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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,400 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

problem #5

Oct 122007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles


I have a 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5sl. My car would not start, hesitated to accelerate, seemed to lose power on several occasions and then "service engine soon" warning light comes on the dashboard display. Dealer service dept is charging me more than $200 dollars for a crank sensor replacement repair.

- Zephyrhills, FL, USA

problem #4

Mar 102006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
I have an 03 Nissan Altima 2.5S. This vehicle stalls and surges while driving and will immediately restart. This problem is intermittent and is a well documented problem with the crank position sensor for this car.

- Stuart, FL, USA

problem #3

Mar 212006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,001 miles
For the past few days, car has been stalling and refusing to start up. Once, it happened on the freeway and luckily the traffic was not heavy, so could manage to take it to the shoulder. Managed to restart the car after a few minutes of trying. Service engine light turns on, and there is hardly any power when you press the accelerator. Took it to a mechanic, and he told me the crank position sensor needs to be replaced. Searched online and found that there was a recall for this exact symptom, but when I called the dealer, my VIN # does not have a recall. That is so strange. I hope Nissan realizes that there are other Altima's from 2003 that have the same problem.

- Mountain View, CA, USA

problem #2

Jul 052005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
2003 Nissan Altima sl - my wife was driving down the street and came to a stop sign. When she came to a stop at the stop sign the engine cut off, but all electrical remined operating. She could not restart the engine. The car has been towed to a dealership to diagnose the problem. No clear answer has been determined for why the engine continues to shut off when the car is idling, even when driven by dealership mechanics. I just found a recall on your website for the circuit board for the crank position sensor on 2002 Nissan Altima. The consequences listed in this recall are similar to the one I am experiencing. I am going to the dealership to have them check mine. Could you please look into whether this cricuit board problem is also a problem with the 2003 Nissan Altima causing that car's engine to shut off while operating.

- Williamsburg, VA, USA

problem #1

Mar 032005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Crank sensor failed, causing the engine to seize while driving. Owner contacted the manufacturer, but has not received any assistance. Engine shut off and service light came on. The dealer determined that there was a crankshaft position sensor malfunction. The dealer replaced the crankshaft positioning sensor.

- Alhambra, CA, USA

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