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 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Feb 072013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles


Well the main selling point on this vehicle is that the dealer told me they were top in mpg's with 27 city and 38 highway. After a week or so I noticed that my mpg average is no more than 23.1. and that was with more than 50% travel on highways with no traffic(never went under the speed limit). I figured it had something to do with it being new and it would average out better later. So after 5,000 miles on the car I took it in and they told me that this is just because every driver averages different and I kept saying but I am not even getting close to the 27 city and I drive more highway. But they told me that everything is normal and they reset the average calculator. After a week it was worse than it was before and I was bringing it back for my many other problems I have with this car. They had my car for 4 days and finally told me that while they had it a check engine light came on saying that my air fuel ratio sensor was faulty. They replaced it and told me that was the fix. I have put about a tanks worth of mileage on it since and I am getting under 23 mpg still. Either something is very wrong with my car or Nissan is lying about the mpg's and yes I get that they are presented by the epa but Nissan does the test first then sends it to the epa and then the epa tests later on. Either way the mpg's are wrong and I drive to try to get the best mpg's I don't even go over 2,000 RPM's unless going up hill. Which brings me to the vibration from the trans. But that's in another complaint. Nissan needs to fix this problem because I chose this over the Honda Accord just for the mpg's.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #11

Mar 212013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 50 miles
When sitting the front passenger seat passenger air bag off sign comes out and randomly disappear, appear repeatedly. Sit the very properly by owner' manual it comes out. It means passenger air bag is off sign on it will not inflate in a crash. I'm very scary drive this car with someone who sit the passenger seat. Although sitting on the seat properly and using the seat belt properly it doesn't matters because the passenger air bag off light always illuminate. It is very dangerous in a crash. I really want to know need air bag for what"?" Nissan already recalls some car same issues. I bring my car Nissan dealer, they do nothing and say"this is normal" and have same problems my car's VIN# not include the recalls so they don't fix or replace anything. It is ridiculous. Also Altima has weird winning high pitch noise all the time and drive low RPM to change to high RPM makes very loud rumbling knocking seems like a drive belt and tensioner problems. Dealer say that it is normal. Dealer always say "it is normal". if my warranty is finish they say that it is problems. I really want to solutions.

- Hawaiian Gardens, CA, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Aug 012012


  • 1,300 miles


1. when you fill the gas tank up you can hear fuel sloshing around and knocking against the tank. 2. brakes squeal and grind 3. engine is noisy and growls car shakes 4. air bag recall 5. gas mileage is not as advertised 6. console has been repaired multiple times.

- Silver Spring , MD, USA

problem #8

Mar 152013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 280 miles
I purchased this car on 3/8/2013 as brand new with 24 miles on it. 7 days later when starting up the motor the engine struggled to catch or start running. This has happened 3 times now. Will be contacting Nissan. This is unacceptable for having a week old "new" car. Still waiting for response from dealership.

- Dyersburg, TN, USA

problem #7

Mar 142013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 8,350 miles
My vehicle which appears to have multiple defects is now hesitating on start up and has occurred on several occasions. When I press the engine button, the car just keeps cranking and sometimes, barely or struggling to start. Every now and then, I noticed that there's also a single clicking sound which seems to come from the engine compartment and a drumming/slapping noise when applying the brakes. The vehicle makes to many disturbing noises that Nissan for some reason can't seem to identify other than the sounds being normal.

- Brookeville, MD, USA

problem #6

Jan 022013


  • 200 miles


When starting the car the starter would keep cranking after the release of the start button, the passenger air bag light stays on sometimes even when a passenger is in the seat also the rear seat belts are very hard to lock in do to the receiver end pushes down into the seat when driving there is a few problems the low end rattles and shakes and 45 and above there is a wining noise from the engine compartment that sounds like a bad alt bearing or trans problem it gets louder the faster you go very annoying with today technology these problems and this is just a few is a big step back for Nissan not a happy customer just broke 6000 miles.

- Manahawkin, NM, USA

problem #5

Feb 272013

Altima 6-cyl

  • 500 miles
Cvt transmission shutter, while driving from stop to go, car felt it was going to stall, like when turning left in traffic.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #4

Aug 292012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 3,500 miles
I purchased a 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 S in July of 2012 with 349 miles on it. I have had numerous problems and have returned the vehicle on several occasions for repair and have yet to find a solution to the problem. In the mean time they are only getting worse. The first problem occurred 2 weeks after I purchased it. I got in my car and applied the brake and pushed the button to start the car and the car hesitated, it was almost like the starter had hung up. I wasn't too worried at first and figure it was just a one time fluke, but it wasn't. nearly five days later it occurred again and atleast one or twice a week there after. After 4 weeks and it having done it about 4 times by then I made and appointment to have it service and a few days later I noticed 2 new noise problems. I was driving with window down one day and heard a loud chiming or jingling noise coming from what sounded like the front driver pretty much sounded to be a loose nut or screw jingling around somewhere. Then a few days after that's when the brakes started squealing. And it was terrible and very loud, like nails on chalkboard and very embarrassing. So when I bring it to be serviced they tell me that the issue I had when started could not be duplicated and that the brakes where cleaned and the rotors where shaved down and also that they put no squeal on. And for the issue with the jingling noise was that a screw was loose and rattling around on the engine cover. But when I drove the next day the brakes started squealing again so once more 2 weeks later I return it again.and they tell me they have to shave the rear rotors this time. When I leave this time the squealing does not return for 2 weeks. So once more I return it this time they tell me that dirt is caked under my brake pads and all I can do is pretty much pressure wash them every day. That's not quality!

- Coden, AL, USA

problem #3

Jan 252013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 4,500 miles
Purchased brand new with 2 miles. At 4500 miles, heat gauge indicated an increase in engine temperature. Drove 2 miles to a service station, and upon opening the hood, anti-freeze was sprayed everywhere. Car was towed to dealer. Dealer inspected, and said the radiator had leaked, so the dealer replaced the radiator. After replacement, the dealer performed a test drive, when the check engine light came on. Dealer performed pressure tests, and said the engine would need replacement.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #2

Aug 102012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 1,569 miles
On Aug. 10th we recd an email from the empire Nissan fleet mngr [xxx]. he stated that they needed to have the car back and would pay our first mth pymt and give us a replacement car of like kind and quality. They would not tell us why the veh needed to be returned. We notified Corp Nissan Consumer Affairs dept and they contacted empire Nissan. They finally advise that the reason they need the veh back was because there was an open campaign on it with a single recall. We agreed to return it for the repair. We took the veh back to Nissan and later on that day, we were notified there were 10 recalls found on the veh! at this point we realized that was why they wanted to swap the veh. They agreed to give us a rental car during repairs. We picked up the veh & as soon as we left, there was a constant buzzing noise coming from the car, there was a lot of road noise and whistling from the windows, the engine was loud. We called the GM [xxx] & ask them to buy the veh back & they told us that we were asking too much and that we are acting like we are the victim. We also called the svs mgr, [xxx] to make have the veh serviced again. He was rude and said he didn't want to get in the middle of this with the manufacture & to not bring the veh in to them for svs & they will not be providing a loaner nor a rental for us. He stated he would have an engineer come out to look at the veh to determine the cond. We have heard nothing. Nissan has been evasive and has not been honest with us. Knowing that veh had several mechanical issues, they allowed us to cont to drive this veh and put us in danger with no regards to our safety. Just a day ago we saw on the news there are now two more recalls on our veh. Now a total of 12 recalls on a brand new car! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Rialto, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 292012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 207 miles
I bought a new 2013 Altima 2.5 sl on 7/26/12, with 104 miles on it since it was delivered from another dealer. On 7/29/12 a warning light came on and the owner's manual said that possibly the gas cap was not tight. This was not the case. Manual said that if the light was not flashing, then it would clear after a few trips. It did not clear, so I drove 25 miles to dealer 8/3/12 for them to test. They said it was a bad catalytic converter and would be replaced the next day. The following day, the service manager called and said that when they removed the converter that its contents spilled on the shop floor; and that their contacts with Nissan was that this had happened on others and thus the engine had been ruined and that Nissan would replace the engine. I stated that I did not want a replaced engine because of all of the required disassembly and reassembly involved, especially with a car only a few days old and having driven only approximately 160 miles. I had paid for a new car and wanted a completely new car as a replacement. I have filed a case with Nissan, but so far they have done nothing but say that they are reviewing the situation. The selling dealer has been very cooperative, said that they agree with me and have stated that they have also contacted Nissan on my behalf and requested that a new replacement be provided. Since Nissan has seen this situation on more than one occasion, they were aware that they had faulty catalytic converters and that catastrophic failure was the result. These are not cars with several thousand miles use and several months old; but rather mine was less than a week old. Nissan should not give the buying customers the run-A-round, but do the proper thing and replace the cars with new ones like we paid for. I was under the impression that they sold quality products and had a reputation for good customer service.

- Batesville, MS, USA

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