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 11 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #42

Jun 092006

Altima SE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


Car followed the altima typical path--bad cat, blown head gasket, oil pressure light on, blown main bearings. Car is done !!!!!

- , Freehold, NJ, USA

problem #41

Sep 072007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

2002 Nissan engines and Nissan not giving a damn. CLASS ACTION HERE WE COME!

i have found the lawyer that handled fords class action lawsuit! i am contacting them asap. if anyone wants to join by all means e-mail me.

- , Burlington, NC, USA

problem #40

Jan 022008

Altima ES 2.5L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

After reading the many complaints about this model Altima, I am compelled to add my voice to this issue. As all of you, I've had many garages and dealer tell me that the excessive oil consumption has damaged the engine and must be replaced. This is absolute horse-shi*!! There is no way that cars of this type and "reliability rating" should have this type of problem at 103,000 miles. These days this is not an excessive mileage count. Nissan is a big, rich car maker and when they say they can't afford to recall and replace engines that are a result of a design flaw, they are lying to our faces and BREAKING THE LAW!! I don't know what else to do but keep filing complaints with Nissan, but something legally must be done to help us!! Anyway, I will continue to read complaints and maybe one day (before my engine blows up) we will be compensated for a breach of customer service rights.

- , Bel Air, MD, USA

problem #39

May 072008

Altima SE 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 89,998 miles


My car has been consistently maintained by the dealership. In March 2008 I brought the car in because it was rattling. The oil was all gone. They told me I needed a new catalytic converter, which cost me over $1,300 and to bring it back in to test the oil consumption. I brought it back in May 2008 and they told me I needed a new engine, which would cost about $4,000. I took it somewhere else and they did some things to it for a few hundred bucks and told me to bring it back if there were any more problems. A month later the oil was all gone again. They told me today that indeed the engine is burning oil and going bad. They are pricing a used engine for me. I'm really angry that even with all the dealer maintenance of this car the engine is going bad after only about 90k miles. And why did I have to pay that much to replace the catalytic converter only to find out my engine was gone????

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #38

Mar 042006

Altima 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 78,000 miles
I have respectfully requested that Nissan North America replace the engine in my 2002 Nissan Altima, VIN 1N4AL11D52C222544 Case#5865538. <p>    The very public and well-documented problems with oil consumption in the 2002 and 2003 Nissan Altimas warrant your immediate attention. I have spent over 18 months and thousands of dollars trying to fix my car. I first noticed an oil consumption problem at about 75,000 miles. I keep up with the required services on my vehicle and I make oil changes at the recommended intervals at a minimum, so I tried additional oil changes and oil refills. These efforts did not seem to work; so I replaced the catalytic converter, the two crank position sensors, the PCV valve, four coil packs, two oxygen sensors, and the spark plugs. Many of these items were on recall and Nissan should have paid for them, but I paid for them. Even after all of this time and money � the problem persisted, so I began to suspect a defect in design and/or manufacture. <p>    With this in mind I started researching to see if others shared my frustrations. To my surprise, I found countless numbers of Nissan Altima owners were having the exact same issues. In fact, there are now reports of the 2002/2003 Altima�s engines catching on fire because of this oil consumption problem. This risk of engine fire presents a risk for injury or death to vehicle occupants, especially since part of the problem includes no warning that the engine is running dry. My surprise stems from the fact that I bought a Nissan based upon Nissan�s outstanding reputation for quality vehicles<p>  As previously mentioned, my exhaustive research has uncovered countless numbers of Nissan Altima drivers with these exact same complaints. Many are involved in class action lawsuit steps against Nissan. However, it was my sincerest hope that Nissan North America will professionally stand behind their products and take ownership of this extremely pervasive Nissan Altima defect and acquiesce to my humblest request just to have my automobile and its engine perform as I and Nissan intended when I purchased their product. <p>  Nissan North America has it within their power to turn this apparent failure into a public relations and customer satisfaction and loyalty success story. Nissan North America has denied my request for a new engine. They also denied and assistance if I purchased a new engine. I have done everything they asked, which included multiple oil consumption tests. When these tests were being performed, I was told that if they cracked the engine and did an engine inspection to prove the engine was well maintained, I would receive a new engine. The local Huntsville dealership cracked the engine and stated it was the cleanest they ever saw. When Nissan North America was informed of this they declined my request for a new engine or any assistance. After pressing the Nissan agent as to why, he said it was a business decision and Nissan North America could not afford to replace everyone�s engine.

- , Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #37

Jun 132008

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

i just had my car at the dealer 2day for oil change, new brakes, and a rattling sound that it was making, the dealer called me b4 performing the work to tell me that the reason my car was rattling is because i only had 1 quart of oil left in it. There is no oil leak, the engine is burning oil. She explained it to me as the piston rings are shot and i need a new engine. conveniently enough my extended warranty expired 2 months ago. but to really understand my pain i have to go back to 90,000 miles when the warranty was still in effect and explain that the car was losing coolant and the head gasket was blown. Causeway Nissan replaced the head gasket and the warranty covered it. BUT they couldn't see the faulty piston rings at that point?? Cmon. The manager of the service department explained the problem to me as a DESIGN FLAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how can that not be covered under a recall? i just don't understand. i bought this car brand new, it has had SEVERAL RECALLS and problems. THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I AM PAYING TO REPLACE THE ENGINE OF A CAR WITH ONLY 97,000 miles on it. Of course i have opened a complaint with Nissan corp. and have yet to hear back from them. I am all for a class action lawsuit. These corporations just keep getting richer while i am out thousands. there is no word to describe how pissed off i am right now.

- , Barnegat, NJ, US

problem #36

Apr 292008

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


b s for bad catalytic converter to trash engine- lets seek restitution

- , Odessa, TX, USA

problem #35

Jan 062008

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,500 miles

I have been in and out of the country throughout the 2007 year and for the first three months of 2008. The day before leaving Nevis, West Indies (March 12,2008)to return in the States, my mother-in-law called me to tell me that my 2002 Altima did not have in oil in it. That was pretty shocking knowing that I had serviced my car about a week before I left for Nevis. I was very mad because I believed that the Service Station (Mount Holly Car Wash, NJ) did not put enough oil in my car. When I came back, I went there the next day to complain. The owner on the station was very surprised also and refilled my engine with oil. A week later, the oil was gone. I brought the car to the dealership for check up, oil change and transmission flush. Upon explaining to them the situation I was facing with the car, they told me that I have to come back in a month for them to check the level of the oil. I responded by letting them know that the oil is not even lasting that long. After that, they were willing to have me back there a week later.

When I went back at the dealership (Classic Nissan, Mount Holly, NJ), I was surprised to hear that I needed a new engine. I knew that I maintained my car extremely well all of this years and I was and still am paying for it. At first they told me that I was covered with my extended warranty for a new engine only to be denied because I was out of the warranty 18 days prior to me going back at the dealership. I was asked to pay $4,700 for all the repair needed for my car to run normally. I could hardly accept this. I was very disappointed at Nissan as a manufacturor because I barely drove that car yet I maintained it very well. The next thing I did was to contact Nissan North America to let them know of my situation. The customer service was simply horrible. They barely responded to my calls and messages and it took them almost two weeks to come up with a dismissal of my case saying that they could not find the record of all the servicing of my car from one of the dealerships--Devon Nissan, PA--because the previous dealer "A" sold the place to the current dealer "B". According to them, the dealer "A" erased all the record and did not transfer all the record dealer "B". I was so furious that I yelled at the regional specialist for about 30mins. I was very hurt by the fact that Nissan did not even want to recognize this engine problem as normal. They made it seem as if it was my fault that the engine was burning oil out of no where.

It was even hurting to me when I went on the internet just to find that so many people have the same problem all at the same time, yet Nissan does not want to do anything about it. I really do not know what it takes to get this engine recall but I would like to see Nissan pay for all of this deception.

I am definitely sure that I will not buy any more Nissan in my life. I gave them (Nissan) a chance to help the situation and they lied to me and many other out there.

So if you are planning a law suit, I am there with you!!!!!!

- , Mount Holly, NJ, USA

problem #34

Apr 262008

Altima 2.5S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

One more instance of the engine giving up in the 2002 Altima. No more Nissan's for me.

I was taking a long drive and the engine started making a clanking noise. I took it to the dealer, who said the engine needs to be replaced.

I wish I had read this website earlier. No more Nissan's for me.

I am all up for a class action lawsuit against Nissan for doing nothing about this problem.

- , Yarmouth, ME`, USA

problem #33

Apr 022008

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

I say that all us 2002 Nissan Altima owners get together and file a class action suit against Nissan for willfully knowing about this problem and doing nothing to fix it. And now they want the customer to foot the bill to replace the engine. This is pure bull crap and they need to own up to this problem.

- , Walden, NY, USA

problem #32

Apr 192008

Altima SL 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,500 miles


We regularly take our 2002 Nissan Altima for servicing at the dealer and have the oil and filter changed every 3000 miles. Over the past year we noticed unusual oil consumption within oil changes. We mentioned this to the dealer and they asked us to check for oil leaks. No oil leaks whatsoever. We had the oil changed again last month, March 08 and drove from Canada to Myrtle Beach on April 6. We started to hear a knocking sound and took the car to a mechanic who couldn't find the problem and unfortunately no one thought of checking the oil as we had the oil changed within the past month. The oil light did not come on on both occasions.The mechanic said he thought that it might be the timing belt and we could have that repaired when we returned to Canada. But, we had the timing belt and water pump replaced in late 2007 so that couldn't be the problem. On our way back to Canada, we heard a loud sound, smoke and the car died on us. We are now stranded in PA and had tp pay $200 to tow the car to the nearest nissan dealer which is closed until Monday am. We are stranded here and are at a hotel with our dog and are frustrated after reading all the complaints about the altima problems. Any suggestions from anyone while I wait for the dealer to open tomorrow morning? I am from Toronto and I plan to contact Nissan Canada when I return to Toronto...but in the meantime any ideas on how long it takes to have the car repaired and the costs involved? The tow truck driver took one look and said that there is hole blown out on the side of the motor. HELP!!!!

- , Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #31

May 152005

Altima SE 3.5L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 56,500 miles

i bought my 2002 Nissan Altima V6 mt used with 46,000 miles on it and at 56,500 the top end started to chatter from lack of oil. i realized my engine was burning oil and i was adding a quart or two after only 1,500-2,000 miles after an oil change. i took it in to the dealer when it was chattering and they tore the engine down and found blue scaring from to much heat,caused by lack of oil. as soon as i would hear this noise i would add oil so they said it was probably from the previous owner running it with lack of oil. after 2 and a half months,the dealer got fought to get the whole engine replaced and did covered by factory warranty.great right! well my new engine after about 50,000 thousand miles is doing the same factory warranty or extended so till i finish paying it off i just add oil.Nissan never said why this was happening but the catalytic converters coming apart and getting sucked back into engine could have been the issue on the first engine but this one, i don't know.hope to hear of other problems like mine. peace!

- , Chula Vista, CA, US

problem #30

Aug 012006

Altima 2.5S 2.5i4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

i bought my Nissan Altima in march of 2003 it was an 2002 with 20000 miles on it. it was a very beautiful car when i looked it and i couldn't afford the insurance on a mustang so i got it. had no problems till 2006. my converter was stopped up and i don't know why but the converter caused my car to burn oil and then when i had the head gasket replaced it got worst. since 2006 i have replaced my converter 3 times and im so sick of it i have to pay payments on a car that i cant really drive unless im going to the store.

- , Williston, SC, USA

problem #29

Dec 262007

Altima 2.5 S 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,268 miles

Got this car Used in July 06, from reputable local dealer I've bought from before.

It was a Japanese car, and I've had great success in the past with used Japanese cars. I've had Nissans, Toyota, Datsun, Subaru's and Mazda's...never had to do anything with any of them but change the oil regularly and occasional tune up and put gas in them, and they were small enough the when I did have to put tires on them - the tread would last forever and I never paid more than $1500, for any of when they asked me about an extended warranty on this car, I thought a little bit then broke into a laugh...thought that didn't make any sense.

Got the car for my daughter that was about to get her license, and it sat in the garage most of the time for the first 4-5 months. Then we started driving around 4K miles on it - [well after the 30 warranty on the used car had expired], and get a check engine light! - took it to the dealer, they said it was the cc, ...and it was 3 qts low on oil, ...and with consumption like that, it would probably need a new engine, and cc. for $4500 and may need a couple of new O2 sensors also that would bring it up to around $4900! ....I thought he was joking!...then I started researching it on the net - I had when I bought it - typing in 2002 Nissan Altima - and everything showed up great, but when I added the word "complaints" to the search word group - all the problems with this year's altima's started showing up on the search. It didn't even show up on carfax! As I started to read the issues I started seeing all these engine, oil consumption, cc exhaust problems AND read the recalls. There was a recall on this issue back in 2003, I thought maybe is wasn't done - there was no mention of it in car fax and nothing in the maint records I'd got with the car. So I called Nissan America, they confirmed that all the recalls that were supposed to be done on it had been, and that they had all been done by Van dyn Hoven Imports in Appleton - which is where I'd just got this list of problems and the $4900 estimate from. I ask NA if there wasn anything they could do to help me out here - but they said that if I had any problems with the work I'd have to take it to them. OK - so I called the Nissan dealer again - to try to get copies of the maint records on the car, from their previous work done for previous owners of the car. I figured it's my car now, I should be entitled to the maint history on the car....NO - they've got a company policy...probably coached from some corporate lawyer, that prohibits them from giving out the maint records of any maint done for other owners.....So I was back to square one ...been recording the oil consumption, to get a good base line and drive it modestly, at slow speeds, while I did more research on the problem and yesterday it finally started making a lot of noise, and now I'm taking it to the dealer again next week, for more diagnostic eval and expecting for them to tell me it needs a new engine, cc, and probably a couple of sensors. I've got less than 6,000 miles on this car and it's turning out to be the most expensive Japanese car I've ever owned and feel like I've learned some expensive lessons - first and foremost - I'll never blindly expect Japanese cars to be maint free again. 2nd - I've learned the hard way to be sure to include the word "Complaints" in the search when checking out data on a prospective car/truck I'm interested in buying...3rd - Getting an extended warranty on the vehicle ASAP after you drive it off the lot is still a good deal - even it the car already has 100K on the car, ...the $1500-2000 you spend on it - beats $5K on an engine any day.

- , Appleton, WI, USA

problem #28

Mar 192004

Altima 2.5S 2.5L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Always changed oil every 4-5k with quality oil. At about 45K miles, car started drinking oil- 4 quarts between changes. Found out that recall with heat manifold/ECM reprogram was not completed after I paid $700 to have the dealer re-do it. Service tech recommends engine replacement to solve oil consumption- $4500. I say F*ck Nissan, I will buy anything else before I fix this piece of sh*t. Contacted Consumer affairs many times via letter and phone. They do not return phone calls or letters. They state that the improperly done recall that probably ruined eng. is not their fault because I took over 12 mos to find out that the recall was not done.

- , Columbus, OH, USA

problem #27

Feb 142008

Altima 2.5S 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 10,900 miles

Oil is just disappearing, had an oil change at Walmart and the next day it was very low and began to knock. Walmart replaced the oil and gave me my $ back. I am still having this problem and will be going to the dealer. But, after reading these complaints it looks like I'm going to spending a lot of $$$$$$$$

- , Sicklerville, NJ, USA

problem #26

Nov 022006

(reported on)

Altima 2.5S 2.5L V4

  • Manual transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I started consuming oil thought there was a leak. Drove for 1 week. Took into Nissan they could not find the problem. did an oil consumption test. in 100 miles my Altima went threw 9quarts of oil. Took it back to Nissan the warranty company had them tear down the engine with my consent. The piston rings failed leading to the oil consumption. The warranty company would not fix the engine due to no records of oil changes. Thats f*ckin bullshit i change my own oil. The car is still not fixed this problem occurred 4 months ago. i contacted corporate Nissan a number of times. No one ever called me back. Thats f*cked up. I will never buy another Nissan again nor would i recommend it to any one else

- , Cleveland, OH, US

problem #25

May 082007

(reported on)

Altima SE 2.5

  • Manual transmission
  • 89,000 miles

After nine documented trips to two different dealerships, countless phone calls, and an unimaginable amount of my time wasted, Nissan refuses to fix my car. I was putting 3 quarts of oil in my 2002 Altima every 2 weeks which is "acceptable oil consumption" according to Nissan. I knew I had to fix the car for fear of being sued by the new owner if I didn't disclose the problems and knowing I couldn't sell the car if I did disclose the problems. I even spoke with an attorney about it and he said Nissan covered their ass with the wording of their service agreement so I didn't have anything to stand on. Nissan knows this is a problem and won't do anything about it. Meanwhile we are the ones getting screwed.

- , Mt. Juliet, TN, USA

problem #24

Apr 262007

(reported on)

Altima 2.5 SL V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,500 miles

I guess I wasn't the only one having this problem.

I drive about 120-150 miles a day, so I really need to have a reliable car. Because of that, I've been taking the car into STS Tire and Auto for oil changes about every 6-7 weeks. I also put coolant into the car pretty regularly. In March 2007, my check engine light came on for the hundredth time (since 70,000 it comes on and off) so I took it to get it checked out. Turns out my catalytic converter had melted!! After getting that fixed, along with my spark plugs (and of course Nissan uses the laser cut ones $$$), the light came back again because the engine was overheating. Around this time, we also noticed that the car was burning up oil. I got stuck at work one day because it ran out of oil. Had to run to ShopRite with someone else to buy some. Took the car in to get the last service engine light looked at, STS added more oil and coolant and that was pretty much the beginning of the end. Car started shuddering really badly in the Home Depot parking lot, and the next day, it never made it out of my garage.

Nissan is saying the engine's pretty much shot. They also said that the catalytic converter lost some debris into the engine. How does that even make sense!!! I'm not even going to let them fix it. See if I can find a used engine and have it put in by a private mechanic and then sell the car to a dealership.

Next car I buy will be an Acura/Honda. No way will I ever buy another Nissan ever ever again. And I'll be sure to tell everyone else the same thing!

- , Nazareth, PA, USA

problem #23

Feb 272008

Altima ES 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I bought this used car from a dealer early last year for my son. From Day 1 it seemed to be consuming an unusually large amount of oil, so much so that my son was putting oil in on a regular basis between oil changes. It all came to a head a couple of weeks ago when my son returned home for the weekend and said the oil light was coming on. I was totally shocked to find that there was virtually no oil left, especially since it had only gone 1700 miles since the last oil change. It was all downhill from there.....after filling with oil, it continued to get worse....trouble starting it...rough running.... and the check engine light was on....brought it to the local dealer who proceeded to replace the catalytic converter and said my problems should be over. They also changed the oil again. Not even a week later, it would not start, so I had to tow it to another Nissan dealer. After flushing the system and replacing the spark plugs the tune of $300 (not to mention my rental car charges for both) they ran some additional tests to check on the oil leak. Now they tell me that 2 of the cylinders are misfiring and I need a new engine....another $3700. I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER NISSAN AGAIN!!!

- , Harrisville, RI, USA

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