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:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,000 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 #2

Jan 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima S class. The contact stated that the motor has failed. On two occasions, the vehicle has automatically shut off while driving 60 mph. The most recent failure occurred one week ago and smoke ascended from the engine. The first time he took the vehicle to Nissan, they did not offer an explanation other than possible engine failure. They are not providing any solutions to the failures and did not state whether the vehicle was affected by the recall. The dealer claimed that the recalls pertaining to the engine were previously repaired. The contact stated that the cruise control no longer works. The VIN and engine size were unknown. The current mileage is 71,000 and failure mileage was 69,000.

- Ewing, NJ, USA

problem #1

Apr 012006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles
At approximately 45,000 miles, my cruise control set button popped off my 2003 Nissan Altima. I took it to the dealership and they said since the car was out of warranty (over 36,000), it would cost $92 to replace the entire part. This should not happen on a fairly new car. I previously owned a Saturn 1996 SL2 and never had a problem with the cruise control button falling off. I feel this is flimsy workmanship and the Nissan corporation should pay to have the problem fixed.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

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