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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,063 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #5

Aug 032014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 135,000 miles


While replacing front rotors/brakes, it was discovered that a fairly large rust hole in the floorboard, passenger side was discovered. I called a collision shop seeking advice and was told it would require a complete replacement costing approx. $2,100/$2,500, as this was their policy. I called another shop looking for at least a patch replacement. Per their inspection, their estimate is approx. $700/$800, taking at least 1 full day to work on repair. Decided to check on similar issues on-line and much to my surprise there are many, many, many complaints regarding rusted floorboards. Nissans' response was that salted roads was the problem. However, many complaints were from states that use sand and/or in sunshine states. I called Nissan, my reference no. 15121312. Presently car at Suburban troy dealership, as there were recalls on my car. No word from dealer or Nissan on rusted floorboard issue being replaced/repaired. What is needed for issuing recalls, as we all believe problem is from defected steel and/or poor design "?" should I (and all of us) contact our local state and/or Washington elected officials "?", as this would be the perfect time to do so, being that this is an election year !!! I'm hoping that this will not be a case of waiting for a serious injury and/or death(s) to occur before corrections to this issue gets resolved and immediate attention is given to these rusted floorboards. Thank you in advance for looking into and resolving the "rusted floorboards" problems !

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #4

Oct 032010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 91,315 miles
Brakes, pads, rotors replaced numerous times, car steering wheel vibrates horribly when braking, brakes squeal horribly with braking (metallic). Rotors very cheap, have to be replaced every 20,000 miles for $400. Had complete rear brakes, rotors done last at 90000, then at 121,000, metallic noise again at 125,000-serviced, 130,000 squeak again, 200 miles later brakes bad again, rotor turned, now at 130,000 brakes squeaking again, car vibrates with braking again and cars brakes don't respond as well. Horrible horrible dangerous brakes, rotors, etc.I have never had a car need new rotors every brake job!!!!!!

- Hartland, WI, USA

problem #3

Jun 062010


  • 74,000 miles
Driving 2003 Nissan Altima on two-lane country road, weather clear, no traffic. Car sped up, driver applied brakes, car sped faster, driver repeatedly & firmly applied brakes. Car overcorrected to the left, crossed roadway, crossed one dry ditch and made impact with inside wall of an irrigation ditch full of water. Driver received initial care at the scene and was taken to emergency room via ambulance. Driver sustained broken back, head and eye trauma, broken rib, dislocated shoulder joint, multiple cuts requiring stitches, glass embedded into skin. Driver spent several days in the hospital and was discharged under continuous family care. Car was totaled.

- Elmira, CA, USA

problem #2

Aug 152009


  • miles
I was sold my car from a dealership and it has had problem since day one and I keep up with my maintenance and a month after I got the vehicle I spent over 2500 in repairs now I am having a problem with catalyst and the exhaust pipe which is on the recall list from 7-30-2003 when I start the car it doesn't want to start and it is a tapping sound that is heard all the time I have tried to get in touch where I got the car from but they are out of business and I am still paying on this car I have a problem with the struts, shocks, brakes, and air conditioner just alot of stuff and now the tapping noise is so bad its scaring me and I have four children that rides with me in that car.

- Hurst, TX, USA

problem #1

Apr 052003


  • miles
Nar 04/28/2003 mr the consumer experienced a mechanical failure, that would request a new vehicle under factory warranty.

- Miami, FL, USA

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