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:
124,358 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Nissan Altima:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #7

Apr 202012

Altima 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles


Car began to idle roughly and was hard to start. Replaced oxygen sensors which did not cure symptoms. Was told that the 2 pre-cats (catalytic converters) needed replaced. Motor mounts also recommended. Replaced and problem persisted. Hard to start, runs rough now shutting down while driving. Ran codes myself with obd-II tool and found crankshaft and camshaft position sensors to be faulty. I heard of a recall for this very issue; even described my symptoms exactly. Even though my year model and car was recalled the Nissan of fort worth service desk told me my VIN # was not covered. My car has the exact same engine as all of the other Nissan made in this year range and the same faulty crankshaft and camshaft sensors but for some unknown reason mine are not covered by this. How is this even possible. I have replaced a lot of pricey parts all which may have been avoided by replacing the sensors. Even if I had to pay for the crank and camshaft sensors it would not have been bad if I had not paid over $3000 in repairs to other stuff that may not have needed replacing.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #6

Apr 092015

Altima 6-cyl

  • 159,000 miles
Car stalled two times within 20 minutes when slowing car down to make a turn. Meineke and paul miller Nissan of fairfield, ct identified that parts 23731-al61A (crankshaft/camshaft sensor) and 23731-6J90B (camshaft position sensor) need to be replaced. These sensors were part a recall for the same make, year and model of car that I own. Nissan N.a. claims that my VIN was not a part of the recall. 630,000+ vehicles were affected by this recall but my vehicle does not apply. On line complaints suggests that the exact same complaint keeps recurring but Nissan has not expanded there VIN registry to include all cars that are affected. Spoke with Nissan N.a. case expediter who stated my vehicle VIN was not on the affected list although my complaint was the same as those vehicles on the list. Nissan representative would not tell me where my part was made and where the defective parts were in fact made. Claimed that this was internal Nissan information that they had no obligation to give me.

- Fairfield, NN, USA

problem #5

Apr 032012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 90 miles
While at a red light, the car unknowingly stopped! I didn't even know until the light turned green and I attempted to pull off. I put the car in park and resterted the car with no issue. A couple days later the engine started a slight shake and each day the shake became more intense and the engine would shut off when driven for a while & while my feet is on the break the meter would jump from 0 to 2 and shut off wen it hit 0. also while attempting to pull off the car feels like it's stuck then it'll shoot off.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #4

Sep 262013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 191,431 miles


I was driving and my car just slowed down and eventually cut off. I put the car in park and started it back up. When I arrived at my destination and cut the car off and tried to cut it back on it would not start.

- Pearland, TX, USA

problem #3

Feb 232013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 133,500 miles
While driving on the highway, engine began to make rattling noise and lost a significant amount of power during acceleration. Due to location and time of night, I coasted (barely using any acceleration) to a safe location. Turned engine off to look under the hood- could not find any problem. Tried starting car again and would not start. Had it towed the next day to mechanic- he found shards of metal in the engine oil and stated that the valves screws had came off and ruined the engine. I had always put in synthetic oil every 5K miles, and did a complete engine flush every year/25,000 miles ever since I bought the car 6 years ago. This occurred at 133500 miles and the engine cannot be salvaged. To replace the engine, the estimates I am receiving are between 2,000 and 3,000 usd.

- Jersey City, NJ, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #2

Aug 012011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 160,485 miles
Catalytic convertor problem resurfaced. Originally fixed in 2004 during the Nissan recall campaign. Local Nissan dealer qouted a price of over $2000 to fix. They do not honor the warranty on their work. Car is unsafe to drive and burns through high amounts of oil. Local Nissan dealer denied any recall, even though a printout of the recall campaign was provided to them. Never, ever will I buy a Nissan car again. These cars are unsafe, and you will pay $$$ to get them fixed as Nissan will not honor any warranty. These cars are priced cheap at the dealerships because of the expensive fix for them. Buy a Toyota or Honda instead.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #1

Apr 132006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles
- a safety recall on 2003 Nissan Altima crank sensor. The contact paid for the recall repair before she sold the car, and wants to know if she will be reimbursed. The contact will be called and offered the faq response.

- Willacoohee , GA, USA

Not what you are looking for?