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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
81,625 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Nissan Altima exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

Aug 302005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


2 separate Nissan dealers told me that I need a new engine and that the engine failure was caused by a failure of the pre cat that was sucked back into the engine. The cat was a recall that Nissan replaced but parts of the cat were already sucked back into the engine. The second cat they installed failed again and is in need of replacement. They engine failure was a direct result of Nissan's failure to repair my engine the first time.

- Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #7

Aug 282005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles
Nissan Altima 2002, 6 recalls issues with 3 way catalytic converter that has burst into the engine causing engine failure. Has there been any other reports? company honored warranty for converter, but denied to stand behind the engine. Service location in libertyville, il is aware also spoke to executive office in ca.

- Waukegan , IL, USA

problem #6

Feb 062005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles
My 2002 Nissan Altima has a pre-catalyst that has broken apart inside and has caused severe engine damage. This has happened after my vehicle was in for recall repairs for this exact issue. Never the less, this pre-catalyst has indeed failed and the engine damage has occurred including excessive oil consumption, engine noise and a burning smell. I am concerned that my vehicle is unsafe and that there is a possibility of fire since this has happened to other vehicles like mine. I have gone to a dealer and to Nissan North America, but they refuse to help me. They claim that they have done the recall work and that this is no longer their problem.

- Castaic, CA, USA

problem #5

Jul 152005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles


(1) I allegedly had the enginge crank sensors replaced in March, as according the mandated recall on 2002 Nissan Altima. Yet, my car still experienced difficulties starting and continued to conumse large quantities of oil. I was having to add 2 or 3 quarts in between scheduled oil changes. (2) if in fact the crank sensors on the enings of my vehicle were replaced, the starting difficulties persisted. Also, the recall informaiton listed and shown on Nissan usa's website provide exlpicit and detailed information about what mechanical trouble and events will occur if the sensors and the catalyic (catalyst) converter are not replaced simulteaneously. (3) I had my 2002 Nissan Altima towed to peachtree Nissan on 7/15/05, and on 7/16/05 I called the dealership and gainer smith (maintenance mgr.) informed me that my catalyic (pieces) converter had been sucked into my engine and caused major damage and cracked the pistons and engine block. Prior to this incident my car had ofter stopped without warning on the freeway, for unexplained reasons. My 02 Altima never had any major engine or part problems since I purchased the automobile brand new from troncalli Nissan. Peachtree Nissan instructed me to call Nissan usa because there dealership could not authorize themselves to replace the engine in my car. Also, a mechanic on duty told me the problem that destroyed the engine in my car happens often to 2.5 liter engine Altima. He stated the problem usually occurs at 60,000 miles and since my car has 103,000 miles and no warranty they wouldnt immediately take responsibilty for replacing my engine. Lastly, my engine did not malfunction because I abused my car. I changed the oil and kept coolant in the compartment at all times. My car is not working because when my car was at peachtree Nissan in March the dealer failed to properly complete the recall portion on my exhasut/hanger pin and pre-catalyst (converter). A faulty exhaust should never cause an engine to be destroyed.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #4

Nov 102004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
My 2002 Nissan Altima 4 cylinder had a recall that certain engines may cause the pre-catalyst to overheat and damage the catalyst substrate. If the particles enter the combustion chamber they could score the cylinder walls restulting in increased oil comsumption and engine fire the pre-catalyst was to be tested and if there is damage, a new engine needs to be replaced. I brought my car in 11/04 to be checked. Supposedly nothing was wrong. Last month, my oil light flashed and we checked and I was down 2 qts of oil. I brought it in last month and I was told nothing was wrong. One week later, I was down another 2 qts and then they advised me that I need a new catalyst converter. I brought it to Nissan and they are requesting my documentation for all my oil changes even though my extended warranty did not run before this problem started. Autospa in medford, long island where I bring my car had a computer crash and lost all cocumenation and had to get new computers. Nissan will not fix the problem with my car. I asked them do I have to wait until my car goes on fire and they responded that it will be cheaper to replace an engine then to check if there is something wrong with the engine. Nissans voice service even states that vehicles manufactured before 5/20/03 are having these problems. I purchased mine in 1/02. I feel the problems with my car are manufacturing problems. My oil changes should not determine if my car should be looked at when the company is admitting to having problems. I pulled my car out of Nissan and having my personal mechanic put in a new catalyst converter. If my car goes on fire and either myself or my son is injured, there will definitely be a lawsuit.

- Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, USA

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problem #3

Jan 022005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,900 miles
Engine damage due to catalytic converter breaking up into pieces and this pieces going into the engine.

- Kenner, LA, USA

problem #2

Aug 102004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
While I was driving my car( 2002 Nissan Altima) the car stalled in traffic and a engine light came on I drove my car to the dealer mike shad Nissan in jacksonville, Florida and they check my car and advice me that they found the number one spark plug closed the cause of the failure was due to a poorly manufacturer catalyst converter by Nissan and advice me that my engine needed to be replaced this is the third engine on this car this car stalls at highway speeds it happen to me twice and resently at slow speeds while I was executing a turn these cars 2002 Nissan Altima with the 2.5 4 cyl engines must be recall or have the dealers advice the owners to brign their cars in for check, before someones gest killed and to make matters worse Nissan make me pay the dealer $498 to have my motor look at.why should I pay mike shad Nissan $498 to take my engine apart to find a problem that the Nissan corporation knows that is wrong with their cars the failure of my engine was cause by a faulty design part. The 2002 Altima are plague with problems.

- Middleburg, FL, USA

problem #1

May 072003


  • miles
The dealer replaced the catalytic converter because the vehicle consumed excessive amounts of oil (every 1500 miles).

- Churchville, PA, USA

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