ANNOUNCEMENT: The Car Book 2018 is now online!

Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here. 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:
149,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
2003 Nissan Altima exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #2

Jan 042012

Altima 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles


I have read other compliant about the same problem..Nissan should be held accountable for this happening since it seems to be happening to a lot of cars.I read a lot of complaints about the same problem with the 2003 Nissan will never buy another Nissan....this should not be happening the car is less than 10 yrs. The Cat converters is bad causing the engine to go bad...they should of recalled the car with the first complaint like this...Don't buy Nissan......

It starts off with the car always needing oil be aware....

- Juanita S., Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #1

Dec 222011

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 162,000 miles

I took my Nissan Altima 2.5 s in for a normal tune up and oil change. I took the car and a couple days later my cars check engine light came on. I checked the oil and the oil was very low so, I took the car back into the dealership and had them diagnose it again. They said they forgot to change a coil in the engine. After changing that it started going through oil in phenomenal amounts. I took it back in and they flushed the engine and put new oil and a die in the engine to trace the oil and told me to drive as normal so they could trace where the oil was going and bring it back every time the car needed to have the oil topped off, which was free. At this time they told me it might be the catalytic converter . I went to purchase a new catalytic converter from Napa Auto Parts, so they could put it, on as they said they would. Nissan techs, did not tell me to stop driving the car. The second time, I took the car into the dealership to top off the oil they, told me the car needed a new re-manufacture engine and a catalytic converter and refused to change the catalytic converter unless it was with their parts. They said, It wouldn't do any good to change the catalytic converter unless they changed the Engine as well. My issue is why couldn't they tell me in the first place that particles from the catalytic converter would get sucked into the engine? and destroy it, when they knew that would happen. And why Did they make a automobile designed this way. I was lead to believe that this was a car that won the Car Award of the Year. What can I do to get help repairing my car? are there any law suits I should know about?

- dsmyland, Kalamazoo, MI, USA

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