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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
185,200 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.

2003 Nissan Altima accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #5

Feb 122016


  • 590,000 miles


Both the driver side and passenger side floorboards are heavily rotting out. The passenger side seat is even moving.

- Belleville, NJ, USA

problem #4

Nov 152012


  • 106,000 miles
I took my car in for an oil change and my mechanic indicated that I had a rusty driver's side floor board. He said that he was able to stick his hand through the bottom of my floorboard and touch my driver's seat. This had me very concerned due to the potential for the driver's seat to fall out of the car while I'm driving. My mechanic indicated that he's had the same problem with at least 2 other Nissan Altima. Based upon the number of complaints, it looks like this is a known issue and that Nissan will not do anything to compensate. It cost me $550 to fix due to the extent of the rust.

- Drexel Hill, PA, USA

problem #3

Sep 152009


  • 74,000 miles
My car shut of on me while driving at night which was hard to see because the headlamps didn't give much light and both airbags deployed and my seat belts don't work either...I own a 2003 Nissan Altima...the car would usually turn of on me like that but not a higher speeds...the car's engine has been making a loud noise it had 3 recalls for it( headlamp recall, engine exhaust recall, & engine cooling recall) before I had this done I had a service engine light on which came out as P0420, P0240, and had 3 P0335...after I had the "recall done"...a week later my car "blew a head gasket" and I had a code P0300...I immediately got it fixed for like $1300...after that...2 weeks later I got a service engine light on which came out as P0335, P0240, & P0420...I've also been in contact with Nissan Consumer Affairs...I've been in touch with a regional specialist which can't really help me at all...Nissan dealer like to take money for diagnosis and tells me the car is unsafe to car still shuts off and sometimes it doesn't even start...when the car start up it makes a loud engine right now my car shuts off at any speed rate now just low speeds, I don't have airbags in the car, engine makes a loud noise, sounds like there's something like a rock in the catalytic converter, and my car's seat belts don't work.

- Huntington Park, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 192008

Altima 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 122,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 45 mph, the driver's seat collapsed on the right side. The failure moved the contact's body to one side of the seat. He noticed that the metal fatigue in the back bolt, which held the seat to the bottom, was snapped into two parts. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The contact plans to have the failure corrected at a welding shop. The current mileage was 124,394 and failure mileage was 122,000. Updated 07/15/08. Updated 07/15/08

- Boulder Creek, CA, USA

problem #1

Feb 262004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles
While driving at 20 mph driver's seat started to bend toward the back right of the vehicle. As time went by the seat began to bend more and more. Currently, not only is the seat twisted but, there is a metal bar protruding from the seat into the consumer's back.

- Bellport, NY, USA

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