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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,826 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #10

Jul 012009

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle would not restart and was towed to an independent mechanic. The contact was informed that there was no oil in the engine and there were no signs of an engine leak. The mechanic was unable to determine where the oil was escaping to. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but offered no assistance. The failure and current mileages were 80,000. Updated 12/22/11 the consumer stated the engine and transmission were replaced.

- Rahway, NJ, USA

problem #9

Apr 032010


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving at approximate speeds of 50 mph and applying the brakes, the vehicle stalled. He was able to restart the vehicle and momentarily, the vehicle exhibited hesitation and slight jerking. The vehicle then proceeded as normal. The dealer stated that the vehicle was not under recall or warranty and repairs would be at the owners expense. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 93,000 and the current mileage was 93,100.

- Densenville, IL, USA

problem #8

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 #7

May 252008


  • 100,260 miles


I have 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 S, my car burn oil like crazy, could make a fire if I didn't keep checking on the oil level, I spent 5 quart just from Iowa to minneapolis and for the local drive I need to refill 1 quart of oil every 5-6 days (between office and home which is just 4 minutes driving).

- Marshalltown, IA, USA

problem #6

Dec 162007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles
Throughout the last 4 yrs, on several occasions when shifting the transmission it doesn't engage. I have pulled from a parking spot using reverse, and just when I am pulling into traffic and shift to drive the car doesn't respond. The engine doesn't react to the accelerator; the engine is running but the car is unresponsive. When it happens I have to push the car to the side of the road and turn it off. One time it took about 15 mins to be able to restart and restore all functions. On another occasion I ended up having to wait until the next day. The scary part is that the engine and transmission are completely unresponsive when you need it the most; getting into traffic. I have been blessed and very lucky that it has only happened when pulling out of a parking spot or my out of my driveway. What I am extremely afraid is if this were ever to happen when pulling out into a highway or busy street traffic. This is similar to the risk associated with recall NHTSA campaign #07V527000. Please correct the problem before someone gets kill; we should never wait that long or let it go that far.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #5

Mar 232006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles
: the contact stated the air bag light on the dash flashed constantly. There is a safety improvement campaign, # 02I001000, regarding the air bag. The vehicle has the same problems as indicated in the safety improvement campaign; however it is not included in the safety improvement campaign due to the VIN. Updated 4/17/2006 - the vehicle was taken to a dealer who indicated that eh air bag was defective. The dealer refused any assistance because the vehicle was 2000 mile out of warranty. The check engine light illuminated. The dealer found antifreeze leaking into the cylinders. The driver's side low beam headlamp was inop. The tech replaced the right side headlight bulb. Radiator leaked coolant. The heater blew out cool air when the vehicle was stopped. The tech found an air pocket in the coolant system. Replaced clutch assembly. Cylinder head gasket was replaced.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #4

Nov 052004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles


When accelerating at high speeds vehicle makes a grinding noise and vibrates, making it possible to feel it through the steering wheel. Consumer took the vehicle to the dealer. However, dealer was unable to duplicate the problem. Dec 15 dealer picked up car to fix the problem of vibration car return 12/17 can still not found and there was no paper work given on what was done.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #3

Jul 262004

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
Car started, but as I was soon to find out, would not accelerate over 1000 rpms. Pulled out in traffic before I realized it would not go. Was pulling into traffic from driveway and almost has a collision because I could not accelerate to the flow of traffic. Managed to pull over the car to a safe spot. Turned off engine. Restarted and worked fine for a while. Later, would happen every few times I started the car. I had to check if engine would rev before driving. If it did rev, problem would not re-appear until turning engine off. Many times, would not start at all, and when it would and would not rev. After repeated attempts at re-starting, engine would start and rev and be ok until turned off. Took car to dealer. Turned out to be the "throttle chamber." Replaced under California's 50,000 mile emissions warranty, but only after I pointed out that coverage. Service rep at dealer mentioned to me he was seeing this failure on Nissan 3.5 litre V6S. Posters to internet newgroup also report seeing this problem.

- Encino, CA, USA

problem #2

Feb 042003

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Delays, obvious jerking, felt during acceleration at approximately 10 mpr. It is worse when car starts cold particularly in the morning. Jerking forward during deceleration (without braking) at approximately 30 mpr. It has been getting worse as the car puts on more mileage.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #1

Jul 152002


  • miles
Car shifted in park and keys removed. Car failed to start until reinserted transmission into park.

- Carson City, NV, USA

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