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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
130,800 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
2003 Nissan Altima AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #5

Jan 012015

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


I have a 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5L that only gets heat when the car is motion. I flushed the radiator as well as the heater core, and I even replaced the thermostats twice with heavy duty ones. After all that, the car still did the same thing. What I did notice was that the coolant reservoir is open. Sort of a design that allows air to escape the system. Bad design. I took some insulation from Home Depot and clogged the opening. If you have rubber you could use that. So far the heat is ok, but at times if its in idle for over 15 minutes it will begin to get cold again. I think that the heater core might be the source of the problem and if it is Nissan should be the one to foot the bill not the customer.

- , Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #4

Dec 052014

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

I have to leave the car on for at least half an hour for it to get heated. When I run it, the heater doesn't kick in until I have been driving for at least 15 minutes. I live in Maine and its COLD!

- , Orono, ME, USA

problem #3

Jan 022012

Altima LS 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

The heater only blows hot air at highway speeds, when you slow it blows cold air. I'm in Wisconsin and winter gets cold.

- , Kennan, WI, USA

problem #2

Nov 042011

Altima LS 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 171,000 miles

my 2003 nissan altima will only heat when driving at highway speed. really a pain.

- , Moulton, AL, USA

problem #1

Nov 172010

Altima EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

The car took over 20 minutes to warm up to full operating temperature. Even then, if you sat at a red light, the heat would gradually become cold. You had to step on the accelerator to get the heat back. I bought this car very recently and i didnt know about this issue until i drove for some time but sounds like this is an on going issue with Nissan Altima , can someone tell me how to fix this and what would be the cost if i take it to dealers ?

Thanks for your input.

- , Hoffman Estates, IL, USA

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