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:
50,997 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #3

Jul 012006

Altima 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles


- the contact stated that when she drove the 2003 Nissan Altima;the service engine light remained illuminated. The vehicle shook and rattled generally when she stopped at a light. The road conditions werenormally clear. The contact took the vehicle to the mechanic, and was advised that the crank sensor was the reason that the vehicle shook and rattled. The mechanic advised the contact that there was a recall on the crank sensor. The Nissan dealership advised the contact the crank sensor was not the reason for the vehicle shaking and rattling. The dealership stated that the reason for the vehicle shaking was due to the headlights. The contact stated the dealership repaired the headlight however, the vehicle continued to shake. The contact took the vehicle to the dealership again and they advised her it was the engine angle sensor that was causing the vehicle to shake. The dealership reprogrammed the sensor however, the vehicle continued to shake. The vehicle was taken to the dealership again and they informed the contact that the manifold gasket bearing needed to be replaced. The contact stated the vehicle continued to shake after the repair. The contact took the vehicle to the dealership again and they informed the contact the crank sensor needed to be replaced. The dealership replaced the crank sensor. The vehicle no longer shakes. The contact stated she received a recall notice for the crank sensor however, the dealership refused to replace the crank sensor at no additional cost. The vehicle currently has 81000 miles. Updated 04/12/07.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #2

Oct 062004

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Took the car to baker jackson Nissan in houston to replace a burned out headlight. Service advisor said that the bulb had melted to the headlight assembly and the complete assembly would have to be replaced at $400 plus. After some discussion dealer agreed to replace it under my extended warranty for $50 deductible, but refused to return the melted headlamp assembly stating that it had to be returned to Nissan for the warranty. This seems to be an engineering defect and safety hazard. Besides the safety aspect, the engineering defect costs consumers more than $400 to replace a headlamp that should cost less than $20.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #1

Dec 192003

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,992 miles
Drivers side headlamp failed. According to the service manager at hippodrome, tony bryant, the failure is caused by the headlamp overheating and is a problem inherent in this vehicle. The repair is to replace the entire headlight assembly at a cost of $335 with no assurance that the lamp will not fail again. The headlamp was replaced on December 19, 2003, and December 22, 2003. The lamp failed again on January 26, 2004 and the entire headlight assembly was replaced on January 27, 2004.

- Mt Juliet, TN, USA

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