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 1 of 5)

problem #84

Nov 022016


  • 51,000 miles


I am unable to shift car out of park without defeating the interlock. I have to use something like a screw driver to push something in the small hole next to the shifter every time I need to put the car in gear. Suspect the switch or solenoid or wiring connected to brake pedal failed. This happens whenever the car is in park and not moving.

- Olympia, WA, USA

problem #83

Sep 012016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that there was a strong hesitation and the vehicle stalled several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Swisher, IA, USA

problem #82

Sep 242016


  • 771,800 miles
I was in an accident and the air bags did not deploy. My children and I were injured. I serviced my car at Nissan for the airbag recall twice. I received a recall from NHTSA and Nissan wouldn't comply. Every time I've taken my car for the brake pads to be serviced I only need rotors never brake pads! the driver side door handle broke for no reason what so ever this car is a clunker!

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #81

Sep 162016


  • 65,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle stalled. In addition, the vehicle failed to shift out of the drive gear. The contact, who had an infant present, had to engage the emergency hazard lights and received help pushing the vehicle to the side of the road. The contact placed a screwdriver in the gear shifter to help change gears, and was able to restart the vehicle on the third attempt. The vehicle was diagnosed by an independent mechanic who determined that the shifter cylinder was fractured and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer stated that the vehicle was not under warranty. The failure mileage was approximately 65,000.

- Jackson, MS, USA

problem #80

Jul 232016


  • miles
En noviembre del 2014 compre un Nissan Altima 2013 con apenas 31000 millas, a las 54000 millas tuve que cambiar el alternador, Y ahora siento que tengo problemas con la transmision, ES un carro relativamente nuevo, no deberia dar tantos problemas, espero me ayuden a resolver el problema!! gracias!!

- Terrytown, LA, USA

problem #79

Sep 012016


  • 69,000 miles
I bought a Nissan Altima 2013. Back in February the car would start and would shut off when I put it on drive and reverse. This happen in the middle of the street. I took it to the dealership and left it there for a month and they still were not able to tell me what was wrong with the car. Even though a technician duplicated the problem the car computer would still say the car is fine.I took it to get a second opinion from a Nissan master technician and they weren't able to tell me what was wrong with the car. After about a month the car started working again. I was told by a 3rd place I took the car that it might be a sensor issue and the car literally decides when's going to work and not and that this is an on going issue iwth the Altima. A couple of days ago the car would took off with me at a red light when I just tap the gas. I was at a red light the light turn green I tp the gas the rpms jumped ad the accelarated in high speeds. Also the car would not go forward or backwards after I put it in reverse immidiately, it would stay idel for about 5 ten seconds than go. The Nissan dealership has not been able to diagnose that anything is wrong with my car he computers keeps saying the cr is fine. I have told Nissan headquaters that I feel unsafe when I'm driving the car. Looking online I see that this a on going defect with the Altima 2013 that Nissan refuses to address. I have called Nissan and told them that this car is defective and im starting to feel its putting my life and someone S with this carelse in danger and there response was basically tough luck. Right now the car is cranking but not start. I feel like Nissan did a poor job with this car and it should have been sold

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #78

Aug 012016


  • miles


Airbag light has been going off N on w no passenger...scared somethings not gonna work in the event of an accident. Car jerking on hghwy not accelerating..N loss of power mid drive or turn..I have kids N this is becoming a death trap..w no ck engine light.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #77

Jul 152016


  • 47,000 miles
Intermittently the car is completely shutting off while driving on the road. The engine starts vibrating while slowing down or braking and turns off. It will start immediately7-8 times in a row but will turn turn off as soon as the transmission is put into drive. This has happened 5-6 times in the past 2 weeks. We have taken this to the Nissan dealer only for them to tell us they can't fix it because there are no codes showing up! our concern is the number of other people who have complained about the same issue and there is no recall for whatever is causing this.

- Medford, NJ, USA

problem #76

May 022016


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owned a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 30 mph, an abnormal odor emitted from the vehicle and smoke came from the hood. The contact mentioned that the failure occurred after the vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic to be serviced for an oil change. The fire department extinguished the fire. A police report was filed and there were no injuries. The vehicle was destroyed. The approximate failure mileage was 61,000.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #75

May 172016


  • 29,000 miles
I purchased the car new year 2013 in 2014 I noticed a roaring noise while driving on the street at slow and high speeds. Around christmas eve I was driving when the car died out on me on the street. I had the car towed to the dealer where they did their diagnosis. They had the car for 5 days, they said they had to replace the alternator which they said had internal problems and also reprogram the system of the computer of the car at 29,326 miles which is odd to me because it was a newer car. So now its 2016 and I brought the car back in to the dealer today because it seemed as the windows would roll down slow, the car wouldnt accelerate right away when pushing down on the gas (stalling) and it would shake while driving or at a stop, and when coming to a stop it would jerk as if someone hit my rear end. They did the diagnosis and said they had to reprogram the transmission. So I now believe there is internal problems with the car which is probably going to lead to the engine or transmission to go on me. And it is a manufacturers problem because I shouldnt of had any problems like these for a 2013 now at 46,000 miles

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #74

Feb 032016


  • 23,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. The contact mentioned that although the vehicle was on, the warning message "key was not detected and key id incorrect┐ illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician repaired the vehicle under a technical service bulletin however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 23,000.

- Irvington, NJ, USA

problem #73

Jan 012016


  • miles
When the turn signal automatically returns to the off position after a right hand turn, the left turn signal starts blinking.

- Hertford, NC, USA

problem #72

Sep 012014


  • 15,000 miles
Airbag sensor doesn't work properly. While the car is in motion, the light turns on warning that the airbag will not deploy when a person is buckled in the passenger seat. My VIN is not included in the recall but I've noticed this issue for over a year. My Nissan dealership ignored my complaint a year ago when I asked them to look at it.

- Hertford, NC, USA

problem #71

Mar 252016


  • 55,000 miles
Dashboard cluster went out while driving. Lost speedometer, odometer and all other gauges etc. Car only had 55,000 miles on it. I turned my car on and started driving out of my driveway, on my way to the Nissan dealer to fix other recalls, 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 to dealer without speedometer etc for an appointment at Nissan dealership the next morning. Nissan not even willing to admit this is a safety issue. About a $878 repair, with car just outside of warranty. I contacted Nissan Consumer Affairs and they are not willing to accept responsibility or make any reimbursement of any type. I talked with lauren at 615.725.7907. She stated that if there is a recall I can submit receipts and they may reimburse.

- Williston, SC, USA

problem #70

Jan 262016


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 20 mph, the invalid key warning message displayed. The failure recurred sporadically. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the contact was informed that the key fob would need to be replaced and reprogrammed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 55,000.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #69

Sep 132013


  • 35,800 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving at various speeds, the passenger side air bag warning light illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the aftermarket leather seat and sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 35,800. Updated 06/23/16

- Clyde, NC, USA

problem #68

Jan 252016


  • 29,000 miles
The contact owned a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle revved and accelerated without warning. The contact depressed the brake pedal, but the vehicle did not respond. As a result, the contact's vehicle crashed into another vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was filed. The driver sustained injuries to the pelvic, both legs, head, teeth, and. Medical attention was required. The vehicle was destroyed and towed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 29,000.

- Columbus, GA, USA

problem #67

Mar 072016


  • 115,784 miles
For unknown reasons, the brakes stay on causing the car to either not move, or to go into limp mode. When this happens, the gear shifter can be moved out of park without depressing the brake. Also, the car can be started without having to depress the brake pedal. Sometimes, the outside brake lights stay on, sometimes they don't. I replaced the brake light switch and manually operating the switch would not make lights go off. Sometimes when driving, the brake system will release and vehicle accelerates rapidly, to the point of losing control. Sometimes, a quick pump of the brake pedal will release whatever is going on-sometimes nothing will cause it to go back to normal. Removing the negative battery cable will turn off the lights, but will not reset the problem. Dealer has no suggestions to remedy the problem, except to let them keep the car and to start replacing parts until they make the problem go away. Nissan America says Nissan has already spent too much money trying to resolve previous issues on this car and would not spend another penny!!! private mechanic that is trying to troubleshoot problem is having no luck determining the cause. There are Nissan tsb's about shorted wiring, but only Nissan techs can acces those. Car has been in shop 44 times for 62 days for various major problems that Nissan can't or won't fix completely. Nissan refuses to try to make the situation right, even though they admit the down time is exorbitant and not in lines with their company satisfaction guarantee.

- Westfield, MA, USA

problem #66

Feb 012016


  • 15,000 miles
Loud vibrating sound when depressing the accelerator at 40mph and 70mph. At low rpms to car also vibrates around 25mph. It also vibrates at 40mph and 70mph when pressing on the accelerator.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #65

Nov 072015


  • 89,000 miles
This is a combination of problems. Approximately around Nov. 7, 2015 the check engine light came on while at the dealer (almost one year after the last time). I have not owned my vehicle 2 years yet. I thought they had taken care of it when they told me the light shouldn't come back on. They said the code was for reprogramming the mass air system. About 2 weeks later the same light came on but this time I lost acceleration again while getting on the freeway. I had a couple of close calls on being rear-ended while having my son in the car. I had to get off immediately and drive down to the dealer which took me it seemed forever because it would barely move. I had to leave the vehicle as it was closing. The following day I was called and told that it required reprogramming of the mass air system. I had them do it but it took them 1 day to return the vehicle to me. About 2 days later the check engine light came back on again and I took it back to the same dealer. This time finding the problem wasn't as easy. They kept my vehicle for 3 days before letting me know that I needed to have the throttle chamber replaced. Really now...check engine light on a total of 2 times in 1 year + 2 more time in another year, 1 alternator replaced in 1 year, 1 throttle chamber replaced in almost 2 years, leaking rear shocks in 1 year and Nissan does nothing to replace my vehicle which is a constant safety hazard for me and my family.

- Colton, CA, USA

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