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:
6 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,016 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2013 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #64

Nov 202014


  • 42,000 miles


Brand new vehicle just shy of 1 year bought and check engine goes on twice for reprogram of oxygen sensor, once in town before thanksgiving week in November 2014 and a second time while out of town for the thanksgiving holidays. Frustrating that I took the vehicle in to the dealer to get fixed and it wasn't done the first time. It looks like they just cleared the system and the light and it came back on while out of town for the same problem.

- Colton, CA, USA

problem #63

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 #62

Nov 292015


  • 42,000 miles
Dashboard cluster went out while driving. Lost speedometer, odometer and all other gauges etc. Car only had 42,000 miles on it. I turned my car on and started driving out of a parking lot when it went out. I pulled over, restarted my car and still nothing. Had to exit car to see if lights/blinkers were working and they still were, but no sign from inside that they were. Drove home and scheduled appointment at Nissan dealership the next morning. Nissan not even willing to admit this is a safety issue. About a $1,000 repair, with car just outside of warranty.

- Prior Lake, MN, USA

problem #61

Jun 112015


  • 18,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start without warning. The failure occurred randomly. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 18,000.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #60

Jun 012015


  • 80,000 miles
1) the low beam headlights are entirely inadequate to provide sufficient lighting intensity and distance. The lights barely illuminate about 2 car lengths ahead, which is too short a distance at speeds above 25-30mph, making highway travel at night very dangerous. Objects in the path of travel and on the side of the road are not visible in time to safely respond. Street signs and turns are nearly impossible to identify. Nissan dealer says my projector lens have on them which cannot be cleaned. Quoted $1000 to replace both headlights. I do not agree, units are sealed from factory.

- Longwood, NC, USA

problem #59

Oct 052015


  • 31,898 miles
The contact owned a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to respond when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The contact also stated that the air conditioning unit failed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The contact was informed that the transmission and air conditioning unit needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. While driving and pulling into a parking space, there was an abnormal electrical odor coming through the air condition vents. The vehicle caught fire. While trying to exit the vehicle, the door handle failed to work. The contact was able to exit the vehicle through the driver side window. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 31,898....updated 01/07/16

- Valley Village, CA, USA

problem #58

Sep 182015


  • 35,193 miles


Backup camera signal to screen fails and loses picture when backing up. Static appears on screen. Occurs with random reverse movement. Usually from parking lot or stall, indoor or outdoor, even own private dwelling garage. Attempted remedy by Nissan service was to replace audio component but still recurs. Has happened about 8 times so far.

- Moraga, CA, USA

problem #57

Aug 272015


  • 45,800 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving at 20 mph and coming to a stop, the vehicle shook and then stalled. The vehicle was taken to a dealer on two separate occasions where the vehicle was reprogrammed and the transmission was replaced but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 45,800.

- Wenatchee, WA, USA

problem #56

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 #55

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 #54

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 #53

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 #52

Mar 112015


  • miles
Vehicle was serviced by Nissan dealership per NHTSA campaign #14V138000 on 3/11/15. On 3/12/15, the occupant classification system continued to operate improperly (e.g. not detecting an occupant in the passenger seat). This has been noted several times since the OCS software was updated by the oem.

- Milton, FL, USA

problem #51

Feb 102015


  • 46,000 miles
Multiple times I've been driving and or sitting idle. The radio has frozen to where I have to pull over, shut off the vehicle, and restart it. This may temporarily correct the issue. I have taken it to the dealership multiple times and multiple times have I been laughed at and told I'm being ridiculous. I have had the unit reprogrammed, and still no luck. Second issue is my backup camera. Works when it wants, half way works, or don't work at all. Where I'm paying so much for a vehicle, I would like to have equipment that works. I have brought the vehicle for service many times about this once again I was told nothing they could do and to deal with it. Something needs to be done. More of a hassle having something new than to have an older vehicle.

- Sevierville, TN, USA

problem #50

Aug 222014


  • 30,733 miles
Wife was driving West bound on Ohio St rt 125 doing 40 mph when a car going East bound on Ohio St rt 125 attempted to make a left hand turn in front of her and hit her head on bringing the car to a complete stop in just a couple feet. None of the airbags went off. The seatbelt did not lock up. None of the safety equipment on this car worked during this head on collision.... updated 02/19/15 updated 10/28/2015

- Bethel, OH, USA

problem #49

Jan 172015


  • 41,000 miles
Passenger air bag light stays on.

- Arecibo, PR, USA

problem #48

Oct 252014


  • miles
As many others have previously reported, this 2013 Altima will not detect an adult passenger (140+ lbs) and will turn off the passenger airbag. The initial safety recall work was performed on the car (prior to our purchase of the vehicle), but the problem continues to happen. We have talked to several dealers who have not been able to do anything to fix the problem because it appears that Nissan doesn't know how to fix it. This huge safety concern makes the car unusable when we need to have more than one person in the car and we cannot get the airbag to work properly. NHTSA: Please force Nissan to do something about this issue!

- Warrensburg, MO, USA

problem #47

Nov 102014


  • 6,266 miles
I was trying to get into my car to get to work. The key fob was not working at all, the das was telling me that my key I'd was incorrect. It took several hours and the car finally started. I called Nissan and they told me it was my battery. I have since changed my battery and still am having the problem. Tonight I was stuck outside of my car for hours B4 it would open.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #46

Apr 242014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 11,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the air bag deactivated warning light illuminated intermittently while the seat was occupied. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the technician was unable to find a failure. No repairs were made to the vehicle. The failure mileage was 11,000. Updated 01/20/15 also, the key fob failed. It did not recognize the key id. The consumer was unable to unlock the door. On several occasions, the vehicle would not start. Updated 02/231/5. updated 10/7/2015

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #45

Nov 072014


  • 21,369 miles
Nov. 7th 2014. Navigation system quit on my 2013 Altima, it's a V6 sl with all the bells and whistles. Took to mcgavock Nissan lubbock tx.. in the process of repairs I was told they burnt the ECM. Picked up car Tuesday Nov. 11th 2014. Sunday Nov.16th. 2014 car would not accelerate. Monday Nov. 17th tow trk picked up car. They told my son the accelerator module had burnt out. I got the paper mcgavock handed me when car picked up. On the 11th its states all that was done to the car including replacing the ECM. Wednesday Nov. 19th I called Nissan usa expressed my concern about the car not being trust worthy. Mcgavock wrote on service order the car is flooding then the accelerator burnt out. This car is going to give problems from now on. I told Nissan usa I wanted a new car with no cost to me since the car is now basically a lemon. My son talked to service advisor and service mgr. They now deny replacing the ECM. Service mgr says the paperwork I was given. The cashier made a mistake says he has the final paperwork.

- Wolfforth , TX, USA

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