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.


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
3,665 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

problem #5

Dec 192012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 500 miles


The problem is with the A/C compressor staying on even though I turn the defrost off. Same if I turn auto on then off. The A/C light stays off, but the A/C compressor stays on. The only way to turn the A/C off is to press the A/C button twice (once to turn the light on, next to force the A/C to go off). If the defrost is off, auto is off and the A/C light is off, the A/C compressor must turn off. It should not be a guessing game for the driver to wonder if the A/C is off. I have complained about it before and been to the dealer 3 or more times about it. There are multiple postings (complaints) about it on the internet (see one link below). I have complained about it to Nissan and was asked to see the dealer. The dealer checks other same model cars and the problem is consistent amongst all cars, so he says "there is no problem". the dealer mechanic agrees with me that this is not how it should work, but since all other similar cars do the same thing, there is nothing they can do about it.

- Viera, FL, USA

problem #4

Jun 182013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 3,600 miles
Altima 2.5L eng. Engine vibrations/cvt shuttering started approx. 3600 miles but has continually gotten worse with more miles (7000 mi 12/31/13). Vibrations felt at 1500-2000 RPM (enough to shake the dash components), then vibration goes away. Slight acceleration under load at 1500-2000 RPM and at any speed (20-30, 40-55, 72 mph) will result in vibrations (everytime). Had Nissan service writer ride with me, then he drove the vehicle and confirmed the vibrations. Said to return next week Jan 2014 to further document. Guess what, he said they haven't had this problem"?" however, this problem has been reported to Nissan many times over this past year. I now believe this vibration is coming from the eng not from the cvt since I can feel the vibrations when the vehicle is stopped (in park or in neutral). Nissan has an engineering design problem they have been unable to resolve and fail to admit.

- Lebanon, OH, USA

problem #3

Jan 112013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 25 miles
Engine light went on brought it in and diagnosed as the oxygen sensor.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #2

Jan 092013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 13,500 miles
I have had this car for 5 months and bought it brand new and it has been nothing but problems that Nissan cannot resolve. On top of all of the recalls, brake and starting issues it now starting to fall apart. Recently I have been noticing a noise coming from the windshield almost every time I drive and especially when I am driving 60-75mph on the interstate. The noise I have been hearing sounds like small rock hit the windshield and at other times I hear a cracking noise. So here recently I was driving on the interstate at 75mph and hear something flapping on the windshield and notice that it is the rubber seal that goes around the windshield. So I pull off at the next exit and reattach the seal. The car is only 5 months old and nothing should be coming off like that. Also my car has black interior and it tends I be much hotter on inside especially in direct sunlight. One day I left my car parked in the direct sunlight and got it and the interior was pretty warm and I was going to plug my phone in and the A/C outlet inside the cubby under the radio and as soon as I tried to lift the outlet cover it cracked and broke off. I traded in my 2010 Altima for the 2013 because I loved my previous Altima and I had 60K on it and never had a problem with it. I thought I was buying quality and reliability when I purchased a Nissan, but that has not been the case. I have had the car only five months and having mechanical, exterior and interior issues. This will be the last Nissan I own, I will be getting a Camry next time I purchase a car.

- Coden, AL, USA

problem #1

Jan 132012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 700 miles
I took possession of my new 2013 Altima sv 2.5L 4 cylinder on 11/17/2012. A short time later I started hearing a rumbling, "lugging", sound coming from the engine compartment and feeling a vibration on the gas pedal and steering wheel, on light acceleration from a stop at around 1500 RPM. On 12/13/2012 I took the vehicle back to my dealer and drove around with my salesman and a senior technician, who both stated they heard the rumbling noise. My salesman and I went on a drive on another Nissan Altima 2.5 L similar to my car and neither of us heard the rumbling sound my car makes. No work was performed during this visit. On 12/19/2012, I took the car back to the dealer and reported the same problem. This time the service dept. Ordered a serpentine belt and belt tensioner for my car and installed a piece of insulation on the A/C low pressure line. The work on the A/C line did not have an effect on the noise and vibration level. Meanwhile, I filed a complaint with Nissan customer care and was assigned a case number and a "regional specialist to handle my case. On 12/21/2012, I returned to the dealer with the same problem. On this visit the serpentine belt and tensioner on my car were replaced by new ones. I was informed by the dealer that Nissan was aware of the problem and the belt and tensioner swap was just a temporary solution. I did noticed a fractional decrease in noise and vibration level after the swap. As of today,01/04/2013, the noise and vibration are back. This issue has become very annoying and distracting, to the point where the ability to concentrate fully on my driving is being affected. I rarely use the car radio while operating my vehicle for exactly this safety reason. I'm concerned the impact of the noise and vibration on my ability to concentrate fully on my driving could lead to an accident and possible injury. I have not heard back from Nissan.

- Gibsonville, NC, USA

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