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:
129,609 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 1 of 2)

problem #21

Aug 112014


  • 110,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, a scraping noise emitted from the vehicle. The contact stated that after inspecting the vehicle, she noticed that the floor board was hanging from under the vehicle and the under body was rusted out. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for a diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 110,000.

- Johnston, RI, USA

problem #20

Jun 102014


  • 220,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the front passenger floorboard was entirely rusted. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic, who informed the contact that the entire floorboard needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 220,000.

- Urbandale, IA, USA

problem #19

Jun 282014


  • miles
In May 2014 I started to run my ac unit and was getting a very bad smell from the ac unit- the ac unit was replaced last year. I took the car back to the mechanic that replaced the ac unit last year and he found dead mice up in the ac unit so he replaced the ac filter and sprayed out the car good. My husband went underneath the car yesterday to find that the floor boards on both sides of the car are rotted and they are two large holes. We looked online at 2003 Nissan Altima's to find out that it is a car defective and we are not the only ones experiencing this problem. I plan on contacting Nissan tomorrow to make them aware of this issue as well. There is a 99.9% that Nissan's floor boards rot out over time for it is manufacturers flaw. Nissan should recall all Nissan's and replace all their floor boards.

- Hatboro , PA, USA

problem #18

May 212014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 90,726 miles


I have the notorious floorboard rust problem. A recall needs to be made. I have a foot size hole on the driver side floor board. It is rusted out all the way to the interior carpet. This is a huge problem Nissan needs to pay to fix. Not the consumers. This is obviously a defect on how the car was made.

- Dearborn, MI, USA

problem #17

Sep 032013


  • 122,000 miles
2003 Nissan Altima (122,000 miles) - passenger and driver side floor boards are completed rusted. Nissan is not helping with this known defect.

- Antioch, IL, USA

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problem #16

Aug 012013


  • 100,498 miles
Purchased this vehicle a year ago still paying on the car and upon state inspection passenger side floor boards on a 2003 Nissan Altima rusted through. Failure mileage is 100,498

- Hooksett, NH, USA

problem #15

Jun 192013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 128,000 miles


We recently were informed that the flooboards on our Nissan were completely rusted through on both the driver and passenger side of our vehicle. The estimate to have this fixed is around $2,000 and our car is in perfect condition otherwise. We have always taken extremely good care of our vehicle taking it in for maintenance every 3-5,000 miles so I cannot understand how this could happen. I have read on-line that this is happening to Nissan Altima everywhere and it sounds like an issue that Nissan should have put in a recall and fixed the cars. Now we are left to either pay thousands to fix the car or get rid of it.

- North Ridgeville, OH, USA

problem #14

Jun 082013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
Passenger side floor board completely rusted right through. This is not normal for this to happen to a car that is 10 years old. There really needs to be a recall on this situation with these cars. It seems that it is happening to quite a bit of the Nissan Altima's which is very dangerous especially if you have purchased it for your child. Nissan doesn't seem to be taking any responsibility to this.

- Cranston, RI, USA

problem #13

Apr 092013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 137,500 miles
We live in pa. We took our 2003 Nissan Altima in for inspection and were told the driver and the passenger side floor panels were rusted though to the car. The car was bought new, has been garage kept, and our winters have been mild. Nothing ever has been spilled in the car and the carpet have never been wet. Had 4 local body shops give estimates (from $900 to $1500), all that said that this shouldn't happen to a 10 year old car and the rest of the car looks good. Spoke with Nissan customer affairs who had us take it to a Nissan affiliated body shop. One of the body shops researched the problem and found numerous complaints regarding this problem. I was told there is a design flaw with the drainage of the sunroof or windshield, forcing water between the floor pan and rocker bottom. Mentioned that a plug isn't sealed or installed correctly. I called Nissan and the case was sent to a regional customer affair representative. After two weeks of 2-3 calls per day leaving messages with my contact number, I finally heard back today and was told that "the decision is final and they are not willing to give any help in fixing the problem" or stand behind their product/defect/design flaw. Updated 04/09/15.

- Winfield, PA, USA

problem #12

Jan 022012


  • 998,961 miles
The floorboard is rotted out on the passenger side of the car. I have talked to mechanics who say they see this all the time in Nissan. I also know of others with the problem. Everyone says it's a defect in stamping but Nissan will not admit it or help anyone.

- Maple Hts, OH, USA

problem #11

Nov 012011

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles


Recently while driving in a rain storm, it felt like water was splashing up under my floor pan on the driver's side. When I had a chance to look under the car, I noticed a lot of rust and a hole. I went online to check and see if this was a problem with my make and model and lo and behold, many have had the same issue and all have said the same thing...and that is that Nissan is unwilling to address the issue. I tried contacting Nissan online, but no one has responded to my inquiry. From what I am seeing others report, Nissan just doesn't want to help. Having rusted floor pans is a dangerous thing and Nissan should be willing to protect the safety of their customers. I'm afraid that I'm going to have a gigantic hole and perhaps my seat could fall through. Incident date above is approximately when I discovered the issue.

- Windsor Mill, MD, USA

problem #10

Jul 272011


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while having the vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic, the mechanic stated that there was excessive rust on the floor board. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer as well as an independent repair shop where the contact was informed that the floor board could not be repaired. The failure mileage was 150,000.

- Parkersburg, WV, USA

problem #9

Jun 012011


  • 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. Exhaust fumes can enter the cabin of the car.

- Lakewood, OH, USA

problem #8

Dec 012010


  • 153,206 miles
2003 Nissan Altima failed inspection sticker due to rusted out floorboards both on the drivers and passenger side front. Had to have new floorboards welded in. I reside in Maine.

- Saco, ME, USA

problem #7

Nov 082010

Altima 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Passenger side drain plug on the floor was not sealed from factory on 02-04 Nissan Altima models, the floor rusts out very prematurely leaving a large hole for a foot to go through, or worse exhaust fumes to enter the car doing a search online this seems to be a very common issue which Nissan doesn't not want to address and does not cover. See here and

- Baden, Ontario Canada, 00, USA

problem #6

Sep 012010


  • 100,000 miles
Large hole in the passenger side floor. My mechanic was told by Nissan dealer that its a known problem, but Nissan wont do anything to fix/recall.

- Londonderry, NH, USA

problem #5

Sep 222010


  • 95,903 miles
2003 Nissan Altima, the floor boards on both sides of the care are rotting through.

- Marlborough, MA, USA

problem #4

Jul 242010

Altima 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I was on the internet just looking up things about my car (Nissan Altima 2003 V6 3.5) and found Altima owners posting in forums about rust occurring under the front floor pans (either driver side or passenger) and I proceeded to inspect my vehicle and found a rust hole about 7"X7" in size. The car is out of its 5 year warranty period and Nissan is not assuming responsibility for this problem.

- Flushing, NY, USA

problem #3

Mar 102007


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 40 mph, the check engine warning light intermittently illuminated on the instrument panel. The dealer made the necessary repairs to the sensors to make the light dim. When the contact took the vehicle to the dealer for routine brake maintenance, it was discovered that the undercarriage of the vehicle was rusted. The contact was hesitant to touch the vehicle due to the amount of rust and feared that something would fail. The failure mileage was 50,000 and current mileage was 98,000. Updated 01/09/09. Updated 01/09/09.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 012005


  • miles
2003 Nissan Altima has two design flaws. One flaw is that the turn signal indicator is too short. The second design flaw was when the dashboard lights were fully illuminated, the headlights looked as if they were on when they were not.

- Trenton, NJ, USA

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