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:
5 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,880 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #6

Mar 262009


  • 5 miles


Air bags failed to deploy on my 2003 Nissan Altima serious body damage sustained; to my neck, a large fist size lump on the right side of my skull, severe left shoulder and back pain, a bruised forehead and altered vision in my right eye; frequently episodes of dizziness and headaches. My sister; who was a front seat passenger lost consciousness doing the accident and sustained similar injuries as the air bags did not deploy to prevent protection needed from the dashboard and windshield. I am in shock that the air bags did not work properly. Now suffering from acute traumatic stress disorder, altered sleep patterns, increased hypertension and anxiety. Remain under care of private doctor. My car with 20,054 miles was total by insurance appraiser.

- St. Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #5

May 222005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles
June 01, 2005 I purchased a 2003 Nissan Altima on April 14,2005 from crown Nissan in birmingham Alabama. On May 22, 2005 the vehicle stalled/ stopped while driving down the highway. On Monday morning I again had to have the car towed to the dealer. Mrs. Drew told me the technicians that checked out my car have been employed there more than twenty years, and they found nothing wrong, and if the computer cannot pick up anything, there is nothing to fix. On that day May 23, 2005 I went to pick the car up from crown Nissan, and drove it home. On May 27, 2005 while on my way to work the vehicle stopped on me again. My car arrived at the dealership that morning at approximately 9:00 am. After leaving three voice messages, and several phone calls, I finally reached Mr. Dan at 2:16 pm who then told me there was nothing wrong with the vehicle, that the battery was drained possible because of the hazard lights being on. Dan contacted the sales department who agreed to give me car to drive over the weekend; he stated he would check my car again on Tuesday May 31, 2005 to see if he found anything wrong with it. He then told me there was someone out driving my car then and they had replaced a ⿿crank switch⿝ in the car he explained was something that would keeps the car from starting or makes the car cut of while in the process of it being on, Mr. Dan said he would try to have my car ready for me on that day. I went to the dealership that evening to pick up my vehicle, and turned in the vehicle I was given to drive. Car stopped on Sunday July 10, 2005 and was returned to crown on July 11, 2005, was driven 249 miles by service department (no problems detected). Returned back to M.M.peterson on Thursday July 14, 2005, stopped again on Monday July 18,2005 (returned to crown)

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #4

May 202004

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,100 miles
Traffic crash with extensive front end damage. Point of impact was to front end, towards driver's side. Passenger side air bag deployed, driver's side did not. Fortunately, my son's belt restraints prevented injury. Concerned as to the failure of the driver's side air bag failed. As indicated above, impact point was generally towards the driver's side.

- Ormond Beach, FL, USA

problem #3

Apr 162004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,875 miles


I was involved in an automobile accident traveling about 45 mph when I collided with the vehicle in front of me. The hit was full front and only the passenger airbag and passenger pretensioner deployed. The driver side airbag and the driver side pretensioner did not deply. Nissan is currently investigating but from the looks of other complaints it seems as though others have had the same problem, I was lucky that I was not injured but something needs to be done about this because if I was going faster or if the accident was more serious, I would not have had protection from a the standard driver side airbag... e.g.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #2

Nov 102003

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
While driving approximately 25 mph during inclement weather consumer's vehicle hit another vehicle. Passenger's side air bag deployed and caught on fire. Driver's side air bag also deployed, but the driver sustained an injury to the head.

- Dover, NJ, USA

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problem #1

Oct 302003

(reported on)


  • 7,300 miles
Consumer's vehicle was involved in a frontal collision while driving at 40 mph. Upon impact, only the passenger's side air bag deployed. Driver's side seat belt failed to retract. Driver sustained head injuries caused by his head hitting the steering wheel.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

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