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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2013 Nissan Altima:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2013 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 8 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

May 292013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles


Transmission is locking up at any speed while coasting or decelerating, feels like motor and transmission is going to come right out of it. On way back to dealership, it happened at 55mph going around a bend, and front tires locked up and chirped, this was the worse one, if this happened on snow covered roads, there's no doubt that I would have went right into the ditch..we've only had the car 3weeks and put less than 1500 miles on it.the car started doing this 3 days ago, today took it to dealership, took serviceman on test drive and within a 1/4 mile, he had seen enough, what is wrong with these cvt transmissions, this is a very dangerous situation when a transmission locks up at highway speeds!!!

- Fulton, NY, USA

problem #31

Feb 082013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Well I have noticed that I have a bad vibration and grinding noise between 1,200 and 1,800 RPM's worst at 1,500. This happens no matter what speed. I have brought it in to the dealership 2 different times for this and they tell me this is normal. I am sorry but when a transmission is vibrating or making bad noises like this it has something wrong with it. I believe this is contributing to my very poor gas mileage. Also while from a stop and accelerating I have had my car surge and have no power while trying to accelerate. This has happened three times and 2 of the times I had a car come up on me fast because I was not able to accelerate. This can be a big safety issue.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #30

Feb 072013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Well the main selling point on this vehicle is that the dealer told me they were top in mpg's with 27 city and 38 highway. After a week or so I noticed that my mpg average is no more than 23.1. and that was with more than 50% travel on highways with no traffic(never went under the speed limit). I figured it had something to do with it being new and it would average out better later. So after 5,000 miles on the car I took it in and they told me that this is just because every driver averages different and I kept saying but I am not even getting close to the 27 city and I drive more highway. But they told me that everything is normal and they reset the average calculator. After a week it was worse than it was before and I was bringing it back for my many other problems I have with this car. They had my car for 4 days and finally told me that while they had it a check engine light came on saying that my air fuel ratio sensor was faulty. They replaced it and told me that was the fix. I have put about a tanks worth of mileage on it since and I am getting under 23 mpg still. Either something is very wrong with my car or Nissan is lying about the mpg's and yes I get that they are presented by the epa but Nissan does the test first then sends it to the epa and then the epa tests later on. Either way the mpg's are wrong and I drive to try to get the best mpg's I don't even go over 2,000 RPM's unless going up hill. Which brings me to the vibration from the trans. But that's in another complaint. Nissan needs to fix this problem because I chose this over the Honda Accord just for the mpg's.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #29

Mar 152013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 14,000 miles


RPM drops suddenly from 1200rpm to 800rpm in 20-30mph speed level and vehicle bounces with bang sounds at transmission area. When I feel car loosening the power at low speed driving by dropping RPM gauge, I have to press brake or accelerator to keep vehicle's RPM safe level to run the car. This is very nervous thing. This problem have happened since middle of March and went to car dealer to check this point. But they said no problem in my car. I will visit again next week for this issue. I found many of cases this in Nissan Altima forum and other sites, all owner complained about this but Nissan did not reply any yet for this. This is a major problem related with safety issue.

- East Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #28

Aug 312012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle jerked violently while the contact was attempting to decelerate. The failure recurred intermittently and without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be duplicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 500 and the current mileage was 6,000.

- Arroyo Grandy , CA, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #27

Mar 202013


  • 900 miles
Vehicle stutters and vibrates at lower speeds. Also their is a knocking sound coming from underneath the vehicle. Brought back to dealership 3 times since March. All 3 times I was told it is perfectly normal for the car. I read online that other people have experienced similar issues.

- Port Jefferson Station, NY, USA

problem #26

Sep 122012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles


When coasting from a low speed (45-55) to near stop the transmission "locks up" while nowshifting. The vehicle violently locks up, so bad that it feels like you've hit something. The steering wheel is also affected to the brute force. Nissan issued a mandatory recall transmission reprogram which I promptly had done to the vehicle. However, just this Friday, 5/3/13, the transmission again did this. Both times I was lucky that I was on back roads with little to no traffic and that I was able to maintain control. This is a serious problem that in the wrong conditions (ice/snow/rain) or when oncoming traffic is coming could get someone killed. I can't explain just how violent the downshift is, other than to say the first time my 6 year old began crying in the rear seat because he thought we wrecked, and that the 2nd time my cell phone was jarred from a very rugged cradle.

- Dry Ridge, KY, USA

problem #25

Dec 142012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 20 miles
There is a shuttering vibration in drive train when engine is at 1500 RPM and going up an incline. Eventually it is going to cause loosing of bolts and cause crash.

- Throop, PA, USA

problem #24

Apr 192013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
The cvt transmission is vibrating violently from 1200~1800 RPM which could potentially cause premature transmission failure during driving. Such vibration also compromises the mileages that Nissan has declared therefore more green house gas emission for same miles. Many 2013 Altima owners complained about the same thing in forums such as edmunds, and etc. It is a mechanical design flaw the could severely jeopardize the car and hurt the people in it though Nissan never admit it or fix it in the past one year. I sincerely request NHTSA to look at this issue. Thanks.

- Chester Springs, PA, USA

problem #23

Feb 012013


  • 4,000 miles
After the first car with 2000miles air bags did not go off in the accident so went bought another new one the airbag light was on in 70 miles so put a new seat from another car Nissan did not have a new seat no the air bag light does not work properly and the car has a viberation that Nissan cant fix need to stop selling lemons.

- Horton, AL, USA

problem #22

Mar 192013


  • 10,800 miles


I have a 2013 Nissan Altima sv with 10800 miles on it. About 5000 miles ago began to hear and feel vibration with acceleration. Noise continued to get worse. Took it to a local Nissan dealer and they said the issue was coming from the cvt transmission. They had to replace the serpentine belt and the tensioner. Vibration is currently better but concerned this is just a short term solution. I think Nissan needs to put a recall out and find a long term solution.

- Chambersburg, PA, USA

problem #21

Mar 152013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 280 miles
I purchased this car on 3/8/2013 as brand new with 24 miles on it. 7 days later when starting up the motor the engine struggled to catch or start running. This has happened 3 times now. Will be contacting Nissan. This is unacceptable for having a week old "new" car. Still waiting for response from dealership.

- Dyersburg, TN, USA

problem #20

Jan 082013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
Abnormal transmission grinding / lugging noise of the transmission at low RPM (1200-1600). Nissan claims noise is as designed. How is grinding noise in the transmission with a car that has 3000 miles normal? again Nissan claims that this is normal. 1800-343-6913 ext. [xxx] case # [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Kent, WA, USA

problem #19

Oct 022012


  • 600 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving approximately 25 mph, the vehicle jerked violently while the contact was attempting to decelerate. The contact also stated that the failure recurred intermittently and when driving at different speeds. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be duplicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted. The failure mileage was 600.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #18

Jan 022013


  • 200 miles
When starting the car the starter would keep cranking after the release of the start button, the passenger air bag light stays on sometimes even when a passenger is in the seat also the rear seat belts are very hard to lock in do to the receiver end pushes down into the seat when driving there is a few problems the low end rattles and shakes and 45 and above there is a wining noise from the engine compartment that sounds like a bad alt bearing or trans problem it gets louder the faster you go very annoying with today technology these problems and this is just a few is a big step back for Nissan not a happy customer just broke 6000 miles.

- Manahawkin, NM, USA

problem #17

Feb 272013

Altima 6-cyl

  • 500 miles
Cvt transmission shutter, while driving from stop to go, car felt it was going to stall, like when turning left in traffic.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #16

Dec 212012

Altima 6-cyl

  • 500 miles
Purchased a new 2013 Altima sedan 3.5sl in November 2012. At approximately 500 miles, upon acceleration from a stop, the car jerked violently for 2-3 seconds before kicking in and accelerating (as if driving a manual transmission and attempted to start in 4th gear). This has happened 2 more times since. Additionally, often while accelerating the rpms will drop significantly and the car will shudders before kicking back in and accelerating. Lastly, on occasion, while decelerating, the car will jerk harshly (as if driving a manual transmission and shifting into too low a gear for the speed). Took the car into dealership and they said they could not duplicate the issue. Contacted Nissan corporate 2/6/2013 and the representative told me she hadn't heard of anyone else having this problem, but that she would open a ticket. Called back to Nissan corporate 2/27/2013 to follow up and was told that my previous ticket had been closed.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #15

Feb 172013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 1,600 miles
Started to drive from a park position I was going already around 15-20 mph before transmission kicked into gear.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #14

Feb 152013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 1,585 miles
Transmission slipped I was at a red light turned green started to move when I felt a pull back on the car and then car shot forward.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #13

Jan 252013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 4,500 miles
Purchased brand new with 2 miles. At 4500 miles, heat gauge indicated an increase in engine temperature. Drove 2 miles to a service station, and upon opening the hood, anti-freeze was sprayed everywhere. Car was towed to dealer. Dealer inspected, and said the radiator had leaked, so the dealer replaced the radiator. After replacement, the dealer performed a test drive, when the check engine light came on. Dealer performed pressure tests, and said the engine would need replacement.

- Houston, TX, USA

Read the next 12 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?