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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
35,319 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2013 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 4 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #112

Jan 292016


  • 70,000 miles


While driving car shutters and stalls. Cuts off while at traffic light. Would start back up but shutts off. Got it towed to Nissan dealer but they said no codes found so nothing thyey can do. Car stalled again this weekend.while I was parked in my drive way car starts shutter and jerk forward while in park.

- Middletown, NY, USA

problem #111

Jan 142016


  • miles
My 2013 Nissan ultima driving on that highway stop and when off 20 sec later starts took it to the dealer they say I need a new transmission I only have 61,000 miles and they have a lot of complaints from different people they want me to pay almost $5000 but I did not get fixed

- Madison, TN, USA

problem #110

May 272015


  • 65,000 miles
Not 2 years yet of ownership (May 2015) and my car decides to not accelerate on me. I would have to floor it to get it to finally kick in and drive until I stopped at the next light. There were no warning lights or anything letting me know of any problems. Had 2 near collisions with my family in the car trying to get my car to the nearest dealer to have it checked out. Dealer thought it was transmission and alternator but upon warranty rep diagnosing vehicle, it was decided that it needed a new alternator. This is a huge concern for me and the safety of my family and passengers not to have a light go off to warn me of problems and just to have it happen while driving.

- Colton, CA, USA

problem #109

Jan 202016


  • 54,201 miles


While in motion on a city street I pressed the brake to slow down as a approach a traffic light. My vehicle shut off. I restarted the vehicle and each time I put the car into drive it would shut off again. I was unable to move the car from the street. This took place in the downtown district during the busiest time of the date.

- Ideal, GA, USA

problem #108

Dec 222015


  • 70,068 miles
When this issue first happened I was proceeding to leave the gas station from getting gas and my car just shut off right before I was about to enter onto the highway. I took it to the dealership and they couldn't get it to shut off on them and sent me home. The next time I started to get ready for my class and went to crank my car, it crank, but once I put it into drive it shut off. I had to get it towed to Nissan if vidalia and it took them 3 days to tell me that I needed a new transmission! I have not even had this car a year yet and already needing a new transmission. I purchased my car from Nissan of South morrow and they failed to inform me about an extended warranty so now I'm stuck with a car but cannot drive it because I do not have $3,600 to have it replaced. This is ridiculous and Nissan needs to put a recall on all cvt transmissions because this is very unsafe!!! they've did nothing to help me with my situation and I will never do business with them again!!!!

- Dallas, GA, USA

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problem #107

Dec 072015


  • 51,000 miles
I recently purchased a previously owned 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 sv and noticed almost immediately a shudder and juttering of the vehicle which suggested a load on the engine or transmission. It creates a relatively loud sound and a not very smooth ride. You can feel the vibration in the steering wheel. As I began to research what might be wrong I found that there have been numerous complaints about the cvt transmission by many owners. Fixes and/or explanations by the dealers have ranged from complete transmission, torque converter, valve body assembly and alternator replacement to reprogramming the transmission to dealer service departments suggesting that this is normal for a cvt transmission. I don't know of any published recall notices or service bulletins for this problem and from my research a good many instances occur after the 60,000 mile powertrain warranty has expired. Since I purchased this vehicle used and it has 51,000 miles on it I am very concerned that I may be facing a costly repair in the not too distant future. I bring this to your attention because I have already lived through this experience once before with a 2005 Ford five hundred with a cvt transmission which ended up costing me close to 2,000 dollars to have the dealer fix it out of warranty. In my view I firmly believe that manufacturers are having nightmarish problems with this type of transmission and so they are trying to bury the problem until warranty expiration because the cost incurred by the manufacturers of a mandated recall would cost them millions of dollars for a permanent fix. I implore you to begin an investigation into the viability and reliability of cvt transmission technology across all manufacturers so that the public can best be served by the truth, the inherent problems and the permanent resolution of what also can be a safety issue for many motorists. Thank you.

- Cortland, NY, USA

problem #106

Apr 302013


  • 3,000 miles


I have a bad rattle coming from the right side of my car along with a whine noise coming from the same area. Also have a very bad vibration/rattle in the car that seems to be from the transmission at acceleration from a start and acceleration while switching lanes on a city street. You can coast and press the gas again and then the whole car rattles. It has been in to a Nissan dealership and they said they can feel it but don't know where or what is causing it. Also headlights give very very poor visibility when driving at night and when raining at night.

- Washington, IL, USA

problem #105

Jan 022016


  • 36,000 miles
In less than three years and just over 36,000 miles we have serviced the transmission 3-4 times (I've lost count), had it brought in for brake noise (screeching) at least 4 times, and just this week the bearings in both rear wheels had to be replaced. The brakes screech is ear splitting. They reconditioned the surface of the rotors, re-shimmed the pads and replaced the pads 9 months ago. I warned them then that I knew this was only a temporary fix and that I was concerned that they would get noisy again once the warranty expires and that is exactly what has happened. A few months before that they shimmed the pads which made it better temporarily. I told them shims were a band aid for a design flaw and that it wouldn't last. Several weeks later it was back in the shop. The tranny has the shakes. It has been reprogrammed, the alternator was replaced because supposedly the voltage variation was affecting the timing of the tranny, and most recently a vale body was replaced. The oscillation problem is better for now but my wife had it buck again last week just not as bad. It's just a matter of time on this too. Their competitors do not have this problem. I am highly concerned that I have more bearing issues in the future. Two out of two bearing sets failing (the fronts bearings are different) is a 100% failure rate in less than 36K. All three problems (brakes, transmission and bearings) are known issues in this year, google it.

- Derby, KS, USA

problem #104

Dec 262015


  • 64,207 miles
Car was driving down the road and stalled out on me completely as I was coming to a stop light about to get on interstate 81 in staunton va. I was able to restart the car back up, but the car would die out if I shifted it from park to drive. Local sheriff's deputy was kind enough to protect our car at this busy intersection as we waited for tow company. Dealership advised the torque converter had locked up. Once they had it up on lift, it disengaged and started working properly. However, the mechanic (who was very professional at valley Nissan in staunton va) advised me that it could break down again at any point. It was very scary when it died it in motion, so we went with the option to replace the torque converter and the transmission (advised that was the only option to really fix this issue). Repair bill from valley Nissan in staunton va is $3114.39 for transmission replacement. Googling cvt 2013 Nissan Altima issues brings a plethora of results. I am clearly not the only person to have this issue. This happened at 64,207 miles, - 4,207 miles over the factory warranty for the transmission. Can't understand how the people who work at Nissan could stand behind any product that has a failure rate of under 100,000 miles for a transmission in this world now. They made it seem like a failure at 60K miles was normal.

- Delmar, NY, USA

problem #103

Dec 022015


  • 38,000 miles
Purchased car may of 2013, pre-owned certified and only 21000miles. From onset of ownership, brakes made noises, "cyclop brake light in rear window would blink constantly, dash lights would go from dim to bright all the time. The car would hesitate when leaving stop position, pushing electronic start button would not work often. Dealership always said that the situation could not be duplicated. On Dec. 2nd, 2015 while driving home I was approaching a stopped car in the middle of the road and tried to slow below the 20mph I was driving and the brake pedal went all the way to the floor and all dash lights went blank and the car stalled resulting in a collision. The car would not start for over 2 hours. The dealership asked about the key fob location and battery condition and the batteries were good and key fob was on front seat where it always was. I filed a customer complaint with Nissan Consumer Affairs on Dec, 4th 2015 and constantly got run-arounds with no call backs several time. I was left without a vehicle and no help from dealership or Nissan Consumer Affairs. While reading the many complaints of other Altima's I was so concerned with my safety and health I purchased another car. I believe I had an electrical issue from the beginning and it could not be diagnosed and it ended up with a collision involving another car.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #102

Oct 302015


  • 84,001 miles


I bought a 2013 Nissan Altima from enterprises car sales with 44,669 miles on it, at 1 month later I started having transmission problems but every time I would take the car back the problem would go phantom. At 8 month later the transmission goes out. Enterprise lied and said that I never reported the problem. It is not normal for a transmission to go out so soon, what can I do about this?

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #101

Nov 292015


  • 69,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving at 15 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. In addition, on some occasions, the vehicle vibrated severely while idling. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the continuously variable transmission failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 69,000.

- Augusta, KS, USA

problem #100

Nov 302015


  • 82,340 miles
The nature of my complaint is centered around the now defunct transmission (cvt) in my 2013 niss alt sv only has 82000 miles on it. The car has been driven primarily as a commuter car to and from work everyday (164 miles) roundtrip. There were no codes, had the car checked by the local auto zone. The first noticeable problem occurred on Sunday, November 29th, 2015, I was coming home from about a 150-mile trip and stopped to take a restroom break, parked the car, ran into the store, came back out and cranked it up. When I started to backup the car bobbled and shuttered something fierce and went dead. After making it to the interstate I traveled about 15 miles to the next town, when I got to the stop light the car died. I managed to crank it back up and get her going again on my way home. After making it home the car was parked until the next morning. Going back to work the next day with no problems (Nov 30th, 2015), on the way home from work, I started to notice that the car was very sluggish in response to throttle and felt like it wasn┐T downshifting, something was right┐I immediately called the Nissan dealership and setup service for December 03, 2015 and told them that the transmission needed to be looked at. About 3 miles from the house the car was having some definite problems with acceleration. I managed to make it home and parked the car thinking nothing of it. A couple of hours later I decided to leave for a bite to eat, when I got in and put it in gear, nothing, the car would not move in forward or reverse. Called Nissan usa and opened a case, had the car towed to the dealership Dec 01, 2015. The next day Dec 02, 2015 the dealership called and said the transmission had an ┐internal failure┐ (no codes) and the cost to repair would be around $3200, Nissan is refusing to pay for the faulty transmission and denies that there is a ongoing problem with the cvt.

- Perkinston, MS, USA

problem #99

Dec 022015


  • 51,365 miles
My car jerks hard at low speed around 15-20 mph while decelerating on city streets. In bumper to bumper traffic the cvt tranny is at its worse. It feels like the tranny can't decide what it needs to do. Also, between 60-65 mph on the highway there is a judder feeling like the car is moving across a wash board. Took car to the dealer on 02dec15, tcm was reprogramed. 08dec15, car has the same issue.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #98

Oct 012014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled in the park gear and hesitated to restart. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #97

Nov 012015


  • 29,000 miles
Power shifter will not move out of park unless you pay Nissan $1000 to repair. You can do a manual override using a screwdriver, but if you forget to put the brakes on, you will go into reverse automatically which can damage the transmission, or cause an accident. This is also a problem with the Nissan titan truck. Nissan said it was caused by a drink being spilled, and it only takes a drop or two. I accidentally bumped my coffee cup when getting into the car. A dealer tried to clean the shifter, but it didn't work, and they charged me $120 dollars. Car is stationary.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #96

Nov 022015


  • 29,000 miles
Just purchased Nissan Altima 2013 sl with 24,000 miles still under new car warranty in Sept. Paying $400 monthly. Accidentally bumped coffee cup when getting into car. A few weeks later the shifter sticks in park, and you can't get it out unless you pay Nissan $1000 to replace it. I payed them $120 to clean. It didn't work. The Nissan North american office called me to tell me that they would do nothing. This is a known manufacturer design issue. My boss has a $45,000 Nissan titan, and he has to use a screw driver like I do to push down in the little opening beside the gears. You have to lift the little box lid to the left of the gears. Nissan has known about this for years. I am single, and struggling to make the car payment already, and I work in a real bad area. My safety is a concern if I can't leave as quickly as I enter the car. Nissan denies that this is their fault and is trying to stick it to Nissan consumers. I will never buy another Nissan, and have already told 2 Altima owners about this problem, and will tell everyone I see who is considering purchasing a Nissan, or has one. This happens when the car is in park.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #95

Sep 112015


  • 76,000 miles
The continuously variable transmission failed while going down the interstate. The car would maintain speed but was very, very slow to accelerate and when I exited the interstate, it only idled and would not accelerate from a stop for several minutes. Eventually it sputtered and I was able to limp it to the dealership that, by the grace of god, just happened to be at that same exit in vicksburg, Ms. After doing research while stuck at the hotel this seems to be a very common problem the the cvt's in 2013 Altima. this one is 49 pages!!

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #94

Feb 012015


  • 15,000 miles
The issue first started two (2) months after I purchased the vehicle, making a shutter/power surge feeling under acceleration. The brakes also shuttered, the backup camera went in and out, there were numerous recalls for the vehicle as well. I brought it to the dealership and they "fixed" all of the issues with some software updates, resurfaced the rotors, and also replaced the side mirrors. The transmission seemed better for a couple of months. Then the issue started again, the car would make a loud grinding noise and would shutter at lower speeds now. I brought it back and they could not replicate the issue, so I left. I brought it back a third time when it started getting worse and the entire transmission was replaced under warranty. I got the car back and now the problem is happening with the transmission. It shutters violently and happens at all speeds under acceleration. I brought it back for the fourth time and they could not "replicate" the issue and told me to monitor the issue and if it happens again to bring it back immediately and they would look at it. Today 09/16/15 it was worse than other days so I called the dealership and they said there was nothing they could do because they were too busy to see me. It still shudders/surges daily and at all speeds. It really feels like the transmission is about to let go.

- Sarasota , FL, USA

problem #93

Aug 262015


  • 60,480 miles
When I was driving my 2013 Nissan Altima on August 26, 2015 my car lost pressure and started to jerk, after almost being hit by other drivers, I was able to pull over and call for help. I tried to restart the car and it started up again and when I put the car in drive it shut off. I have made several reports to the service department at the dealership and no help. Finally, after experiencing the horrible deal on yesterday, the tech call to report that he tried to check the car on the machine and its wasn't given him a indication of anything being wrong with the car. He finally drove the car and it started acting up on him and stop and he saw that is was indeed the transmission gone bad. What is so sad about the situation is that I had be complaining about the car a week after I bought in. You could park on a hill and the car will vibrate really hard and I was told this was normal. Complaint after complaint after complaint. I am really terrified out my head to drive this car. I fear for my life and my children. All I can think of is the what if!

- Mccalla, AL, USA

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