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 1 of 4)

problem #72

Dec 162016


  • 91,515 miles


When first starting the car the rpms start jumping. Wen U go to put it in gear it cluncks. And when I go to accelerate it wont go faster than 40. (gas pedal to the floor)

- Hayward, CA, USA

problem #71

Nov 082016


  • 54,000 miles
Stopped on the driveway waiting for the garage door to open and the car died. The car starts and idles, but it dies when putting in gear. Gas is 3/4 full, all lights work and are not dim.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #70

Nov 082016


  • 61,000 miles
Dear nhsta yesterday, when I was at a stop, my car starting to "jump" forward. After working a 12 hour shift, I decided to make an appointment for the next day. But on my way to work the following day, I was driving about 45-50mph and I couldn't accelerate. I came to a busy intersection and stopped when I tried to move it just stopped. I turned it off to restart, put it in park and it stulled again. I was in a very busy intersection "5 lanes". I had to call 911 to help direct traffic so they could push my car off the road. I have only 61000 miles and I am the only owner of the car. My car had to be towed to the dealer. I was told it is the cvt. I am an icu/er nurse. I bought a Nissan due to safety ratings. Leaving me sit in a busy intersection, plus the airbag recall, I would not consider this car safe, anymore. I have read many complaints about Nissan and cvts, why are there no recalls" are you waiting for more deaths and accidents to occur" when a company offers and extended warranty specifically for a cvt up to 100,000 miles, then obviously there is a problem. Please fix this issue sincerely, jill S rn, bsn, cen, ccrn

- Greencastle, PA, USA

problem #69

Nov 062016


  • miles


My car has 46000 miles in it. Several times now while I am driving mostly when slowing down or starting again after being stopped the car shakes really bad and then dies. It is while driving. This is very dangerous and if it occurs while on the highway could be disasterous. There are many complaints about this. See the link here to other owners hacing the same problem.

- Cicero, NY, USA

problem #68

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 #67

Sep 012016


  • miles
There is a loud rumbling noise when I accelerate, and upon research, I saw online that a lot of buyers are having the same issue as I am. It just doesn't sound good, I owned a 2005 Nissan Altima a few years back and this car sounded better than my current 2013 Altima. Just sounds like an old beat up car and it is only a few years old.

- Albany, NY, USA

problem #66

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 #65

Sep 042016


  • 70,000 miles
One of the main problems is failure to start or stop. The other is the noisy transmission. Not a very dependable car. Now I heard a recall because of hood latches. As for engine problem could be very dangerous if you were on an interstate and the engine suddenly dies. Transmission very noisy all the time.

- Gaffney, SC, USA

problem #64

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 #63

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 #62

Jul 092016


  • 67,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. After starting the vehicle, the gear lever was shifted into the drive position and the engine unexpectedly became inoperable. The vehicle failed to restart and was towed to the contact's residence. An independent mechanic diagnosed the vehicle, but there were no trouble codes detected. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 67,000.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #61

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 #60

May 182016


  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving at different speeds, the engine cut off and restarted without warning. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who stated that there were recalls regarding the failure (NHTSA campaign numbers: 16V244000 (air bags), 16V029000 (latches/locks/linkages), and 15V116000 (latches/locks/linkages)). The manufacturer stated that there was no recall. The failure was not remedied. The failure mileage was 86,000.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #59

May 212016


  • 56,000 miles
I purchased my 2013 Nissan Altima (44K miles) in May 2015. I had no issues with this vehicle until I reached the 50K mile mark in January 2016. The first issue started when the vehicle would push really hard driving up a hill. The next issue happened on 5/2/16 when I placed the vehicle in żdriveż and it went forward for a few seconds and it completely shut off. To be clear, it was not the battery. Everything worked in the car except its ability to actually drive. I took it to the Nissan dealership and they kept the vehicle for about 2 days for inspection. I was told that they couldn't find a thing wrong with the vehicle; no error codes or driving issues while the vehicle was with them. I had no choice but to take back my vehicle and hope for the best. However, on May 21, 2016, the vehicle shut off again. I was almost rear-ended because it shut off while the vehicle was in motion. I sat in the middle of a busy street for 20 mins before the vehicle decided to drive again. I'm almost sure that it is the cvt transmission. I have researched this problem and it seems as if I'm not the only Nissan owner with this problem. The cvt transmission seems to "go out" at the 50K mile mark. I find it hard to believe that this vehicle can shut off while in use and there is no code or trail as to why. The most dangerous part of this experience is that the car shuts off while it is being actively driven. I use the freeway twice a week and there would life-threatening effects if the vehicle shut off in that type of traffic (65-75 mph). I have never had a vehicle that completely shut off and a certified mechanic could not tell you why. As I previously mentioned, I'm sure it has something to do with the transmission because the vehicle's driving capabilities are affected. There's no telling what other parts are being affected by this issue.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #58

May 082016


  • 70,525 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 65 mph, the rpms fluctuated and the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was able to restart after several attempts. The vehicle was able to be driven under 40 mph or the rpms would fluctuate. In addition, the check engine warning light illuminated. The contact took the vehicle to a certified mechanic who diagnosed transmission fuel/ service sensor had failed and needed to be replaced. The contact than took the vehicle to the dealer and informed them of the failure. The dealer informed the contact that the repair for the failure was not covered. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 70,525. The VIN was not available.

- Upper Darby, PA, USA

problem #57

May 022016


  • 61,808 miles
The contact owned a 2013 Nissan Altima. After performing an oil change, the independent mechanic noticed white smoke coming from the engine compartment. Upon inspection, the vehicle erupted into flames and an abnormal burning odor was present. The fire department extinguished the flames. The vehicle was towed to a repair facility where it was deemed destroyed. A police report was filed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 61,808.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #56

Feb 092016


  • miles
Car jutter & stalled when came to a stop. Took car to local Nissan dealership and they placed car on diagnostic which came back clear and could not duplicate problem for 2 days. Received car back and car did the same thing, took it to a different Nissan dealership that said they have heard of same complaints but they have had my car for 5 days and claim to not be able to duplicate the problem. Car warranty is almost up and Nissan seems to be of no help. Passenger airbag light also stays on from time to time. I have read and printed out several identical complaints and there seems to be no resolve.

- Pittsburg, CA, USA

problem #55

Feb 102016


  • 39,799 miles
Car keeps shutting down while driving ! its happened 6 times since I bought car in January 23,2014. First time it happened was very next day of purchasing the car. Its happened a total of six times, including today/this afternoon while driving on the expressway on hwy 111 in imperial county, California. My car lost all power, engine shut down, lost control of gears (drive gears locked), attempted to start car could not start ignition. & I lost all control of the steering wheel. Same happened on each prior occasions/times. Engine shut down, no control of steering wheel, would not start, gears/lever would get locked in place.. I do not feel safe driving this car !! this car is a death trap ! I have a small child (7 years old) I am putting my child's and my life in danger by driving this car any further. Dealer insist they cannot find defect/problem. Again, they have also conviniently never wrote my concerns on any the their work tickets, when I have presented car for repairs. I bought car from rogers & rogers nissian dealership in imperial, California 92251 please help us before we get into a serious accident & hurt or kill our selfs or someone else. !!! because of this defect !!

- Brawley, CA, USA

problem #54

Jan 302016


  • 58,000 miles
I have had my vehicle looked at by private mechanic due to shudder in engine while driving he informed me that my cvt transmission is faulty, I am still under Nissan warranty but when I took my car in to their service center they told me no. They don't see anything wrong with my car. I explained to them in detail my personal experience as well as what my mechanic stated they told me no. I was driving yesterday when my car completely shut off on me. I was able to come to a stop. I started the car again with no issue but as soon as I shifted into drive my car would judder & shut off again. The same judder have been feeling for some time now. But now my car is turning off. Based on my research I have done this is a major issue that is not being addressed by Nissan. I have also seen they continue to deny the transmission is flawed until you find yourself out of warranty then they diagnose the problem as the transmission which is now 100% out of your own pocket. This is heart breaking to know such a large company is aware of this but will not repair or recall their cars leaving us stranded with a $20,000 car that will not live passed 60,000 miles when I was driving my car I had just gotten off highway when my car juddered & shut off. I was very lucky I did not stay on highway it would have caused me to lose control at a higher speed as well being struck by other vehicles. This is a life threatening defect. I hope it can be resolved before there is a loss of life. If there has not been one already.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #53

Sep 012015


  • 30,000 miles
The check engine light has been on since September 2015. I have visited the dealer three times (until end-Jan 2015) and there is no resolution. I have a metro mile tag that transmits me error codes and as per that the problem is P0037 - ho2S heater control circuit low bank 1 sensor 2 the dealer has not been able to resolve it and it is a absolute waste of time getting the vehicle to the dealer so many times.

- Fremont, CA, USA

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