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 5 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #92

Aug 102015


  • 21,000 miles


Lost power to the drivetrain - car coasted to a stop this happened just as I was pulling into a parking lot so it was far less dangerous than it could have been - Nissan is replacing the transmission

- Dedham, MA, USA

problem #91

Jul 142015


  • 62,000 miles
When slowing down for traffic light, car stalled. Would start but would not move. Transmission stalled and it rolled backward although I was in drive and pushing on gas. Transmission finally engaged once up to 4000 RPM and car began to move, slowly. Various cars almost rear-ended me at different times when light was green, I had foot off brake, and was trying to move forward. This happened various times before the transmission actually went out at 62,500 miles. Had it hooked up to computer at Nissan dealer and showed no defect.

- Dixon, IL, USA

problem #90

May 012015


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving, the vehicle hesitated when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The contact indicated that the failure would occur in both the drive and reverse position. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 55,000.

- St. Mary's , GA, USA

problem #89

May 212015


  • 10,600 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 30 mph, the transmission shifted from drive into the neutral position independently and an abnormal noise emitted. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, but the mechanic was unable to duplicate or locate the failure. The contact experienced multiple unrelated failures with the vehicle that included the exterior door failing to unlock or lock with the key fob until after several attempts. A burning odor emitted from the air vents when the air conditioner or heater was activated. There were no flames present. Also, the brakes squeaked intermittently when depressed. The contact stated there was concern regarding a potential health hazard with the push button starter causing cancer. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 10,600.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #88

Jul 052013


  • 1,600 miles
First and foremost, this vehicle is not safe since the air bag light for the passenger has never worked. More than 6 times the dealer has tried to fix to no avail. I wont let passengers sit in the front for their safety. I always have them sit in the back. It looks like I am their employee/driver. Also a huge problem is the cvt transmission. It shudders, grumbles and the whole car vibrates intermittently. First the dealer said it was the alternator and replaced it, that didnt fix it so they said it was a bolt, that wasnt it, finally they just gave up and said they dont know and "they cant reproduce the problem" its all a scam. This car is defective.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

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problem #87

May 112015


  • 62,985 miles
I was driving down the interstate with my three childred going 65 mph ( which was the speed limit) I slowed down to let a car in front of me, tried to speed up but my car would not accelerate. Pulled to the side of the interstate, confused at what was happening with my car. I turned my car off and on and as soo N as I would put it in gear my car cut off. It did this 3 times. When I finally got my car to stay "in drive" my car would not go faster than 45 mph and it felt like my car was pulling. I was scared to death with my three children in the car with me and we were on the side of the interstate. I drove with my flashers on going 45 mph during rush hour, had to get off on the first exit. Took my car to the Nissan dealership, by then my car would not go faster than 25 mph, and stated that I needed a new transmission. Its a 2 year old car and I bought it less than a year ago. Nissan has refused to pay for the repairs as it has passed the 60000 warranty.

- High Point, NC, USA

problem #86

May 042015


  • 45 miles


I was driving down the road between 45 and 50 miles an hours, and my car just cut off. Would start fine, but would cut off as soon as input it into drive or reverse.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #85

May 052015


  • 32,000 miles
Three weeks prior to the incident day I retrieved my car from the dealer under the assumption the air flow sensor was malfunctioning and it was replaced. The symptoms I was experiencing was a shuttering of the car while accelerating. The car would just cut off while in drive or when the gear changed to reverse. It would cut on, but as soon as a gear changed, it would automatically shut off. The dealer said it was an air flow sensor problem and two other cars came in the same week with the same problem. That was the 1st incident three weeks ago. As of today, my car is in the dealer yet again although it encountered the same symptoms mentioned previously. This time the diagnoses was the transmission went out and needed to be replaced. The car is only 32K miles and I've had ownership for less than 2 years. It has always been serviced timely and by certified individuals. The transmission is faulty as noted by others complaints occurring this year as the transmission just gives out.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #84

May 032015


  • 43,500 miles
I was driving on the highway when the car started running rough. Next the RPM's display was jumping around. The car just slowed down like it was going to stop in the middle of the highway. When I got to town it became worse. The car had a delay when I tried to accelerate from a dead stop the car sounded like it was a standard instead of an automatic. Also after shifting to drive or reverse it was a long wait before the car would engage. When I took the car to the dealer they diagnosed that the transmission had gone out. I had the car from April 22 to May 3 when this occurred.

- Pensacola , FL, USA

problem #83

Nov 272014


  • 61,750 miles
I have been having an issue with the transmission since my car reached just over 60K miles. I've taken to the dealership numerous times and keep telling me it's not a VIN number that comes up in a recall, but some of the 2012-2013 Nissan Altima are getting notices for what my complaint is on my car. The Nissan dealership service told me to flush the transmission that it should fix the issue, so I did that and no help with the issue. I've since taken back two more times with the same complaint and not getting any results and there is a problem with the transmission. They either tell me it's not part of the cars on recall or it's the way that transmission is, which they already agreed there was an issue when they required me to flush the transmission for the 60K miles. I've since taken my car to two other outside mechanics and they agree there is an issue, but Nissan needs to repair it. I just want someone to step up and do the right thing.

- Ponder, TX, USA

problem #82

Sep 012014


  • 28,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle decelerated while driving. The failure occurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure persisted. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 28,000.

- Alberta , VA, USA

problem #81

Mar 242015


  • 65,000 miles
Car purchased 2/27/2015. Having a tire sensor and torque converter replaced in less then two weeks of purchasing this thing, now the check engine light comes on weeks later. Took it to the dealership. Was told that they ran tests and couldn't find anything. Was told that a part maybe going bad but they couldn't do anything until it was completely bad. They turned the light off and was told that if it came back on then to bring it back. Two days later, the light came back on. I called the dealership and was told that they couldn't get me in to check it for 4 days. My husband went up there to talk to the representative. He told them that we were heading out of town over 600 miles away. He wanted to know if it would be ok and did we purchase a lemon. We were told that they don't sell lemons and we should be fine. The associate turned the light off. After returning from the trip 3 days later, 2 hours from home, the light comes back on. Two days later it went off. A week and a half the light comes back on and my husband, being feed up, took it to the dealership again and was told that the system needed to be updated for $160 and that's why the light kept coming on. The update was done on 4/20/2015. Today, 4/22/2015, I went to my son's sports banquet and the light is back on. My husband and I are taking it back up there on the 24th. I am beginning to believe something is going on and we are not being told about this vehicle. I have checked for recalls and everything but nothing has come up. I am just about ready to get rid of a 2013 car that I haven't even had for a full 2 months.

- Albany, GA, USA

problem #80

Mar 032015


  • 65,000 miles
Car was purchased on 2/27/2015. Left the car lot and went back to have tire sensor replaced after 30 minutes of driving. On 3/3/2015, my husband was in the car when it stopped at a red light and wouldn't move. The engine would start but wouldn't move. Called dealership. They sent a tow truck and got us a rental car. After a couple of days, was told that the torque converter was gone in the transmission. This was replaced costing me $100 deductible. All of this before my first car note is paid.

- Albany, GA, USA

problem #79

Mar 242015


  • 61,428 miles
Unable to shift the gear shift lever out of the park position. At first I thought I might not have pressed on the brake. After a few attempts it unlocked and I was able to put it in gear. I took it to the local Nissan dealership on Friday March 27, 2015, and was told the 'brake safety switch' failed. This was replaced at a cost of $154. Left the dealership and car was shifting fine. The next morning I drove a local day went to local store and pulled into a parking spot, when I came out and when to leave, I was not able to shift the gear shift out of the park position. Called the Nissan dealership and was told to have it towed in. The tow truck driver removed the "shift lock cover button" and used a screwdriver to override the gearshift lever and then put the car into gear, and on the truck. The service representative stated that the entire gear shift mechanism had to be replaced. They have not told me why it failed. When the car had 59,000 miles I took the car into this same dealership. At T at that time, they replaced the transmission, stating that there was a "code failure". since the car is no longer under the manufacturer's warranty, the cost for repair is over $650. They have not indicated what caused the failure, only that it has to be replaced. Seems funny that this would fail right after the transmission was replaced.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #78

Feb 042015


  • 31,000 miles
Vehicle vibrates up through steering wheel at 2,000 RPM regardless of speed. Nissan dealer and Nissan usa, Inc. Have come to the conclusion that this is a "characteristic" of the vehicle and that they do not intend to repair or address in any manner. This is despite comments by the technician at middletown Nissan of middletown, ct that he's never seen a Nissan Altima exhibit this much vibration before. I've stated that neither I or my wife feel safe in the car and are now concerned that a component of the vehicle could vibrate loose.

- Middletown, CT, USA

problem #77

Jan 312014


  • 34,300 miles
Serious intermittent problem where my 2013 Nissan Altima cannot be placed into gear from the park position with the shifter lever. When issue happens many times you have to pull out plug and insert screw driver into override shifter release in the center console beside the shifter in order to get the car into gear. It seems the electronically controlled internal lock mechanism in shifter will not unlock. Presented vehicle to Nissan dealer which could not reproduce issue and service consultant stated if they could have reproduced the issue most likely they would find that some liquid spilled into shifter and any repair then would not be covered under warranty. Issue happens very often and is frightening especially in cases where you need to get your car moved out the way quickly. The issue happens after starting the car, pressing and holding the brake, squeezing the park release on shifter and trying to pull the shifter back to put into gear and shifter will it will not budge or move. Sometime when shifter will not unlock you can wiggle the shifter handle or try repeatedly and the solenoid lock in the shift mechanism will finally release however most times you are better off using the override however you need to have a screw driver in car to perform that procedure. I feel if this issue is truly caused by any liquid spilling down into the mechanism that Nissan has a serious design flaw in placing 2 drink holders practically on top of this mechanism.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #76

Feb 032015


  • 21,012 miles
At approx. 25 mph or 1500 to 2000 RPM's there is a very noticeable vibration or shudder in the vehicle coming up through the steering wheel and the gas pedal. This also occurs around 60 mph and is very disturbing. Also sometimes when I am stopped for a stop sign, traffic signal etc., when I step on the gas to move forward, there is no response for approx. 2 to 3 seconds. I was making a right turn once and the vehicle shot forward at a speed that is too dangerous for making the turn safely. I had the vehicle to the dealer on 2-25-15 and they said that the problem I am experiencing is normal for the cvt transmission and it adapts to the driver's habits. I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. I was told to differ my driving habits periodically to alter the transmission. I have been driving for 56 years of accident free days. Nissan has a complaint and has given me a case number. I thought I heard everything until I heard the above excuse. This vehicle is less than 2 years old and at this time has 21817 miles on the odometer. If this is normal, why didn't it do it when I purchased it new? Nissan modified the cvt transmission in the 2015 model, but won't do it in older models for cost reasons. This is totally insane to their customers. This transmission is going to get someone killed, or severely injured and then there will some serious law suits.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #75

Jun 182013


  • 9,977 miles
My car have some issue I took the car complaining about the pax light airbag NHTSA num 14V138000 but as of now the problem exist and another NHTSA 13V069000 occupant detection system may disable pas airbag and this problem still exist on my car and another problem that I have my car has 3 new transmissions and only has 24763 miles.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #74

Jan 312015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Extreme vibration in the front all the way to the seats at any speed above 20 mph. Took to the dealership three times. Laughed at each time. Was told it's the cvt and how it works. That is false as I have driven numerous vehicles including other Altima with the cvt and the Nissan xtronic cvt. I have never driven a vehicle with so much vibration that concentrated. This is one of the numerous issues with this car. Good way to lose a loyal Nissan customer.

- Sevierville, TN, USA

problem #73

Feb 072014


  • 17,000 miles
Transmission begins to vibrate when car is loaded with passengers and / or going up a hill. Reported it to local Nissan dealer at 17,000 miles and it seemed to stop vibrating for about 5,000 and then it started again. We now have 35,000 miles on this car and we have taken it to the local Nissan dealer again. They performed a tcm reprogram to the car, but the transmission still vibrates. We have reported this to Nissan Corp office and they have set up case # 17560576 to begin looking into what is causing this problem.

- Killen, AL, USA

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