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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
62,022 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 6 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #6

Jan 132005

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,900 miles


On 01/13/05, the engine of my '03 Nissan Altima SE stalled. Thankfully, I was driving slowly on a residential street and was able to safely coast to the side of the road. I turned over the engine and it did not start. I waited a few moments and then tried again. The vehicle started but stalled again after I drove approx. 100 feet. The outside temperature was approx. 9 degrees Fahrenheit but my vehicle's engine temperature gauge indicated the engine was warmed up. I waited in the car for approx. An hour in 9 degree temperature with my seven-year-old daughter until I was picked up by a family member. I had the vehicle towed to the Nissan dealership where I purchased the vehicle. They were unable to determine the cause of the engine stalling. While my vehicle was in their possession, I had them conduct a 15,000K service (oil change, tire rotation, etc.). on 01/23/05, I heard an "engine knock" and discovered oil spots on my driveway from the car. I brought my car into the same dealership first thing the following morning. They inspected the vehicle and are telling me I need an entirely new engine. They are also claiming that it is not a manufacturers defect and therefore the engine replacement will not be covered under my warranty. At this point in the process, I believe the engine stalling was a safety procedure that indicated an engine problem. Furthermore, I believe the failure of the dealership to identify, and repair, the problem may be the cause of the engine damage they are reporting.

- Sparks, NV, USA

problem #5

Jan 152004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,196 miles
Car shut off while driving.

- Ny, NY, USA

problem #4

Oct 102003

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I got a 2003 Nissan Altima on 9/1/03. On the 10/10/03 it started stalling. I took it into the dealership. They said it was a damaged spark plug. The same thing happened the next day. I took it back. A butterfly valve had come loose and was lost somewhere in the engine. I was informed of two recalls, and I needed a new engine. Nissan gave me a rental for 5 days, but I had to pay for anymore. It took 7 days to deliver the engine. I can not afford to rent a car, so I had to borrow my sister's car to get work. Once it came one of the parts was wrong. They had problems with the catalogs, and the part was on a national back order. They would not agree to a rental. I called Nissan myself. After waiting for 24 hours while they reviewed my file I was denied a rental because they didn't know how long I would be. The lady was very rude. I asked for a supervisor. I was told it would take 24-48 hours for them to return my call. I waited a week and called back. He told me that they should be calling me that day or the next. I have still never heard from them, and it is December 4 2003. I am just getting the run around from the Nissan company. I have been getting phone calls from Nissan telling me the part will be in a certain week, but still no part. On November 19th the dealership gave me a car, and then on November 20th they got Nissan to give me a rental. So between October 25th until November 19th I have had to borrow a car from my sister. Both of us commute, her to school, and me to work. I work the graveyard shift, so there is no public transportation. I am a nurse and am on call somedays. It makes it difficult to get there in a hurry, when you don't have a car. I have also had to miss out on the overtime hours, not to mention staff meetings. I have never been treated as rudely by a company as Nissan has treated me. I have been getting nothing but fake promises. I will never buy another Nissan, nor will anyone I know!

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #3

May 102003


  • miles


I took the car to the dealer I bought the car from because is making a noise and when it's parked it's making a noise even more worse. Of course as always the people I spoke to said that is normal. The noise that my car make is like if this was a diesel car.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #2

Aug 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,890 miles
While driving vehicle would stall at any speed, causing consumer to lose control, and pull off the road. Driver made contact with dealership on seven separate occasions, but problem still occurs. Consumer noted that since purchase there has been continuous problems with the vehicle, especially after a part in the engine was replaced. On morning while driving, the accelerator pedal stopped working. Consumer was traveling next to the carpool lane hoping no one would hit the vehicle.

- Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 212003


  • miles
While driving at any speed vehicle shut down. Dealer kept vehicle over four months and could no duplicate or correct the problem.

- Lunenburg, MA, USA

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