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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
24,294 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #11

Feb 102005


  • 32,500 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the check engine warning indicator would continuously illuminate. The dealer could not determine why the indicator continued to illuminate and stated that there was rust around the fuel tank. On a separate occasion, the engine began to make a knocking sound and the vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. It was determined that the knocking noise originated from the overhead cam component of the engine. There was no oil in the vehicle, although the contact maintained regular maintenance and oil changes every 3,000 miles. His VIN was not included in any of the recalls that described the same failures he experienced (NHTSA campaign id numbers 03V455000 and 03V455000). The failure mileage was 32,500 and current mileage was 86,600.

- Oxford, NY, USA

problem #10

Aug 022007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles
My 2002 Nissan Altima vehicle was taken in for service at bob bell Chevrolet Nissan, 7900 eastern avenue, baltimore, Maryland, 21224, on Thursday, August 2, 2007. It was brought in for servicing of all the vehicles' recalls, a soft grinding noise that could be heard when turning the steering wheel and low freon levels for air conditioning. On Friday afternoon, August 3, 2007 around 5pm, I was contacted by the service department and strongly advised to pick up the vehicle before the service division closed at 6pm. The dealership stated that all recalls and issues had been resolved and completed. I picked the vehicle up around 5:45pm and proceeded to travel home. After only fifteen minutes, the vehicle engine started to smoke profusely. The engine started shaking harder and harder and a loud rattling noise could be heard from within the engine. The teenage passenger in the vehicle began to vomit and her eyes started swelling due to the volume of fumes expelled from the cars engine through the ventilation and into the car. I immediately pulled over (3700 eastern blvd.) and rushed to get her out of the seat where she continued to vomit once outside the vehicle. The dealership now denies ever seeing smoke from the engine (see attach.), as well as, denied causing damage to my car that potentially resulted in the engine smoking. The vehicle was picked up on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 with the engine rattling uncontrollably even after being returned a second time to the dealership. The vehicle cut off while attempting to de-accelerate at a red light the following day. Uncertainty surrounds whether the vehicle will cut off again while de-accelerating proving it hazardous to drive, whether the vehicles five recalls where all properly addressed, and if the engine will start smoking again.

- Baltimore, MH, USA

problem #9

Apr 152006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
Have a sloping driveway - when car is parked with a full tank of gasoline, under certain conditions (usually warm days), gasoline drips out of car in the area around the rear of the fuel tank. Have had the car into dealer multiple times, they have been unable to recreate problem. The problem is intermittent, but unless solution is found I'm sure it will recur - I would rate this a significant safety hazard.

- Leawood, KS, USA

problem #8

Oct 242005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,735 miles


I have a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5L. My car receives regular maintenance every 3 months and/or 3,000 miles (documentation can be provided), it never sits longer than 2 or 3 day, and it's driven on the highway for my work commute. Twice my car suddenly wouldn't start without warning. The first time it was fixed, which was around April, there were several recalls for my car. One was for the fuel pump screen and the engine sensor that would cause the car to not start or suddenly stop running. This second time (10-24-05), my local mechanic showed me a 6-page service technical bulletin that was issued by alldata for my non-starting problem. The document suggested replacing the starter, adding a Nissan brand fuel injector cleaner and/or reprogramming the computer to fix the problem. This second repair will cost me about $500 to fix when I pick up my car tomorrow. I thought the recall repairs would resolve this issue, but those repairs proved to only provide a temporary fix, but not resolve the underlying problem. Since there's a service technical bulletin about my non-starting issue, 2 recalls related to this same problem, and I've had the same problem happen twice, I think my car should be recalled. I'm fortunate that I wasn't driving the car when it stopped running or that could have caused a serious accident. I should not have the same problem happen twice in 6 months. If my car fails to start twice in 6 months and the recall repairs don't remedy the problem, then there must be something else causing the problem. I'd hate to find out in a few months that the $500 start replacement wasn't the culprit, because I'd be back at square one. Please tell me how I can get this issue escalated to a recall status or what I can do to prevent a 3rd failure. Thank you, jenny R. baker.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #7

Apr 072004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Major gas leaks.

- Concord, NC, USA

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problem #6

Feb 232004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
NHTSA 03V251000 at extremely cold temperatures moisture in the fuel tank could freeze and form ice crystals. These ice crystals may obstruct the suction opening of the fuel pump. Consumer received this recall letter in November 2003. Dealership still does not have the parts available to conduct recall repairs.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #5

Feb 052004


  • miles


The consumer received a recall notice (NHTSA 03-V-251-000) for the replacement of the fuel tank, however the dealer did not have the parts available to repair the recall.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #4

Oct 242003


  • 85,000 miles
Whenever the fuel tank is filled fuel would over flow. Also, front ball joints were worn out, causing the front end to wobble. Sometimes it wa shard to maintain control of vehicle.

- Brockton, MA, USA

problem #3

Jun 022002

(reported on)


  • miles
I am concerned about the safety of me and my family. It is an uneasy feeling to hear the gas tank slushing around, especially when the tank is full. When I first reported to carmax, one of the technicians drove with me and he thought it was a defect also. Carmax replaced the gas tank, and you can still hear the gas. I was told that they test drove both the V6 and V4 engine cars and they both did the same thing. Your prompt response would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely joann martin. ****dimsii IVOQ entry posted after 12/12/02 cut-over to artemis****762556

- Mauldin, SC, USA

problem #2

Jul 112002

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Concern is the ability to hear the gas gushing in the gas tank--fear explosion if hit from the side or rear--told there was no protection placed between the gas tank and car sides

- Mauldin, SC, USA

problem #1

Apr 042002


  • miles
No summary listed for above vehicle.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

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