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 12 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #22

Aug 152007

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


Don't buy Nissan if you need your time and like your money.

- , Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

problem #21

May 092007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

Ok guys. My heart bleeds for everyone on this site. I have been through the mill with this car and have had it. I finally received confirmation today from my service tech, off the record of course, that Nissan has known full well that this model car had major problems. At 97000 miles, my check engine light went on. Like any good car owner, I took my car to the dealership to find out the problem. I trusted them and did no research on my own when they told me that my catalytic converter went. I had it replaced and went on my way. At approximately 124000 miles that pesky check engine light appeared again. This time when I took it, it read that cylinder 2 was misfiring. After 2 days of testing it was reported to me that cylinder 2 was filling with coolant signaling that my head gasket was blown. This time I decided to research this on the Internet finding out all of the horror stories of converters breaking off and pieces going into the engine. When I asked my tech about this, I was assured that this was not the case and gave my car a clean bill of health after replacing the gasket to the tune of 1200 bucks. One month later, I heard an awful noise from under the hood. It sounded like a motor boat. I called my tech. As I was on the phone with him the oil light went on and off. He told me to immediately go to a gas station and have the oil checked. To my surprise, my car had no oil in it what so ever. It took 4 quarts of oil and I brought the car into the shop again. This time they changed my oil for no reason since I just put 4 new quarts in at the gas station. They charged me 32 bucks for the oil change and started an oil consumption test.640 miles later I went through 2 quarts on oil. I reported this to my tech. The next day that check engine light came on again. After bringing it back, My tech alerted me that I now need a new engine. He also told me that Nissan knew about these problems and did nothing about it. He told me to contact Nissan NA at 1800nissan 1. I sat on hold for 1 hour before finally talking to a service rep. He took my info and started a case file that will be reviewed. When I told him the amount of miles on the car it didn't seem like he wanted to help. It wasn't until I told him that I knew of these issues and that my converter was replaced once before. I asked why I wasn't told about this when my converter first went bad to which he didn't have an answer. My only hope is that this post will help other people. If they do nothing to help me I will get rid of the car and do everything in my power to make sure that no one that I know buys a nissan. It is a travesty. Hopefully if more people complain and know about this we can start a class action suit against nissan NA

- , Lumberton, NJ, US

problem #20

Mar 012007


  • Manual transmission
  • 60,000 miles

We bought our used 2002 Nissan Altima in March of 2007. I drive about 65 miles to work roundtrip 5 days a week. After driving it a couple of months we started to notice we needed to put oil in it the start of every week if not the engine would make a terrible noise. When we purchased the car we got an extended warranty for it. We decided we needed to take it in to see what the heck is going on. We took it to our Nissan Dealer figuring they would be the best to handle it. At first they just couldn't figure why we were having to put so much oil in every week. They said we would have to pay for the tear down of the engine but that if it was something under warranty then we wouldn't have to pay but if not we would have to pay for tear down and the cost to fix it. UGHHH we really didn't have a choice so we consented to the tear down. They sent a warranty adjuster out and after a couple of days they agreed to give us a refurbished engine and pay for everything. I know it sounds good, however after about a month with our refurbished engine it's doing the same thing our old one did, the oil seems to be vanishing into thin air. How is that even possible. With this refurbished engine they gave us a 12 month 12,000 mile warranty guess we are taking it back to Nissan again ! ! I will never buy another Nissan

- , Pueblo, CO, USA

problem #19

Jan 032008

Altima LS 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles


I have a 2002 Altima with 105,000 miles. In Oct 2007 started hearing engine knocking noise. I noticed that my oil was very low and began adding oil every few weeks. But it was not enough. By the end of Nov 2007 the engine had been damaged so badly that it had to be replaced at a cost of over $4,000. What is Nissan doing about this problem ?

- , Holland, MI, USA

problem #18

Mar 022007

Altima SL 2..5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Problem with the excessive oil consumption. Adding oil at least every 2-3 days. I am very annoyed and disappointed in Nissan. I am also having a problem with my catalytic converter, which this is the reason why the car is consuming so much oil. I had an extended warranty at the time I took the car in 02 or 03 of this year. Nissan does not want to correct the problem on either case. Did I also mention that the SES light is still on after 2 years. If my problem is not corrected. I will NEVER purchase another NISSAN and I will let everyone know I come in contact with how horrible they are!

- , Lees Summit, MO, USA

problem #17

May 292007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Well it seems that this is an ongoing problem with the Altima and Nissan has done NOTHING. I've brought my vehicle in at 17K miles because it was losing oil from the beginning. The car was still under warranty at that time and they couldn't find the problem. They changed the catalyst converter (at my expense) and still no fix. A few months ago I brought my vehicle to Pinehurst Nissan in NC to have one of Nissan's finest mechanics look at it. I'm still having to put oil in it every few 100 miles. When I returned to pick up the car I was told that I needed a new engine. I asked to see how they came to that conclusion and not one person was able to show me. They also told me that they sent in my request for a new engine (on my behalf) and it was declined. Of course it was. There was no documentation to back it up. I really feel that Iím in good hands knowing that Nissan puts their mechanics through such extensive training so that they can diagnose a problem by just looking at it. After doing some research on my own this is a big problem Ė Nissanís problem. Itís all over the internet. I've been in contact with Victor Lancaster (Regional Rep for this area) and nothing has been done. All I get is the run around. He told me that they would look at it but I would have to cover the breakdown of the engine. If indeed it was Nissan's recall problem then they would reimburse me. Who has $4000 to just lay out. Not me! Iíve taken it upon myself to send letters to ALL Nissan personnel, even the president Carlos Ghosn. 27 letters in all. Iíve also sent a complaint to the Consumer Affairs department ( php). I hope this will help all of us get this resolved. If you would like to do what I did here's the website to get all the information of employees Ė shtml. Please start sending letters. If everyone does this maybe weíll break them down. I wonít stop until I do!!!! Steve, Let me know if you do call the news. I'm not that far from you! We'll go at it together!

- , Vass, NC, USA

problem #16

Jul 192007

Altima 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 80,000 miles



I have been a lifelong Nissan fan,prior to this last purchase of the 02 Altima, I have purchased approx 12-15 cars within my family and I could not have been happier. I had been reporting an engine noise & high oil consumption since I bought the car in 2006. The noise was associated with, what eventually became, an extreme engine consumption problem. When the consumption problem became obvious, Nissan Consumer affairs said that I had to bring it to a Nissan dealership every 500 miles to have them monitor the oil and change it. I took it to Nissan. They wanted me tto pay out of pocket for my diagnostic before they could even address the problem or see if it was a covered expense. Well it wasn't & now my warranty was up. NISSAN CONSUMER AFFAIRS WILL NOT HONOR MY WARRANTY!! They said that it expired, and even though I had been reporting this for years that they would NOT be able to help me!! Now I am stuck with a car that has a bad engine. I will never ever buy Nissan products again. This is a rip off & legal action should be taken.

- , San Jose, CA, USA

problem #15

Nov 052007

(reported on)

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,992 miles

My 2002 Nissan Altima check engine light came on and then this past week I have been adding 1 quart of oil almost every 450 miles

Compression seems fine and lots of power and really no smoke or burning smell. So it is really scary when you keep adding oil, where is all the oil going? I had a choice to buy a domestic car or foreign.I picked the Nissan because they don't fail you and usually the engine is the best. Nissan has lost my sense of security. I will most likely buy a GM/FORD or DODGE/CHRYSLER PRODUCT. Someone suggested a pre cat problem what is that?

- , Kamloops, BC, Canada

problem #14

Oct 252007

(reported on)

Altima SE 3.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 98,000 miles

i havent seen anyone really complain about the 3.5 which is what i have. just wondering does anyone here change their own oil. its a know fact that the places who do the quick oil changes dont really car about your car the way you do. i have heard many stories about people who dont change thier own oil and end up needing a new engine. i change my own and have never had any problems. i use royal purple high preformance full syntheic oil and a k&n high preformance engine oil filter. just wondering if the problem may not be with nissan maybe its who changes your oil

- , Moores Hill, IN, USA

problem #13

Oct 182007

(reported on)

Altima 3.2L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 103,000 miles

I own a 2002 Nissan Altima that seemed to be running rough in between oil changes. I had the dealer run a diagnostic test to confirm the car was burning oil and imagine my surprise when I was told my car would need a new engine! It was insinuated by the dealership that I had not taken very good care of my car (I have all the synthetic oil change receipts in the glove box) so I was made to feel this was my fault, not a manufacturing defect in the car. I will be spending the $9,800 I was told it would cost for a new engine but it will not be going towards that car. I am going to use it for a down payment on ANYTHING that is not in the Nissan family.

- , Columbus, OH, USA

problem #12

Oct 102007

(reported on)

Altima Limited 3.2L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 51,000 miles



I had the extended Plus Gold warranty, and had been reporting an engine noise since I bought the car new in 2002. The noise was associated with, what eventually became, an extreme engine consumption problem. When the consumption problem became obvious, Nissan Consumer affairs said that I had to bring it to a Nissan dealership every 500 miles to have them monitor the oil and change it. Which meant I was to pay for an oil change every 500 miles for them to figure out more about the problem. That was at 45,000 miles. I took it to a liscenced mechanic, and when it got really bad (no oil after 1500 miles, which was around 57,000 miles) I took it to Nissan. They said I needed a new engine, but then found my warranty was up. NISSAN CONSUMER AFFAIRS WILL NOT HONOR MY WARRANTY!! They said that it expired, and even though I had been reporting this for years that they would NOT be able to help me!! Now I am stuck with a car that has a bad engine. Oh, did I mention that I have been in Nissan hundreds of times for multiple other problems, recalls, and defects with my car! NISSAN CONSUMER AFFAIRS has 9 files that I have reported regarding PROBLEMS with the car! I will never ever buy another Nissan anything!!!

- , San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #11

Aug 172007

(reported on)

Altima SE 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


- , Coldbrook, N. S, Canada

problem #10

Aug 122007

(reported on)

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,177 miles

i bought a used car with high mileage, but did purchase an additional 100,000 mile warranty. found out my car has precat failure which means part of the first converter has been sucked back into the motor. this has scored cylinder walls and damaged all internals. the car uses a qt of oil per tank of gas and the warranty company has refused to cover damage since it is powertrain only and does not included "due to exhaust" i wouldn't have known the car had this problem as dealers don't let you test drive a used car for 700 miles. please see if you have this problem too.

- , Lexington, KY, USA

problem #9

Aug 052007

(reported on)

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I too have an 02' altima and I've been dumping in a quart and half every other day, I get about 60 miles out of a quart of oil. I had the pre-cat replaced at 63,000 miles and now after 50,000 miles the same check engine oil is on. With a code p0420 and I've talked to Nissan North America and they won't help me, and the only answer I could get out of them is I'm out of warranty. Its apparent they didn't fix the problem the first time the light came on. I've owned the car for two yrs and have had nothing but problems since I bought it. The air bag light has been on ever since three weeks after I got it and the dealership said they didn't know why it was flashing so they turn it off and as soon as I left the dealership it came on again, gggrrrr. When will Nissan own up to their mistakes and fix these cars and get that damn pre-cat off that engine. Its clearly does not work but they keep replacing them with the same thing that came off the engine in the first place. I think they should put headers on them and leave out the pre-cat, and if you own one of these cars and don't have this problem yet, you will.... REPLACE YOU EXHAUST WITH AN AFTERMARKET STARTING WITH THE EXHAUST HEADER NON PRE-CAT. This should prevent the oil consumption issue, and someone said the butterfly screws from the intake come off and go into the engine? If so put a little locktite on them and it should hold them.

- , Centralia, IL, USA

problem #8

Jul 242007

(reported on)

Altima 2.5S 2.5L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

Like many of the other users on this site, I have had extensive engine problems with my 2002 Altima. At about 70,000 miles, the check engine light began illuminating periodically and an overheating code would be displayed when the vehicle was taken to the dealer. At about 80,000 miles, the car began using excessive amounts of coolant (about one gallon of antifreeze and water mixture every two months) and the car began rattling when the oil got low. Now, 11,000 miles later, I have been using at least three quarts of oil per week to keep the car functioning. The car rattles excessively when starting up and while accelerating. After having taken the car to a local repair shop, I was quoted almost $5,000 for an engine rebuild. The owner of the shop advised me that he had another 2002 Altima in the shop for the same problem. He told me that an area Nissan dealership technician advised him that this was a commonly known problem and that he would definitely not recommend another Altima, especially after requiring an engine rebuild with less than 100,000 miles. I'm doing the smart thing--trading mine in for something reliable.

- , Schaumburg, IL, USA

problem #7

Jul 222007

(reported on)

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I have a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 S. I have recently had problems with my service engine light coming on, my car running rough and consuming a lot of oil. I have my oil changed every 3000 miles and still have to add 2 quarts of oil myself in that time. I recently took my car to the dealership to have it checked and I was informed that my car had less than a quart of oil in it and that there were metal shavings in my oil pan. I have never had any problems with visible oil leaks or blowing smoke. They charged me $300 dollars just to drop my oil pan and at this point, all that they can tell me is that I need to replace my engine to the tune of $4000 and they can't tell me what caused the problem or if there are any other problems that contributed to this so that I can make sure that it doesn't happen again.

- , Taylorsville, UT, USA

problem #6

May 012007

(reported on)

Altima 2.5S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I bought my 02' Nissan Altima brand new. I have 83000 miles on it and all of a sudden it is comsuming a lot of oil. I took it to the local Nissan dealership and they told me, without a reason, that I needed a new engine and it would cost between $3400-$4000. I called Nissan Corporate to find out why I needed a new engine and they said that the dealership told them that I did not give them my approval to take apart my engine to find out the problem. My question to him was why would they tell me I needed a new engine if they needed to take it apart to find the problem and of course he did not have a answer. So my next question to him was who will pay for them to take my engine apart? He said that if they find something that they can not assist me with then I would have to pay. I can't afford to take that chance. I feel that I shouldn't have to pay for them to take my engine apart or to replace it. The reason I feel this way is because I went to there website and printed out all the recalls for my car. One of the recalls(Altima Exhaust Pipe Hanger and Pre-Catalyst) was actually for this problem. On this recall they state that the reason for this recall is to prevent these incidents from occurring. WELL IT DIDN'T WORK. Nissan knows of these problems but are unwilling to accept responsibility. The reason I know they know is because the guy at the local dealership told me that it is not the first time they've seen this. In the last month and half, I have had 3 oil changes and have had to add at least 10qts of oil on my own. I will never buy another Nissan again and will do everything in my power to make sure nobody I know buys one. You never know, I might even put a call in to action 9 news.

- , Hickory, NC, USA

problem #5

Mar 242007

(reported on)

Altima LS 2.5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

Once again, another problem with this crap car... It is using a considerable amount of oil. I have to put a quart in the car every single week. It is not leaking, just burning out of the tail-pipe. I took the car to the local Nissan dealership and told them about this problem during the time my car was still under warranty, and they did nothing about it. I did leave the shop that day only to have my catalyst converter go out the very next day. After several calls to Nissan Headquarters, still no repairs done. I now look forward everyday to commuting 25 miles to my job each day, praying that I make it okay, because the car stalls even traveling at 70+ mph. It is not a very good feeling to have to quickly put my car in neutral and re-crank the car while being surrounded my eighteen-wheelers. Needless to say I will never in life purchase or refer this lousy peace of $^#%&# to anyone. NISSAN is a crap company with @#%%@# merchandise, and they don't give a flying @%#$@# about their customers.

- , Orange, TX, US

problem #4

Apr 092007

(reported on)

Altima 2.5 S 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

I purchased my 2002 Nissan Altima with 10 miles on it. To date I have over 150 receipts from Auto repairs and/or maintenance. Out of all the repairs and numerous recalls... I can not get Nissan Consumer Affairs or any Nissan Dealership in the Northern VA area to take my complaint seriously. I have to put 3-5 quarts of oil in my vehicle every 2 weeks. I did learn that Nissan did recall some of the newer Altima models for this issue and repaired the oil leak issue. The dealership went as far as installing wrong parts in my car, to the engine light coming back on causing a head gasket repair, new exhaust system repair twice.... to now the engine light is back on for the same exhaust engine code comes up and the oil leak issue is out of control. The back of my bumper is constantly black from the oil burning out of the tail pipe. I have had new gaskets put on, a new oil resending unit and no solutions work. The part that really sucks this Friday I will be paying off my car and I have a car, note free with no oil. So either I bite the bullet and push out more money to replace the engine or I bit the bullet and buy a new car..... and trust me it will not be a Nissan.

- , Arlington, VA, USA

problem #3

Apr 012007

(reported on)

Altima 2.5 S 2.5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

Engine loses 2 Qts of oil every 3 weeks. There are no visible leaks. It has 58,000 miles. It is a Nissan Altima 2002, 2.5 S

- , Saint Paul, MN, USA

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