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 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #9

Aug 142010


  • miles


2003 Nissan Altima has large rust, bubbling area under passenger seat. I am the original owner. The car is garaged. Will not pass state inspection next time. This is a frequent complaint online.

- Nashua, NH, USA

problem #8

Nov 132010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
The body underneath the passenger floorboard has prematurely rusted through (7"X3" hole) due to an obvious improperly sealed hole in the structure. Same hole on driver's side was sealed and body appears to be in good condition with no rust. Dealer quote to repair is $1100, or $3000 to replace entire floorboard. Dealer stated they have seen several of same issue in last month on one or both sides of car. Filed complaint with Nissan, but they will not acknowledge manufacturing issue or offer any compensation for repair. Numerous complaints in NHTSA database echo same issues. Weakened/rusted through floorboard can be safety issue due to compromised body structure and potential point of entry of fumes into passenger area. Updated 01/18/11 pictures received 01/27/11

- Bayside, WI, USA

problem #7

Nov 152010

Altima 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
Floor board panels on 2003 Nissan Altima on passenger and drivers side rusting through from inside out. I am the original owner, car has 74,000 miles on it car was in for service when it was brought to my attention. Updated 01/28/11 pictures received. Updated 02/03/11

- Roselle, IL, USA

problem #6

Aug 122010

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles


2003 Nissan Altima 4 cyl. Automatic. Front end under body all the steel parts ar rusted. The oil pan is rusted so bad it was leaking oil all over my driveway. I had to remove the oil pan not to mention the rusted bolts holding the pan. Under the front passenger the floor is starting to rust so far is only a size of 1/2 a dollar. Way too many complaints about this. Please do something the dealer tells me they have no information or complaints about this. Nissan is denying there is a wide spread problem.

- North Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #5

Aug 022010


  • 100,000 miles
2003 Nissan Altima passenger side floor panel rusting out. Eventually someone will put their foot through the floor. Not corrected yet.

- Plainfield, IL, USA

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problem #4

Jun 262010


  • 60,000 miles
Rusted passenger floor board in 2003 Nissan Altima sl. Safety issue as car will not pass inspection with a hole in the floor. Car has only 60,000 miles. In reading forums on similar situations in the same make and model of car, Nissan has not taken any responsibility for this problem. It is clearly a manufacturers defect as it is occurring in numerous models of the same car.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #3

May 112010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 86,958 miles


2003 Nissan Altima-86,958 mi. Purchased new March 2003 rusted floor boards I, too, am a victim of rusted floor boards(front driver and passenger) that will not pass inspection. This was found during an oil change on 4/21/10. All my maintenance work is done through the dealership on a regular basis. Why wasn't this noticed 3/30/10 when I had a catalytic converter replaced or on 10/23/09 at another oil change and multi-point inspection or at any of the other many garage appointments? my auto-body technician found manufacturer's tape over the drain holes. They sent pictures to the Nissan regional specialist. I was told by this person they handle things case-by-case, and they were not going to help me financially to get this repaired! the auto-body technician needs a section of floor. The hole is so bad patching with a piece of metal won't do the job. I have since been searching the web and found this is a common problem-Nissan not taking responsibility for a flaw in their product. I have also found many people have had the rusted floor board problem and/or the catalytic converter problem. Neither are inexpensive repairs. I'm ready to complete all the consumer forms I need to and spread the word that Nissan will not stand behind their product. As much as I love my Nissan, from what I've been reading I need to get rid of it(if I can). I have to foot the bill for the rotten floor boards-$1756.73. I never filed a claim with Nissan for the catalytic converter because I was told it was a rare problem. So, I paid the $865.10. From what I've read on catalytic converters one must figure out what caused the converter to go bad or it will happen again.

- Indiana, PA, USA

problem #2

Apr 062010


  • miles
My '03 Nissan Altima car has a large rust holes in the floor. I took my car to Nissan dealer the they were quick to tell me that my car no longer had rust protection. Yesterday, I took my car to reputable body shop and they pulled carpet back in the front passenger seat and showed me a hole that allowed me to see the ground. They told me my car was a safety hazard!!!

- London, 00, USA

problem #1

Jul 282009


  • 96,337 miles
I own a 2003 Nissan Altima that was purchased brand new. The car has never been in an accident and has always been well maintained...washed and waxed regularly. I was changing the oil on 7/28/09 and noticed something hanging from the passenger side floor which turned out to be the remains of said floor. There is a rust hole approximately 2 foot long and 6 inches wide in the passenger side of this 6 year old car. After doing some research online I see this is a fairly common failure for this generation Altima and Nissan will do absolutely nothing to help with the repair since the perforation warranty is over as of 10/08. I have had the car into the dealership for recall work and nobody from the dealership ever mentioned the hole in this vehicle which at that time would have been covered by warranty. Nissan flat out denies to do anything to help with the repair regardless of the fact that this shouldn't be happening to a 6 year old car in the first place. It's an obvious safety issue with a giant hole in the floor that exhaust fumes can enter but Nissan refuses to acknowledge the design flaw in this vehicle. Please help me to force Nissan to admit the problem exists and get it fixed at their cost.

- East Syracuse, NY, USA

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