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 7 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #122

Aug 062009

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles


Well, I bought this Nissan Altima 2.5L from a dealer named Car and Truck Nation in Houston with 117,000 miles on it. At first, I did not see any problem when I had the drive test. Right after I signed the paper and took the car home. Oops, Check engine light was on and there was a cracking noise whenever i applied the accelerator pedal. I then checked the oil and there was no oil and thought filling up the oil would be it. But, 3 weeks after running 300 miles, my car got overheated and I checked back the engine and realized there was no oil and no even coolant. The car sucked so much coolant and oil on it. My girlfriend got really mad when the car was stalled on the highway with all the smoke coming out. I checked Autocheck report and realized this lemon failed emission test last year and I wonder why it still have a valid inspection on it until next January. My mechanics suggested me to replace the engine with a rocket-high cost. I found this website and realized that there was nothing I can do with this lemon. So tired and stressful.

If anyone want to file a class action, i'll be for it. I am really f....u...cked up this this crap. People, please, don't ever buy a Nissan and the deceiving dealer "Car and Truck Nation" in Houston (HW 59@ Chimneyrock)

- , Katy, TX, US

problem #121

Jun 122009

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

June 12, 2009 daughter driving home and car began to ride roughly, she heard a "pop"; then smoke started coming out, check engine light came on, and ball of fired came from under the car. Left car on highway and went to check car next A.M. There was not one drop of oil in car. Oil change was just done May 21, 2009. Car sat up for one week while we were gone on vacation so car actually driven approx. 15 days since oil change. Checked oil pan and filter and no sign of oil loss. Dealership said I need another engine, rod thrown completely through engine block. I obtained much information including getting copy of all recall work done on my daughter's car from dealership. Document shows not all work was done in accordance to NHTSA campaign. Submitted all documents to Nissan North America and despite all my proof, they refuse to replace the engine. I did find a website for consumer protection where one can file a complaint and let them know if you are interested in a class action lawsuit. Here are the steps I have taken so far:

I filed a formal complaint with Federal Trade Commission at; click on “consumer protection” then click on “file a complaint” the click on FTC Complaint Assistant” then answer all questions. The form will start out with questions about identity theft but keep going because you will get to part to file complaint against Nissan North America.

Now, this website: does provide a place for you to check the box if you desire a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT. Go the website the click on “file a complaint” then fill out the questionnaire. You will need your vehicles VIN number.

I also filed a formal complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration This one is important because the more people file complaints the more they will see a need to force Nissan to conduct a recall. Most definitely, make sure you show if the vehicle caught fire or caused a hazardous traffic situation such as stopping suddenly without warning.

I went one step further and file a complaint against National Highway Traffic Safety Administration because they keep records of all complaints on a particular vehicle and there are currently 196 pages of complaints regarding the 2002 Altima and the engine problems and nothing has been done. I mailed a letter complaint to U. S. Dept. of Transportation because NHTSA is under their jurisdiction.

- , Tyler, TX, USA

problem #120

Jan 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

It appears that a lawfirm has opened an official investigation and if you go to their website can provide specific complaint information. Not sure of where it will go?

- , Bridgewater, NJ, USA

problem #119

Feb 052007

Altima 2.5L 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


This oil consumption is ridiculous, at least one quart per week, that started about a year after I purchased the vehicle. Nissan needs to replace these motors!!!!!!!!

- , Moultrie, GA, USA

problem #118

May 012009

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Misery loves company, eh? I have the same problem with my wife's 2002 Altima. Suddenly started using oil like it was going out of style. I say it's time for a class action lawsuit. This is BULLSH*T! No car company should be allowed to get away with this. It is obviously a defect. Is anybody with me? Is there a good attorney out there willing to take up this cause?

Update from May 12, 2015: Yeah, we sold our POS 2002 Nissan Altima at a big loss years ago. I would rather walk than buy anther Nissan. Nisssan sucks, and doesn't give a crap about their customers. They keep proving it time and time again, and the NTSB, or whoever they are, turns a blind eye.....

- , Middletown, RI, USA

problem #117

Apr 172009

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

I purchased the vehicle new in 2002. Have always done oil change every 3,000 miles returned for all recalls when notified. The past few months the engine started making a funny noise, checked oil and bone dry...had oil changed two months later same noise and same problem NO OIL. I am thankful that the engine hasn't blown or locked up. I work very hard for my money and can not afford to have the engine replaced, it takes all i make just to get by these days. The car has 58,000 miles on it and I figured it was good for at least 100,000 more but wouldn't dare bet on that. Will Nissan fix this problem or is this just a steam release?

- , Somerset, KY, USA

problem #116

May 082009

Altima SE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles


ok soo Nissan is full of shyt. i was so excited about getting this damn car and from day one i have nothing but problems with this car. in the 2 months that i have had this car i bs you not i have gone through 60 quarts of car studders while driving runs hella rough and when i am doing like 70 my rpms go all the way to like 5 brfore it drops back down. its really scarier.....why wont Nissan fix this problem there is way to many problems with this damn car and year for them not to b held accountable....any1 with suggestions email me

- , Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #115

Feb 252009

Altima V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

My mom had a Nissan Sentra when I was in elementary and she drove it until I was out of college and on my second child and was able to sell it to our neighbor as a still great running car.I swore by Nissan's every since until now.I will never take a chance on a Nissan ever again and I think Nissan really ruined their reputation with this car being so bad.If they would man up and fix the problem it wouldn't be so bad but they are leaving everyone in the dust on this one.I used to think Nissan and Toyota where head and head but not anymore.Toyotas blow Nissan away now .Altimas are such a rip! Everyone lost out on this one and Nissan will suck ever since!

- , Ewa Beach, HI, USA

problem #114

Jul 162009

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I purchased a 2002 Altima 2.5 (automatic) on Thursday, July 16, 2009. On Friday, July 17, 2009, I had to take it to the mechanic because it was making a terrible sound coming from the engine. Upon arrival, it was found that the oil tank was bone dry. After adding 3 quarts of oil, the noise was gone. Throughout that day when driving I smelt something like exhaust or burning oil or something. I just thought oil was spilled on the engine and it was simply burning off. I put approx 30 miles on the car that day. On Saturday, July 18, 2009, I put approx 20 miles on the car (same smell). On Sunday, I noticed smoke coming out of my muffler when I would hit the gas. It would go away when I was at a steady pace but if I gased it, the smoke would come out. I took the car to a friend of mine and had him check the oil. To my suprise, there was not a lick of oil left in the tank... WHERE DID IT GO????????? There is no sign of leaks underneath the car and NO spot on my driveway. We went and purchased 3 more quarts of oil and added it to the car. When we checked the dip stick, the oil was PITCH BLACK. WTF IS THIS ABOUT?????? The car was also blowing black smoke. Are you serious??? I am a single 27 year old mom, working and going to school. A Nissan is what everyone told me to get.. WHY??? I have just forked out EVERY DIME I had in savings to purchase this car so WHAT DO I DO NOW? I am absolutley disgusted and sick to my stomach... I have cried ALL DAY and even more so now that I have read all of these complaints. Does anyone have any suggestions?

- , Moody, AL, USA

problem #113

May 082009

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

Unlike everyone else's complaints that I have read, I only had my car for a freakin weak and it started with the oil consumption. I didn't know that it this was the problem until here recently and I have now found out that I have a blown head gasket and oil is leaking back into the engine and the repairs are going to be close to $1200. I to am a single parent and student and cannot afford a new engine nor the cost of repairs to this car and I wish I would have done my homework on this particular car before making this dumb ass mistake. I to think that it should be some type of class action lawsuit and Nissan should be held accountable for the inconvenience it has caused many customers on this particular car because they already knew that these damn motors were no good!!

- , Spartanburg, SC, USA

problem #112

Jan 012008

Altima SE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


Nissan will go under because they are not doing anything about these complaints. I don't plan on purchasing another Nissan. I'm sure there are several people who will agree with me.

- , Jackson, TN, USA

problem #111

Oct 102008

Altima LS 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,989 miles


- , 124 WILSON, OH, USA

problem #110

Apr 012009

Altima S 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 136,702 miles

Started consuming a ridiculous amount of oil a couple months ago. Took it to a Nissan dealership and they simply said the engine will probably need to be replaced. After the last oil change it was completely dry within 2 weeks! Engine light is on for the crankshaft position sensor and catalytic converter. Thought about replacing engine and sensor but after reading the similar posts, it looks like a new car! I took care of my Altima, and really wish Nissan would come to the table with this many problems.

- , Burlington, ON, Canada

problem #109

Nov 182005

Altima 2,5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 39,000 miles

Bought car from dealer in Nov 2005 and left on trip. Had oil changed on trip. Drove home about 1500 miles. Was down over 2quarts oil when I got home. Had xtended warranty on car. Fought with the dealer about oil consumption until warranty expired at 100,000 miles. I am now burning 1.5 quarts every 350 miles. Have check engine light. Told it is cat converter buit if I replace it the light will probably come back on as it is clogged with the oil I am burning. Had one mechanic warn me that if I am burning that much oil that I should be careful that the cat converter doesn't catch fire. I am so disgusted with Nissan and I have owned nothing but Nissan for over 25 years. NOT EVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am in the market for a new car and I will not even look at a NIssan. They have lost a loyal customer. I too think we should all sue Nissan or drive the cars to their factory with signs on them and really make this cost them. Let others know that Nissan does NOT back their product. E-mail me at if you are interested r have another solution.

- , Stuyvesant, NY, USA

problem #108

Apr 032007

Altima SE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I think Nissan should replace all 2002 Altimas that are having problems with too much oil usage. There have been too many complaints about this and sales will definitely go down if they don't.

- , Rutherford, TN, USA

problem #107

Oct 232008

Altima 2.5S 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I took my car in to get an oil change back in October of 2008 about a week later, I checked my oil and it was bone dry. Called Precision Tune to make them aware of this problem, I did not take it to them because I was afraid that they had messed up my car so I was not going to let them touch it again. Later on while researching on the internet about my car, I found out that several people have the same problem I have with their 2002 Nissan Altima. From 10/28/08 to the present, I have spent about $200.00 to $300.00 on oil to keep my car running and it is not good when you have car problems like this. I am possibly going to change out my engine and my catalytic converter, but not sure if this is wise from reading all the problems that can still occur once repairs are made.

- , Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #106

Apr 302009

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

this is really pissing me off. I spent over $2000 in June of last year getting the catalytic converter replaced and head gaskets and now this...

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #105

May 212009

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

Last year (April 08), I financed a 2002 Altima and it's been all down hill from there! Within the first 3 days, I heard a rattling noise from the engine. I took the car back to the dealer and long story short, the engine was replaced. One year (almost to the date) later, my check engine light, along with my oil warning light came on. Based on my horror from the year before, I immediately took the car into a Nissan Dealership. Low and behold, they told me that I was running really low on oil and that I needed my engine replaced. WHAT, AGAIN??? Not to mention I had gotten an oil change just 3 weeks before. You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, I thought. At that point I could not afford a new engine so they suggested a rebuild with replacement of the faulty parts. I went along and still spent about 1500 out of pocket. About a week later, my engine light came on. The first thing I did was check the oil. The dipstick was dry and I was shocked! I put oil in the car and took it back in to be checked. At that point, I was told that I needed a catalytic converter. So, I paid for that, hoping that this would be the end of my problems. This was last week...and guess what happened today? Yup, the oil light is back on! I am SO ANNOYED and unfortunately, the car is financed and I've only had it for 13 mos. Although it's only a 48 mo loan, I'm not even half way there. Who will take a trade in at this point? I'm screwed! I will never buy another Nissan even if it was the last car on earth!

- , West Hartford, CT, USA

problem #104

Feb 122009

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

I bought this car used and thought it would be a good car because it was a Nissan but I am having the same problem as everyone else. Excessive oil consumption and needs a new engine. I am a student and have no money to replace an engine. I drove this car for only one week before it started making an awful noise, took it to a shop right away it had no oil in it and needed a new engine. The mechanic told me he would not have that car but what do I do I have already have it financed. This car needs around $5,000 worth of work. I don't know how long another engine would even last. I will never buy another Nissan.

- , Richlands, NC, US

problem #103

Feb 012007

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

We bought a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S (auto transmission) new from the dealer in February 2002 (NY), based on our experience with our 2000 Nissan Maxima SE. WRONG CHOICE!!

While we put many miles on this car, it had always had oil changes every 3k miles and the typical maintenance required on it, not all the BS that they want to sell you, but the basics that all cars need. If we did neglect this car, I would not be on here trying to warn others from the WORSE purchase they could make, and join others that made the same MISTAKE we did.

The beginning of our problems started in July 03 @ 33K miles, when we had the car serviced and later that same day, had to have it towed (at our expense over the holiday weekend). Nissan would not reimburse us for that and we fought like hell with Nissan North America. It turned out that there was a recall for the crank shaft position sensor (why was that not addressed when we had it serviced that very same day?)

42K miles- precatalyst replaced along with fuel pump screen- part of another recall. The car was stalling while driving on the highway!

85K miles- had oil change and a few days later heard noise from engine, checked oil and LOW 3 quarts!! Filled oil back up and started to burn oil at each oil change- but never had it go 3 quarts low again.

92K miles (FEB 2007)- recall crankshaft position sensor and catalytic converter needs to be replaced AT OUR COST! This is the 3rd catalytic converter this car has had- and we had to wait 2 weeks as it was on BACKORDER!! EXCESSIVE OIL CONSUMPTION BEGINS and Anti freeze consumption begins. Contacted Nissan North America that dealer said we needed a new engine and another catalytic converter- they told us they couldn't do anything for us!! They know about these problems and I think that is why they had that recall for the precat, its cheaper to replace these precats and have them hold out longer than the originals from the factory, so therefore you put more mileage on the car and then when the BIG problem starts- SORRY your car had too much mileage on it.

115K Another catalytic converter is needed and oil consumption is over a quart a week and even with a replaced radiator coolant is starting to burn as well. 2 cylinders (1 & 3) have low compression- another attempt to contact NISSAN NA, with all the history of this car and FINALLY after 5 weeks of phone tag (we would give them a contact #) and they would call and leave messages at a different number!) We were told that the car needs TOO many repairs to fix, but if we wanted to BUY an NEW CAR they would give us $750. THE BEST was when I asked why does a car need 4 catalytic converters before 100K miles and the Nissan NA Regional rep tells me BECAUSE OF YOUR OIL CONSUMPTION- I asked why was I never alerted to this when I PAID for a catalytic converter- and they refer me back to the dealer??

The car was taken to an indepedant mechanic and was told that the Nissan remanufactured engines $5,500 would end up having the same issue as the original engine. The best way to repair is with a crate engine $6K plus it would still need a catalytic converter!!

I would never bought this car if I thought it would only last until 85K miles! The last 30K miles that we stretched out of this car have been EXTREMELY PAINFUL AND INCONVENIENT- and we were fortunate to have some help in putting band-aids on it- but the coolant and oil have to be checked daily, and it still had intermittent stalling & misfires form the burning oil and coolant.

We are now in the process of looking for an affordable and reliable car. I never thought I would buy an American car, but in light of the economy and lack of service and reliability of this Altima (many other minor issues with the car- too many to list) I am now looking at a FORD FUSION!!

GM may drop Pontiac, Nissan should drop the ALTIMA or give customers their money back and ADMIT the mistake they made with the precats on these cars and offer $10K towards a NEW CAR- that is how your retain customer loyalty.

My 2000 Maxima has been beyond awesome- BUT NEVER AGAIN do I buy from NISSAN.

- , Coram, NY, USA

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