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
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
126,500 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. engine has to be replaced (1 reports)
2003 Nissan Altima engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #4

Mar 012016

Altima S 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles


2003 Altima hesitates and occasionally dies while accelerating. Replaced Camshaft and Crankshaft sensors, cleaned MAF sensor, replaced coils, replaced fuel pump, inspected spark plugs, cleaned throttle body. There is no check engine light or code to review.

- Joel G., Henderson, NV, US

problem #3

Jun 012012

Altima Sedan 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

While driving car stalls even on the highway start right up but after a couple of miles it happen again , it also burn oil, the top part of the cooling system become detach with solder is bad and got it replace call Nissan dealer and gave vin# but there are no recalls on this Vin# though i have read many recalls with same make model and year with the same problems not a happy camper now. I really could have an accident if this happens on the highway need to get to work and have no other way of getting there.

- James M., Lawrence, MA, US

problem #2

Dec 012008

Altima 2.5 S 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

My car has been drinking a LOT OF OIL. I see that this is not something that I have done myself,by the number of other complaints that I see here. If nissan knows abbou this then they should do something. i am a single parent who still owes money on the vehicle and cannot afford to have this repair done. I was SICK when I was told that I have to have a new motor. THIS IS SOME BULL** !!!!!!!!!!!!

- Toeyna M., Spring Lake, NC, US

problem #1

May 242007

(reported on)

Altima Balck 2.5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

In 2006 my car was cutting out while I was driving down the freeway, so I took it to the dealership where I was told that the crank position sensor needed to be replaced. I thought the problem was a thing of the past until 2 days ago, when my car stalled while I was making a left turn. Scary! I had the car towed to the dealer who again told me that the crank position sensor needed to be replaced. I had them do it and thought the problem was over. But, no! As I tried to back out of my parking spot, the car stalled. So, the service manager came out, managed to start it with some difficulty and drove it around. While he drove it, he said it almost cut out on him several times and the rpm needle was "stiff" and "all over the place." Needless to say, it is still at the dealership where they are trying to figure out the problem.

I know Steve has had the same problem and has not had much luck with Nissan Corp. Other 2003 owners have posted similar complaints as ours, so it is not just the two of us who are having this problem, which is a severe safety hazard. If anyone else has had this problem, please file a complaint with Nissan USA and the National Highway Transportation Safety Adminsitration (NHTSA) immediately. Nissan is grandstanding and NEEDS to fix this problem! If push comes to shove, a class action lawsuit might need to be filed against them.

- Susan D., Elk Grove, CA, US

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