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 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

Apr 262014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 6,950 miles


I have the key-less entry and many times with the key fob in my pocket I can not open the door. The door sensor does not recognize the key fob unless I take it out and press the lock unlock button. At times with the car in my garage the vehicle says no key code found and I have to either pres lock unlock on the key fob or I have to put the key next to the start button for a few seconds before it recognizes it. I've tried to see if I could think of an emi source each time it happens, and the only thing I have noted is that it only happens when close to a wall. Has not yet happened in open parking lot. Once is happened when I was parked next to an F250 and I figured maybe it has to do with being in proximity of large objects. It has happened about 15 times so far from Jan to April 2014.

- Northville, MI, USA

problem #23

Apr 152014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 51,100 miles
When I tried to turn vehicle on, radio and other system was on, but could not put car in gear, eventually car had to be towed. The dealership advised me that the BCM has an internal short and needed to be replaced. This vehicle was bought brand new and has under 52,000 miles, has not been owned for even 2 years and it breaks down with no one taking responsibility on this issue on a semi new vehicle. My sister owns the same vehicle and I am afraid that it will happen to her too. I have done some research and found numerous boards with people complaining about this issues or something similar.

- Kaufman, TX, USA

problem #22

Dec 102013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 18,499 miles
The front passenger air bag status light (passenger air bag off), illuminates intermittently with a full sized adult sitting in the right front passenger seat. Nissan claims that my vehicle is not subject to the voluntary safety recall campaign id# PC214, dated April 2, 2013. The passenger airbag status lamp is located above the instrument panel center stack. This intermittent condition has occurred twice through the month of December 2013. The warning indicator will turn off and operate correctly after I turn off my running engine and restart.

- Media, PA, USA

problem #21

Nov 302013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 13,657 miles


Car is vibrating when going 40 mph. Vibration also occurring after long drives and then coming to a stop. Car will shake. It is not happening all the time, but is nerve racking when it does. Intermittent issue with the key id not being recognized when entering the car when the doors are locked and you press the unlock button on the door handle. Or when getting into an unlocked car the key is not recognized. Lock the doors and auto start the car button on the key fob not starting the car. Happening on both key fobs. Headlights during long trip were dimming, then would brighten. This during a 6 hour drive. Gas mileage has dropped from 38.4 mpg to 33.1 mpg highway driving. Same issue with around town about 5 mpg drop. Mileage seems to differ when filling up car. Goes from over 600+ miles to around 580+ miles. Not sure why when you fill it all the way up the mileage is not the same. Tire pressure seems to differ. Not sure that is reliable reading.

- Holland, MI, USA

problem #20

Nov 112013


  • miles
Re: keyless ignition systems. This was a rental car so I don't know VIN or mileage, or exact year. I rented a car last week in san diego, my first experience with keyless ignitions. I only had the car for one day and was not used to this system. Late at night I parked car, pushed the ignition to "off" started to get out of the car, when car started driving forward because I had forgotten to put it in park. I was knocked down in the middle of the street, it was pitch black outside, I had no idea what was happening, until I saw the car driving away. I managed to chase the car and jump back inside before it hit anything. However, my knee was torn up really bad, and I am still dealing with the injury more than a week later. Not having any warning/safety measure to let people know that the car is not in park, coupled with a whisper quiet engine, is a totally dangerous combination, and clearly deadly from many on line accounts I have read. Don't know how this ridiculous idea ever made it to factory, much less approved without any warning system in place. I hate these cars and think they should be recalled. At least in a regular car the keys will not come out of the ignition of the car is not in the 'park' position. I am lucky the car did not run over me, or someone innocent bystander. But I would imagine there have been many accidents like mine that ended much worse. Like I said, these cars are dangerous and should be recalled, and this system should be illegal.

- Englewood, CO, USA

problem #19

Nov 062013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 12,400 miles
Passenger air bag indicator light indicates that airbag remains off while passenger is in the seat. Nissan dealer tech claims that this is not a problem; just the way the system works. He wouldn't even look at it.

- Chardon, OH, USA

problem #18

Jul 282013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 4,200 miles


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.

- Prescott, AZ, USA

problem #17

Sep 282012


  • 5,578 miles
Vehicle jerks at stops and takes off, rpms climbed on their own, vehicle won't start and was towed in, vehicle stall in moving traffic on a major interstate, and fan blower.

- Dundee, MS, USA

problem #16

Sep 152013


  • 200 miles
When driving between 2 to 25 mph hear loud high pitch whining sound from engine. This started after about 200 miles on vehicle. Vehicle had 51 miles on it when purchased. Dealer said this is normal it is the electric power assist system. The whining noise is very disturbing and distracting while driving. Such noise is not normal. Nissan needs to come up with a fix. Just purchased from dealer on 9/13/2013.

- Blaine, MN, USA

problem #15

Nov 262012

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Safety concern, proper operation of air bags (SRS light on). This is a major safety concern. One month after purchasing a brand new Nissan Altima 2013, a major light indicator came on. This light brought up concerns. Are the air bags working properly" will the air bags deploy correctly upon impact? are the air bags working at all? will the air bags deploy while driving? will the air bags implode and affect the steering process? is this an indication that there is an electronic or electrical circuit malfunction? after buying a brand new vehicle, should I even have to deal with these issues, questions or concerns? in addition to the above safety concern, the list of electronic, electrical and mechanical issues continues for the newly bought vehicle. There was an issue with the power steering, the brake system, bubbling paint and concerns with the engine compartment and interior compartment of the above mentioned vehicle. All this is reflected in each of the invoices submitted for your perusal. In addition, upon starting the vehicle, it continuously has a rough idle, a rough start at times the vehicle stalls out. He is at a loss because who should he take his vehicle with this concern" all in all, sir all these vehicle discrepancies are troubling to have with a brand new Nissan Altima 2013 and all of these issues within the last nine months. Also, there were problems with the power steering, the brake system and concerns with the engine and interior compartments. In addition, upon starting the vehicle, it continuously had a rough idle, a rough start at all times and the vehicle would stall.

- Ojai, CA, USA

problem #14

Jun 032013


  • 1,100 miles


The best I can do to explain the problem I am having with my 2013 Altima is to compare it to the jerking you will experience in a stick shift vehicle if you do not clutch and shift properly almost causing the vehicle to stop. Once I was entering onto the highway, the car acted as if the parking brake was applied while driving. I took my car to the dealer from which I purchased it (St.clair auto mall), the mechanic drove it and almost immediately he experienced the problem. We drove back to the dealership (service dept.). he looked up some information in the computer, said diagnostics tests were ran but the test(s) turned up nothing. And also there were no lights on the dash indicating a problem. So, for that reason nothing could be done.

- Ofallon, IL, USA

problem #13

Jan 222013


  • 6,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle exhibited an abnormal knocking when turning the steering wheel. In addition, there were various warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The faiure recurred sporadically. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but they were unable to determine the cause of failure. The failure was reported to the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 6,000. The current mileage was 17,000.

- Las Vegas , NV, USA

problem #12

Feb 042013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 40 miles
Driver' side rear view mirror vibrates while driving at all speeds. I have taken my car several times to several different dealers to replace the mirror and mirror housing and problem has not been fixed. Mirror continues to vibrate. Also, I got several letters of recalls on this car, such as the sensors on the airbags and the spare tire being over-inflated. Also, the airbag light has turned on twice and does not turn off, even while driving. I do not feel safe in this car at all, this car is a lemon.

- Pacoima, CA, USA

problem #11

Apr 012013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
I love the fact that my car has the heated steering wheel and for paying so much for this vehicle to have this wonderful feature you would expect it to work. Well it did for the first month, but I used it alot, usually on highway trips when it would cut off I would turn it back on, then about a month after that I noticed it was only getting warm at the top of the steering wheel and not the rest. Then a little later it doesn't even get warm anymore. I have taken it to service at least 2 different times, and they just tell me that it is normal. But in the armada, and maxima they loaned me while my car was in the shop those seemed to work fine. Their answer to that is that in the Altima it reads the temperature inside the car to determine how hot it gets. This is not the problem because in March of 2013 here in northern va we had a big snowfall. I went to my car at 3:40 am the day of the snowfall, and started it. It was about 28 degrees outside, and the inside of the car felt the same. I turn on the heated steering it I never felt it the entire 30 miles I drove. To me it feels like the electricity is not getting to any or all of the heating element. Nissan says to take it to another dealership, but all the dealers around me are owned and managed by the same.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #10

Apr 012013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
After a few weeks of owning this new car, the brake light came on and stayed onwhile I was driving. I started hearing squealing and thunking coming from my brakes. These are new and on a new car, the car just now has 6000 miles on it and it still should not makes these sounds. I took it in they did something to clear the brake light and said the noises are normal. This should not be making all of these different noises. Nissan needs to find the problems of their cars and fix them! I feel like there is something still wrong but the dealership does not want to look any further.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #9

Mar 142013


  • miles
Well I noticed that my passenger airbag off light was on with a passenger sitting in the vehicle, it has done this many times, and I even have a video of me sitting in it and I weight 180lbs with the light on while the car is being driven. I have taken it in to the dealership 3 different times for this problem. Each time they have told me that they have reset the seat. It is still doing it, the video came after the third time and just 3 days ago. I called Nissan about this and my other big problems and they have told me that I should take it to another dealer. There is a recall on this through Nissan and yet I have brought it in 3 separate times and they still keep telling me its ok. No sir. Nissan seems to just not care I have asked them many times for a Nissan rep to come out and look at my car and they just keep telling me to take it to a different dealer. The problem is all the Nissan dealers around me are owned and managed by the same company. And Nissan will not help me with a loaner car if I drive it 200 miles away to the next dealer. So I am just screwed. Very upset with how Nissan runs their business. This is my first and last Nissan ever!

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #8

Mar 112013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Well my blind spot monitoring system and lane detection system both do not work correctly. My bsm will light up when there is not a car there as well as not light up when there is a car there. This happens very often but not everytime. When it rains it happens almost everytime. I took it in to the dealer and they told me if you read the owners manual it says that this may not work properly. Really? I bought knowing the salesman told me this feature works not that it does not work! they didn't even try to diagnose it. Very sad. And same with the lds where it will beep and blink and I am not even out of my lan. Again this happens when it is dry, wet, sunny, cloudy, snowing. There is something wrong and Nissan does not want to fix it even though the customers have spent alot of money on these features!

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #7

May 102013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 960 miles
The instrument panel stopped working completely while I was driving - everything went dark and gauges dropped to zero. The dealer took it right away and they are replacing the entire instrument cluster. The car has 940 miles on it at the time and I had purchased it new 14 days earlier. Miles did not accumulate on drive to the dealer (I could see this B/C I stopped the car when the panel went dark, but upon restarting the mileage would display briefly then disappear. I did this again after I drove about 15 miles to the dealer - miles were the same).

- El Cerrito, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 282013


  • 60 miles
I was driving a brand-new, Nissan Altima rental car on a business trip. After I returned to my hotel one afternoon, I forgot to turn the engine off. This vehicle has a key fob and a "start/stop" button only. There is no metal key. After I exited the vehicle, I noticed that the horn did not honk when I locked the vehicle with the key fob. The trunk release did not automatically open when I used the key fob. I manually pressed a button under the trunk lid to retrieve my bag. The next morning, I noticed steam and water coming out of the exhaust tailpipes. (it was app. 34 degrees that morning.) I discovered that the engine was still running, and the car used app. 3/8S of a tank of gasoline overnight. My concern is that a car like this could be driven into a garage with the engine left on, and then the occupants of the residence could get carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust fumes. This vehicle needs some time of warning bell, chime, etc. To remind the driver that the engine is still running if they open the driver's side door and/or exit the vehicle. Thank-you.

- Titusville, FL, USA

problem #5

Jan 162013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 292 miles
The BSW and ldw malfunctioned while driving on board flashed malfuntion and slipp light went on less then a week having the car brand new from the dealer.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

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