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 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Sep 152012


  • 145,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while at a mechanic for unrelated repair the mechanic stated there was rust on the front passenger side floor board. Also, the mechanic stated that there was a hole in the floor board due to the rust. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated the floor board would have to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 145,000.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #28

Sep 142012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 134,000 miles
Discovered rust under the driver side floor. Upon further investigation discovered the entire floor plan had rusted off and was flaking off in pieces. This is a safety concern as hazardous gases can enter the cabin area. More over if I were to step in the correct place I could push the carpet out of the car. Numerous other people online have complained about this exact issue. Nissan should fix this with a recall.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #27

Aug 282011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 98,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while at an independent mechanic for unrelated repairs the mechanic noticed a hole rusted through underneath the front passenger side seat. The mechanic stated the air conditioner drains are underneath the seat and moisture was retained there causing the corrosion. In addition, the vehicle was taken to the dealer who verified that there was a hole and large crack on the motor mount. The contact was unaware of the exact repairs needed. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 98,500. Updated 09/18/12 updated 09/19/2012

- Kenmore, NY, USA

problem #26

Aug 072012


  • 120,499 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that holes developed in both the front passenger and driver side floor boards. The contact was concerned that his feet would fall through the floorboard and cause injuries. The vehicle was taken to a personal mechanic for diagnosis but they were unable to repair the vehicle. The vehicle was scheduled to be taken to the dealer the following day. The manufacturer was notified and advised the contact to inform NHTSA of the issue. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 120,499.

- Dearborn, MI, USA

problem #25

Aug 142012

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the front driver and passenger side floor boards were rotting. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and the dealer advised the contact to take the vehicle to a body repair shop. The contact did not take the vehicle to a body shop. The failure mileage was 147,000. Updated 10/11/12 the consumer stated the vehicle was due to be repaired on Sept 14, 2012. Updated 10/11/2012

- Cranston, RI, USA

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problem #24

Jul 012011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 127,000 miles
One day I was driving and I heard something scraping on the bottom of my car, I pulled over to see that the bottom of my floor board was dragging on the floor. It just completely rusted out without warning and there is a huge hole. I have no rust on any part of my vehicle, it runs great, the body is in good condition it is garage kept, and I have a whole on my passenger side floor board. The only rust spot on the whole car! and how many complaints does it take before Nissan has to recall this? I have read over 50 complaints on this..... unacceptable.

- O Fallon, IL, USA

problem #23

Jul 142012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles


1. the floor under the front passenger has rotted out making this car very unsafe. This is the most important one. The other ones I list because I am disappointed with the life of this car and because I have heard of multiple stories of the similar complaints. 2. the door handle broke off on the front driver side and on the passenger rear side. 3. gas cap will not close/open properly 4. trunk latch will not close. 5. moon/sun roof is off its hinge and will not work properly. 5. plastic part of the key broke not allowing it to attach to a key chain.

- Norwood, MA, USA

problem #22

Dec 082011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
I took my car in to midas, burlington, MA for brake assistance, and while up on the lift the technician pointed out that the front passenger floor panel was very rusted. Warned not to use that spot when jacking up the car when changing a tire, etc. (mentally add this to $$ to spend this year...) had my car at ntb in cambridge, MA to check a front end rattle and the mechanic showed me the rust again. He is also a state safety inspector and wanted to let me know since it was rusted though it would not pass state inspection (due in August). Next stop was a local body shop and the estimate was $2K. Then saw so many complaints for the same problem for the Altima. I feel this is a known defect and should be paid for by Nissan. My car is well care for and maintained and is rotting!!

- Arlington, MA, USA

problem #21

Jan 062012


  • 150,000 miles
Pursuant to a non-related incident, my Nissan certified insurance adjuster warned me of the unusual rust formed holes on the drivers and passengers side floor boards. According to him, this is a very unusual rust issue that he has only noticed on older (2002-2003) Nissan Altima's. I have initiated my own research and have found that this is a wide-spread problem with Altima's, irrespective of mileage, where some have reported the problem at 50,000 and others at 160,000 miles. Despite the many complaints, Nissan has refused to issue a safety recall and has done nothing to help those who have been affected by the rust problem. Many, who had the problem, continued to drive without the knowledge thereof, until a mechanic or auto dealer informed them of the issue, as was the case with my Altima. As such, I can imagine that even more Altima drivers are affected, yet Nissan refuses to take responsibility. There must be a viable alternative to reach a resolution.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #20

Jun 072012


  • 84,800 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima sl. The contact stated that the vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for an unrelated repair where it was detected that the front passenger side floorboard was completely rusted. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified and they were unable to provide assistance. The approximate failure mileage was 84,800.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #19

Jun 112012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 84,699 miles


I went to have car inspected and found out the passenger side floor board is rusted completely through, this is some sort of defect as I am reading more people are experiencing the same problem....Nissan will not cover this repair. Something needs to be done to help!

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #18

Jul 112011


  • 112,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated the floor boards, front and rear suspension and the right and left stabilizer links were all covered with rust. The dealer and manufacturer were notified, but denied any assistance with repairing the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 112,000 and the current mileage was 124,000.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #17

Jan 162012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact noticed a hole in the floor of the vehicle, which could cause fumes to enter inside the cabin of the vehicle. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was aware of the failure but failed to offer any assistance. No repairs were performed. The current mileage was 113,000 and the failure mileage was unknown.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #16

Nov 052011


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the floorboard on the front driver and passenger sides of the vehicle were rotting. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and a claim was filed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but was not repaired. The contact was awaiting a return call from the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Gonic, NH, USA

problem #15

Oct 122011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 73,390 miles
Drivers side floor rusting through from inside to outside, was told it would need to be repaired in order to pass state inspection. Was told eventually exhaust fumes may leak inside of vehicle through rotted floor. Car only has 73,000 miles on it. Worried that corrosion will work its way to the seat support and will fall through.

- Trucksville, PA, USA

problem #14

Jun 012011


  • 70,000 miles
Passenger side floorboard has rotted out. It is an obvious defect since all other floorboards are rust free. Nissan is aware of problem because they repair this problem on a daily basis.

- Monroeville, PA, USA

problem #13

Apr 092011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 100,311 miles
Passenger floorboards completely rusted through opening a 16in long by 8 in wide hole in passenger floor. No other rust anywhere else found on vehicle. Appears rust originated around floor plug.

- Topsfield, MA, USA

problem #12

Mar 202011


  • 108,000 miles
Floor board rusiting on 2003 Nissan Altima, both driver and passenger side.

- Brookfield, OH, USA

problem #11

Jul 072010


  • 115,000 miles
2003 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE with both floorboards rusted through.

- Lakeville, MN, USA

problem #10

Dec 022010


  • 105,000 miles
Upon inspection of the undercarriage, a hole about the size of a softball had rusted through the floorpan on the passenger side. The vehicle is kept in a garage and is regularly cleaned and waxed. The corrosion problem seems to be a systemic issue with Altima based on NHTSA complaints and internet searches. Nissan chooses to ignore the issue which could present a safety issue if exhaust fumes get into the passenger compartment

- Covington, KY, USA

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