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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
102,496 miles
Total Complaints:
131 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (36 reports)
  2. replace catalytic converter (27 reports)
  3. replace engine and catalytic converter (25 reports)
  4. not sure (20 reports)
  5. replace pre-cat with heat shield and replace engine if bad (10 reports)
  6. new cat/ new sensors (8 reports)
2002 Nissan Altima exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 5 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #51

Nov 202008

Altima 2.5s V4

  • Manual transmission
  • 100,000 miles


So yeah...Just as everyone else wife and I are in the same place as everyone else.

We had purchased the extended warranty ($3500 for it) to extend the warranty to 100,000 miles just in case we had any issues with it...we would be covered. Little did we know! :|

So the oil consumption started doing it's thing and then the cat. conv. did it's thing and destroyed the piston rings, etc. We also had the blown head gasket fail and then we also had the radiator fluid leak into the fuel injector and cause mis-fires. IF YOU CAN'T TELL...we have had all of the problems that are listed below and MORE.

Bottom line; I called Nissan Consumer Affairs and of course they want nothing to do with fixing or solving the problem. To make things even worse; "Hot Wife" and I have had to give up many things to keep a roof over the kids heads and food in their bellies so as a result; our credit has taken hits that are going to take time to bounce back from. This Nissan Altima is the only car we have and it was/is our WORKHORSE. Without it; work doesn't take place and hence we have no $$$ to pay bills; so on; and so on.

So; every mechanic we have talked to say that this is a perfect Class Action Law Suit; only thing is the car will be in the junk yard by then and we will have let it go on our credit. Nissan knowingly dismissed an engineering design flaw. WE ALL HAVE TO SUE the pants off of them at all costs!

This is going to take years and millions of dollars and many attorneys; however it can be done if everyone comes together and sticks together through the hard times.

So contact me and let's touch base: LET'S GET THIS THING ROLLING! What is everyone waiting for??? My Email Address: Alan

Update from Nov 13, 2009: OKAY...UPDATE:

I have contacted a very prominent attorney who has ACTUAL experience with and has ACTUALLY sued Nissan. The gentleman even knows the freaking NISSAN COUNSEL! How awesome is that. At very least, he can get a recall issued. This is GREAT NEWS. He says that it certainly has legs.

This is what EVERYONE needs to do that has this issue. FIRST STEP (VERY IMPORTANT!) contact Nissan and file a consumer complaint. When you do that MAKE sure that you mention to the person taking your complaint, that you want NISSAN to replace your engine. (It will come back denied) Then once you have the complaint number, Please post it in your postings here and on any other blogs you have posted on. (I have posted here as well: ) Look for #30 on the list. That is my post.

It is very important that you follow step one.

Step Two: Contact me with a simple, "Hello...add me to list..." I will keep a running list of people interested in getting in on this class action.

As for what is happening next, the attorney had a meeting with a group of investors on Thursday, November 12th, to discuss whether or not they could move forward and just to generally throw the idea out there to his firm.

LETS DO THIS PEOPLE! Time to make Nissan accountable for their shotty engineering and poor customer relations. Hey...if it were you and I...we would be held accountable.

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #50

Dec 122006

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I have been having engine problems, the catalytic converter busted, and my vehicle has been drinking oil like gas. I want to know if a class action law suit has been filed against Nissan before I replace the engine. I am on the second engine and still having the same problems.

- , Columbia, MD, US

problem #49

Mar 182009

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,212 miles

First I am going to say what we all feel"WHAT A PIECE OF S#&%!!!!!"I am very very dissapointed.I am an auto mechanic and an all around car guy.This is my first Nissan(and my last).I have owned European cars(volvos,benzs). I have been told that Nissans are the best all around car builders. WHAT A PACK OF LIES.My older euro cars are so much better built,designed and better quality.I bought this car from a coworker(he had is since it was new).He has taken care of the car.I have taken care of it also. I use mobil 1 oil( $6.00 a quart).This car burns oil and coolant.Nissan should be ashamed of themselves.Can anyone please pass on the info on the class action law suit.I am NEVER NEVER buying a nissan(or any other japanese car again).

- , Queens, NY, USA

problem #48

Apr 102007

Altima SE 3.5L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 113,000 miles


Canadian Altima Owners PLEASE send me your contact info. I am willing to take it to many peoples attention and even Media if I can, but I need your help to do so.

This is a safety issue and needs to be taken into consideration by Nissan Corp. really seriously.

Blown engine and vehicle catching on fire without any warning system is life threatening.

Please do not close your eyes on this horrible problem.

- , Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #47

Feb 112009

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I was on my way to Georgia for a long weekend, halfway up a mountain my car went from 60 to 15. I limped up to the top (dodging semis) had to wait 2 hours for a tow

truck to come and haul me in. (did I mention I am female, was alone and it was the middle of the night) I had to replace the catalytic converter ($632.00)

- , Owensboro, KY, USA

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problem #46

Aug 202008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I've had nothing but problems out of my 2002 Altima. I've had manifold, catalytic converter, and engine problems. Not to mention the engine light and it using oil.

- , Mobile, AL, USA

problem #45

May 142008

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


Wow!!!!!!! I bought this car used at 80,000 miles. Had the oil changed regularly and took good car of it. Over the span of about a year and a half I've had nothing but problems from if. First, the engine light came on so I took it to the dealer they put it on a machine and didn't tell me anything useful. So I leave with the car it was still driving fine then a month or so later the engine started making a horrible noise so I took it to a local mechanic who happens to be a friend of mine and he fixed it. I think he replaced a gasket and did something to the manifold. So it ran ok for a few months. It started using oil. Then I started having problems with it cranking. I'd be out somewhere go back to get in my car to leave and it wouldn't crank. I'd sit there for a while an it would eventually crank. I think it had something do with the engine cooling off before it would crank back up. Never had that fixed so I don't know exactly what that problem was. Not long after that started my car went into what the dealership called safe mode. It wouldn't go faster than 30 miles per hour thank God I only live about 3 miles from the dealership. So I took it to them they told me that it was problems with the catalytic converter and I needed a new engine. They said it would cost about $6,000. So I took the car to my mechanic and he did something with the catalytic converter. That made it run better but it still didn't want to shift right or get enough gas. It was kinda weird. Anyway I parked it one day and when I went to get back in it the car hasn't ran since. I took it to my mechanic and he said it need a whole new engine.

So it's been about a year and I still haven't got the car fixed. I was on the computer looking for used motors when I ran across this web site. I didn't realize other people were out there having the same problems I was. I'm a college student and it has been a struggle getting back and forth to school and work.

- , Mobile, AL, USA

problem #44

Feb 122009

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

This is really pissing me off because I just had the catalytic converter replaced under warranty at 77,000 miles. Now at 93,000 it has gone out again. I don't understand it. It makes no sense. I called Nissan in Fredericksburg, VA (Pohanka) and they said because it was fixed under warranty they cannot and will not do anything. They do not guarantee their own work. Which I find kind of sad. But I now understand why they don't guarantee it because the engine is bad in ALL of the 2002 Nissan Altimas. The engine is causing the catalytic converters to go bad. I will NOT ever buy a Nissan again. I will go Honda all the way.

- , Fredericksburg, va, Pacific Islands (US)

problem #43

Nov 082007

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

This is the first time it happened. Nissan was very nice and replaced it on warranty. I still don't think it should of happened, as I had a Honda Civic and drove it for over 200,000 miles and NEVER replaced the catalytic converter. I never had problems with the engine.

- , Fredericksburg, va, Pacific Islands (US)

problem #42

Feb 202009

Altima 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

I have a V6 3.5L 2002 Altima. I have been having problems with oil consumption and was told the oil sending unit needs to be replaced. Today my "service engine soon" light came on. I went to have the code read and was told its a cat converter problem. I am afraid that I am going to be in the same boat as everyone here. Does anyone know if anything is happening with the class action lawsuit that I have read about? If so please let me know. Thanks

- , Yukon, OK, US

problem #41

Feb 112009

Altima 2.5S 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 100,000 miles


I just encountered the same problem as so many of you on here. Catalytic converter damages, which was never recalled by Nissan, caused small pieces to damage the engine and now the Nissan dealer says a new engine and cat. converter at LEAST are needed totalling upwards of 6k.This problem also caused excessive oil consumption which is another common problem for 2002 Altima owners. I had an oil change last week and this week the dipstick had nothing on it. The Check Engine Soon light also just came on, as well as some rattling noise up front, but it's too late as the damage has already been done. If you experience anything at all like this for your car, you should get it checked out ASAP. Now, I don't know if its worth it to pay 6k to fix this car, when I still have about 5k to pay off. For a car that is 100k miles, I don't know if this is a smart option. Needless to say, I'll never buy from Nissan again as they ignore their loyal customers.

- , Plainsboro, NJ, USA

problem #40

Nov 142008

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

We have had this car at two different places. It started with having the heat fixed and the service engine soon light staying on. I have been told that I have a cracked head gasket. And now the dealership tells me that the catalytic converters are bad and that all four cylinders are miss firing and the engine is full of sludge from the leaking head gasket and that I need a new engine. I don't get it! Who can we sue? This is ridiculous. I have been reading all the complaints that sound just like mine. I just read there was a recall on the catalytic converters and that is news to me. My car had never overheated, never burned oil, really never had problems until now. And to think, all I wanted was the heat fixed!!!!!

- , Murfreesboro, TN, US

problem #39

Jan 102009

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

It appears that I have the same problem as a few hundred 2002 2.5SL Nissan Altima owners.

It appears that there should have been a recall by Nissan to address a faulty catalitic converter on the 2002 Altima, but it never happened. Nissan's poor judgment to not repair this problem has resulted in many Nissan customers having to change the entire engine prematurely. No way in hell should you need to change your engine at 98,000 miles if you've done standard maintainence on the car. My car looked mint but it sounded as if the engine was going to blow up. I was driving to work one morning going 55 miles per hour when I heard my exhaust system get a little louder than usual. No engine light ever came on, however the car began to lose power and starting decelerating. I pulled off the highway and stopped at a gas station. I added a quart of oil to the engine to see if this would help, because I also experienced that the car began burning excessive oil. The car was only able to go to 25 mph after leaving the service station.

I brought the car to a Nissan delaer who informed me that the catalytic converter was damaged and that its small parts broke off into the engine. They said I needed a catalytic converter and a new engine costing $4,700.

Shame on Nissan for not living up to its reputation as a honorable company. They have ignored loyal consumers.

I have lost total faith in Nissan and will proudly say that I will never buy another Nissan automobile ever again. I will definitely let everyone that I know how badly nissan has handled this problem. I can't wait until a class action lawsuit is filed so that everyone who has suffered can get justice and resolution. I recently purchased a house and can't afford to purchase another car right now.

There was no reason that I should have these types of problems with a 2002 Nissan Altima.

- , Franklin Square, NY, US

problem #38

Dec 272008

Altima 2.5S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

excessive oil consumption, no heat, broken engine/motor mound,

- , Folsom, CA, USA

problem #37

Dec 272008

Altima 2.5S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Also experiencing excessive oil consumption, no heat, broken engine/motor mount -- for just this time. You see, I purchased my car new and it's been a LEMON from the get go. I've had Nissans in the past, but this particular car is a lemon. Dealing with Nissan Corp as useless -- they made me feel like sh*t -- like one consumer does not matter to them. And unfortunately, in California my car had many DIFFERENT problems -- in CA the car has to have the same problem in which the dealer has 3 times to correct. My husband took me to this website -- he said you should see have many people have the same problems with their 2002 Altima. With my experience with my lemon I wasn't really surprised -- just sick to my stomach, and angry that so many people are experiencing the same problems. Do our complaints go to Nat'l Transporation Safety Board? I was shocked when the dealer said my oil level was low since I don't put many miles on my car -- my commute drive is 1/3 miles to the light rail station. The dealer topped the oil as a "courtesy". What a joke -- they know their vehicles have this problem.

- , Folsom, CA, USA

problem #36

Dec 192008

Altima ES 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

This is the worst car that i have ever owned. The service engine light came on after the first three months of owning the vehicle and never went out after having it checked. The vehicle kept stalling at a slow speed. The car kept burning oil and coolant every other day. Then the car kept smoking and everything went down hill since then. Nissan needs to step up and accept the responsibility about these frequent issues with this vehicle. The cost of $3500 to have repaired is outrageous and i will never purchase another nissan again.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #35

Dec 142008

Altima SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

Just to add to all the other complaints on here, but I have had the same exact problem as everyone else!!!! Excessive oil consumption! I have had the problem for a couple years now, I took it in originally before my warranty was up and they told me there was nothing wrong with the vehicle, which they made me pay $95 just to look at the stupid car. Anyways a year later I noticed that my car was making funny clanking noises and when I checked the oil it was low, and noticed that every 1500 miles or so I would have to refill my oil cause it would literally be bone dry. I took it in to get it looked at and after 2 oil consumption tests the dealership did nothing for me. So now another year later, (i just dealt with the issue by adding oil) I was driving 100 highway miles and my engine was burning 3 qts of oil bone dry!!!! It finally crapped out on me and started making a really rough engine sound and then it wouldn't let me drive any faster than about 45MPH. I took it in to a Dealership...and what do you know, i need a new catalytic converter (sp?) How did i know they were going to tell me that?? Cause luckily I have done some research and found that many people have had the same problem. They told me that they cant diagnose the engine until I Fix that problem. But that wont even guarantee it will fix the engine issue. I am trying to go to Nissan about this issue but it doesn't look like anyone has gotten anywhere with them. I tell you my whole family works for FORD and has given me grief for buying a Nissan, let me tell you I have learned my lesson the hard way and will NEVER buy nissan again. Especially if they choose to ignore the issue that's obviously a manufacturers defect.

- , Shelby Twp, MI, USA

problem #34

Sep 122008

Altima 2.5L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Apparently the catalytic converters are going bad in the 2002 Altimas according to my LOCAL NISSAN DEALERSHIPS AUTOMOTIVE TECH, and the converter is breaking up and pieces of it are getting sucked into the cylinders and ruining the seals on the rings in the motor! You can replace the converter for $500 PLUS LABOR COSTS..however, the rings are still damaged and the only fix is to replace the motor!!!! WE NEED YET ANOTHER RECALL ON THESE 2002 ALTIMAS!!! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. Of course none of this is currently covered under warranty..and it seems to be happening just short of 100K miles and by the time it is diagnosed you are screwed.

- , Methuen, MA, US

problem #33

Sep 062008

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

I CANNOT believe that Nissan is refusing to pay any attention to this problem. One that was caused by their awful design of the engine. I like everyone else had a blown engine due to the fact that the cat. broke apart on the inside and was suckef into the engine, killing the pistons. It started with huge puffs of white smke that lingered and stunk. That was all the oil my car was burning. Then it quickly progressed into stalling at every light or every time I came to a complete stop. When I brought it into the shop I was told all about the problems and the damage the cat did to the whole engine. My service contract that I purchased with the car refused to pay for any of the labor and parts because the cat was the cause of all the problems. Not only did I pay for a warranty to NOT cover the freakin problem but I had to pay $600 just for them to tell me what was wrong-NOT even fixing anything. Now the car is sitting there because I now have to come up with the money to fix it (right before the holidays) :( I have written to join the list for the class action lawsuit, but if anyone has more info on how to make Nissan pay, please send me a comment. I will NEVER buy another Nissan again and I will NEVER buy another car without first looking on this website.

- , West Warwick, RI, USA

problem #32

Dec 012007

Altima 2.5 4 Cyc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I just need to say that for those whose CAT is broken - it has a US Federal warranty of I think 80,000 miles. Have you car checked before that expiration so that Nissan can at least pay for that replacement part (about $600.00). I discovered that after my CAT had completely ruined my engine and I had it rebuilt. I had an indentured slave, my son, do the rebuild and I am now facing a rebuild of at least the top part of the engine due to his inexperience with the task. I should have just had a rebuilt engine dropped in back in Dec 07 instead. Live and learn.

Also, Nissan Corp, while denying any capability due to poor engine design, also holds owners hostage when buying replacement parts - you have to get the big ticket items like the CATdirectly from them - no aftermarket that I've found. Still, I love my Altima but based on the dealer's lack of concern and help with my problem, it will be a cold day in you can guess where before I buy another Nissan product. Anyway,

- , Murrieta, CA, US

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