Notes: The 2013 Nissan Altima has multiple problem trends including the CVT transmission, and now that this model is out of warranty, it earns our "avoid like the plague" badge.

Owners complain about vibration and transmission failure related to the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), a whining noise from the power steering pump, and constant windshield problems that appear to be the result of poor design.

Be warned: the 2014 & 2015 Nissan Altima appears to share these same problems.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,221 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.

2013 Nissan Altima accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2013 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Sep 132013


  • 35,800 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving at various speeds, the passenger side air bag warning light illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the aftermarket leather seat and sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 35,800. Updated 06/23/16

- Clyde, NC, USA

problem #23

Feb 052016


  • 19,209 miles
For 3 years we have been dealing with this particular issue, with no resolution. The dashboard light signaling that the passenger air bag is properly activated for an adult occupant comes on or does not come on when it is supposed to. This occurs whether the car is stationary or on the move. The dealer has told us not to put anything on the passenger seat = ridiculous. The dealer then said that it "reprogrammed the system". then the dealer told us that they needed to replace the sensor. I believe this has been done 2 X. we last had this attended to Sept 15, 2015 but the "so-called repair" did not work again. This air bag issue is serious, and we feel unsafe in this car, therefore we have driven less than 2000 miles in 5 months - the car sits in the garage. The problem is intermittant = we don't know when the air bag system is functioning correctly - we must assume it is malfunctioning!

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #22

Jun 132014


  • 34,000 miles
The brakes make noise all the time even with new brake pads and rotors, the emergency brake like turn on while I was driving on the freeway so decided to park the car to check the emegency brake was not on, it turned off after the car rested for 2hrs. Also when I reverse the car then put it in drive there is a slight delay to accelerate

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #21

Nov 152015


  • miles


Randomly, the airbag sensor for the passenger side indicates as being off even when there is someone seating on it. This issue (supposedly) was already been looked at by the local Nissan dealer when a recalled was implemented for this issue. But it is happening again.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #20

Nov 212015


  • 42,000 miles
Front passenger airbag remains disabled when full sized adult is sitting in front passenger seat. Car was taken to dealer over one year ago for recall on this issue. Still has not been resolved. New recall issued Oct 2015, took vehicle to Nissan for fix on 11/24/15. Nissan will not fix, say they have no way to fix the issue. Nissan states I will have to continue to drive a vehicle with inoperable passenger air bags. Showed Nissan service dept video of full sized adult sitting in passenger seat, vehicle running, and "airbag off" light illuminated in center of dash. Nissan states there is no fault in the system, and passenger should just "move their legs" to arm the system. Passenger seating position does not arm airbag or alter the function of the faulty system. Problem occurs randomly, with vehicle moving/stationary.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #19

Dec 302013


  • 100 miles
The vehicle was involve in the 2014 recall for the safety defect due to a computer program could misjudge the weight of the person in the front passenger seat and conclude that a child instead of an adult was sitting there. The local Nissan dealer has tried at lest 5 time times to correct to no avail

- Metairie, LA, USA

problem #18

Sep 082012


  • 550 miles


I have a 2013 Nissan Altima. The passenger seat air bag occupant sensor comes on showing that the passenger air bag is turned off when an adult is sitting in the seat. The adult is 200 lbs. The light will stay on for 15-20 minutes while driving. My car was recalled for the occupant sensor classifacation reset. It did not change anything. It still does the same thing. I have complained about it numorous times to the dealer. The dealer says there is still not a fix from Nissan. I want this fixed. Please help.

- Rossville, GA, USA

problem #17

Jun 202014


  • 15,000 miles
Several times the passenger seat / occupant detection system has failed to properly identify an adult occupant and has disabled the passenger airbag. This occurs with males and females ranging from 40th to 70th percentile in all genders. I have recorded videos of these incidents for record of their occurrence. The only resolution is to pull over, power car completely off and restart car. On restart the car recognized the occupant and enabled the passenger airbag. The date of incident is of the first occurrence. This happened several more times with the most recent being May 2015 with approximately 29,000 miles on the vehicle.

- Nazareth, PA, USA

problem #16

Dec 252012


  • 500 miles
Since I purchased my Altima in 12/2012, 90% of the time the "pass" passenger airbag light comes on when my wife is sitting in the front passenger seat. I have had the Altima in for repairs on this about 5 times at tamaroff Nissan in southfield, Michigan, including when there was a recall. I've had it looked at twice after the recall repair and it is still not fixed. Tamaroff has reloaded software and checked the sensors with no luck. They finally indicated that since my wife weighs around 110 pounds, she is on the cusp of what the sensor will react to. Jokingly, they indicated that if she would carry something heavy in her lap, such as a bowling ball, the pass airbag light would not be activated. My previous Altima never had this problem.

- Royal Oak, MI, USA

problem #15

Jun 272014


  • 12,736 miles
The occupant classification system (airbags) turn off when the passenger seat is occupied by person weighing 130+ pounds. This happens if car is idle, and at all speeds. Car has been taken to the dealership to be serviced for the recall on 4 seperate occasions and dealer has acknowledged that they do not know what to do as they have tried multiple remedies and cannot fix it. They refuse doing anything else to do and say it is not their problem. The dealership is Nissan of mckinney in Texas. General manager is david kelly and service technician is matt johnson. I do not feel safe in the car as this is a serious safety hazard. There is a rebuttable presumption that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a motor vehichle to the applicable express warranties. It has been subject to repair on 4 seperate occassions. The car has guards on the underside of the car that have fallen off on 3 seperate occasions and been fixed to no avail. The dealership acknowledges that they sold an extended maintance warranty to me and miss represented the product and did nothing to make amends until I inquired on several occasions. Nissan of mckinney in Texas sold the 2013 Nissan Altima with premium dunlop tires and charged a premium for the tires at the time of the sale. The orignial dunlop tires are bald an will not pass inspection, which was acknowledged by matt and general manager david kelly, at 19,000 miles. These tires have a 65,0000 manufacture warranty from dunlop/Goodyear and the dealer will not make good or replace the tires as they are clearly faulty. The missrepresentation of the 2013 Nissan Altima has caused an extreme amount of undo stress and the dealership refuses to make any remedy at all. Nissan of mckinney Texas and their general manager have sold me a car that falls under the Texas lemon law.

- Mckinney , TX, USA

problem #14

Oct 012014


  • 10,000 miles


For over a year this vehicle has had an issue where the airbags will turn themselves on and off. No matter if there is a person in the passenger seat or not. The seat can be empty and the airbags warning indicator light will randomly come on and off. The same is true when there is a person in the seat. The vehicle was repaired numerous times right after purchase, it was fixed for the safety recall for this problem and it has been repaired numerous times since. The problem continues. Nissan corporate has refused to re purchase this obvious lemon and has said they will continue to attempt to fix it. Since they have been unable to identify the problem... they now have resorted to blaming the dealers. Search vimeo for 2013 Nissan Altima airbag light and you will see the video of this issue.

- East Hartford, CT, USA

problem #13

Jun 122013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
Passenger air bag light stays on while passenger is sitting in the seat. Problem started a couple of weeks after I leased brand new car. The problem is ongoing for over a year now. The fox Nissan dealership cannot replicate the problem so Nissan will not offer any resolution. I've been trying for a year now and the problem persists, Nissan or dealership cannot say if the airbag will work in the case of a crash. I'm paying monthly lease payments on a car that may or may not be safe. What ever happened to customer service? took the car in last Friday for the airbag recall, problem is still there after dealership updated the software problem. Both fox Nissan dealership and Nissan regional field rep said there is nothing more they can do since they can't replicate the problem. Apparently the photos of the problem they had me take we're to make me feel like they actually cared. I can't believe I'm continuing to make payments on this unsafe vehicle.

- Middleville, MI, USA

problem #12

Feb 202014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 6,350 miles
My wife and I were driving I noticed the passenger airbag light saying "passenger airbag off".. my wife is about 150 lbs and the airbag seat sensor should not have an issue with a person of this weight. I worked on seat sensor design for almost two years and I know that most are programs to not deploy for people under 80lbs. This has happened three times so far (mid Jan, end of Feb, and early March 2014). I have pulled over each time, turned the car on and off and it re-set the error two of the three times. The one time it did not, I drove an additional 10 miles then retried the car off/on and it re-set so the airbag does work. Now I'm driving around checking for the light so I know the airbag will deploy in case of an accident when I have a passenger in my front seat.

- Northville, MI, USA

problem #11

Dec 102013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 18,499 miles
The front passenger air bag status light (passenger air bag off), illuminates intermittently with a full sized adult sitting in the right front passenger seat. Nissan claims that my vehicle is not subject to the voluntary safety recall campaign id# PC214, dated April 2, 2013. The passenger airbag status lamp is located above the instrument panel center stack. This intermittent condition has occurred twice through the month of December 2013. The warning indicator will turn off and operate correctly after I turn off my running engine and restart.

- Media, PA, USA

problem #10

Nov 062013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 12,400 miles
Passenger air bag indicator light indicates that airbag remains off while passenger is in the seat. Nissan dealer tech claims that this is not a problem; just the way the system works. He wouldn't even look at it.

- Chardon, OH, USA

problem #9

May 252013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 7,500 miles
Passenger air bag off warning light comes on intermittently, even with a person over 100 lbs. In the front passenger seat. This has been an issue since the car was new. I brought the car into the dealer and they "recalibrated" the sensor, but this did not fix the issue. The recent passenger air bag recall did not include my VIN, so it appears that Nissan has no idea how to fix this. By reading these complaints on, it appears that this is a widespread issue. How long will Nissan's customers be forced to drive around with compromised safety systems?

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #8

Mar 142013


  • miles
Well I noticed that my passenger airbag off light was on with a passenger sitting in the vehicle, it has done this many times, and I even have a video of me sitting in it and I weight 180lbs with the light on while the car is being driven. I have taken it in to the dealership 3 different times for this problem. Each time they have told me that they have reset the seat. It is still doing it, the video came after the third time and just 3 days ago. I called Nissan about this and my other big problems and they have told me that I should take it to another dealer. There is a recall on this through Nissan and yet I have brought it in 3 separate times and they still keep telling me its ok. No sir. Nissan seems to just not care I have asked them many times for a Nissan rep to come out and look at my car and they just keep telling me to take it to a different dealer. The problem is all the Nissan dealers around me are owned and managed by the same company. And Nissan will not help me with a loaner car if I drive it 200 miles away to the next dealer. So I am just screwed. Very upset with how Nissan runs their business. This is my first and last Nissan ever!

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #7

Nov 302012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 400 miles
Purchased as a new vehicle, the heated seats do not, nor ever did work properly. When the temperature control is set to high, only the seat gets hot; and it gets real hot. When the temperature control is set to low, only the seat back gets warm and the seat itself does not heat. I know that Nissan is aware of the issue, my dealership's service department has told me as much. It is now over six months and they still cannot fix my new car. Living in a cold climate this was important to me. It is frustrating that nothing is being done. I feel it is definitely a safety hazard because the seat gets so hot when set on high and is not distributed equally throughout the entire seat.

- Prior Lake, MN, USA

problem #6

Sep 032012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
The passenger side airbag warning light has been coming on at random times when someone is sitting in the seat. It has been doing this since I bought the car. The light indicates that the airbag is off. The dealer has reset the seat two time and the problem is not solved. I checked online and found that others have been having the same problem. The dealer has indicated that Nissan has put a hold on parts for that seat. They obviously know there is a problem. I am seriously concerned that someone sitting in the passenger seat can be at risk in the event of an accident. If Nissan won't tell their own dealers what is going on that is a problem.

- De Pere, WI, USA

problem #5

Sep 192012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 400 miles
The "passenger air bag off" warning light may come on when an adult or large teenager is sitting in the front passenger seat. This failure happens occasionally. At times, the warning light will go off after a few minutes of driving. It appears that either the seat sensor(s) or the software that reads the sensor(s) and determines the size/weight of the front passenger may be faulty. I am amazed that there has been no recall of the 2013 Altima for this issue, given the number of complaints on this website.

- Irvine, CA, USA

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