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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
26,800 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 #5

Aug 102016


  • miles


The contact owned a 2003 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that another vehicle sped through an intersection and crashed into the front passenger side of the her vehicle. None of the air bags deployed. The driver sustained whiplash, head injuries, and the seat belt failed to provide proper restraint. The front passenger also sustained whiplash and extensive injuries. Medical attention was received and the front passenger was transported away by an ambulance. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to a yard. The vehicle was not diagnosed. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was not available.

- Monroe, LA, USA

problem #4

Sep 152009


  • 74,000 miles
My car shut of on me while driving at night which was hard to see because the headlamps didn't give much light and both airbags deployed and my seat belts don't work either...I own a 2003 Nissan Altima...the car would usually turn of on me like that but not a higher speeds...the car's engine has been making a loud noise it had 3 recalls for it( headlamp recall, engine exhaust recall, & engine cooling recall) before I had this done I had a service engine light on which came out as P0420, P0240, and had 3 P0335...after I had the "recall done"...a week later my car "blew a head gasket" and I had a code P0300...I immediately got it fixed for like $1300...after that...2 weeks later I got a service engine light on which came out as P0335, P0240, & P0420...I've also been in contact with Nissan Consumer Affairs...I've been in touch with a regional specialist which can't really help me at all...Nissan dealer like to take money for diagnosis and tells me the car is unsafe to car still shuts off and sometimes it doesn't even start...when the car start up it makes a loud engine right now my car shuts off at any speed rate now just low speeds, I don't have airbags in the car, engine makes a loud noise, sounds like there's something like a rock in the catalytic converter, and my car's seat belts don't work.

- Huntington Park, CA, USA

problem #3

Aug 152009


  • miles
I was sold my car from a dealership and it has had problem since day one and I keep up with my maintenance and a month after I got the vehicle I spent over 2500 in repairs now I am having a problem with catalyst and the exhaust pipe which is on the recall list from 7-30-2003 when I start the car it doesn't want to start and it is a tapping sound that is heard all the time I have tried to get in touch where I got the car from but they are out of business and I am still paying on this car I have a problem with the struts, shocks, brakes, and air conditioner just alot of stuff and now the tapping noise is so bad its scaring me and I have four children that rides with me in that car.

- Hurst, TX, USA

problem #2

Oct 152006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have been having numerous problems with my car moving very slowly, not staying in the road, pulling away from me. I have to drive my car with 2 hands to keep in the road. I have took it back to the dealer numerous times and they have told me many different problems that might be wrong with my car. When I finally decided to take it to another maintenance shop just to make sure I was being told the truth. After 30 min of having my vehicle I was told by a Goodyear manager that I have 3X the wrong size tires on my vehicle. He told me that I should have 205/65/16 tires on my car and I have 225/60/16 tires on my vehicle. I am furious because I purchased this car from the dealership with those tires on my car and have taken my car in there several times to be maintenance and service and they knew that was the problem with the vehicle. My car is not a steady vehicle I feel unsafe in this car. I have to constantly hold it still in the road. When it rain I feel like I wreck at anytime. I have a small child and it hurts me to know that I have taken my car in there several times and not one time have they said anything about my tires. I have had those tires aligned and balance but the tech told me it would do me no good because the tires are 3 times to big. Please help I think they should replace my tires with the right size. Also my seat belts on the car will not extract I have taken this to the dealer several times and they will pull them out but when I leave after about 4 to 5 days my belts will get stuck again I also had my seat belts checked and was told it is a manufacturing problems and Nissan will not fix the problem. They told me flat out it is not there problem I can not pull a seat belt. I have to let my daughter ride in the back at times without a seat belt until I can find someone to fix the problem. The seat belts are getting hung from the core of the entrance but they will not fix the problem. *

- Gray Court, SC, USA

problem #1

Oct 072006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 30-35 mph, a child located behind the driver seat became caught in the seat belt. The child began to yell because the seat belt was tightening which caused the child to choke. The child was cut out of the seat belt with scissors. On many occasions, the driver seat belt tightened so bad the contact was forced to unlatch the seat belt to escape being choked also.

- Rockville, MD, USA

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