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 8 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #102

Dec 162005

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles


I wanted to say everyone who is having these common motor problems with the 2.5s, I am an owner who had the motor replaced at 84,500 miles, the mileage on the car now has 121,000 miles and counting, I have installed an aftermarket header on the motor, got rid of that defective Nissan pre cat, which is famous for going bad around the 80k mark, around 100, 100 miles just over the 100,000 mile warranty Nissan actually 'Hummels Nissan' here in DSM said I needed a new motor at the current mileage, the original motor lasted till 84,500 miles, at 100,100 the replacement motor was junk also, till now i watch the oil very closely has not seem to have the common problems like everyone is having in fact

i know it cost more $ but the oil is changed at 2,000 miles, oil is checked once a week, i only put 40 miles a week on my car. I would suggest looking into options to having a different aftermarket header installed, and get rid of that precat thats on the manifold, in the long run this motor will last longer, I will also say at the 100,100 mile mark, the power vale screws on the butterfly plates did come lose one screw went into cycl 1, the dealership tore the motor down found the screw head in the manifold, it did damage to cycle 1 but not enough to cause a major problem, did score the cylinder wall, just told them to fix it, they replaced all the screws on the butterfly flaps and replaced the manifold gaskets, now I haven't had anymore problems to this day.

just a matter of having to baby this car. I think what the issue most are having their rough on their cars and they do not last. Its been over two years since ive had to do anything major with any repairs to the motor in the car, I havnt had to add any oil etc. The car is going to last me sometime, but anyone wanting more information email me at, if you notice in the rust section, the one with the pictures of a nissan with floor rust thats this ride also, but those problems have been repaired, a good friend of mine fixed my floors for under $100 he loves this car.

- , West Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #101

Apr 082009

Altima SE 3.5L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 109,665 miles

I bought my 2002 altima 3.5SE V6 from a private owner. I drove for about a month and I started to hear a weird noise from the engine. I checked my engine oil and it was empty. I refilled 4 qt. of oil to it. The noise disappeared. I took it to the Nissan dealer to have the oil change done and have them thoroughly inspected the car to see if any leaks. No leaks was found. Nissan dealer did an oil change on 4/8/2009 when my car was at 108345 and now 5/14/2009 the mileage is 109660. The engine light came on, I check the engine oil and it was nothing on the dipstick. I refilled with 4 qt. of engine oil and the check engine light turn off. I really concerned about this problem. I don't know if it just my Altima only or many of you have the same problem too.

- , Fresno, CA, USA

problem #100

Aug 312008

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #99

Apr 012009

Altima SL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


2002 Nissan Altima OIL PROBLEM is driving me crazy!!!! I'm going through a quart a day!!! I took the car to have the oil system completely flushed and had new oil put it. 1 day later I'm down a quart of oil and the oil is BLACK and FILTHY! No idea what's going on. Worried about mechanic selling me a QUICK FIX to a problem that's obviously not curable. NISSAN OWES me MONEY and a SOLUTION!

- , Palm Coast, FL, USA

problem #98

Feb 012008

Altima SE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Check engine soon light comes on. Engine oil is being consumed. Coolant level is low. Nissan dealers talked me into replacing the catalytic converter, and crank position sensors (upper and lower). The engine goes through periods of long crank time and rough idle. Oil is still being consumed at an excessive rate.

- , Spring, TX, USA

problem #97

Jan 102009

Altima 2.5S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

my Nissan is using excessive oil, and I'm extremely upset. i took excellent care of my car having oil changed every 3,000 miles and and maintenance upkeep to have this happen. with no solution from Nissan

Update from May 17, 2009: In addition to excessive oil consumption my check engine soon light keeps comming on, which Nissan says is my catalytic ic

ic converter. When I told them they had just replaced it they said i have two and now the second one is gone, you would have thought they both would need replacing at the same time.

- , Sylmar, CA, USA

problem #96

Apr 202009

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


My 2002 Altima needs a new engine due to excessive oil consumption. I CANNOT afford a new engine, so I am screwed. I owe about $4,000 on the car at this point!!! It also had issues with the coolant, where I had to refill it every 5 minutes. I also heard weird bubbling noises under the dashboard. The last couple of months have been a nightmare.

Now I'm stuck without a car . Oh and the idiot mechanic thought it was a valve so the day before the engine gave out, I spent $235 on a "quick fix" that didn't work. Never again will I buy a Nissan .... EVER!

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #95

Apr 012009

Altima 2.5S 2.5s V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

My check engine light had been on for at least 6 months and I don't know why. I started hearing rumbling noises until finally the oil light went on. So I checked the oil and the dip stick was dry. I added oil to the car and noticed a few weeks later that I needed oil again. This was unusual since I don't drive the car that much. As time went on, I was losing oil quicker. I would drive just 20 minutes and would lose 3 quarts of oil. I told my friend about it and he said it sounds like you need a new engine and it's not worth keeping or fixing the car especially since we went onto this website and saw all the same problems. I bought the car brand new and I had the car for only 6 1/2 years with 85,000 miles.

- , Manorville, NY, USA

problem #94

Feb 012009

Altima 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I have been having a problem with the consumption of oil in my 02' Altima. From looking at others' problems, this seems to be a common. I am going through anywhere from 10 to 20 quarts of oil a month. There are no oil spots in my driveway, nor where I park my car at work. I have heard that it might be getting into the radiator? or that I need a catalytic converter ... not sure what I need, I just know that I need my car to run the right way. Since having this oil problem, I often have to crank it 7 or 8 times to get it running. Help!

- , Leighton, AL, USA

problem #93

Jan 012006

Altima SE 3.5L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Don't be fooled: the 3.5L V6 has the same oil consumption problem as the 4 cylinders! I too heard the engine clatter around 60,000 miles and took it to the dealership. They said it was low on oil but thankfully I did not incur any damage to the engine yet. Although I faithfully have the oil changed within Nissan's mileage recommendations, I figured maybe the mileage number was written down wrong or something on my reminder sticker and I might have gone longer than I should have. Anyway, well before my next oil change was due, there it was again -- the engine clatter. I checked the oil level and it wasn't even registering on the dipstick! I had to add 3 quarts of oil to get it back to full which meant I had less than 2 quarts of oil in the car. And I was only about 2500 miles past my last oil change. So, every 1000 miles or so, I got in the habit of adding another quart of oil. I guess that's still cheaper than having the engine replaced. I'm just waiting for the right opportunity to unload this piece of $#!T and get a new car! Which, of course, WON'T be a NISSAN.

- , Lumberton, NJ, US

problem #92

Nov 192008

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


this car was never fixed. I spent 6000 dollars to fix this car and still liquid oil . really bad experience with this car, looks nice outside but that's it.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #91

Jan 032008

Altima 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 51,000 miles

Car wouldn't start after numerous problems...#1 problem was excessive oil consumption. Mechanic told me the car had a cracked head- $2,100 to fix. Paid the money and the car is still sucking 2-3 quarts of oil a week. Now the mechanic says it's the rings...another $2,000. Is there any recourse?

- , Henderson, NV, USA

problem #90

Mar 202009

Altima 2.5s

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

I am just sick and tired of having to pay for outrageous gas prices and oil! There is no reason for this and I want answers or solutions to this problem!

- , Tahlequah, OK, USA

problem #89

Feb 072009

Altima SE 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,583 miles

It's very upsetting that this car has these issues with less than 10,000 miles per year being put on. Also, it upsets me that Nissan does not want anything to do with taking responsibility for this problem and saying that "the warranty has expired". Not helping to solve the problem will not convince me to buy or lease any Nissans in the future. The product does not stand up to its reputation. These issues will come back to haunt them!

- , Farmingdale, NY, USA

problem #88

Mar 192009

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

I am experiencing the oil consumption problem. Has a class action suit been started?

- , Indpls, IN, USA

problem #87

Apr 202004

Altima 2.5S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

First problems with car - not able to start it. Strange bubbling noise under the dash. These problems were associated, but not recognized until we paid $2500 for engine "repair". Then they found out that coolant was being routed into the fuel injector. That problem was finally repaired after many hundreds of dollars.

Then the check engine light came on and stayed on - catalytic converter. Couldn't afford to replace it, so we just lived with it.

Then the lovely oil drinking problem began. I put paper under my car every night to check for leaks. Religiously had my oil changed every 3,000 miles - always low. Then I started hearing rumbling, crackling noises. Didn't know that there was NO OIL in the car. Refilled every single week and the oil just disappeared. I carry a case of oil now all the time.

I was finally told by a Nissan service rep that the oil is burning because the catalytic converter is broken into pieces in the oil pan. I don't know anything about engines, but that doesn't sound good.

The only good thing about all of this is - get ready - if we put in the oil, the car runs great. So, at over 200,000 miles now, we just add more oil (so much for keeping the planet clean!)

- , Guyton, GA, US

problem #86

Aug 152007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I bought a used 2002 nissan altima from a dealership with 68000 miles. The engine light came on shortly thereafter. The thing that irks me the most is that they knew exactly what was going on with this car, yet they acted stupid for months. Finally after many visits to the service department, I was told it was the catalytic converter, and after several days I called to ask why this is taking so long and I am transferred to the parts department. I am told they are replacing the engine. I asked if anyone was going to call and tell me this? He said this is a good thing and I am like, yeah real good, I have been tortured for months with all this crap about driving the car for 800 to 1000 miles and then bringing it back over and over again. My personal favorite was that it was the gas cap not being screwed in properly, this is what is causing my engine light to be on for 6 months. There were many other things wrong including a major water leak.

Anyway the new engine only lasted 25000 miles and now I am losing oil again. They told me not to ever come back to the service department again. This is how they treat customers when they screw up. The customer gets blamed. I will be happy to be part of a class action suit. I just do not have time to initiate one myself right now. I called corporate and was told that they did me a good faith gesture by putting in a new engine and the new engine which is also bad is only under warranty for 12000 miles. I said are you kidding me? You can say this to me with a straight face. Since when is a car engine only suppose to last 12000 miles? This whole ordeal has been a nightmare. I called the finance company and they basically told me to bring the car back and take it as a voluntary repossession. I don't think I have a choice, I am so tired of fighting these people. The service department is clearly trained with these stupid responses because most of what was said to the others on here and on other sites was also said to me. My father was a mechanic and I knew from the get go they were screwing with me and I fought them tooth and nail to get them to fix my car. Had I not, I would never have gotten the first engine. I told them from day one that the engine was bad even though they kept denying this. I am so tired of this car, my beautiful car which I loved so much now makes me sick because I still owe money on it and it is a heap of junk. The car does not do well in a bad winter either. This past winter kicked the ----out of this car. Several parts fell off the under carriage this season and the car sounds like crap when you are driving. The Bose wouldn't work when it got cold outside. I call it a wuss car. A sissy car for warm climates. Not a good New England car. This car needs to be babied in order to keep it alive. Probably needs special oil to keep it's delicate sensitive engine from seizing every 60000 miles or so. This car looks pretty, yet it is high maintenance and I will never buy another nissan again because the customer service sucks unless you are trading in the car regularly. The first thing they asked me was if I wanted to upgrade. I said "upgrade to what? This is the deluxe version, top of the line." Stay away from nissan, corporate could care less if you have a problem.

- , Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #85

Aug 012008

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

This problem gets worse the more miles I get. (started at around 50,000) No one knows what the problem is

- , Owensboro, KY, USA

problem #84

Mar 062009

Altima 4 Cl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I am single parent and the burden of this alone has been tremendous- was assured getting a good car for a good value and was "taking for a ride"- There definitely needs to be a class action law suit from what i have read here and other places

- , Rainbow City, AL, USA

problem #83

Jan 152009

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

2002 Nissan Altima, 95,000 needed a new engine because of excessive oil leaking, and made a rumbling noise. Paid $3,800.00 for the new engine . Nissan would not cover anything. Will never buy another Nissan. Hoping to get in on a class action lawsuit against Nissan.

- , Monroe Township, NJ, USA

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