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 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #44

Nov 142014


  • 63,000 miles


On Friday 14, 2014 approximately8:33 P.M. I was driving down N. tyron St in charlotte, nc in traffic when my car shut down automatically due to the key not being detected. The key was in the car with me and then a lady miss hitting me in the rear by a inch; due to my car just cutting off indicating my key was not in the car. I tried to start the car again and it would not start back up when I press the start key and the brake at the same time time; it will say the key is not being detected. When I press the automatic start button on the key, the car would start up but when I press the start button and the brake together it cut off and the say thing comes up on the dashboard. Then once it did cut on when I tried to put the car in drive the cuts off and says the key is not being detected. This a safety issues and very dangerous, if the lady behind me was not paying attention it would of been a bad accident. I don't trust my car and I am afraid to drive it again. When I called Nissan they didn't know anything and did not assist me until the following Wednesday 19,2014 and I have been without a car since. No customer service or concern about their customers well-being at all. It been 12 recalls on my vehicle, I have not received any notification of any of them by capital Nissan of wilmington or the regional office.

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #43

Apr 152013


  • 8,515 miles
I have a new 2013 Nissan Altima sl V6 I have had several problems with this new car. Blind side warning, and traction control light stayed on one time. My car wouldn't start up several times after walking up to the car and pressing the button on the door. The key wouldn't unlock the doors, it wouldn't auto start the car. I had to wait to get in my car, I actually had to stick my key in the door to get in the car. When I did finally get in the car and try to start it nothing happened, it said no key this is dangerous I am a female god forbids somebody tries to rape or kill me and I am not able to get away in my new car that I pay all this money for every month. The dashboard says: Key not detected or no key, or incorrect key id. My car has been in and out of the shop and they still doesn't know what's wrong. I've recently went to a different dealer hoping they can work on my car and get me the results I'm looking for... I completely hate this car because it has been N the shop more times than my last car. All they kept saying was more computer problems. I got my car 12/2012 and my car has been in the shop over 20 times with lots of issues. I'm still within my 36000 warranty. I also hear a clicking noise in the front tire. Dealership replaced some bolts and greased it as well. They said it needed grease.. the noise has came back about 2 weeks later!! its time consuming to keep going back to the dealership to get repairs!! but I have to do it. I had the recall for air bags but it still didn't register an adult who sat in the front seat who weighed about 103 lbs. So his air bag wouldn't deploy if we got in an accident. That isn't safe at all.. pls fix and change that feature for the sake of smaller adults. Nissan shouldn't restrict the weight of a front seat passenger.. all these problems.... I will be opening up a lemon law case!! this is ridiculous!!!!

- Landover Hills, MD, USA

problem #42

Apr 072014


  • 47,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 60 mph, the speedometer failed without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the speedometer needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 47,000.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #41

Jul 012014


  • 11,000 miles


Vehicle has a shudder when decelerating from 65 to 60. Has progressively been happening more often. In addition to the shudder at higher speeds, it now has started to shudder and lack response at lower speeds at random. The gas mileage has dropped at least 5 mpg since all of these issues started. I have taken to Nissan service twice for the same issue. Both times the problem "couldn't be duplicated" and there isn't a code that shows anything wrong on computer diagnostics. All searches for these issues in relation to a 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 sl, return numerous complaints about the same problems and no resolution. Current mileage IS15,000. I have been told to keep all reports from service so if there is a problem later I have documentation that it has been an ongoing issue. It appears Nissan should get in front of this problem quickly as it is not leaving a good mark on their name to have such new vehicles with this drastic of a problem.

- Necedah, WI, USA

problem #40

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 #39

Oct 052014


  • 28,000 miles
Passenger airbag light is stating that it is off, when the seat was occupied by an adult. There was a recall issued and the car was taken to the dealership to have this fixed. The recall did not solve the problem. It has been taken to the dealership multiple times since the recall to have the problem corrected. I have video evidence of the last time it happened. The dealership ([xxx]) states that Nissan can not do anything further. The Nissan 800 number stated the same. Both want to push the issue to the other with no one providing resolution. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Fishers, IN, USA

problem #38

Aug 072014


  • 37,000 miles


I purchased a 2013 Nissan Altima in July 2014 with 36,000 miles. About 3 weeks after purchasing this vehicle, the check engine light came on. I took it into the local Nissan dealer to determine the cause. I was told that they couldn't find the source and it would require further diagnostic testing for $80. I disagreed and left. Two days later, my daughter and I were traveling along interstate 10 when suddenly the car wouldn't accelerate. As I merged over to the left lane, every light on the dash came on and the engine went dead just as I made it to the shoulder. I put the car in park and waited 10 minutes before I attempted to start it up again. The following day, I took the car back to my local Nissan dealer. At that point, they told me there was an electrical malfunction that was covered under warranty but they would need to order a replacement part. I was without a vehicle for 3 days when I received a call that the car was ready. I sent my mother to pick up the car because I was at work. They didn't provide any repair summary to show what repairs were made. Fast forward three family was traveling to mobile, Alabama to depart for our annual walt disney world trip, when you guessed it...the car wouldn't accelerate although my foot was literally on the ground. I pulled over once again and didn't try to start the engine again for about 20 minutes. The service engine light has been on every since. I have constantly fought with the seller (bob tyler Toyota) about returning this vehicle. I sold a 2006 Honda Accord ex-L with 176,000 miles to purchase this lemon. It is an absolute clunker. Will someone please suggest other options for me"?"

- Gulfport, MS, USA

problem #37

Jun 252014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the passenger's seat did not acknowledge when a passenger was occupying the seat. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing but was unable to be diagnosed. The failure persisted. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 14V138000 (air bags, electrical system) but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was unavailable.

- Poway , CA, USA

problem #36

Aug 182014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 26,041 miles
With 130 - 140 lb passenger in front passenger seat, dashboard indicator signals that front passenger airbag will not deploy. Vehicle has been returned to dealer for recall service under NHTSA campaign number 14V138000, but this did not resolve the problem.

- Olmsted Falls, OH, USA

problem #35

Aug 032013


  • 2,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the air bag warning light illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer on several occasions where the failure was unable T be replicated. The contact stated that the vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign id number: 14V138000 (airbags, electrical system) but the failure recurred. The contact noticed that the air bag light was indicating the air bag was off when a passenger was seated in the front passenger's seat. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 2,000.

- Lathan, NY, USA

problem #34

Jun 202014

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,076 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the front passenger airbag illuminated off when the seat was occupied. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician diagnosed that there was no failure with the airbag. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14V138000 (air bags, electrical system).the manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 8,076. Updated 9/4/14 the consumer stated the recall, did not rectify the problem. Updated 09/18/14

- West Chester, OH, USA

problem #33

Sep 252012


  • 328 miles
I have had major issues with this vehicle since the third day after purchase. The brakes have malfunctioned. The brake light would intermittently come on and I had it in several times, but the dealership could never "duplicate" anything. Then the car started to misfire and emit a thick black smoke from exhaust. I contacted the dealership and at first they said it was normal because the car has a cvt transmission. Then they said bring it in for assessment. A service technician test drove with me and experienced this first hand. I was told they could not service it that day, but to bring it back in. When I took it back a week later, they "could not duplicate" the problem. There has been much back and forth. I asked them to buy the car back because the problems were life threatening. The car actually shut off on me, twice, in traffic. When I last contacted the dealership, on July 24th, 2014, about the major issues I've been experiencing; the earliest they said they could see me would be on August 11th, 2014. On yesterday, it finally shut off for good, in the middle of the interstate. As I was on a trip, I had to have the vehicle towed 125 miles to my hometown dealership at the cost of $230, out of pocket. The only reason I got it home that cheaply was because I have four roadside assistance coverage packages and luckily one of them covered towing up to 100 miles. The car is now sitting on the dealership's parking lot.

- Greenville, MS, USA

problem #32

Apr 252013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated when an adult passenger was seated in the front seat, the air bag sensor light illuminated indicating that the front passenger seat air bag system was defective. The contact stated that the air bag sensor light illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and repaired under the NHTSA recall campaign number 14V138000 (air bags, electrical system) but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The failure mileage was 1,000. The vehicle was taken to the dealer four times. They re-programmed the computer twice, and replaced the sensors, to no avail. Updated 07/22/14

- Troy, IL, USA

problem #31

Jun 162014


  • 24,000 miles
While slowing down for an intersection all electronics on car stopped with no warning and motor shut down. No indicator lights on dash. Car became completely malfunctioning in an instant. No power breaks or steering, dash lights, console display or ignition on indicator. Got car to a stop. Put the car in park and restarted with no errors or indications that the car mechanically and electronically just died. Clock was set to the correct time but trip odometer and many other customized settings were reset. Acted as if the ECM did a reset while driving.

- Hudson Falls , NY, USA

problem #30

Dec 192012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
The problem is with the A/C compressor staying on even though I turn the defrost off. Same if I turn auto on then off. The A/C light stays off, but the A/C compressor stays on. The only way to turn the A/C off is to press the A/C button twice (once to turn the light on, next to force the A/C to go off). If the defrost is off, auto is off and the A/C light is off, the A/C compressor must turn off. It should not be a guessing game for the driver to wonder if the A/C is off. I have complained about it before and been to the dealer 3 or more times about it. There are multiple postings (complaints) about it on the internet (see one link below). I have complained about it to Nissan and was asked to see the dealer. The dealer checks other same model cars and the problem is consistent amongst all cars, so he says "there is no problem". the dealer mechanic agrees with me that this is not how it should work, but since all other similar cars do the same thing, there is nothing they can do about it.

- Viera, FL, USA

problem #29

Apr 062013

Altima 6-cyl

  • miles
I purchased a 2013 Nissan Altima and within 1 week the brake light came on and would not go off during the same time period the phone would ring in the car and would not stop ringing until the car was completely shut off. The car has been into the dealership over 5 times for the same 2 issues and the problem still has not been corrected, as recent as yesterday May 31, 2014 the car continues to have the same problem.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #28

Sep 102013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
I purchased a 2013 Nissan from bill seidle's Nissan in miami Florida. When I purchased the car they told me the mileage was around 30 mpg with an average of around 26 mpg. Months after I bought the car I mentioned to the dealer that the car's computer was saying around 20 mpg and they told me that I needed it to track the mpg myself because the computer from the car is not accurate. I tracked the miles and the results were 20 mpg. I took that car in to the dealer, I was told that they checked the car and there was nothing wrong with the car and that is the mileage that I was going to get. I also have a problem with the electronic key that on multiple times "no key detected" message comes up and it takes me a while for the car to start. Eventually it turned out the battery was not good and it was changed. About a month later the same problem continued and I took the car to the dealer and they told me they could not duplicate the problem so they could not do anything about it. This problems continues to occur and sometimes when the cars turns on the message stays on for a while. This problem does not occur all the time there is no consistency. I now take pictures when the problem occurs and are taking the car back to the dealer. I'm concern about the safety of the car.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #27

Apr 082013


  • 14,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the air bag and the brake lights illuminated on the instrument panel intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who repaired the vehicle under NHTSA campaign id number 14V138000 (air bags, electrical system). However, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 14,000.

- Apopka, FL, USA

problem #26

Apr 302014


  • 8,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the passenger's side seat belt light intermittently illuminated when a passenger was in the seat and secured. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 14V138000 (air bags, electrical system), however the failure was recurring. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 8,000.

- Dalycity, CA, USA

problem #25

Sep 032013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 850 miles
Summary: The vehicle blind spot warning & lane keep system intermittently stops working. The warning on the dash says to clean the camera lens but the lens are clean. If you stop the car & shut off the engine then restart the system will start operating again. Nissan can't find the problem.

- Corvallis, OR, USA

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