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:
97,302 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #69

Jun 262015


  • 146,000 miles


My floor panel is rusting and I can see the ground when driving. Also it isn't safe fumes are getting in and I have a 4 year old daughter.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #68

Apr 012015


  • miles
The 2003 Nissan Altima that we purchased, used, 6 months ago has significant rusting/floor rot on the driver and passenger side. The holes are getting bigger and wind rushes through when driving. Considering the broad range of Altima affected, I can't believe there has not been a recall yet. This is definitely a safety issue for driver and passenger.

- Bristol, RI, USA

problem #67

Jun 072015


  • miles
Body panels completely rusted through below drivers and passengers floor mats with only the floor mats and carpet preventing your foot from contacting pavement. This could become life threatening if your foot were to become stuck in the hole and not able to engage the brake pedal. This is a common safety issue after finding many similar complaints.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #66

May 162015


  • 75,000 miles


Rusted passenger side floorboard. 13" by 10" hole.

- Springfield, PA, USA

problem #65

May 152015


  • 220,000 miles
Missouri motor vehicle inspection failed due to "passenger floor boards rusting out."

- Columbia, MO, USA

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problem #64

May 012015


  • miles
The 2003 Altima 3.5 SE sedan has significant floor pan rust on the drivers and passengers sides with sections completely rusted through. This is consistent with hundreds of other reports I have seen on the obvious design flaw with the Altima. The rest of the underside of the vehicle shows minimal surface rust. Assume that this will be a recall item soon as this is unacceptable. Aside from the floor pan issue, the vehicle has performed well and has been durable. Mileage is approx. 150K.

- Newburyport, MA, USA

problem #63

May 012015


  • 180,000 miles


My floor boards have been rusting for some time now. I kept feeling the carpet on my drivers side getting soft, it didn't feel like I had a whole lot of stability. I looked under the car and I saw a big hole which had formed from rust. I could see the carpet from the bottom of my car which now gets wet when it's raining. I am afraid the carpet is going to wear out and I will have no protection to the outside elements.

- Fort Jennings, OH, USA

problem #62

Feb 032014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Floor boards rusted out big holes.

- Copiague, NY, USA

problem #61

Apr 112015

Altima 6-cyl

  • miles
My 2003 Nissan Altima, which I've owned since brand new, is developing a rot hole on the passenger side chassis. A visit to a local Nissan dealer last month confirmed this but did not offer to cover it under a goodwill warranty. I did not contact Nissan thinking it was a one-time issue. However, based on an nbc news report from 4/6/2015, I've learned this is a growing issue. Please work with Nissan in obtaining a safety recall.

- West Warwick, RI, USA

problem #60

May 132014


  • 100,000 miles
My passenger floor board is completely rusted out. This is where my younger daughter sits. We had no idea that it had been that way for the last year until we could hear the highway coming up through the floor. I am a single mom and had to go to a neighbors who pulled up the carpet to find no floor underneath. This is extremely dangerous and Nissan needs to take responsibility!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Tipton, IA, USA

problem #59

Apr 012013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


Rust through the underbelly of the driver's and passenger's side, can feel the carpeting above. Worried about resale and safety. I see this defect is a very widespread concern and needs to be addressed.

- Eau Claire, WI, USA

problem #58

Dec 022014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 66,000 miles
I took my car for inspection and found out that there was a hole in the bottom of my floor board. I had to have this repaired in order to pass inspection. My car is garage kept and I only have 67,000 miles on my car as of today's date. My mechanic told me to purchase a new car within the next year. This car is in excellent condition except for this problem. I thought I would be able to get a decent amount for a trade but who would want this car. Until today I thought I just got a bad car but watching the "today" I know this is wide spread. Can I get reimbursed for my costs?

- Allentown, PA, USA

problem #57

Apr 062015


  • miles
Floor on drivers side is rusted and crumbling off-getting thinner-approx foot and half in length. Passenger side is about foot long crack. I noticed this myself about a year ago. Of all the oil changes I have had on the car no mechanic has ever mentioned the corrosion on my 2003 Nissan Altima.

- Englewood, CO, USA

problem #56

Jun 012013


  • miles
The floor of the driver and passenger side were rusted and had to be replaced. That was over 2 years ago. I recently noticed that the drivers side floor, near the gas pedal is also starting to dip and may be rusted. After watching a news report I decided to file a complaint since there are many other people who have been effected by this problem and I now believe it to be an issue relate to the design of the car.

- Enfield, CT, USA

problem #55

Apr 062015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 112,280 miles
Unusual rusting of underbody passenger side. Have become aware this is known issue on 2002 to 2007 Altima. Mechanic identified this to me several months ago but I thought it was isolated incident until recently. Clearly safety problem if it rusts all the through the floor board. I have never had a car do this including ones older and with more miles.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #54

Nov 052014


  • 97,800 miles
The driver and passenger floor panels are totally rusted out with significant holes extending into the vehicle. My research indicates the root cause of this problem is a design defect. Rusting began around the drainage holes because they were not properly sealed by the manufacturer. I am the original owner of this vehicle and it has been kept in pristine condition. Nissan is fully aware of this problem as there are thousands of complaints online. They should be held accountable to remedy this situation as it is a safety hazard.

- Morgantown , WV, USA

problem #53

Oct 012014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
Had my car inspected, was told in will need floor pans, extreme rust any where else on car. Confirmed by Nissan dealer.contacted Nissan North America, with no results.this is a design defect that many Altima's have.can anything be done? [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Phila, PA, USA

problem #52

Oct 022014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
I took my car to get fixed last week and my mechanic told me the bad news. Both the passenger side and drivers side undercarriage is completed rotted out. He said Nissan Altima are known for this and he has actually fixed 5 of the same year (2003) for the same problem over the last 3 years. This is a known issue with Nissan and there are a million complaints all over the internet regarding this same exact issues for 2003 Altima. Why are there no recalls" it is happening all over the us so it is not the roadways and salt to blame. No Honda or Toyota are having this issue at 83K miles. So I called an autobody place and asked them to quote me the job. Without even telling them what kind of car I have, he said let me guess, you have a 2003 Altima. What the heck? Nissan knows of this issue just by seeing all the people filing complaints for rusted out floors. My car is down to the carpet and will not pass inspection. I get a car wash all the time and it only has 83K miles, it's older, but I never drive it! why doesn't anyone file a class action lawsuit" this is nuts!

- North Chelmsford, MA, USA

problem #51

Apr 132014

Altima 6-cyl

  • 163,400 miles
Noticed the floor board on the passenger and driver side are completely rotted through. Date noticed was 4/13/2014. This issue was first noticed at least a year ago but the floor panel was not yet completely rotted away. It was just a simple case of surface rust. It was treated with rustoleum black primer to try and slow the rust down. This is a well know issue and it needs to be addressed by Nissan and not just thrown away.

- Wareham, MA, USA

problem #50

Mar 142012


  • 200,000 miles
Same floor rot/rust as reported by thousands of others with the same issue. Contact Nissan and they send you to dealer to verify problem. Once it's verified they say it's too far out of warranty to offer any assistance. Some people get assistance after filing multiple complaints but most of us get the denial and runaround.

- Ludowici, GA, USA

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