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 9 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #94

Apr 182008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact took her vehicle to a service station because the service engine soon light remained illuminated. The vehicle also began to stall when she started the vehicle. She had to turn the vehicle on and off in order for it to remain on. The service center stated that the crankshaft and engine speed sensors needed to be replaced. The contact also stated that a few weeks ago, an oxygen sensor was replaced. The current and failure mileages were 55,000.

- Cray, TN, USA

problem #93

Apr 012008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles
This complaint is in connection with recall number 06V242000 I have a 2003 Nissan Altima S. lately my car has been dying on me at stop lights. Then my service engine light came on a couple days ago. It was the crankshaft position sensor. I looked online and saw I had a recall on my year car for the sensor. I tried calling the local Nissan dealership and they told me I didn't have that recall. I called Nissan customer service and they told me the same thing and to take it in and get it checked out, but I don't want to pay money for a recall.

- Cabot, AR, USA

problem #92

Apr 072008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
I own a 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5L S, subject to NHTSA recall # 06V242000 regarding overheating of the crank angle sensor. I have already experienced the stated consequences of the problem, including stalling of the car while driving several times and lighting of the service engine soon light. The car was serviced by the dealer on 10/26/07 to correct the defect (free of charge), which was done by reprogramming the electronic control module (ECM). This seemed to resolve the problem, up until yesterday when the service engine soon light appeared again. The car has been hesitating during acceleration on occasion lately, but has not stalled. I took the car back to the dealer, and they diagnosed it as a crank sensor problem. This is the same part that is affected by NHTSA recall # 06V242000 (above). The dealership claims that I need to have the sensor replaced (at a cost of $190, in addition to the $53 I spent for diagnosis today). They claim that this problem is not related to the recall, which I have a very difficult time believing since the recall notice states this part is adversely affected by engine temperatures due to poor location.

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #91

Mar 162008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving at slow speeds, the vehicle completely shuts off and the check engine light remains illuminated. The contact believes that her vehicle is included in NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling), but the dealer stated that the recall was closed. However, the dealer further stated that if she brought the vehicle to them and they find a failure with the ECM, they would reopen the recall. She has not yet taken the vehicle to the dealer. The powertrain was unknown. The current mileage was 93,991 and failure mileage was 92,000.

- Dallas, GA, USA

problem #90

Mar 272008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,259 miles
The car would quit running and was hard to start back. It also idled very low. The check engine light came on, the codes read that it was the crankshaft position sensor. The sensor was replaced three times and the problem still existed. I believe this is the same problem from NHTSA recall 03V455000, but it does not cover 2003 Nissan Altima's. the problem has not been fixed yet.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #89

Apr 012008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,200 miles
About 6 months ago we began having problems with the "service engine soon" light coming on in the vehicle. We took it in to our local mechanic several times and he could never find anything wrong. Just recently, we also started having trouble getting the car to start. We had the battery replaced. Last week, we were driving at a low rate of speed in the atm lane at the bank and the car just quit. Also, we stopped to get gas and couldn't get it started again. We took it to the dealer and they replaced the crank angle sensor. From what I have seen, this has been under recall for many of the 2003 2.5L atlimas, but I was told mine was not under recall. I have also seen articles where other Altima owners are in the same boat as I am - they are having this issue, but are being told it is not under recall. The incident date I listed below is the date that the car stalled twice.

- Elburn, IL, USA

problem #88

Mar 212008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,821 miles


On several occasions over the last few months, my car would not start the first time I turned the ignition. On 3/21/08 my "check engine" light came on. I brought the car immediately to my mechanic as I have a 60 mile ride each day. What he found after testing was that my engine crank angle sensor was failing. He called and advised me to bring the car, a 2003 Nissan Altima, to my dealer right away as this was a safety hazard. The good news was the sensor was part of a 2006 recall campaign #R0606 and that my VIN fell within the range of the VIN's listed on the report he had obtained on When I called the dealer he agreed that this should be repaired immediately. I brought the car to my dealership kelly Nissan, lynnfield MA. When they looked my information up on the computer it did not indicate that my car was part of the recall. I said I would take this up with Nissan N. America and to please go ahead and continue with the repair. The cost to me was $180.96. On 3/24/08 I spoke with two individuals at Nissan N. America regarding my belief that I should be re-imbursed. The sensor was part of a safety recall, my car fell within the range of VIN's listed on the recall report and the part had failed. They could not give me a reasonable explanation as to why I was not eligible. I was supposed to hear back from someone from Nissan within 24 hours, this has not occurred and I'm now turning to you for intervention on my behalf. The person I spoke to at Nissan N. America was a shannon mcquire ext. 41643, my file # is:6092073. I am grateful for your assistance in this matter. Thank you!

- Pepperell , MA, USA

problem #87

Oct 092007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,132 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. After being parked for approximately half an hour, the contact attempted to start the vehicle, but was unsuccessful. The service engine light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the crank shaft sensor needed to be replaced. The contact would like NHTSA campaign id number 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling) to include her vehicle and receive reimbursement. The current mileage was 69,457 and failure mileage was 64,132. Updated 07/07/08. Updated 07/03/08.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #86

Dec 152007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Starting in December 2007, my 2003 Altima (manufactured in Nov 2002) began to frequently stall and stop running without warning during vehicle operation at different speeds or on stop. Initially the check engine light momentarily turned on with each episode and turned off after restarting the engine, but after one of the episodes it permanently remained on. The problem was accompanied by a significant decrease in the engine power with diminished acceleration. The obd 2 scanner read the problem as "crankshaft position sensor". the local Nissan dealership both reprogrammed the ECM and replaced the crankshaft position sensor and charged me for the amount of 270 dollars. The car does not stop anymore but the engine performance has noticeably diminished.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #85

Feb 052008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While on the freeway my vehicle shut off, this could of caused serious harm to me and my children. Reviewed recent recalls and there are other Nissan Altima that are having this same problem. Concern for mine and my children's safety is a priority and I would like this to be resolved. This is the second time this has happened, the first time I had a $300 plus out of pocket expense.

- San Bernardino, CA, USA

problem #84

Jan 162008

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles


Vehicle crank sensor defective.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #83

Dec 162006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,427 miles
My 2003 Nissan Altima with 102K miles on the 2.5liter was driven only about 8 miles when engine suddenly slowed and stalled while I was in traffic. The vehicle overheated. All vehicle service had previously been performed. Untimately my expense to rebuilt the engine was $2.2K with Nissan refusing to accept any responsibility. Have others had similar experience" did Nissan also not stand behind there product with other customers"

- Cadillac, MI, USA

problem #82

Jan 132007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 45 mph, the engine completely lost power. The vehicle restarted after 4 or 5 attempts. The vehicle was included and repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling). After the repair was performed, the failure recurred twice. The purchase date was unknown. The current mileage was 107,000 and failure mileage was approximately 93,000. Updated 01-29-08. Updated

- Hainesport, NJ, USA

problem #81

Aug 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 5 to 10 mph, the vehicle shut off and has to be restarted. While on the highway, the vehicle hesitated as if it would shut off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The camshaft position sensor and crankshaft position sensor were replaced twice and currently need to be replaced a third time. The current mileage was 83,675 and failure mileage was 71,000.

- Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

problem #80

Feb 082007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving various speeds, the engine shut down. Once, when the vehicle was parked, it was difficult to restart. The check engine light remained illuminated. The vehicle would shut down and not restart for a long period of time. There were no warning indicators present. The purchase date and failure mileage were unknown. The current mileage was approximately 121,000.

- Picayune, MS, USA

problem #79

Nov 192007


  • 61,616 miles
2003 Nissan Altima with recall for a sensor. Consumer states that she would like reimbursement because she did not take it to an authorized dealer for the repair. The consumer stated the engine light illuminated and the engine seized. The consumer also stated the air condition didn't work. The rack and pinion steering bolt was found to be loose after a recall was performed.

- Charleston, WV, USA

problem #78

Nov 092007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,270 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 10 mph and greater, the vehicle hesitated and completely shut off. The vehicle was able to be restarted. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic twice and he stated that it was included in NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was repaired. The current mileage was 84,650 and failure mileage was 84,270. Updated 03/10/08. The crank shaft positioner failed which caused the engine to stop. The consumer stated the stalling still occurs. The crank shaft was not covered, and her vehicle was not included in the recall.

- Franklin, MA, USA

problem #77

Sep 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The dealer reprogrammed the electronic control module, but would not replace the crank sensor for free. Currently, the vehicle is not starting properly and must wait a few minutes before it can be started. The current mileage was 45,000 and failure mileage was 44,000.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #76

Nov 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles
I have taken my 2003 Nissan Altima to the dealer for the crankshaft position recall (NHTSA campaign id number : 06V242000). Now the ses light is illuminated indicating that the crankshaft position sensor needs to be replaced. Seems to me that if this defect is common, and it obviously is based on my research, and if it could cause crashes and, therefore injury or even death, that Nissan would be obliged to rectify the problem--obviously they are not. What is being done to rectify the situation? why hasn't something been done already (obviously the reprogramming associated with the recall has not resolved the problem). By the way, if there were already injuries or deaths then someone failed to act in a timely manner.

- Havelock, NC, USA

problem #75

Oct 302007

(reported on)


  • miles
2003 Nissan Altima with a recall on the crank angle sensor. Customer states a few months after the repair was made the vehicle began to have problems. Mechanic determined it was the crank angle sensor again. Despite the fact the dealer claimed the recall was fixed, the vehicle was still running rough, the engine light had illuminated and the vehicle was occasionally stalling while idling.

- Newport Beach, CA, USA

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