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 9 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #82

Feb 042009

Altima 2.5s

  • Manual transmission
  • 113,515 miles


at $125.00 for the CPN test that tell the tec miss fire and cat is coming apart and possible ring and cylinder damage?? They want $3889.32 for engine and $1080.41 for cat not including labor. Once again i called regional for another disappointment of an answer. There was no compression check done. I did paid $125.00 for and incomplete test and inspection. This is the 2nd cat the car has gone threw and the dealer knows the problems and don't tell the customer until the cost is threw the roof with the warranty. There are 2 boards on recall but thats not what caused any damage. They just want your money$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

- , Campo Seco, CA, USA

problem #81

Oct 302007

Altima 2.5s

  • Manual transmission
  • 116,996 miles

this started happening after the head gasket was replaced at 114915 miles. another dealer band-ade to something more going on.

- , Campo Seco, CA, USA

problem #80

Dec 262008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

Well first off i just changed my oil around 82000 miles and after that my car just started losing power then died! When it stalled the oil light came on. and now my engine looses power every time it heats up. and now now my oil light comes every time i turn on the car. I bought a crap car.

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #79

Aug 112008

Altima 2.5SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles


I am starting a class action lawsuit with regards to everyone's similar complaints. However, I need at least 5-10 people. I actually wrote a complaint on here before and I am ready to act legally on money that I feel is owed to me by Nissan. I wrote complaint #66 on here from before.

Those who are interested in joining this lawsuit please contact me at

- , Mishawaka, IN, US

problem #78

Jan 102009

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

this the first time i own a nissan this will be the last

- , Riverside, CA, USA

problem #77

Jan 042009

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I'm glad as well as horrified to know I am not alone in this problem. My service engine soon light came on recently, after months of burning excess oil. Now it makes a noise and is getting worse. I went to the dealership, only to find out that I needed major repairs 5,800 out of my own pocket. I read the word class action suit over and over but I looked up to see if there was anything and there's not any info online. So I say we all do something about this. We should gather in front of the Nissan dealerships and protest with really big posters and warn potential car buyers about Nissan's hidden costs. We should invite the media and get some real attention and get Nissan to recall, or refund us for the pain in the butt time they have forced us to go thru. Maybe if we act on this injustice and have them lose business (money) they will feel how we feel every time we go buy another 2 quarts of oil every 2 weeks. Who's in?

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #76

Dec 072008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


I own a 2002 Nissan Altima, and recently i started having engine problems with it. At first the dealer told me i needed to get a new head gasket which I did and yhe problem still didn't go away, I keep having to add oil to it every week. I called them about because I was so pissed of I didn't want to see then and they told me it sounds like I need a new engine which of course I have to pay for it. I am seem more people having the same problem and I don't know what to do.

- , Brockton, MA, USA

problem #75

Jan 012007

Altima S 2.5L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

We would certainly join a class action law suit if there is one. Nissan are washing their hands of this issue. Every Nissan Altima owner I have met has exactly the same problem. They are just taking advantage of owners by recommending and most times, convincing the owner to replace the engine. Our "service engine soon" light has been on for about 2 years now, the car eats oil and she intermittently stalls at inconvenient times, like in the middle of rush hour traffic usually on a green light. We replaced the catalytic converter with headers but we feel some engine damage has already been done. Coincidentally, in the last 6 months two major Nissan dealerships in the Cincinnati area have contacted us by mail and phone saying they have customers looking for 2002 Nissan Altimas. Our suspicion is that Nissan knows they have a problem and this is the most cost effective way to get them off the road. Why would they pay you top dollar as trade in for a worthless car? They can't resell them. As we see it, Nissan is going to have to either replace all the engines under a recall or settle a class action lawsuit at some point. Heaven forbid, but it will only take one fatality to get either ball rolling. This is our first Nissan purchase and it will definitely be our last. I would not recommend Nissan to my worst enemy.

- , Batavia, OH, USA

problem #74

Dec 022008

Altima SE 2.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

Starting and running inconsistent. Smoking sometimes like blown rings and other times not so bad. (strange) Had oil changed one day. Son took car out that evening. Wife takes car to work next day and calls me telling me the car sounds funny and oil light is flickering But I'm heading home. I get home and the frigging car had no oil or water it it! Now I'm told it needs a motor. Have not contacted any body yet. Went on line a found I'm not the only one with this trouble. O-yea No heat and electrical light flicker! Other then above.Nice car! Ha.Ha. Any help from any body?

- , Bayport, NY, USA

problem #73

Jul 252008

Altima 2.5S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

Nissan Altima - Worst car from a Worst company. Pathetic consumer service. Is there a class action lawsuit being run. I am all for it. Please if someone has already started one, please let me know. I am terribly depressed, especially in a economy like this with a pathetic car, all i can do is crib.

Excessive oil consumption, i have to fill in oil every 300 miles of at least 1-2 quarts. God save me. I am not even sure if i will be able to sell the car to anyone else.. worst is the dealer says that replace the engine for 5k. Nissan USA says they are not responsible

CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT - if any one is already started one, let me know.

- , Boston, MA, USA

problem #72

Sep 012008

Altima 2.5S 4 cyl 2.5s

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


well the nissan dealership is trying to say my warranty won't cover my problem...WHICH IS A FREAKIN LIE!!! they say i need a new cadalic(sp?) converter and a new engine. it's my converter is what is making my engine burn oil. which is a lie. it has nothing to do with my engine...i have heard from 4 different car service owners. they are trying to get over on me. my warranty covers a new engine but since the cad. converter needs replaced thats what they say caused the problem so my warranty won't cover it. LIES ALL LIES I WILL NEVER IN MY LIFE BUY A NISSAN EVER AGAIN!!!!

- , Jacksonville, FL, US

problem #71

Nov 122003

Altima SL 2.5L Sl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I have read all of the complaints of the Nissan Altima. My engine light would come on when the car was well under 100,000 warranty. Also, my coolant would run out and the heat would not work. I brought the car into to dealer several times and of course nothing was every fixed. The dealer would also indicate to me I had no oil in the car. Of course, I was very diligent with oil changes. Literally I brought the car in a 99,500 miles and nothing was ever fixed. As soon as the car his 100,500 miles I brought the car into the dealer and they indicated I needed major repairs. I tried for several months to work with Nissan Customer service to get the engine fixed. Nissan denied the repairs even though I had significant documentation of engine problems years before the warranty expired. Since then I had my own mechanic replace head gasket, radiator, etc. The car still burns significant oil and I have to fill it several times a week. NISSAN SUCKS!

- , San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #70

Nov 172008

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This is not right if Nissan really knows about this they need to do some about it i just bought my 2002 Nissan altima October and i already spent 2500 to fix the catalyst converter and a lot of other stuff after the check engine light came on a week after a paid for the car i have only put on 40 miles on the car and its consuming oil like made i had an oil change at Nissan and on the third day the oil was down to the lowest level i went back and they added more oil and told me to bring it back if it goes down and i am going their tomorrow because the oil is so low i could not go any were . this serious i spend any more on this car then i will spent more than i paid for the car if only i new would have gotten a Volvo s 80 or a maxima but i am sure the Maxima will have its on hidden crap waiting to hit you in the face and i am only a student i just turned 19 were do they expect me to get $4000 plus to change an egine

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #69

Jun 012008

Altima S V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I think I'm at the early stages of the problems. Mostly, the car is going through too much coolant, and a little too much oil. We replaced the spark plugs after getting misfire codes when the engine light came on. It wouldn't start at all one morning and then it miraculously started after we had it towed to the shop. I feel like I'm driving a ticking time bomb!

- , Ashland, OR, USA

problem #68

Nov 012008

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles


- , Louisville, KY, US

problem #67

Oct 312008

Altima SL 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

i've been getting regular oil changes/maintenance for this car... I went to the dealer because of a strange noise 1 1/2 month after my recent oil change. To find out i was almost 4 quarts low....(how could that be?) so I got the oil changed again.. and two days later I had the same noise again but this time I was told i have no oil... My car was burning oil and now I have to get the engine replaced.

- , Jersey City, NJ, US

problem #66

Aug 112008

Altima 2.5SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

I am up for a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!! I have a 2002 Nissan Altima and had the same excessive oil consumption problem as most of you on here. I was going through 4-5 quarts of oil every 5-600 miles. Eventually my service engine soon light came on and when I went to have the engine looked at the local Nissan dealership they told me my engine was shot. They told me that my bearings were blown and that I needed a new engine. I ended up paying about $4000 for a new engine with only 62,000 miles on my odometer. Ridiculous!

I was told that that is occurrence was rare until I went on here. Obviously this is a lot more common. I have tried to go to the top at Nissan Corp. HQ and all I get is un-returned phone calls and the run-a-round when I do get through to someone.

How can Nissan deny this. This is obviously more than a recall situation, I deserve some answers and total ENGINE reimbursement from Nissan and their crappy engine-eers. I guarantee you that I will never buy another Nissan again!

- , Mishawaka, IN, US

problem #65

Oct 202008

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

Just got the vehicle 3 weeks ago and we already experienced almost all that has been written. It's very DISAPPOINTING and GRRRR!!! NISSAN should fix these problems to clear their name or nobody will gonna buy their cars anymore. At this point of time, every dollar should be spent wisely, but what happened to us, IT'S CLEAR THAT WE WASTED OUR HARD-EARNED MONEY FOR A PIECE OF JUNK!!! Do you think our government should act or get involve on this problem to protect us consumers?

- , Elizabeth, NJ, USA

problem #64

Oct 312008

Altima 2.5L 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,600 miles

Engine is burning excessive oil. I have read about many people with the same make and model having this same issue. Is this a defect in this model? If yes, we should all get together and take action against Nissan

- , Norristown, PA, USA

problem #63

Oct 282008

Altima SE 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 168,000 miles

Hello to everyone who had problem with the oil consumption . The really bad problem is how people are stupid to do not understand what really the problem was . I'm gonna start with 1. If you are equipped with the 3.5L engine ,you are okay (if you had problem with that engine ,it's because you are too idiot to do a good maintenance on it,mine had 168000 miles on it and having no problem) 2. If you are equipped with the 2.5L engine ,the thing are going to be complicated .First you go to the dealer and you said to him that the PRE-CAT(Front catalytic converter just after the manifold) are broken ,told him that because of that s*?%@@& s#?* gonna broke your engine soon (the dealer from Nissan ,friend of mine ,told me that they change altima engine 2 times in a week,and the best solution to stop changing engines all the time is to replace the MANIFOLD by a HEADERS) .Change that part cost 2000$ (part+labor) and you gonna have a great reliable car for years ! Lesson number 1 Before blaming Nissan to do crap ,get yourself the RIGHT INFORMATION to fix that problem .Yes this is a problem that nissan hide and not gonna pay for the conception problem !Long live to Nissan

- , Quebec, PQ, Canada

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