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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,702 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 #3

Dec 012009

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles


2003 Nissan Altima. Consumer expresses concern that other 2003 Nissan Altima vehicles were not identified or included in campaigns related to the airbag/driver control module, airbag sensor and the crankshaft position sensor the consumer stated her vehicle was serviced at the dealer due to the continuous flashing of the air bag light. The dealer informed the consumer the air bag sensor was defective. As a result, the entire unit needed to be replaced. The consumer stated her vehicle was excluded from the air bag recall even though the vehicle was manufactured in 2002. On January 15, 2010 the vehicle began displaying problems such as difficulty cranking, sudden jerks while accelerating and loss of power. On January 16, 2010 the service engine light later illuminated. Testing revealed a defective crankshaft sensor. Also, the O2 sensor and catalytic converter had to be replaced.

- Grayson, GA, USA

problem #2

Mar 062007

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,720 miles
TL *- the contact owns a 2003 Nissan Altima. While driving at 40 mph the contact attempted to accelerate and the vehicle lost power. The check engine light illuminated. This failure occurred 8 times. The contact smelled exhaust fumes in the vehicle while driving. The vehicle was towed to a dealer, who incorrectly diagnosed the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to a second dealer, who was aware of the related recall #06V242000, for the ECM. The dealer stated that they were unable to repair the vehicle without authorization from the manufacturer. The contact was advised by the customer service department to leave a message for the regional representative, and after 3 attempts she hasn't received a response. The contact was aware that she could be eligible for reimbursement. The current and failure mileage was 79,720.

- Los Angeles , CA, USA

problem #1

Aug 202006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,385 miles
I was making a left-hand turn at an intersection at 12:00 midnight on a Sunday and depressed the accelerator pedal nearly to the floor and as the car down shifted, the car lurched. The check engine light illuminated and immediately noticed that the transmission seemed crippled. I was able to drive home, but the engine would not rev over 2300 RPM and the transmission had a difficult time shifting. We took the car to a Nissan dealer and were told that the mass air flow sensor had failed. After doing some research, we found that the failure of the mass air flow sensor on Nissan Altima's and maxima's is not uncommon. The repair bill was over $1300 for diagnostics of the problem, labor and parts. I am extremely displeased that this issue is much too common to be overlooked as being a recall item. Luckily, there was no traffic around me at the time of the incident, otherwise, there could have been a car accident as that intersection is a high-volume intersection.

- Dayton, OH, USA

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