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 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,657 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #16

May 102016

Altima 6-cyl

  • miles


Nissan Altima recall I was driving down the road an my 03 Nissan died an would not start back it doesn't turn over.

- Pleasant Plains, AR, USA

problem #15

Feb 152013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
I drove my car from ms to ga. When I reached my hotel and turned my car off and tried to leave again the service engine light came on and the car would not start. I had the light checked the next the and it came back reading the crank position sensor. When I made it back to ms I got the part replaced and the check engine light was turned off. 8 months later my car started cutting off at red lights and not starting again. The check engine light came back on. When I had it checked again the mechanic said it was reading for the crank position sensor again. Once I explained to him that I just had that fixed he figured it was something else. Replaced my battery, battery cables, alternator, and starter. Cars still shuts off and wont crank. When I called Nissan they said my VIN wasn't included in the recall. My car stalls on me daily and shuts off at red lights.

- Jackson, MS, USA

problem #14

Oct 142013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
This problem started gradually it would just turn off while I was driving without any the middle of traffic it was scary. Thank god it would turn back on right away. I decided to see if doing a oil change spark plugs and air filter would help it didn't. one Saturday on September 21 of this year on lunch break I need to come home really quick it stopped before I made it home it would not turn back on at all! I called the tow truck he was able to make it turn back on. I took it to auto zone they said my battery was bad so I bought a new one. It continued to stop on me. It would run for a few days without stopping at all until just a few days ago it didn't want to start at all thought it was the fuel pump. Now that has been checked off the list. The engine light has then turned on and the codes that is being read out is for a recall that was issued in December 22 of 2003 R 3022 / infiniti what can I do?

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #13

May 152013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 123,000 miles


Car just died while driving on highway, then it will not start, paid 500 dollars to get fixed and there is a recall on these parts but not for my VIN, I feel that the recall should be extended for more cars.this is a dangerous problem.

- Sewell, NJ, USA

problem #12

Jul 142012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
1. the floor under the front passenger has rotted out making this car very unsafe. This is the most important one. The other ones I list because I am disappointed with the life of this car and because I have heard of multiple stories of the similar complaints. 2. the door handle broke off on the front driver side and on the passenger rear side. 3. gas cap will not close/open properly 4. trunk latch will not close. 5. moon/sun roof is off its hinge and will not work properly. 5. plastic part of the key broke not allowing it to attach to a key chain.

- Norwood, MA, USA

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problem #11

May 022012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The service engine soon light came on, and the car doesn't start or struggles to start. The heater isn't working, and now the antifreeze is coming from the exhaust.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #10

Aug 012011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 160,485 miles


Catalytic convertor problem resurfaced. Originally fixed in 2004 during the Nissan recall campaign. Local Nissan dealer qouted a price of over $2000 to fix. They do not honor the warranty on their work. Car is unsafe to drive and burns through high amounts of oil. Local Nissan dealer denied any recall, even though a printout of the recall campaign was provided to them. Never, ever will I buy a Nissan car again. These cars are unsafe, and you will pay $$$ to get them fixed as Nissan will not honor any warranty. These cars are priced cheap at the dealerships because of the expensive fix for them. Buy a Toyota or Honda instead.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #9

May 162011


  • 96,500 miles
This situation has happened a few times; I park my car (turn engine off) do groceries, shopping, etc, come back, I turn the car on and the car is like stalling, like its idle but you can feel the shaking on the steering wheel. I didn't want to drive on this situation. I turned the engine off, turn it back on and still the same situation. I have to wait 3-5 minutes with engine off, then I turn it on and the car starts working normal. There is no "service engine soon" light on the dashboard. This is happening time to time. At first I thought it could be someting with the gasoline in the tank, that is not the case because I left my tank almost to empty and load a new tank, different gas station and still does the same. I called the dealer where I bought it, asked for any recalls on my car's model/year. They say no recalls for this year/model. I started searching for similar problems and I read a few articles that the '02 models have been recalled for similar issues, also that the same '03 model in Canada has been recalled and serviced for same issue. Although I cannot prove that what I read is true, I believe this problem should be checked by Nissan dealership maintenance centers since there is no alert signs on the dashboards.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #8

May 112010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 86,958 miles
2003 Nissan Altima-86,958 mi. Purchased new March 2003 rusted floor boards I, too, am a victim of rusted floor boards(front driver and passenger) that will not pass inspection. This was found during an oil change on 4/21/10. All my maintenance work is done through the dealership on a regular basis. Why wasn't this noticed 3/30/10 when I had a catalytic converter replaced or on 10/23/09 at another oil change and multi-point inspection or at any of the other many garage appointments? my auto-body technician found manufacturer's tape over the drain holes. They sent pictures to the Nissan regional specialist. I was told by this person they handle things case-by-case, and they were not going to help me financially to get this repaired! the auto-body technician needs a section of floor. The hole is so bad patching with a piece of metal won't do the job. I have since been searching the web and found this is a common problem-Nissan not taking responsibility for a flaw in their product. I have also found many people have had the rusted floor board problem and/or the catalytic converter problem. Neither are inexpensive repairs. I'm ready to complete all the consumer forms I need to and spread the word that Nissan will not stand behind their product. As much as I love my Nissan, from what I've been reading I need to get rid of it(if I can). I have to foot the bill for the rotten floor boards-$1756.73. I never filed a claim with Nissan for the catalytic converter because I was told it was a rare problem. So, I paid the $865.10. From what I've read on catalytic converters one must figure out what caused the converter to go bad or it will happen again.

- Indiana, PA, USA

problem #7

Dec 192007


  • miles
Door for gas cap broken - won't close.

- Raynham, MA, USA

problem #6

Jun 012007


  • miles


The gas cap remains open and I have seen it on many of the same model Altima. Has there been a recall on this? the gas cap door does not shut.

- Clinton, MA, USA

problem #5

May 012006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 88,000 miles
One year into the ownership of the vehicle, while driving, the car would simple shut off. If you were moving at the time it would eventually come back on to the running position. If you happened to be at a stop sign or a light and the "stutter" would happen it would completely shut off then you would have to try and start the car again. It would turn over but sometimes it would take several tries to start the car again. This car was purchased in 2003 as a new car. Because of these instances of the car shutting off there have been two different accidents. Thank the lord none with any personal injuries. These occasions of the car shutting off became more and more prevalent, happening everyday almost all the time towards the end of the life of the car. The car is now not drivable because it literally caught on fire while driving it. It was towed home and there it sits. We are still paying on the vehicle and have to have full coverage on it.

- Ellijay, GA, USA

problem #4

Mar 122006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,761 miles
I recently filed ODI # 10152516 (my 2003 Altima 2.5 had stalled at a red light and cut out while I was driving on the freeway) and would like to update information: I took car to dealer and was told that they "found code P0335-cr pos sensor, " so they replaced crank pos sensor. Nissan needs to do a recall for this problem so other owners won't need to suffer this dangerous problem.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #3

Mar 122006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,761 miles
Car, a 2003 2.5 S Altima, stalled while at red light. Check engine and check oil lights lit up. Car restarted after three attempts. Then, less than five minutes later, car severely jerked while driving 60 miles per hour. Car's heater was on at time. Felt like vapor lock, but it was too cold outside for that (40 degrees). Car did not have much acceleration. Had to pull of freeway.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 272005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,200 miles
2003 Nissan Altima. Wife hit a small piece of roadway debris, thought to be a piece of tire debris, which caused the fuel tank to crack and leak fuel from tank. Damage was not discovered for several days. Rupture posed a serious fire hazard if there had been an ignition source. Given the damage caused by a small piece of road debris, the tank, made of fiberglass/composite material, does not seem as suitable as a steel tank in a major collision. Dealer (North Texas Nissan) would not assume responsibility or pass complaint to manufacturer, so I had to pay over $700 in replacement costs. Date of incident is approximate.

- Denton, TX, USA

problem #1

Jan 192005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,850 miles
At about 60,850 mileage - 850 miles after the warranty expired, my car started to stall while in motion and the engine light came on. After doing a lot of research and an engine diagnostic test, it was found that the crank position sensor was faulty. I went on the internet and found that Nissan had recalled 2002-2003 Nissan Altima (alomst 75,000 of them) but only in Canada. I need to know why they have not recalled these parts in America. This is a very serious situation. The car tends to shut off and lose all power while in motion. Myself being a commuter to and from work on highways, this is very dangerous. After speaking to the dealership, they stated that Nissan had put a bulletan out on this part stating that it was a common problem. Again, please advise me why this serious situation has not been corrected in America.

- Walkersville, MD, USA

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