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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
94,800 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. change out the ignition coil (2 reports)
2003 Nissan Altima engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #2

Jan 022014

Altima 2.5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles


Engine started misfiring intermittently. SES/CEL would come on & then clear (with no codes captured, really). Finally got a code: P0303, cyl 3 misfire. Swapped plugs between 3&4 and coil between 2&3. Ran fine for about a week before missing again, this time P0302, cyl 2. Replaced the coil (cyl 2 only -- they're not real cheap) and so far, so good (1 month so far).

- D S., Manassas, VA, US

problem #1

Feb 082011

Altima SE 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,526 miles

Heres the story:

Engine light starts flashing upon acceleration and then stays on. Took it to a mechanic and he reads the code as a misfire in cylinder 2. Mechanic makes me put in all new sparkplugs (my old ones were in PERFECT shape). Problem still happens and the engine runs VERY rough. Next he tells me its my injectors. By this point I don't trust him. He was very confident it was my spark plugs and he was just as confidant it was my injectors now (very expensive fix). So I go home and do my own research as to what may cause it and I come up with the ignition coil (spark coil). To test this theory I swap the coil from cylinder 2 to cylinder 6 and vise-versa. The problem moved to cylinder 6 and not 2 this time on the OBD-2. I diagnosed the problem and saved myself a lot of money. The new spark plugs cost me $40-50 and the 1 ignition coil cost me $75.

So the lesson is not to listen without doing our own research first. I wasted $40-50 when I didn't have to.

- bobafett, Edmonton, AB, Canada

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