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

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 (Page 1 of 4)

problem #72

Dec 012015


  • 90,000 miles


Everything I have had to replace/repair on this car is linked to recalls, but Nissan is denying this & refusing to help. They said my vehicle was not part of any recalls but everything that's failing is related. It has died on me in the middle of highway traffic w/ my child in the car several times. This car is defective & no one from Nissan is concerned!!!! butterfly screw/valve issues, cam/crank shaft issues--related to engine cooling, high oil consumption; alternator failing; oil leaking

- Annapolis, MD, USA

problem #71

May 102016

Altima 6-cyl

  • miles
Nissan Altima recall I was driving down the road an my 03 Nissan died an would not start back it doesn't turn over.

- Pleasant Plains, AR, USA

problem #70

Jan 172016


  • 209,982 miles
Loss of all power while driving

- Louisville, TN, USA

problem #69

Sep 162015


  • 122,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while driving low speeds. In addition, the service engine soon light constantly illuminated. The contact was able to get the vehicle operational after manually restarting the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the ECM, crank cam position sensor, and cam position sensor malfunctioned and needed to be reprogrammed and replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact was made aware of NHTSA campaign number: 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling); however, the VIN was not included. The failure mileage was approximately 122,000. Updated 02/23/16

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #68

Aug 262015


  • miles
Like many others my 2003 Nissan Altima has stalled in traffic while driving. It reads no codes. There could have been a serious accident! this is a major concern I could have been on the interstate or in having traffic. I called Nissan and they state there was a recall for a problem to this affect and it was already fixed on this vehicle in 2007. They will not fix it again. Unbelieveable! also like many other my floor board has rusted. I had a patch repair to pass inspection. This car is a saftey hazord. After reading numerous reports that others have experienced similar situations of cutting off in traffic! I have not read any fatalities yet thank goodness! recall this car befor someone is killed!

- Harrisonburg, VA, USA

problem #67

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 #66

Apr 102015


  • miles


I was driving on the highway with my kids in the car when my car shutoff all of a sudden. I was not able to get it started and cars were whizzing by me. Finally after several tries that seemed like forever, the car started and I took the first exit off the highway. Then once I made it off the highway the car check engine light came on. I made it back home but the car would not start properly. It comes on and then shutoff or stays on for a few minutes and then makes a sound like its going to cutoff if you put it in gear. Finally had the car checked and was told it was the camshaft/crankshaft sensors based on the codes. My family could have been killed if this would have happened during rush hour. Something needs to be done. These parts seem to continuously go bad and endanger the safety of everyone. I have less than 70,000 miles on this car.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #65

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 #64

Mar 112015


  • 130,000 miles
Service engine soon lite came on, car runs sluggish, stalls while running at slow speed, put on computer stated cam shaft ignitors/sensors.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #63

Feb 182015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 160 miles
I was driving home with my husband and 3 grandchildren after having dinner noticed smoke and exited the road way to find there was a fire under hood, the inside of car filled up with smoke before we could exit, we called 911 and they responded, they said it was caused from an electrical fire was all we were told, they towed the car away with out any investigation, was wondering if any recalls have caused this? the car is at lauzons towing in malone NY, all we could think of at the time was to get the children out of the cold and off the highway then to seek what had caused this. Im writing in hopes to maybe get some answers as to what could have caused this. Hoping to hear back from someone soon on this matter. Thank you[xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Brushton, NY, USA

problem #62

Nov 142013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 131,000 miles


I was sitting at a red light and when it turned green I went to go and my car stalled out. My check engine light came on and it's due to cam and crankshaft sensors. Drove the car to work today the car stalled out again completely shut itself off. Once again had to pull over on the side of the rode the best I could turn the car off and thankfully it turned back on. Called Nissan today spoke with a Consumer Affairs supervisor named [xxx] and they are telling me that my VIN # is not included in the recall for this claim on crankshaft sensors and that they would be able to forward my information to a regional office for Consumer Affairs and see if they can get them to pay for the parts but in the mean time I have to get a diagnostics report done on the car at a Nissan dealership and I have to pay for the diagnostics report and they will not waive it for me and in order to get approval for the parts I have to get the diagnostics report. So they transferred me to a dealership in albany NY a Nissan dealership service department spoke with a guy named ed he said they would need my car for 24-48 hours and can not provide me with a rental, can not waive the diagnostics fee and they wouldn't be able to get my car in until aweek from now. This is outrageous. People are going to end up being seriously injured if not killed by this malfunction. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Rensselaer, NY, USA

problem #61

Aug 182013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 93,500 miles
When I was came home from shopping I stop car and switch off and go home after about 15 min going to some where but car take time to start after few second car start. Try 3 times same. Next day going to work and same starting problem start car and going about 1 mile drive power cut off and luckily no one behind me able to go on side because can not do anything no brake no gas god help me after one mint start car and rich work about 2 mile. At work we have mechanic he has software for car diagnosis he check and told me code P0340 for camshaft position sensor we change one bought from dealer after 2 hr going home same problem starting. Mechanic reset and go home next day going to work same thing happened power shutoff about 1 and 1/2 able to park onside and start again and drop to repair shop. He called me and told me you have to change another camshaft sensor after wok fine for up to now. But they recall some car before for this problem if I was in highway then what happened do you think I will able to write now or die. Can you check on this and do something otherwise some one die. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Parsippany, NJ, USA

problem #60

Aug 232011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 94,301 miles
Multiple times while driving between 30-45 mph the vehicle has stalled and not produced full engine power when pushing on the accelerator. This has caused serious concern for the safety of my family and myself. Check engine light came on and I took the vehicle to Nissan service repair (August 2011, ~94K miles). Nissan ran diagnostics and stated that the circuit board for crank/cam sensors had failed. Paid $430 to replace crankshaft and cam/crank sensors. Fast forward to December 2012 (~110K miles) where I experienced the same exact issues along with reduced engine power when pressing on the accelerator. Another local mechanic detected that the cam/crank sensors needed to be replaced again. I did some research and found out about recall #03V455000, which describes the exact symptoms that I have been having. I called the Nissan service department that replaced the sensors in 2011 who said that my VIN wasn't included in the recall so I didn't qualify. After reading the complaints on this site for this specific year/make/model, it is beyond me how nothing hasn't been flagged about this being an issue. All these people are having the same problems (multiple times) yet they are told their VIN's don't qualify under the recall?? something is fishy there. Other complaints with the same exact issue include the following numbers: ODI id numbers: 10416743, 10384742,10370526,10342438,10332467, 10318898, 10318045, 10314479, 10283487, 10278805. Thank you for any assistance or light that can be shed on this issue.

- Seminole, FL, USA

problem #59

Nov 052012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 92,150 miles
The driver side door does not open from the inside making this a severe safety issue. The only way to open the door is to keep the key in the ignition, roll down the window, reach out and open the door, then close window, shut off car, and exit the vehicle. In an emergency it will be nearly impossible to do this within a reasonable time. This issue could result in further injury or death to the driver.

- East Meadow, NY, USA

problem #58

Jun 192012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 154,000 miles
My daughter was driving home from work in my 2003 Nissan Altima when the car suddenly stopped running, the steering wheel froze and she nearly ran off the road. Thank goodness there were no other cars coming and she was able to pull off the road with no incident. I pulled the codes and found it to be the P0335 (crankshaft position sensor) and P0725 (engine speed sensor). After searching the web, it appears there are many people with the same issue. I looked on the NHTSA website and found NHTSA campaign id number: 03V455000, Nissan recall no. R3022 that states exactly what did happen - the check engine light came on and the engine stopped without warning. The remedy is that a dealer replace the crankshaft position sensor. So, I called Nissan, found the other recall that is related to the sensor, took the car to the dealer (barely - I drove and the car stopped twice - again, lucky there was no crash). The dealer called and said he could not fix this recall because the sensor was bad. Now I have to go back and pickup the car and pray again that I don't have a crash coming home. Seems totally unreasonable that Nissan would have a recall for this exact problem - the crankshaft position sensor - for, among many others, 2002-2003 Altima and yet there are many people out there with these cars that Nissan won't fix. I was laid off and certainly cannot afford a $300 fix for a $40 part so we will have to drive this death car until I can figure out how to get it fixed. And pray every time I get in it that we don't end crashing the car, hurting myself, my young twins, my older daughter or anyone else on the road. This is a severely dangerous issue and Nissan should replace all cars - not just a select few.

- Clemmons, NC, USA

problem #57

Feb 102010

Altima 4-cyl Diesel

  • 139,000 miles
My air conditioner has always been running even when the button has been off. I've asked the dealer many times over the years and they said it's fine. Now about 2 years ago my airconditioner won't go on, it's intermittent but if it does go on it only works for 5 minutes. I finally paid the $129 to have it checked and was told the intelligan power distribution module has failed. This has been recalled in many other Nissan but not the Altima. During a search I found lots of other Altima owners with the same problem. I tried contacting Nissan but they don't care.

- Hartland, WI, USA

problem #56

Dec 192011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 140,953 miles
Vehicle has stalled - engine stopped - in traffic several times. The cam and crank shaft sensors are the cause of this issue and Nissan refuses to recall these parts. It is absurd that the same parts have been recalled for other Altima built in the same year, yet several vins, including mine, were excluded. The recall for my VIN was to reprogram the computer to prevent the failed parts from telling the computer to shut the car off. This recall has done nothing to prevent the issue. This is a safety issue, not only for myself and my family but also other drivers. This issue has been reported numerous times on the internet by other drivers. When will the NHTSA stand up for the citizens it was created to protect?

- Newnan, GA, USA

problem #55

May 162011


  • 96,500 miles
This situation has happened a few times; I park my car (turn engine off) do groceries, shopping, etc, come back, I turn the car on and the car is like stalling, like its idle but you can feel the shaking on the steering wheel. I didn't want to drive on this situation. I turned the engine off, turn it back on and still the same situation. I have to wait 3-5 minutes with engine off, then I turn it on and the car starts working normal. There is no "service engine soon" light on the dashboard. This is happening time to time. At first I thought it could be someting with the gasoline in the tank, that is not the case because I left my tank almost to empty and load a new tank, different gas station and still does the same. I called the dealer where I bought it, asked for any recalls on my car's model/year. They say no recalls for this year/model. I started searching for similar problems and I read a few articles that the '02 models have been recalled for similar issues, also that the same '03 model in Canada has been recalled and serviced for same issue. Although I cannot prove that what I read is true, I believe this problem should be checked by Nissan dealership maintenance centers since there is no alert signs on the dashboards.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #54

Dec 202007

Altima 4-cyl

  • 44,277 miles
2003 Nissan Altima stalls while driving. When I go in reverse and then put the car in drive the car continues to go in reverse. Stalls when I step on the accelerator but speeds up when I step on the breaks, I have to repeatedly slam my foot on the break to avoid hitting cars in front of me. The check engine light continues to come on, when it does the car stalls even more. I took it to a Nissan dealership they gave it a diagnostic test. They stated that they entered a code for the sensors, but were not sure if that was the actual problem with the car. I have been taking this car to Nissan mechanics since I purchased it in 2007 and it is still doing the same thing in 2010. The engine light continues to come on and it continues to stall. I do not feel safe in this vehicle.

- Paterson, NJ, USA

problem #53

Sep 272010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 122,000 miles
Car was shaking while driving. I had the cam sensors replaced several days ago. I have researched briefly online and found other people have the same issue. Other models on the vehicle have been covered on a recall; however, Nissan Altima 2003 2.5S apparently is not recalled in this area. This is a potentially hazardous issue.

- Lake Villa, IL, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?