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 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,140 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

Jan 072006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,767 miles


In January 2006 I began experiencing stalling episodes with my Nissan Altima 2003 while driving the car would without warning stall. This occurred more than once and twice happened on my way to work on I95. The dealer was not able to identify the issue until Feb 2007 (in the meantime I drove this unsafe car). In Feb 2006 a sensor was replaced that had been causing the problem. I paid close to $2,000 in unnecessary repairs and was charged for a rental car. I found today that Nissan is officially reporting my 2006 issue as a recall. While I'm very thankful that I was not seriously injured or had a car crash that resulted in anyone else being hurt by the unidentified recall at the time of my experience I would like to receive compensation for the funds that I paid and I'm not sure how you place a price tag on the car stalling several times and 2 of those times being on 195. I have received to date after months of working directly with Nissan and prior to today's announcement finally that Nissan is recognizing my issue as a recall and hopefully saving several future accidents and/or fatalities a small check for $550.11. Which comes nowhere near covering the monetary lose I suffered forget the mental anguish of the car stalling with no warning.

- Stratford, CT, USA

problem #31

Nov 102006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62 miles
2003 Nissan Altima was at the dealer for the recall ECM re program, after that down hill, dealer told me the code also called for a catalytic converter, the car stalled 15 times, one time I had to stay over night on a fast food place. Next day a mechanic changed the crank pos sensor, then called for another sensor similar on shape, then back to the dealer, this time the car accelerates for no reason, they try to charge me for the diagnostic(for catalytic aging) they told me it was not the catalytic converter (and I have that in writing) that I need a throttle ? chamber 959+ tax. Finally I think I make a mistake going in on the first place or the same issues the 2002 Altima had is repeating on the 2003 and Nissan is waiting for something real bad to happen, by the way, I call them about 6 times and no real solution just passing the buck.

- Brandon, FL, USA

problem #30

Sep 252007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the windows in her vehicle would not go up or down, the doors would not lock or unlock, and the driver seat would not move back and forth. The dealer stated that there was electrical failure, but could not determine the cause of failure. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling) and was repaired in January of 2007. The contact stated that her vehicle had no electrical failures before the recall repair was performed. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 42,000.

- Poughkeepsie , NY, USA

problem #29

Jan 012003

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the doors on her vehicle are getting jammed, making it impossible to exit the vehicle. The consumer must place the key in the ignition and quickly roll down the windows to open the door from the outside. She also stated that the vehicle was purchased brand new and has never been involved in a crash. The Nissan dealer wanted to charge her $400 to repair the vehicle and stated that they cannot do anything because her warranty has expired. The powertrain and failure mileage were unknown. The current mileage is 50,000. The consumer believes the vehicle has electrical problems. Updated 08/07/07.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #28

Jul 032007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact received a recall notice for the crank angle sensor and the electronic control module. The dealer charged her $190.13 to replace the crank position sensor. She thought the cost was covered by the recall and felt that she should not have been charged. The recall campaign id number was unavailable. No failures have occurred at this time. The current mileage is 57,300 and the failure mileage was inapplicable.

- Hayward, CA, USA

problem #27

May 222007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,975 miles
Two days ago, my car stalled while I was turning left into a parking lot. Thankfully, I was able to coast the car to a safe location since I am six months pregnant and unable to push a car. The car was towed to Nissan of elk grove, where the next day they diagnosed the problem as a failed crank position sensor. I was upset, because I had the crank position sensor replaced last year after my car starting cutting out on me while I was driving on the freeway and the same dealer determined the crank sensor needed replacing. I had the dealer replace the crank sensor yesterday and assumed the problem was corrected. However, as I was backing out of the parking spot, my car stalled and I was unable to restart it. I promptly informed the service manager for Nissan of elk grove, and he managed to start my car after with great difficulty. He drove it around for a few minutes and then informed me that the car almost "cut-out" on him a few times and that the RPM needle was "stiif" and "acting strange". presently, my car is still at the dealer while I await an update on the cause.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #26

May 172007

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,900 miles


2003 Nissan Altima dies while driving down the roa could very well cause accidents and was very dangerous. Have replaced cam shaft sensor, crank sensor, and it still was having problems. We left the dealer after getting it fixed and it died on the way home going 60 miles an hour!

- Wylie, TX, USA

problem #25

Apr 032007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,873 miles
The 2003 Nissan Altima recently started stalling for no apparent reason. Initially it happened while at a stop light, then pulling out of a gas station there was minimal risk of an accident. Then yesterday as I was driving down the road the car hesitated briefly before accelerating and then within seconds all power was lost. It took nearly 15 tries to restart, at which point, I parked it and had it towed to the dealership, who wa stelling me that there was no sign that the crank sensors need to be replaced, which was what I was told would take care of the problem), and therewas nothing they could do if they can't get it to repeat what happened yesterday. A month ago, I had II at dealer when this problem originally occurred and the computer was reprogrammed. I was told that it took care of the problem in about 85% of the cases. I' was at a loss. I have only one car and I need it to be reliable. I could not take a chance of being on the interstate at rush hour in a car that might decide to stall on me. I have seen many complaints of this same nature, and was wondering why no one seemed to know what the problem was. Any help you could provide would be most appreciated.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #24

Apr 262006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,013 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that on 3 or 4 occasions the vehicle shut off while driving 45 mph. The contact stated that each time this occurred the vehicle would not restart immediately. However, on one occasion the vehicle wouldn't restart for an hour. The mechanic serviced the vehicle due to the failure on 04/26/2006. Then, on May 1, 2006 Nissan replaced the crank and cam sensors. On January 4, 2007 the contact received a recall notice for the crank and cam sensors. The contact has an invoice for the repairs. The current mileage is 69,000 and the failure mileage was 49,013 the consumer has since had the vehicle repaired and wants to be reimbursed for expenses. Update 4/30/07

- Anchorage , AK, USA

problem #23

Feb 082007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,174 miles
My wife's 2003 Nissan Altima died while driving down the highway. She had to get out and push the car to the side of the road with my 8 year son trying to steer the car. Then the car would not start. When I arrived I got the car started and attempted to drive it to the local Nissan dealership since the "service engine soon" light was on. While crossing the intersection to get into the dealership parking lot, the car died on me. I had enough speed to coast through the intersection and up to entrance to the parking lot. The next day the service advisor for the dealership calls me and tells me the car need 2 recalls ( one of which I knew about -headlights, the other was to reprogram the ECM. They would have to also replace the cam & crank sensors for $213 which of course was not under warranty. We have had the car for 3.5 years and it has 33,174 miles on it. After reading that the recall involving the ECM reprogram was to repair a problem that could cause the engine to stop running due to an electrical problem between the crank angle sensor and the ECM - electronic control module. It stated that the "service engine soon" light could come on, the engine stops running while driving and that this could result in a crash without warning! I called 1-800-nissan1 and logged my complaint that my wife (or myself) could have been killed and the very least that Nissan could do was cover the repair under warranty. I received a call back from some kind of engineer type guy who gave me the 20 minute technical version of why Nissan was sorry but tough crap on us covering this. I demanded to speak to someone else and was given your web address. I still say Nissan knew this was extremely dangerous and should have made a stronger announcement sooner to get this corrected. They should be on the hook here not me!!

- Montgomery, AL, USA

problem #22

Dec 102006

Altima 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Well I haven't necessarily "crashed" yet. I took my car into town North Nissan off 183 due to a recall notice that was sent to my home. I got the vehicle back, as they said that they would need it for at least a day, 2 1/2 hours later. I noticed that the service engine soon light was still on. I took the car back immediately the following day. Nobody was willing to help me. So later that evening I took my car to the auto zone to have a diagnostics scan done on it. Sure enough the problem wasn't fixed. It stated that the crank shaft sensor was malfunctioning which was the key to the whole problem as this can cause engine failure. My car has completely turned itself off on my while drive (however the car was not in motion).

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #21

Jan 172007


  • miles
Service engine soon light comes up on my dashboard of Nissan Altima 2003. When I took it to the dealer, they said that there are a few recalls on this vehicle and they will fix it. After about 15 minutes of driving from their location, the light came up again. The car runs like its brakes are on. It once stopped at a traffic light. There is a big concern if it stops in the middle of the road and causes accident. How can I get Nissan to address it?

- West Jordan, UT, USA

problem #20

Dec 192006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,214 miles
While driving on the pa turnpike my engine cut out without warning. I had to come to a complete stop, put the car in park and restart it. It did restart, I drove a few more miles and the same thing occurred. This happened while I was in the passing lane on the turnpike in heavy traffic.

- Glenshaw, PA, USA

problem #19

Oct 112006


  • miles
2003 Altima's check engine light illuminated. The consumer received a recall notice pertaining to an electrical problem between the crank angle sensor and the electronic control module. The consumer called the dealer and made an appointment to have the recall work done. Prior to the appointment the consumer's vehicle began to exhibit symptoms of the recall, the engine stopped running, and the check engine light illuminated. The consumer contacted the dealer immediately and scheduled an appointment for the next day. The tech informed the consumer that the crank sensor had to be replaced and they could not reprogram the computer without replacing it.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #18

Sep 272006


  • 49,868 miles
2003 Altima throttle body was defective causing check engine soon light to illuminate. Chamber assembly had to be replaced. The consumer believes that the recall she received for the crank angle sensor and electronic control module is related to the throttle assembly which had to be replaced.

- Tamarac, FL, USA

problem #17

Oct 142006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles
My vehicle's engine stopped running while waiting at a red light. The vehicle would not even crank its engine. After 10 mins the engine cranked and started, I had it towed to the nearest Nissan dealership, and explained of a recall that stated, " that some 2003 Altima might stop running while driving due to a problem between the crank angle sensor and the ECM". when the service department called me back, they stated that I had to have the position sensor replaced and that I would have to pay for it out of pocket. When I explained to them that on the recall notice I had received it clearly stated that "if any one had to pay top have the issue resolved in before the campaign that they be eligible for a reimbursement. The service department repeated that replacing the sensor was not a part of the recall, and I would have to pay for it, out of pocket.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #16

Jul 282006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,300 miles
I have a 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5 S and my oil is just disappearing from the engine. I do not see leaking, but it is being consumed somehow. There is a recall speaking of this issue. But Nissan says that it doesn't matter because my VIN number is not apart of the recall. I have the same make and model, and year so I believe if my vehicle is doing the same thing, then something needs to be done about it. My car has now been parked in the garage for 2 months because I don't want to blow up the engine, because if I drive anywhere, all the oil in the engine will be gone.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #15

Sep 072006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 30 mph, the brake light illuminated just before all power failed in the vehicle. The failure happened 25 times. The contact was unable to steer to the side of the road, as the power steering failed during the power loss. After 45 seconds the engine could be restarted. The vehicle was towed to the service dealer for service. On a prior visit the service dealer replaced the battery. The manufacturer was not contacted.

- Castleton, VT, USA

problem #14

May 232006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles
The engine shuts off in stop and go traffic. Loss of power on highways and interstates. Will not crank after a failure. The engine has to be turned over several times before cranking. The problem is gradually getting worse.

- North Wilkesboro, NC, USA

problem #13

Mar 182006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,670 miles
The vehicle will stall during operation. The vehicle will hesitate during operation. Dealer confirmed that the crank position sensor is faulty.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

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