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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,240 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #5

Nov 222010


  • 111,111 miles


I have a 2002 Nissan Altima, that is burning oil. I have to put at least two quarts of oil in there every 2 weeks. Now my car is shuttering and hissing at me and not getting anymore when I accelerate. I'm being told that I will need a new catalytic converter and possibly an engine. Nissan is willing to do nothing about this issue. After doing some research I'm showing that this a common problem with this year of car and should be taken care of by Nissan. As a consumer what can be done. This is unfair to us, thinking we are buying a reliable car when it's really a piece of crap. I will never buy a Nissan again. Sticking to Honda's.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #4

Apr 012010

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
Re: 2002 Nissan Altima. There is severe rust and corrosion in specific locations directly under both the driver and front passengers seats and floors. The corrosion appears to be related to two factory holes in the floor, one on each side of the vehicle. The corrosion on the passenger side of our car is less severe: A large area of rust but a relatively small hole (tennis ball size) through the sheet metal. The drivers side of the car has a large hole (soccer ball size) in the floor. This is the only major corrosion on the car (the "rear subframe" assembly was replaced in 2006 due to corrosion under a Nissan warranty program). The fuel filler neck is also rusty and does not seal properly, which can cause an engine alert when the fuel vapor seal leak reaches the point where the alert is triggered. There is little or no corrosion in the wheel wells or fenders. Based on two bids from auto body shops in this area, the cost to repair the rust damage will be between $2500 and $3200. I have taken photographs of approximately forty Altima in this area. All but five have corrosion in this specific area to varying degrees. It is clearly not limited to only the car we own. Nissan has a warranty program which covers rust perforation for a period of five years from the date of manufacture. I have spoken to a number of people at a dealer in this area regarding this problem. They claim that Nissan is aware of this problem on 2001 through 2005 Altima, but has chosen not to warrant it due to the expense, preferring instead to refuse to be responsible. Nissan will apparently take the cars in trade and sell them to wholesale auto operations where they are sold to customers who may or may not be aware of the problem. Updated IVOQ 11/05/10 the battery was replaced. Updated 12/22/10

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #3

Jun 302006


  • 55,000 miles
Too many issues to remember than all but I'll try: - excessive oil use - excessive coolant use - overheating to the aforementioned issues - intermittent transmission issues - failing airbag - electrical issues - broken sensors - catalytic converters gone bad - oxygen sensors gone bad - intermittent failure to start - intermittent car shaking and so on.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #2

Jun 202002

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I purchased my 2002 Nissan Altima S 2.5 in Nov. 2001. 1) after a few months, I noticed a shimming or vibration coming from the steering. It feels as if were coming up from the front tires through the suspension. However, though it is usually present, sometimes it doesn't vibrate for a while, then it starts again! I have changed the tires (though used the same brand), had the tires balanced, rotated and the wheels aligned, yet the vibration continues. In addition, at the last alignment, the mechanic had problems aligning the rear suspension in particular. The car has also shown abnormal tire wear. I have also checked the consumer's comments section of, a car-based website, and a number of people have noted this vibration in the steering.

- Cave Creek, AZ, USA

problem #1

Jun 012002

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87 miles
My 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S has had three sets of tires replaced (four total sets including original tires) and three 4-wheel alignments in less than 6000 miles. Manufacturer has not determined root cause of problem. Symptoms are excessive tire vibration and interioir noise from rear axle and vibration in steering wheel and gas pedal at highway speeds. Manufacturer has not implemented any tsbs to determine root cause. Tire rotation and re-balancing exacerbates the problem.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

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