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:
1 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
26,730 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

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 #31

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 #30

Oct 102014


  • 30,330 miles
Smoke, then fire. Engine burned up. Vehicle "totalled."

- Freehold, NJ, USA

problem #29

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 #28

Jun 112014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 67,725 miles
I was driving my car on the highway when it started to shutter. It was first happening on inclines then all the time. It eventually just slowed down and I had to quickly exit to avoid getting stuck in the middle of the highway. I have brought the shuttering/jerking issue to the dealer previously and was told that no issue was found. Now I am told that I have to replace the transmission which is $3,500. After doing some internet searches I learned that several other drivers are having issues with the transmission on their "new" Nissan Altima (2013).

- Mahopac, NY, USA

problem #27

May 102014


  • 70,600 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph on uneven pavement, all of the warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel and there was a burning odor. The vehicle was powered off and smoke emitted from the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to a private mechanic where it was diagnosed that the engine failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 70,600.

- Lorain, OH, USA

problem #26

Dec 092013


  • 17,000 miles


Car shakes at 1900 RPM (everytime you pass by 1900rpm) and when stopped at light (when you have brakes applied). This vibration can be feeled by driver & passenger and whole car shakes. I had it pointed out during the servicing/oil changes to Nissan technician and all I got is "it is normal for cvt so car will vibrate". this vibration is a safety issue as on an avg I driver the car for an hour a day. And if I stop at lights for 10 minutes on an avg, then I am exposing my self to this vibration for that much time a day which is bad. Its specially bad for my legs. Nissan does not have a fix at the moment for this issue but I epxect a brand new car not to vibrate as horrible as this. My 10 year old car was much smoother then this. The overall experiance is horrible and will advise all to stay away from Nissan because they are not admitting the problem and they dont have the solution for such a problem. This is a safety issue when you consider the effects on long term exposure and I feel goverment should do something about it.

- Hoffman Estates, IL, USA

problem #25

Jun 182013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
When I drive my car in the city, sometimes it will goes "numb", in other words doesn't response to my commands when speed is 30mph+RPM is 2K or speed is 20mph+RPM is 1.5K.(only at these two unique combination, e.g. is the speed is 30mph+rph is 1.5K, the issue will not occur). Either applying gas or brake doesn't work as I when my car is functioning normally. The duration of this "numb" issue is usually abt 10-15 min, and often happens when I use my car from cold start.(but that usually happens after a warm-up of 5min and being on the road for abt 10-15min). When the issue happens, I feel like something is controlling my car instead of me and my car doesnt listen to me, e.g. my car was going downhill smoothly and all of a sudden it goes numb, I was trying to make the speed lower than 30 mph but wasn't able to, luckily it finally slow down when I applied a hard brake that make the vehicle almost stopped. The operation and safety issue annoys me. Sometimes it gave me sudden pause on the road(20-30 mph speed). I have took my car to dealership 4 times since June 2013, my transmission system got reprogrammed 2 times. 12/30/2013, I was driving on the high way and the brake light came on, after that my car started operating weird (feels like lack of power). Took my car to dealership the next day and got transmission reprogrammed, plus some parts changed (I don't know what they exactly changed). Almost everyday, I experience my car goes "numb" out of nowhere, and had to live with it being unable to control my car when it happens because Nissan blames the "cold" weather in California and my sensitivity in driving.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #24

Oct 122013


  • 2,500 miles
I bought my 1st 2013 Nissan on August 18, 2023 and it had approx. 3,000 miles on it at the time of purchase. After a few days, I noticed a sputtering in the car when de-accelerating and also when accelerating. After 10 days it had got so bad, I took the car back to the dealer. Luckily, it happened very badly when they drove the car. I spoke with the store manager and he agreed to give me a new car with less than 100 miles on it. Low and behold. The new car started sputtering very little (hardly noticeable) after about 2,000 miles. Trying to give the car the benefit of the doubt, I didn't take it back. Fast forward, ,,,,,,the car now has 14,000 miles and is sputtering more and more. I also noticed that the car sometimes smells as if it is running a little hot when I get out of the car. I am taking the car in this weekend and hopefully the sputtering will be recreated. If not, I will continue to take the car back when it sputters and make certain to get documentation each time I take it in. This is terrible and I don't want to be stuck with a car with issues such as this. I am 64 years of age and this was supposed to be my retirement car.....a new car without car problems, as I don't need to be trying to pay for major car repairs on a fixed income!!!

- College Park, GA, USA

problem #23

Nov 212012


  • 3,000 miles
Noticed car shaking violently while coasting at about 17 mph and then accelerating. Contacted dealership. Was told that it is a defect with the torque converter that causes it to shift between gears at about 28 mph. I told them that mine was happening at about 17 or 18 mph. Was told they were looking into it. Called again about a week later, was told that it was a design flaw and Nissan was not going to do anything about it.

- St. Augustine, FL, USA

problem #22

Jun 142013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 3,600 miles


Altima 2.5L eng. Problem: Engine vibrations/cvt shuttering since approx. 3600 miles, but has continually gotten worse with more miles (7000 mi 12/31/13). Vibrations felt at 1500-2000 rpms (enough to shake and vibrate the dash components), then vibration goes away. Slight acceleration under load at 1500-2000 rpms and at any speed (20-30, 40-55, 72 mph) will result in droning/vibrations (everytime). Had Nissan service mgr. Ride with me, then he drove the vehicle and confirmed the vibrations. He said to return the vehicle in Jan 2014 to further document this problem that Nissan does not admit exists. However, this problem has been reported to Nissan many times over this past year (2013). I now believe this vibration is coming from the engine and not from the cvt since I can feel vibrations 1500-2000 RPM even when the vehicle is stopped (in park or in neutral). Update: 1/08/14 Nissan dealer replaced engine alternator, problem still exists, no change in vibrations. 1/10/14 Nissan replaced tensioner and engine serpentine belt, problem still exists, no change in vibrations. 1/13/14 filed complaint with Nissan Consumer Affairs.

- Lebanon, OH, USA

problem #21

Oct 252013


  • 300 miles
I purchased my 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5sl one week earlier. As I was driving I noticed that when I began to accelerate and get to 20-40 mph the car would jerk violently as if my car was in the wrong gear. I took my car into the dealership and they did a software update on the transmission and kept my car for 4 days. They put 75 miles on my car to "ensure" they corrected the problem. I picked up my car on the 4th day and drove 2 miles from the dealership and encountered the same jerking and shuddering problem. I turned around and went back to the dealership where I was greeted by a service manager that insisted we go for a drive to see if he could experience what I was talking about. After taking the ride he explained that he did feel the jerking and shuddering but it is within normal limits. I was told to contact Nissan usa and make a complaint but the dealership really does not want to do anything further to correct the issue unless they are contacted by corporate. I do not feel safe in this car!!! I am afraid this car is going to stall on me at the worse possible time.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #20

Sep 172013

Altima 6-cyl

  • 1,700 miles
Sporadically when starting car (from a cold start or after 2 hours) the rpms will do the normal going up then slowly down and then lower once in gear; however, once started to drive and stop the car will shake and appear to be trying to choke....took to service dept could not duplicate the problem and nothing is in the log.....took to dealership while problem occurring the mechanic felt the shaking and the big bump and said the idle rpms needed to be changed to higher level within 36 hours the car would do the same sporadic problem just at a higher RPM......took it to dealership again left overnight they did not find a problem stated everything is normal and the salesperson demo supposedly does the same thing (which it started normal).

- Alexandria, LA, USA

problem #19

Aug 062013


  • 22,000 miles
I had purchased a new 2013 Nissan Altima from bommarito Nissan on 11/6/2012 my car only had 252 miles on it. When I had taken the acre back to the dealer for a oil change that's when I was notified that they will have to order parts for my car for the fuel ratio sensor and ECU with new updates since this was made the car has being running horrible and when the car was taken to the dealer they stated that the car has all the updates and this is how it supposed to run so they could not duplicate the concern. I did research and see that others have the same problem. Nissan does not want to pay for another diagnostic that I would have to pay for it. This car is carp and if I wanted a used car I would have bought one without any power because the car seem to loose power you have to turn off air to get speed and punch your foot into the floor to get power and its idled to high as if it is not getin any gas I would like this issue to looked into because there is a problem on hand and others have the same problem and Nissan is not wanting to fix these problems.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #18

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 #17

Oct 172012


  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle also vibrated violently. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 1,000 and the current mileage was 17,000.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #16

Jun 182013


  • 200 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while the vehicle was parked, he heard a winding noise. After opening the hood, he heard a loud whistling noise emitting from the engine. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the noise was normal. The manufacturer had not been made aware of the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 200.

- Oceanside, NY, USA

problem #15

Jun 072013


  • 800 miles
Turning right from a stop and as I was accelerating, had violent thunk and vibration in car with loss if acceleration for 1-2 seconds. Before and after that, consistently experience vibration/shudder and decreased acceleration at about 20mph when I let off the gas or don't continue with same level of acceleration.

- Swansea, IL, USA

problem #14

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 #13

Mar 142013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
So I have been hearing a whining sound coming from the engine compartment of my car at low speeds. I took it in and the dealership told me it was a normal power steering noise. And said there was nothing they could do, I brought it back a week later after I found out the next day that their is a Nissan technical bulletin on this. And they had it for a few days with my other concerns and returned it to me saying that my car did not qualify for the repair. Why is this" it is making intolerable noises and yet they do not fix it" to this day I am still getting these noises and have read that the steering pump has failed on other 2013 Nissan Altima. There needs to be a recall!

- Reston, VA, USA

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