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:
71,200 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 #5

Apr 252010


  • miles


I have a 2003 Nissan Altima. This car is burning oil like crazy. There's no smoke or anything of that sort, but I have to keep an eye out and put oil in my car to keep it running at least every 4-5 days or so. Gas is high and oil is getting higher; I have to keep at least 2-3 quarts in my trunk. The check engine light has been on for sometime now. While driving on the interstate if I go over 70mph the check engine light starts blinking. When I take my foot off the accelerator the check engine light stops blinking, but continues to stay on. However, I just had my spark plugs changed and now the car won't start. Please I need some help asap.... I don't have money to purchase a new one at this time, but wish someone can tell me what is going on. The dealer is no help whatsoever. They get you in there and tell you that this, this, and this is the problem. It seems that nothing is under warranty with Nissan, and I don't own the car as of yet I'm still making monthly payments. I think that Nissan needs to go over the engine, electronic, and etc. Because canton, Mississippi is the home of Nissan and you have some big problems on your hands!!!

- Batesburg, SC, USA

problem #4

May 162009


  • 110,000 miles
My 2003 Nissan Altima stalls at lights, going slow, does not restarts sometimes, surges forward while driving. The dealer told me the crank sensor needs is faulty, cost 225 dollars with labor. I see some 2003 Altima with a different engine has a voluntary recall from Nissan, but not mine. On the Nissan website there are 40= pages of complaints regarding the same thing on many years of these vehicles with alot of safety concerns. I think all their sensors are bad and all these years Altima vehicles should be recalled.

- Hartland, WI, USA

problem #3

Jun 192008


  • 141,000 miles
Nissan has recalled the 2002 Nissan Altima's for faulty crankshaft and camshaft sensors; however, they didn't recall for 2003 and later, even though my vehicle was built in 2002. The same part was used. After replacing these parts, I now have a defective catalytic converter. There are several people complaining about all 3 problems in this vehicle.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #2

Aug 042008


  • 54,000 miles
I have a 2003 Altima (almost 55,000 miles). The vehicle turned off while I was driving. All the suggested maintenance was and is up to date. When driving there is often a slight pull/stall like it is going to shut off. It was checked nothing was found to be wrong. Service engine like came on. Had the diagnostics done it showed something wrong with starter. Nothing was wrong with starter, never had any problems starting. I have done research and found that several 2003 Altima are coming up with engine problems when they are fairly new, shutting off with out warning in the middle of traffic. Nissan doesn't appear to no what the problem is but are unwilling to take responsibility. Errors with the cam and crank sensors have been thrown out there for the reason the service engine light comes on. However, replacing this has not proved to be the solution to the problem.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #1

Apr 262005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles
I have a 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5 S. the gas door is not functioning correctly. I go gas one day a month ago and the door opened perfectly. When I went to close it, it wouldn't shut. It looks like the hing isn't lined up correctly. I had to force it shut and it gets worse each time I use the door.

- Lowell, MA, USA

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