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 13 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

Feb 132006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles


: the contact stated a recall was found on the website, although no problems have occurred with the vehicle, there is a concern it might happen. The dealer determined the VIN was not included in the recall. The recall # 03V455000, concerning the engine and engine cooling. Updated 7/11/2006 - the vehicle was manufactured Aug 2002. The recall is for the crank position sensor or cam position sensor.

- Avondale, AZ, USA

problem #13

May 192006

Altima 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
I have 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5se. It stalls at idle and loses power during driving. It also does not want to start at times just doing sound and after trying about 5 min it's starting( this problem was from time when I bought this brand new car in 2003). Dealer could not find and fix this problem in 2003 when I had warranty. They told me if car starts they can't read a code, because I don't have a "check engine" message. Dealer charged me $300 for tune up. Now when my car start to stalls I went again and still does not have "check engine" message, but they replaced "crankshaft sensor" and looks like it works. Another $300. I check at forum and realize that it's common problem for Nissan Altima. But my model 2003 does not have any recall. Nissan supposed fix this problem because it can hurt some one.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #12

Mar 012005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
We purchased a 2003 Nissan Altima in January of 2005. After having the car approximately 2 months the car begin stalling while driving and it would happen periodically. We took the car back to the dealership and they stated that they couldn't find anything wrong with the car, this happen several times and with much boldness. We took the car back and demanded that the problem be found. Because someone almost hit us and my children could have been seriously injured or killed due to neglect of Nissan/Datsun. They initially tried to give us the run around and stated that they couldn't find any problems, then after the tech, drove the car for approximately 40 miles the car stalled and they detected that it was a sensor and we had to pay for this. I know that Nissan should be held responsible for this, because this is a manufacture defect. I believe that this is happening more than reported, I just found this site and I know that it would be a disservice to other people that might have this defect and have not had symptoms yet of this possibly fatal defect. Thank god we were not harmed and no other drivers.

- Hattiesburg, MS, USA

problem #11

Apr 112006

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


: the contact stated while driving 70mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. Afterwards, the vehicle intermittently restarted. In other stalling incidents, the engine would have to remain in the off position several moments before restarting. After the incidents occurred, the "check engine soon" lamp illuminated. The vehicle was driven to the dealer for inspection and replaced the crank shaft sensor. The vehicle operated normally. There is a NHTSA recall, # 03V455000, regarding the engine and engine cooling. The vehicle has the same problems as indicated in the recall; however it is not included in the recall due to the VIN.

- Kernersville, NC, USA

problem #10

Jan 132006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
While driving (at any speed), I experienced the engine loss of power like if the brakes were suddenly applied for maybe 2 seconds then the car picked up speed as it was before. When this happened, the "service engine soon" warning light came on and stayed on. The car keeps experiencing loss of power while driving like wanting to stop running and it is taking longer to start. I'm afraid the car will stop running and cause an accident. I called Nissan usa Consumer Affairs and they told me that there were no safety recalls for this condition for my vehicle, only the head lamp fix. I took the vehicle to the place I bought it from and the codes associated with the "service engine soon" warning light on were P0725 -engine speed input circuit, and P0335 - crank shaft position sensor. They reset the codes and told me to keep driving it over the weekend and to bring the car back on wed Jan 25th. As I was driving home from the dealership, it happened again and the service engine soon came on. I got home and parked the car waiting for Wednesday appointment. I think this is a very serious safety concern on this Altima 2003 vehicle that could warrant a safety recall. My vehicle was built in Sept 2002.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #9

Sep 242005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,719 miles
2003 Nissan Altima 2.5 stalled on the highway. Car had been idling very rough and engine vibration as well as intermittent power loss 24 hours prior to issue. At time of failure, the power steering and brakes locked up while traveling at 70 mph on busy highway mountain pass. I was almost killed as car drifted with no control into other traffic. Car was able to be restarted. Took car to the dealership. The motor started shaking on drive back to dealership. Dealer found that there was a screw loose. They found the screw missing had come from the power valve intake in the power valve. They had to the remove the exhaust manifold to get the screw out, the dealer had to replace the manifold intake/valve and cylinder #4/ 02 sensor/ the gasket exhaust/gasket adapter, and the gasket manifold as the screw had shot trough the engine destroying most of it. The dealership stated that there was a recall for this problem, but only on some 2004 and 2005 models, not my 2003. This problem is documented in other 2002 and 2003 models on this ODI website and on internet forums as per my research. Nissan North America refuses to address the problems in the 2002 and 2003 models as I have attempted to work with them in a reasonable manner. This is a potentially fatal issue as noted in different individuals experience the same problems with engines catching on fire or car stalling and locking up in traffic. Interested in pursuing a class action lawsuit. ODI has done nothing to make contact with me or open an investigation. Problem started on September 24, 2005.

- Pueblo, CO, USA

problem #8

Jun 242005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


Dt the crank position sensor failed, and had to replace it. Contacted Nissan. There was a recall but for crank position sensors a month ago. This happened on 6-24-2005.

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #7

Apr 142005


  • 46,568 miles
2003 Nissan Altima engine cut off while driving and the consumer was unable to restart the engine. While passing a vehicle on a 2 lane highway the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle's air flow meter was replaced. The consumer had to pay for repairs because the vehicle was no longer under warranty.

- Fitzgerald, GA, USA

problem #6

Jan 192005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,850 miles
At about 60,850 mileage - 850 miles after the warranty expired, my car started to stall while in motion and the engine light came on. After doing a lot of research and an engine diagnostic test, it was found that the crank position sensor was faulty. I went on the internet and found that Nissan had recalled 2002-2003 Nissan Altima (alomst 75,000 of them) but only in Canada. I need to know why they have not recalled these parts in America. This is a very serious situation. The car tends to shut off and lose all power while in motion. Myself being a commuter to and from work on highways, this is very dangerous. After speaking to the dealership, they stated that Nissan had put a bulletan out on this part stating that it was a common problem. Again, please advise me why this serious situation has not been corrected in America.

- Walkersville, MD, USA

problem #5

Dec 222004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
Engine failure on 2003 Nissan Altima. Told by dealership that car was unsafe to drive. Refuses to provide safe transportation alternative until car is repaired, under warranty. Single female has already been left stranded on highway due to this problem.

- Graham, NC, USA

problem #4

May 022003


  • miles


Nissan Altima 2003, with several failures, leaking gasket, etc. The consumer stated the water pump failed, the windshield leaked, the vehicle would not start, the windshield wiper failed, the heater and defroster did not work, the radiator cap and thermostat was replaced and the wheels rusted.

- Patchogue, NY, USA

problem #3

Sep 052004


  • miles
This is the 3rd time that my 2003 Nissan Altima shuts off completely as I a driving down the street at a speed of about 40-45 mph without any notice whatsoever. The 1st time this occurred was April 29th. I took the car into the dealer and they were not able to find anything wrong with the car. The dealer performed a diagnostic caled P0725 and P1229 and called the Nissan tech line but still had no such luck. I am extremely concerned as I have had my 7 year old child with me in the car both times. Luckily, I have not had a accident so far, but it is a very scary feeling when you are driving down the street with your child at a speed of 40-45 mph and your car just completely shuts off and all of the lights inside of your the dash of your vehicle start flashing (ie. Service engine, oil, gas, lights, etc.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 152004


  • 11,000 miles
While driving 60 mph vehicle stalled.

- Tobyhanna, PA, USA

problem #1

Sep 152003

Altima 4-cyl

  • 6,500 miles
The vehicle cranked up but would turn over. There was a recall (03V4555000) for the crank position sensor weld but the VIN number was outside the remedy scope.

- West Chester, OH, USA

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