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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,675 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

problem #5

Aug 222010


  • miles


Rusted out passenger side floor.

- Maple Plain, MN, USA

problem #4

Nov 052009


  • 42,038 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 5 mph the check engine light came on and there was rust on the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a diagnostic test. The dealer stated that the under carriage was damaged and that if the under carriage was removed the bolts may fall off. The dealer also stated that the fuel cap and the rear sub frame were corroded. All of the rotors on the vehicle needed to be replaced. The dealer stated that the state and ocean location may be a factor. The failure mileage was 42,000. The current mileage was 43,000.

- Medford, MA, USA

problem #3

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

problem #2

Aug 152009


  • 100,000 miles
The floor pan is rusted out. 03 Nissan Altima I am not alone with this problem and I feel some one is going to get hurt. I called Nissan North America they confirmed the problem. They had a body ship give them an estimate of $2800 and they refuse to help. I know the car is out of warranty but it is there defect in design. I would love to talk to some one about this. Thank you

- Lafargeville, NY, USA

problem #1

May 172009


  • 55,000 miles
Floor rusted through on a 2003 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE with only 55000 miles on it. In service date of the vehicle was April 30, 2003. The hole in the floor of the vehicle was noticed in may of 2009. Rust perforation warranty from Nissan is for 5 years only. Nissan unwilling to help. Exhaust and other fumes can enter the car. This is unacceptable for a car with this low mileage.

- Beamsville, 00, USA

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