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:
4 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,438 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 10 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #74

Aug 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the check engine warning light illuminated and remained lit. The mechanic stated that the crank sensor was failing, but did not make any repairs. Approximately two months later, the vehicle shut off without warning while driving 20 mph. The contact was able to restart the vehicle. The manufacturer stated that his VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). The current and failure mileages were 70,000.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #73

Sep 112007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,560 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle shut off without warning. The contact stated that the gear shift locked and prevented her from restarting the vehicle. She took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that the unified meter control failed. As of September 19, 2007, the dealer had not repaired the vehicle. The failure mileage was 75,578 and current mileage was 75,560.

- Uniondale, NY, USA

problem #72

Feb 102007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 45 mph, the vehicle shut off. The contact restarted the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and repaired under recall number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling) on August 18, 2007. Presently, the vehicle will no longer start. The current mileage was 89,000 and failure mileage was 50,000.

- Jonesboro, LA, USA

problem #71

Aug 242007

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles


My 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5 quit on me while driving down the road and would not crank. The next morning I tried to crank the car and it would crank, I did not want to take the chance of breaking down on the highway so I had the vehicle towed to sparks Nissan in monroe, la. The technician did the recall on the vehicle and the service engine soon light was on and the machine put out a code that the car need a crank sensor, so I had him to put it on and I go to the get car and it would not crank again and the sensor had been put on. The car is doing the same thing it did when it cut off on me. Now they want me to put a computer in the car after they damaged my computer. I am very upset and they really don't know what is wrong and are giving me a hard time. I am seeking an attorney, because I see I am not the only one with this problem and something should be done about it.

- Jonesboro, LA, USA

problem #70

Aug 182007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,430 miles
Crank shaft sensor-2003 Nissan Altima 2.5 S. I bought my car new from a dearlership and have owned it for 3.5 years. It currently has 58,000 miles on it. My car started stalling out approximately 3 weeks ago. It cuts off on me the first time at a stoplight. About a week later it cut out on me twice after making a right hand turn. It threatened to cut off on me while driving down the highway at 60 mph. On 8/18/07 it cut off on me in a parking lot and the service engine soon light came on. On 8/20/07 we drove it to the dealership where they informed us of two pending recalls. The headlamp piece was ordered and will be installed later and the ECM was corrected. The dealership would not replace the electronic crank sensor because my car's VIN number was not included in the recall. I refuse to pay for this because this is a safety concern that should be handled by the dealership. Although the ECM recall was taken care of, I am not confident that this stalling problem will not occur again. The dealership did not offer a rental car or shuttle service. Does someone have to be killed before Nissan will step up to the plate, analyze and fix this problem once and for all! frustrated.

- New Bern, NC, USA

problem #69

Aug 082007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact heard a loud snap underneath the vehicle while driving. He attempted to place the vehicle in drive and reverse, but it failed to move. The vehicle was towed to his residence and was later towed to the dealer. The mechanic stated that the vehicle needed a new engine and transmission. Through online research, the contact discovered that the 2006 Altima's have a recall for the same failure. The speed and recall number were unknown. The current and failure mileages were 127,000.

- Elizabeth, NJ, USA

problem #68

Aug 072007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


I have a 03 Nissan Altima that keeps shutting off while driving and will and sometimes will not start. I replaced the crankshaft position sensor twice within 6 months period and now my check engine light is back on for the same problem. I think we need a recall before someone is seriously injured while driving.

- Morton, MS, USA

problem #67

Aug 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,350 miles
Butterfly valve screws in the intake/gas recirculation system work loose and make their way into the engine, causing damage. This was recalled on the 2004 and 2005 models, but the same problem exists on the 2002 and 2003 model qr25de 4 cylinder engines. The fix was to replace the screws, but engine damage occurred, which compromised the reliability of the vehicle.

- Cedartown, GA, USA

problem #66

Jul 262007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles
My vehicle stalled while I was driving and then lost power several times. Would not start/hard to start. I called Nissan dealer in fremont California and they said I would have to fix it myself or pay them to do it. I found numerous people with the same problem/faulty crankshaft sensor and cam sensor. I spent numerous hours of driving to get parts and spent over 3 hundred dollars on parts, obd computer, service book and not to mention this is a major safety issue. My wife is 9 months pregnant and could have been injured not to mention the stress. Plus down time of not having the car fixed. I am very dissatisfied with Nissan service.

- Union City, CA, USA

problem #65

Jul 252007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
I have an 03 Nissan Altima with 77,000 miles that I kept well maintained. Six months ago my engine cut off while sitting at a light, and then it cut off again a month later while driving at 25 mph. This second incident happened after I took my car in for the ECM reprogram recall. My mechanic told me it was probably the mass air flow sensor, and so I paid the money to replace it, though now I wonder if this was a mis-diagnosis. A month ago, my service engine soon light came on, and since then I have had difficulty starting the car and the engine makes a weird puttering sound like it"S about to cut out while in idle. I called the Nissan dealership and was told that it sounded like the same recall issue and said that about 50% of the time, the ECM program is somehow lost and has to be reprogrammed a second time. I told him that didn't make much sense, it should be fixed the first time, and he said they could not figure out why it keeps happening. I took the car in to have it looked at and that's when he told me, never mind, this is actually an issue with the crank position sensor, which will cost $330 to replace. I did some research and found a recall back in 2003 on several 02 and 03 Altima for replacing this exact part, and when I mentioned this to the dealership, they simply said my VIN number was not included in this recall so the issue with my car was unrelated and I would have to pay for it myself. Seemed like too big of a coincidence to me, so I called corporate Nissan to file a complaint. After several persistent phone calls, I was told they would make a note of my complaint for review, but they could not cover the expense for me. I am now taking my car to my independent mechanic who quoted me half the price to have the part replaced on my own dime. I can see I"M not the only one with this engine startup/stalling problem and it is a huge safety concern. Please make Nissan own up to the problem and fix the underlying issues, not just the ECM.

- Smyrna, GA, USA

problem #64

Jul 122007

Altima 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,900 miles


Engine stopped on road and restarted after 2 mins. Service engine soon light on. Engine stalled during multiple times. Scanner code detected issue with crank/cam shaft position sensor.

- Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #63

Oct 052006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,798 miles
I received a notice in the mail from Nissan informing me of a recall (NHTSA action number: RQ06001). I took my Nissan in to the local dealership to be serviced according to the instructions on the recall notice on 08/28/2006. On 10/05/2006, my check engine light came on so I took it back to the dealer. The computer code for the error was P0507 and it was $91 to repair. I've heard from several other Altima owners who took their vehicles in to be serviced for the recall and then had to go back within a month because of the check engine light and subsequent P0507 finding. I think they are not adequately servicing this recall because one of the symptoms of the defective part is for the check engine light to come on.

- Turner, OR, USA

problem #62

Jul 112007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,281 miles
My 2003 Nissan Altima lost power on the highway while I was traveling at 55-60mph on 7/11/2007. My breaks did not work after the failure but I was able to steer. The local Nissan dealership service department said the cam and crank sensor failed and said I needed a new "cam and crank sensor kit." This is the exact part that was defective in 2002 Nissan Altima (NHTSA campaign id: 03V455000) and resulted in a recall. When I pointed this out to the service department they investigated it and said that while some 2003S were also involved in the recall, my VIN number was not included. My '03 Altima's production date is 11/07/2002 and the delivery and in-service date is 12/12/02. I think the part should be investigated in 2003 Nissan Altima to see if the recall of the cam or crank sensors in the 2002 Nissan Altima (referenced above) should be expanded to include more 2003 models.

- Turner, OR, USA

problem #61

Apr 112007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,200 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 40 mph, the service engine light illuminated. The dealer stated that the emissions oxygen sensor was defective. The dealer refused to perform the recall repair for free until the oxygen sensor was replaced. NHTSA recall # 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling) was found. The current mileage is 82,500 and failure mileage was 78,200.

- Conyers, GA, USA

problem #60

Jan 302007

Altima 6-cyl

  • 98,254 miles
2003 Nissan Altima recall crank sensor issue customer request reimbursement of the funds to replace crank angle sensor and the reprogramming of electronic control module did not solve problem. The consumer stated on 01/30/07 the vehicle was taken in for the same problem as the recall issued for this specific vehicle. The consumer stated while her daughter was driving the car stopped running, the consumer stated took car into dealer and dealer informed him the problem was the ECM needed reprogramming and consumer was never informed of recall. The consumer stated once again the engine shut off, the vehicle was then taken to the dealer who informed the consumer the crank sensor needed to be replaced and was not covered under warranty. The consumer provided the invoice for repairs due to recall and wants to reimbursed for repairs. The dealer stated left brake light out, dealer replaced left brake light bulb.

- Decatur, IL, USA

problem #59

Oct 172006

Altima 6-cyl

  • 57,887 miles
2003 Nissan Altima recall on the engine customer states that the car is not safe and Nissan has not fixed the problem** the dealer stated the driver side window was inoperable, the window regulator was replaced.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #58

Jun 192007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the manufacturer will not reimburse her for the repair work performed under recall # 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling). She was not denied reimbursement, but the manufacturer stated that they have not received her paperwork. The contact stated that she submitted the paperwork several times. The purchase date was unknown. The current mileage is 67,458 and failure mileage was 10,000.

- Alsip, IL, USA

problem #57

May 202007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,198 miles
I own a 2003 Nissan Altima with a 2.5 liter engine. I recently received a recall notice from Nissan. The notice stated that there is "the possibility that the engine might stop running while being driven due to an electrical problem between the crank angle sensor and the electronic control module. This may also result in the "service engine soon" light coming on. If the engine stops running while drivine, this could result in a crash without warning." The service engine soon light did come on, and the car began hesitating while being driven. It also was difficult to start after driving for a few minutes. After calling the number on the notice, I took it to the dealer where the ECM was reprogrammed. The next day the problems re-occurred. When my husband called the dealer they said the sensor must have gone out, and would need to be replaced at a cost of $140. He called Nissan, who said that they would not authorize the repair, even though the part was obviously faulty. The repairs were done by an independent repair shop for $40 less than Nissan quoted. I feel that Nissan placed a few dollars above the well being of their clients. I did not think to ask for the old part.

- Greenville, TX, USA

problem #56

May 122007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle's instrument panel lights illuminated. The contact stated that when she attempted to depress the brake and accelerator pedals, they went down to the floorboard. She had to run into the curb in order to stop the vehicle. The dealer stated that the crank sensor failed and should be replaced. There is recall # 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling). The dealer stated that they would only be able to reprogram the electronic control module sensor as part of the recall. The dealer was unable to reprogram the electronic control module because it failed. The current and failure mileages were 88,000.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #55

May 112007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,427 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that his vehicle was working perfectly until he took it to have safety recall # 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling) honored. The contact stated that half a mile from the dealer, his vehicle began flashing lights, the doors locked automatically, and the windows automatically opened and closed partially throughout the day. The contact took his vehicle back to the dealer who stated that the failure was coincidental. The dealer reprogrammed the electronic control module and stated that the failure is not related to the computer system. The engine size was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 35,427.

- Denton, TX, USA

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