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 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

May 122006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles


1. car stalled and once I held the gas pedal down and was able to hold the key over and crank the engine a huge puff of black smoke came out of the car and it seemed to run fine, although the service engine light came on. It eventually went away after a week or so. 2) a week or so later I started the car, it turned over fine but had no power, it simply would not go. It did not even realize I was pushing on the accelerator. 3) I removed the key from the ignition in frustration and then tried again. The second time the car worked fine. It revved when I put my foot on the gas pedal and then took off just fine. 4) this began to be a more common occurrence and if I took the key out or waited a few minutes it would straighten up. 5) not now! the car won't move forward. And now it is even starting to stall out and flood. 6) now the battery even seems to be running down. This has all taken place in the matter of about the past 5 weeks and now it won't move forward or run at all.

- Pickerington, OH, USA

problem #11

May 122006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles
While driving about a week ago with no warning while making a left turn 2003 Nissan Altima just loss power and died it was so suttle I kept pressing the gas thinking the car was still running. All along stuck in the middle of oncoming traffic with a 4 and a 2 year old in the back seat. In the past week it has happened twice luckily just in my subdivision. About for months ago I went through the same thing and Nissan said it was the alternator gone bad had it replaced now problem is back. If something can be done it needs to be because someone is going to be seriously hurt with these cars just shutting off with no warning. All my symptoms seem to point to crank position sensor that I've been reading about. Now im going to have to fork over 5-600 hundred bucks to fix a problem that shouldn't be. Something needs to be done now!!!!

- Lawrencevill, GA, USA

problem #10

Feb 152006


  • miles
My car would lose power and turn off while driving down the road.

- Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #9

Feb 152006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,890 miles


While driving the car or at idle speed, it would stall at any given time, hot or cold. I would have to restart the car and have found the crank sensor needed to be replaced.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #8

Mar 212006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,001 miles
For the past few days, car has been stalling and refusing to start up. Once, it happened on the freeway and luckily the traffic was not heavy, so could manage to take it to the shoulder. Managed to restart the car after a few minutes of trying. Service engine light turns on, and there is hardly any power when you press the accelerator. Took it to a mechanic, and he told me the crank position sensor needs to be replaced. Searched online and found that there was a recall for this exact symptom, but when I called the dealer, my VIN # does not have a recall. That is so strange. I hope Nissan realizes that there are other Altima's from 2003 that have the same problem.

- Mountain View, CA, USA

problem #7

Jan 102004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 65,000 miles
Do not really know? I found out only after extensive searching and multiple visits to the dealership. That the crankshaft position sensor was the problem. Recalled on other vehicles but not on 2003 Nissan Altima. Same issue as with the 2002 Nissan Altima. That has been recalled.

- La Verne, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 192005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


While driving 55 mph vehicle stalled. Driver was unable to restart vehicle, had it towed to a dealer for inspection. However, mechanic could not duplicate the problem.

- Old Bethpage, NY, USA

problem #5

Feb 212005


  • miles
The recall catalytic converter was replaced by the dealer while the vehicle was having other repairs made. Fifteen months later the vehicle caught on fire while stopped at a red light. The consumer believes the fire was related to the recall.

- Haddonfield, NJ, USA

problem #4

Dec 232003

Altima 4-cyl

  • 17,000 miles
The oil in the engine evaporated and white and black smoke emitted from the exhaust pipe while driving. The dealership serviced the vehicle 3 times, twice due to the debris/fire recall 03V084000. But, the problem still exists. Nissan had not authorized the service to place a new engine in the consumer's vehicle.

- Miami Springs, FL, USA

problem #3

Feb 232004

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer made an appointment with the dealer for a recall repair, and asked if vehicle is safe to drive before repair date, dealer said yes. 2 days before repair date, vehicle stopped running while traveling at 65 mph. Vehicle has more than a quarter of gas on it. Consumer took vehicle to the dealer, and it was later found out that ice build-up on the fuel line which caused the stalling. Problem was fixed and dealer assured consumer that it was safe to drive. Another recall that needed repair on vehicle's pre-catalyst. Consumer was informed by dealer that repair couldn't be done in a month and a half due to parts restriction.

- Kingston, MA, USA

problem #2

Jan 142004


  • 12,000 miles
The debris/fire recall 03V084000 was performed by the dealership twice, but the remedy failed both times.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #1

Aug 012003

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles
I have a 2002 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE. The crankshaft position sensor has now failed twice, the second time the car just died while driving! fortunately I was not on the highway with a big-rig following me, or most likely I would not be alive today. The car is still in the shop with the part on back order, which tells me that they (Nissan) are having lots of failures with this part. I consider this to be a significant safety issue and fell that a recall on this item should at least be investigated. Thanks, ronald J. colfer.

- Hayward, CA, USA

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