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
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,081 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 exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #9

Aug 172014


  • 97,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 20 mph, the service engine soon indicator illuminated. The contact stated that the vehicle was powered off, but failed to restart. The dealer stated that the cam shaft and crankshaft sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 97,000.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #8

Dec 282007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,962 miles
My 2003 Nissan Altima has a faulty crankshaft sensor. The vehicle has stalled at low speeds and it has resulted in a minor accident. After taking it to the dealer for the repair I was told that all Nissan was prepared to do was reset the ECM. However, the dealer told me it was a faulty crankshaft sensor which needed to be replaced. That reseting the ECM would not fix the problem. The dealer also informed me that there was an open recall on 2002, 2005 and 2006 crankshaft sensors. That if my Nissan was a 2002 it would be covered under the open recall which was expanded on Nov. 21, 2007. However, since the recall does not cover 2003 Altima.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #7

Jun 082007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 5 mph, the service engine light illuminated and the vehicle began to stall when stopping for a light or pulling into a parking space. The dealer stated that the upper and lower crankshaft sensors needed to be replaced. NHTSA campaign id number 06V242000 (engine and engine cooling) was referenced. The current mileage was 47,136 and failure mileage was 46,136.

- Weymouth, MA, USA

problem #6

Aug 012007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle started after several attempts. One week later, the engine light illuminated and approximately three weeks after that, the vehicle stalled and had to be restarted. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the crankshaft sensor failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle has been repaired. The current mileage was 90,000 and failure mileage was 88,000.

- York, ME, USA

problem #5

Jul 152007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle stalled and the check engine light illuminated. The dealer reprogrammed the computer in the vehicle, but the engine light illuminated on two separate occasions after the repair was made. The vehicle is currently parked at the contact's residence. The current mileage was 50,746 and failure mileage was 48,000.

- Dalton, GA, USA

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problem #4

Feb 262007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,284 miles
- the contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact received safety recall 06V242000. The contact made T repairs before she received the safety recall notice. The contact has been trying to get in touch with Nissan to see if she could be reimbursed, and she was getting the run around. On the days that the vehicle lost power the weather was nice and sunny. This happened as soon as she would pull of into traffic doing 5 - 10 mph. The contact stated that the vehicle was stalling, and the engine light would turn on, she had the repairs made, and the following week she received a safety recall. The current and failure mileage were 55284.

- Sumter, SC, USA

problem #3

Jan 242007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,479 miles


- the contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact received a safety recall on 2002-2003 Nissan. After he received the safety recall the service engine light turned on, and has remained lit. While driving into traffic on several occasions the engine would just lose power. On 01/24/2007 the vehicle turned of four different times while the contact was entering into traffic. The contact also stated that after the stalling it was difficult to restart the vehicle. In the last 2 weeks the engine lost power at least 2 dozen times. One incident caused a second vehicle to run off the road to avoid hitting the contact's vehicle.

- Prattville, AL, USA

problem #2

May 102006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
On my way to work on 5/3/06 I was driving my '03 Nissan Altima on the highway going about 65-70 mph and my car jerked. It was as if the car couldn't decided what gear to be in. It did the same thing for the next two days. The next day was Saturday and I took the car to "conrads" to have a diagnostic analysis performed. I was told that the crank sensor needed to be replaced. The car had 43K miles on it and I knew it was over warranty. The part is a Nissan only part so "conrads" ordered it and it was scheduled to be replaced the following Saturday. Four days later on 5/10/06, my car stalled on the way to work. It wouldn't start or anything. It stalled in a pretty bad neighborhood so I called the police. I had it towed to a different place. Another diagnostic analysis was performed. Again I was told that crank sensor and the cam sensor needed to be replaced. Since I couldn't even drive the car anywhere and I didn't want to pay for a tow truck again, I told them to order the part and replace the sensors. Afterwards I did some research and discovered that many people have had this same problem-as noted on this website and others. I called Nissan Consumer Affairs in an effort to get reimbursed for the cost. I read the warranty and I assumed it would be covered under the power train warranty. I was informed that the it fell under the federal emissions limited warranty and was not covered. I thought this was absurd because the 2002 Altima had a recall on this sensor. Since the 2002 body style was the same in 2003, it is well-known that the mechanics of the vehicles stay the same. All I want is to be reimbursed for the replacement. This is an issue that other 2003 Altima owners have experienced. Nissan needs to have a recall or reimburse everyone who have already replaced the sensors.

- Fairview Park, OH, USA

problem #1

Oct 012005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 52,000 miles
Car stalled, stopped working and then had difficulty starting. Engine light stayed on. Rough starting until fixed, with stalling. Turned out to be crankcase sensor. The car involved is a 2003 Nissan Altima, and this was a recall item on the 2002 Altima.

- Dayton, OH, USA

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