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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,891 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #3

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 #2

Aug 202008


  • 76,274 miles
This has been ongoing for about three months, but it started happening about 2 years ago. It would do it once or twice and then not do it for quite a while. Over the past 2-3 months it has become more frequent and dangerous. My '03 Nissan Altima 3.5se clutch pedal will sink to the floor and it is not possible to shift in or out of gear. It happened recently while exiting the interstate. I was barely able to get it out of gear before the car stalled. If the car had stalled, I would have lost power and possibly control of the vehicle while coming to a stop.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #1

Jun 262004

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 37,398 miles
I have a 2003 Nissan Altima with a manual transmission. There is a frame around the stick shift to hold down the piece of material that keeps from exposing inside the gear. The frame came unglued and got stuck inside the gear, causing my gear to lock and forcing me to suddenly stop on the freeway on 65 mph traffic. When I contacted the dealership, and I was told that my car was no longer under warranty because my car was at 37,000, and the warranty expired at 36,000 miles. I was also informed by the parts department that the problem was common on Nissan Altima, which leads me to believe that I am not the first person that had this problem. I was lucky to have been on an empty highway and was able to get off the road and pull the frame from underneath the gear. The amount that I'm being charged for the parts & labor are not my concern at this time and are minimal, however the safety of other drivers is priceless. I personally feel that if we can avoid serious damages in the future it's very well worth a recall.

- Burbank, CA, USA

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