damaged the cylinder wall, Ive called Nissan they will not do anything about this, i like the car, but their are some other serious issues, some may not know about, will post them shortly with photo's which are being supplied to the media and will plaster the internet with these hoping they will get the hint to fix this piece of junk.

Update from Jan 27, 2013: I ended up selling this car in 2011, let someone else deal with the issues, loved the car, but was a piece of junk... Will never buy a Nissan Product again!

- , n/a, IA, USA

problem #61

Oct 172008

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,876 miles

Purchased the 2002 Altima on a Thursday in October 2008, had the oil changed the following day (Friday), drove 180 miles (300km), and the all the oil was consumed to the point I could hear the valves or lifters tapping away and the oil light was flashing.

I obviously was not aware of this problem prior to buying this car as it came certified and emission tested. The good news is I pulled off the road immediately and didn't drive till I topped up the oil. The bad news is, I drove 40 miles and a quart of oil was consumed. The PCV, air filter and plugs were replaced when I bought the car.

Looks like I purchased a lemon although close to 90% of the reviews on this model were positive. NISSAN, if you're reading this, the consumers have spoken with a unanimous voice, "WE HAVE A PROBLEM HERE".

Do the recall for the 'EXCESSIVE OIL CONSUMPTION" problem, it's the honorable thing to do, after all, the Altima's are great cars.

- , Burlington, ON, Canada

problem #60

Jan 302007

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

It's time for me to join the frustrated 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 S owners!!! No heat (except occasionally while accelerating; non-existent when idling or at a red light), burning oil, coolant leaking into the #3 cylinder. I have seen all of these problems all over the internet posted by owners in different forums having the same problems, and, yes, I am also wondering why Nissan refused (or still refuses) to do anything about them. I have been told the same things other owners have been told - maybe a head gasket would work, but, in all probability, a new engine is needed. This runaround by Nissan is sickening! Whatever the costs of our vehicles were, Nissan made the money. It doesn't matter that we didn't purchase vehicles costing $40K or $50K, we have all had problems (and have gone through many recalls), but Nissan still has not come up with a way to either get us heat, stop oil from burning, or prevent us from having to add coolant weekly. Typical of a greedy auto manufacturer, I guess.

- , Newton, MA, USA

problem #59

Jul 142008

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


Add another Nissan owner to the list!!!!!

I purchased my '02 Altima used with 53,000 miles on the engine. At about 80,000 miles my engine started consuming quarts per month. I am not having to get my oil changed once per month to ensure my engine does not seize.

My oil change company stated that they have seen this exact problem in numerous Nissan Altimas.

I can't believe that a company such as Nissan who is known for building quality vehicles would allow this problem to sit "dormant" in the public with no attempt to resolve.

I am going to be escalating this issue with Nissan and add yet another name to the I'm sure HUGE lists of Altima owners who purchased a car with expectations of reliability to only have those expectations flattened by the reality of the Nissan Altima's design flaw!!!!!

- , Vacaville, CA, USA

problem #58

Jan 012008

Altima 205

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

This is our 6th Nissan since 1981. Always have been happy. Driven them past 250K miles on 2 occasions. We leased 2002 Altima from OH dealer, Fred Martin Motors. then bought it, in 2006, after lease was up. Started having anit-freeze, oil consumption problem. Dealer says we need a new engine for $3800-$4000, estimate. Car beautifully maintained by wife, constant oil changes and maintenance, garaged and in mint condition. Driven less than 10K a year! I think, after reading about other 2002 engines with similar problems, I think the dealer is responsible for a lemon! We want t keep the car another 4-5 years.Any other problems like this in NE OH area.

- , Akron, OH, USA

problem #57

Nov 012007

Altima 2.5S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

bought this car used in 07, Had car checked out by mechanic before I bought it. after 2 days of driving the oil light came on. checked the oil and it was 2 quarts low. called place where I bought it and they sent me to 3 different places over a few months to have it checked out. I contacted Nissan North America and they admitted that some of the 2002 Altimas were having this problem using oil. Said they hadn't recalled them because they don't know how to fix problem yet. I'm still waiting on problem to be fixed but no one wants to do anything about it. I'm sure other problems are on the way with this car because of the oil problem. Nissans number is 1-800-Nissan-1. Its ridiculous and I think we do need to file a class action lawsuit and get the news channels involved. This car uses 2 quarts of oil every week. I bought this car to save on fuel. I didn't know I'd be spending so much on oil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Eden, NC, USA

problem #56

Jan 012008

Altima L 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles


'02 Altima was purchased new. The first 6 years were fine; some recalls, but handled quickly. Now the car is consuming oil and the car won't heat, and the dealer and the manufacturer are acting as if they never heard of this problem. A friend who owns a used car dealership informs me that he sees this problem on half of all the Altimas, and a Google Search returns hundreds of results. My QX4, Infinity made by Nissan, is better, but rusting quicker than expected. Maybe I was wrong about the cars made by companies from Japan. The Japanese car manufactures should all be upset with Nissan for destroying their image. If you have this problem you should call Alex at Nissan 18667991690 X1662--he'd love to hear from you. Make sure you go on the Nissan web site and complain:, have your VIN number ready.

Maybe they just don't understand yet that ignoring everyone will cost them more than correcting their manufacturing errors.

- , Barrington, IL, USA

problem #55

Jun 302006

Altima SL 2.5L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I do not want to sound redundant but my car has had all these problems and then-some. I hate the fact that I bought this car, its only been a burden of over $28,000 (car cost + repairs, excluding future cost of money over time).

- Excessive Oil Use - Excessive Coolant use and over heating - Broken seals due to over heating from Excessive Coolant use - Coolant must be refilled once per week - Replace of both catalytic converters. - Multiple sensors broken - Moisture in headlights - Car shakes on start up (intermittent) - Car is difficult to turn on (intermittent) - Multiple electrical issues, blown headlights, blown rear lights, blown interior lights, Random speaker and radio failures and so on. - Bad oxygen sensors - Blinking Red Airbag light (possibly broken airbag system) - Bad Engine pressure - Bad gas pressure - Check Engine light never goes off ... and so on.

- , Orlando, FL, US

problem #54

Jun 022006

Altima 2.5L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

The substrate of catalytic converter is breaking apart and causing excessive oil consumption and possible engine failure. The low oil light will not come on if you have proper oil pressure letting you run the engine with little or no oil. The Nissan Corp has been aware of this problem for some time and continues to let the consumer foot the bill.

- , Smithfield, RI, USA

problem #53

Aug 012008

Altima 2.5S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,500 miles

have read the many, many problems on this website about the 02, 03 Altima's engine consuming excessive oil, then failing. The solution, so I hear, is a whole new engine. Well, this same exact thing has happened to me. Has anyone contacted Nissan Corporate Public Relations? How about the press? Cartalk? Edmunds? The Consumerist? Bloggers? They might be more effective than hiring a high priced lawyer for a class action lawsuit. If we could get the word out the public, and tarnish the reputation of this company, the corporate communications execs will have to pay attention. It is their job! So now I am going to contact the dealer and consumer affairs, get a case file started, although I am sure it will do no good.

- , Lakewood, OH, USA

problem #52

Jul 272008

Altima 2.5S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105 miles


I am having the same problem as everyone here. I bought a Nissan (always had a Ford) in April 2008 cause I heard they were really good cars. I have had 2 professional oil change and both companies have said they don't see any leaks and everything looks great. One month ago I just looked at my oil dip stick and there was nothing on it. I have 105,000 miles on it and I'm not due for another oil change until 108 miles. I am having to put in a quart to 2 quarts a week. I have called Nissan and they tell me that they haven't heard this complaint and that I need to take it to a Nissan dealership. I think I might just go back to my Ford (FYI I sold my Ford Expedition because of the gas rise. I'm really starting to miss it.) What is sad is I have 2 kids and I have to make sure before I take them to school, Zoo, ect. that I have to tell people to hold on I have to check my oil before I start my car.

- , Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #51

Jul 102008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

My car is having excessive oil consumption, got my oil changed and 2 days later not registering on dip stick, only drove the car about 100 miles, Now problem is still occurring, have 133,000 miles and have to add between 1/2 qt. and 1 qt. daily. cannot see any smoke and it is not leaking oil from anywhere. This is ridiculous. have had nothing but problem after problem since i bought the car and no one wants to take responsibility for the crappy engines in these Altimas. I'm soooo frustrated at this point. reported the problem to Nissan and they say they have not received many complaints of this. I've explained that I have seen several on line and many people are having the same exact problems. If you are having a problem it is really important that you call Nissan and report it. It's obvious this is a common problem.

- , Norwich, CT, USA

problem #50

May 282008

Altima 2.5S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

I have a 2002 Altima with 109000 miles on it. The precat failed in May 2008. After it was fixed under warranty the motor started using a qt. of oil every 700 miles. I took it back to the dealer. The said it needs a new motor. I asked if Nissan will cover it? They are checking with Nissan. I have read this is a result of the precat failing. The insides of the precat get sucked back up into the motor and score the cylinder walls. This seems to be a very common problem. If Nissan doesn't cover it, I will be contacting an attorney. This sounds like it could be grounds for a class action lawsuit.

- , Nipomo, CA, USA

problem #49

Jul 302008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

My husband and I have had the EXACT same problems that pretty much everyone on here has listed for the Nissan Altima - excessive oil consumption, blown catalytic converter, engine had to be replaced, rattling engine, etc. I've researched these problems a lot and there are seriously HUNDREDS of us out there. Nissan has to fix this. Here's a petition. Please sign it and I'll send it to Nissan once we have enough signatures. They can't stick it to so many Americans and just walk off scot free.

- , Oakland, CA, USA

problem #48

Jan 062008

Altima 2.5L Sl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


- , Rocky Mount, VA, USA

problem #47

Mar 252005

Altima 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Will never buy another NISSAN product again. Had 3 no starts within first 6 months of purchase. Incompetent dealership techs never identified a problem. Eventually engine failed at 104K miles. Should have stayed with Toyota.

- , Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #46

May 202008

Altima SE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I cannot believe I am not the only one having this problem. Excessive oil consumption, needs new catalytic converter, and also a new engine because this problem has been occurring who knows since when so the damage to the engine has already been done, (the defect began before the warranty was to expire)

However, Nissan won’t take responsibility because the car is over the warranty miles, unless I provide them with records on paper of every oil change the car has had. Which is absurd for a 6-year-old car.


What Nissan is doing is outrageously wrong.

You may email me at

- , Southampton, NY, USA

problem #45

Apr 042008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

I was reading about the guy who wants buy the billboard. I really think that is a good Idea. Honestly I can't afford a billboard, or let alone my car and all it repairs. I want to make flyer's and start by going to malls and circling my neighbor putting flyer's on peoples car, telling them to list there complaints here. Who knows somebody might just know what to do, or maybe we can get enough people together to get something done. I stop people on the street who drive this car and ask questions. Maybe somebody will know how to get ahead in this crazy world. This is just crazy we did do something. I made friends with somebody who just called to tell me there engine just died on them yesterday! Maybe if we can't get it taken care of, at least we can support each other when our cars finally die!

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #44

Jan 152008

Altima LS 2.5L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I have had this car for almost 7 years - it has been recalled several times but for nothing major. Since January, it has been constantly running out of oil. There are no oil leaks. It has been looked at by my local mechanic and also my Nissan dealer- each found no evidence of what is causing the problem. The car has been flushed and tested at the cost of a few hundred dollars- no solution. I then read on line that many people have had this problem making it evident there is an inherent defect with the car's engine. I expect cars in this day and age to last well over 100,000 miles and have owned several that reached over 120,000. This car's problem at minimum should be fixed at no cost to me by the dealer. When I have gone there they acted as if they knew nothing of this type of problem with many Altimas. Hard to believe they are completely unaware of the defect existing in so many of these cars. I am trying to resolve with them but not counting on success particularly after reading what others with the same problem have gone through.

- , Rockaway, N J, USA

problem #43

Nov 012007

Altima 2.5sl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

Same problem of needing a new engine because of the precat issue. After patiently waiting for 1800nissan1 to tell me they won't give me goodwill assistance, I found a technical service bulletin online. TSB 03-070c outlines the criteria for which Nissan will give customer a replacement engine free of charge. There are three things that need to occur. First, the computer diagnostic must spit out the P0420 code for three way catalyst failure. Second, the ECM must be reprogrammed. Finally, a visual inspection of the pre catalytic converter must be done. All of these must be performed at a Nissan dealership. If the pre catalytic converter is determined to be cracked, the TSB clearly saya that the engine will be replaced at no cost to the consumer. Once I took this document to the dealership, and they contacted Nissan, it only took them a day to decide that they would give me a new (rebuilt) engine. I hope this information will help some people out there.

- , State College, PA, USA

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