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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
93,877 miles
Total Complaints:
21 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace cam and crank position sensors (10 reports)
  2. not sure (7 reports)
  3. replace crank shaft sensor (4 reports)
2003 Nissan Altima engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #1

Feb 272007

(reported on)

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,174 miles


My wife was driving her 2003 Nissan Altima one night when it lost power, just died in the middle of the highway. She had to get out and push it to the side of the road with my 8-year-old steering. When I got there I got the car to crank, but since the Service Engine Soon light was on we decided to drop it off at the Nissan Dealership. I drove the car and while crossing the intersection in front of the dealership it lost power again, scary stuff! The dealership Service Dept. called me the next day to tell me there were 2 recalls on the vehicle. One I knew about was the headlights, the other I did not, reprogram the ECM. As it turns out the reprogram of the ECM was to prevent the car from stalling and causing a serious accident…. But they called back later and said that the Cam & Crank Shaft Sensors had to be replaced and it would cost me $213. Of course the car only had 33,174 miles but we had purchased it new 3.5 years ago so not covered under warranty. I told them this was crazy and we could have been killed so they cave me the 1-800-NISSAN1 telephone number and I opened a complaint. I got a call back the next day and was told how sorry Nissan was about what happened, but that Nissan’s position was that the defective ECM ( Electronic Control Module) was not caused the sensors to go bad, just a coincidence that it had the exact symptoms. The guy went on to say that Nissan knew of the sensor problems and about 50% of the time it was the sensors –v- the ECM reprogram, but that Nissan had not got enough complaints to cause a recall. I told him that was not good enough and he suggested I file a complaint with the NHTSA. So I did and heard nothing. That’s where I sit, wondering what’s going to tear up next and wishing we had bought something else.

- , Montgomery, AL, USA

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