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 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #49

Feb 052013


  • miles


Floor board on the drivers side is rotting which left a sizable hole. This problem is getting worse and allows debris from street to enter vehicle.

- Massapequa, NY, USA

problem #48

Aug 012009

Altima 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
A few years ago approx. 2009 or so I noticed a whole in my passenger side floor board while getting an oil change. It seemed like it came out of no where. It is a very large rusted out whole under the passengers side where your feet would be. I have no other rust on or under the vehicle but in one spot!!! my mechanic looked into it and said that when Nissan made these vehicles they positioned a tube that carries liquid to in the car versus out of the car. I then called and went to Nissan and spoke with them. There a man told me that it is a big issue with 2003-2005 Altima but Nissan would not recall it so it would cost $1600 for a new floor board. While searching the internet I find that this is a huge issue! and quite the safety concern. There is a whole in hundreds of vehicles if not thousands and Nissan will not take responsibility. I would love for someone to do something about this before someone falls through a moving vehicle. Most people do not look under their car on a monthly or bi monthly basis and it's very dangerous. My hope is that if everyone who owns this vehicle finds out about this they will take necessary precautions to make sure that their passengers are safe. And also shame on Nissan for not caring enough of their customers to not want to admit their mistakes!!

- Pflugerville, TX, USA

problem #47

Nov 012011


  • 52,000 miles
The floor structure under the driver and passenger side are rusted out. This issue is well known for models 2002 - 2006 Altima. Nissan and dealerships refuse to do anything about. I initially complained when vehicle had 52,000 miles on it and they refused to do anything than now at 120,000 it totally rusted out and won't pass inspection. Please complain.

- Lynchburg, VA, USA

problem #46

Sep 132013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 159,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while the vehicle was being inspected by the dealer, it was found that the driver and passenger's side front floor boards were corroded. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 159,000....updated 12/03/13 updated 12/05/2013

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #45

Aug 062013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Purchased this car from a dealer in 2011. Three weeks ago while putting new brakes, rims and tires noticed the whole under carriage on the driver side is rusted out and falling a part in chunks. Took it to a body shop to get a repair estimate, it will be $2,700 to fix it. The dealer I purchased the vehicle is not much help and the Nissan seems to be aware of the issue but not willing to help or have a recall. I live in Maryland where a state mandated inspection is required before I can sell or trade in this car. The car will not pass inspection without this issue resolved.

- Mount Airy, MD, USA

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problem #44

Aug 012013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
In early August 2013, I noticed a rusted piece of metal hanging from the under carriage of my 2003 Nissan Altima. During a recent oil change, I asked the mechanic to look and see where the piece of metal was coming from. I was told that the car's floor panel on the passenger's side had completely rusted through leaving a gaping hole the size of a football in front of where the passenger seat is located. After doing some research on the internet, I discovered that this is a wide spread problem covering 3 model years, 2003 thru 2006 and has affected thousands of Altima. My 2003 Altima was a "certified used car" that was purchased at arlington Nissan, arlington heights, il in 2006. It's current mileage is 126,000. There is not one spot of rust on any other part of the car. It has been garage kept since I purchased it. I called arlington Nissan on 9-11-13, to ask if there had been some sort of recall on the vehicle about this specific problem. I was told that although they were aware of the problem, no recall had been initiated by Nissan corporate. They told me to contact Nissan's Consumer Affairs division who then instructed me to provide them with a diagnostic report complete with estimated repair costs from arlington Nissan. Nissan's Consumer Affairs division would then turn the claim over to the regional office that oversees arlington Nissan. That office would get back to me with a decision on repairing the defect. There was no promise of them fixing the problem at no cost or reimbursing me the costs of having an independent body shop do the repair. Now it is the waiting game. The NHTSA should mandate a national recall on this obvious defect as it poses a definite safety issue for anyone driving a 2003-2006 Nissan Altima.

- Bartlett, IL, USA

problem #43

Aug 012013


  • 127,000 miles


2003 Nissan Altima (127,000 miles) - passenger and driver side floor boards are completed rusted. Nissan is not helping with this known defect. How many complaints before NHTSA gets involved? over 70 reports on the this site and hundreds more if you perform a simple internet search.

- Upper Darby, PA, USA

problem #42

Jan 042012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
I had to replace the steering at 84000 miles because the steering had a knocking sound everytime you turn it left or right, or when you go over a bump, ,,,it was very slack and eventually it felt as though it would fall out at anytime.....was advised at the dealership that it needed to be replaced no explanation could have been given. This was done yesterday 08/22/2013. Now there is a very huge rust hole on the passenger side under the car...this car is 10yrs old with 84000 miles and I take very good care of my car..I bought it in 2006 with about 25000 miles. The hole is about twelve inches by six inches. The lighting is so poor most times at night I always have to use myhigh beam....worst car I ever had...there were so many other problems I have had with it. This car spent many weeks at the dealership...

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #41

Aug 062013


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the floor boards were completely corroded on both the driver and passenger side. The vehicle was taken to the dealer however, the technician was unable to determine how to remedy the issue. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 140,000.

- Lagonquin, IL, USA

problem #40

Aug 022013


  • 132,000 miles
TL- the contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that when inside the vehicle she saw an object dangle from the floor. She went to retrieve the object and discovered a hole on the front passenger side floor board. The vehicle has not been repaired or diagnosed. The manufacturer has not been notified of the incident. The approximate failure mileage was 132,000. The VIN was unavailable.-

- Elyria, OH, USA

problem #39

Aug 012013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


I purchased my 2003 Nissan Altima from the dealer 16 months ago and just learned that my front driver and passenger side floor is rusted completely out. I was walking up to the car and noticed something hanging underneath bent down to look under the car and soon realized it was rust. The floor was rusted out on both sides driver and passenger. I contacted Nissan Consumer Affairs and try refused to fx it. I have 4 more years to pay for a car that I will soon not be able to drive. After checking online I have learned this a common problem with this year car and Nissan should be liable.

- Kendall Park, NJ, USA

problem #38

Jun 152012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 191,000 miles
No crash or injury - the floor has rusted out all the way through. Nissan refuses to acknowledge the issue and there are tons of forums and complaints regarding this issue.

- Coatesville, PA, USA

problem #37

Jun 272013


  • 130,000 miles
Floor boards completely rusted through. No rust anywhere else on vehicle.

- Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #36

May 272013


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that something was protruding from the under the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the contact was informed that the frame was rusted and bore a hole on the passenger's side of the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was unavailable. The failure and current mileage was 120,000.

- Minnetonka, MN, USA

problem #35

Mar 222013


  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that upon inspection, it was noticed that the driver front floorboard was completely rusted. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was confirmed that the floorboard was perforated due to rust. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 98,000.

- Syosset, NY, USA

problem #34

Feb 082013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
On a visit to the Nissan dealership to have my headlight replaced, I was informed the floor on the passenger side was rotted/rotting and needed to be replaced. I've not had it repaired as of yet B/C I'm comparison shopping based on the price quoted by the dealership. I purchased the car in 2006, had the engine replaced due to failure in 2011, the radiator replaced in 2013 and now preparing to replace the floor panels. For a 10 year old car, which has been maintained and serviced regularly and garaged, rotting seems highly unusual and shouldn't be a normal occurrence for a car. I've never had a car require this many costly repairs, and especially never an issue with the engine or rotting. Please investigate.

- Bloomfield, CT, USA

problem #33

Mar 082013


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated the front driver's side floor board corroded. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 140,000.

- New Brighton, MN, USA

problem #32

Feb 012013


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the front passenger side floor pan became severely rusted. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the failure was due to normal wear and tear. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 75,000.

- Buffalo Grove, IL, USA

problem #31

Oct 082012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
Floor board rust through defect on all 2003 to 2006 Nissan Altima's that I looked at before purchasing my current Altima, which has recently suffered the same safety defect. I'm afraid it will become a fred flintstone pedal car at some point in the future.

- Freehold, NJ, USA

problem #30

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

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