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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
40,900 miles
Total Complaints:
16 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (13 reports)
  2. battery for the car and battery for the key remotes (1 reports)
  3. replace transmission (1 reports)
  4. reprogramed the ECM (1 reports)
2013 Nissan Altima engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #16

Sep 222021

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles


My 2013 Nissan Altima is a piece of s***. I will never buy another one. A new costly repair two months in a row.

- Peggy Suzanne A., Topeka, US

problem #15

Aug 032018

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 50,000 miles

So my 2013 Nissan Altima has been having the same problem. Engine stops while driving and all lights on. I always shut down the car and restart it. I took the car the dealership and then to a local car repair shop. They couldn't figure out what's damn wrong with the car. I love this car but with this crazy problem which seemed to have no solution I will probably won't recommend nobody to a Nissan. Nissan needs to make a recall for this problem before accidents/deaths happen.

- Salum C., Chesapeake, VA, US

problem #14

Feb 102018

Altima 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 42,000 miles

I was driving on the highway last Saturday (02/10) and got off the exit ramp. As I was approaching the light , my car stalled or "locked up". All lights were on but I had no power-steering and my check engine and battery light came on. I could not even press on the break as the breaks were locked. I put the car in park and tried to shut the engine but couldn't. I tried again after a few minutes and finally the car shut off. I tried starting the car but it wouldn't start the first time. I repeated the process and the second time around, it sputtered and stayed and I drove back home and towed it to the dealer on Monday. They couldn't reproduce the problem and they said it was safe to drive and sent me back even though I raised my concern driving the car. They said if it happened again I could come in. I took an appointment in next 10 days as I needed a loaner car.

It happened again withing a week, last Saturday (02/17). The car stalled as I was approaching the traffic light and "locked up". I had to a wait a few minutes to be able to shut off the engine and restart it and drove home ( about 1.5 miles). I towed the car again to dealer and got a loaner car. I gave them permission to drive the car as much as they wanted to be able to reproduce the problem. The service supervisor called me yesterday saying my car was running out of gas and I had to pay for it or they can't drive it. Seriously !!!??? Not only that, since they cannot reproduce the problem they said they cannot do anything for me. I requested them to at least drive till Monday as I thought may be the magical number of one week could cause it to stall again. I also called North America Nissan to ask what they can do to help. They are supposed to call me on Monday. But I didn't get a good feeling about the conversation I had with them. If they can't figure out what the hell is wrong with their own car who does? Can't they not think out of the box for some solution? Are they really so dependent on the codes that if the computer cannot diagnose it, they give up? They gave me a look as if they had never heard about this kind of problem, so I even sent them the web sites that talk about this issues.

Do any one of you have a solution to this problem? I WILL NEVER buy another Nissan again. This is my first and last.

- Jyothi Y., Somerset, NJ, US

problem #13

Dec 152016

Altima SV 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 56,000 miles


I have a 2013 Nissan Altima. I had experienced a shudder or hesitation when I both accelerate or decelerate, much like other drivers have experienced. However, I was driving on the highway today and got off the exit ramp. As I was approaching the light and close to a dead stop, my car stalled or "locked up". All lights were on but I had no power-steering and my check engine and battery light came on. The traffic behind me was having to complete to a quick halt as they got off the highway and weren't expecting to have to stop when there was a green light! I put the car in park and started it again. It started but then when I put it in drive, the same thing happened as it stalled. I repeated the process and the second time around, it sputtered and stayed on while in drive. I quickly drove it to the nissan dealer down the street and left it with them. They were closed and I have yet to talk to them but after reading up on it, I'm absolutely convinced that the sputtering and stall are a correlation of a bad CVT transmission. Luckily, I should still be covered by the warranty since I bought it in 2012 and only have 56,000 miles on it. Still it shouldn't be happening and could have really ended up causing an accident. I'm interested to see what the dealership will have to say!

- jboring, Charlotte, NC, US

problem #12

Jun 062016

Altima S 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

car shut off while idle in traffic

I noticed when I went out for lunch that when I shifted the car in gear that it wasn't catching. I tried to reverse out of my parking space and the car would not move when I put my foot on the gas. So I turned the car off, and started it again without a problem. I did not have any problems while driving during my lunch break. When I got in my car to leave from work to drive home, I noticed that the same problem that happened at lunch time happened again. I turned the car off again and restarted it, but this time it did not go as smoothly. The car still ran, so I was thinking that I could make it home to take it to a mechanic. At this point I'm thinking, what could be wrong with this car. I had purchased this car with 36,000 miles on May 31, 2015. I kept the oil changed and the car did not need any servicing during the one year period, which I thought was great. So I'm driving home from work and I am stopped in traffic and the car just stops. I shift the car to park turn it off and restart it. Traffic was moving so the car moved when I put my foot on the gas. When I come to the light to stop, the car stops again, but this time it was not so easily started. I managed to get the car to start and I made it into a parking lot of a shopping center before it shut off for good. I stayed in the parking lot for about an hour trying to get the car to start again. I realized that it wasn't going to start, I called the tow truck to tow me home. The tow truck to about 4 hours to come. The next day, I was going to have the car towed to my family mechanic. When the tow truck got there, he told me that the car was working so I drove it to the mechanic who looked at it and told me to take this car to the dealer. The car was still cutting off, but as long as the car was not in idle it would drive.

I get to the dealer, and the staff was really nice. They tell me that they cannot find anything wrong with the car either. They ask me to leave the car to do a further evaluation. The next day they tell me that the car needed a new battery and that the key fob battery was low. I had them both replaced. The total cost was $260. I pick my car up on Friday. The car stops again on Saturday. The car was still driveable until Tuesday, when the transmission went out. I am currently making payments on this car, and it is no longer under warranty. I am currently driving a rental car to get back and forth to work.

After reading some of other people's experiences on this site, I realize that what happened the week before was a warning that the transmission was about to go. I will probably not buy another Nissan. It's a shame because, I really liked the car.

- Sandrea J., Reading, PA, US

problem #11

Oct 192015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

Don't know how to get it fixed, went to a Nissan mechanic ran all kinds of diagnostics and of course on the drive there the car did not stall and there was no jerky movements. That was 3 days ago. Now it's starting again. I had a Pathfinder before and had to replace the transmission twice.

- Diosdado A., Orland Park, IL, US

problem #10

Aug 312015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles


Car turns off unexpectedly. Sometimes car turns off right when you start and about to start. Then few days in a row, the car started to turn off while driving at low speed. It's life threatening!!!

Took to the dealer and they can't figure it out until there computer tells them what to do. A master technician should have enough common sense to diagnose the problem without the need of the computer!!! The people they have working there are awful and LIARS!!! The first time I took it to the NISSAN dealer, they asked me to keep describing the problem as much as I can. I did just that but had a feeling this wasn't enough. Before leaving the car there, I turned the car on in front of the girl who was registering my car for service and the car started to jerk and then turned off in front of her.

I left the car and came next day when manager was there and they said they failed to replicate the problem and don't know what's wrong with it. I told them it turned off in front of the girl that was there, she started lying for no reason and said it didn't turn off and was only jerking. However, I took the car back and dropped it off at the dealer ship again. This time I made a video off the problem occurring and email them the videos, still no solution.

I will upload the video on Youtube, people who have had this problem please go watch the video on Youtube and share it with as many people as you can. Nissan won't recall this issue until someone dies in an accident and that's really messed up so we need to put their NAME in question and spread awareness. So, they recall the problem and take responsibility for their defects. This is a brand new car and shouldn't have problems like this.

This same problem seems to exist with older NISSAN models as well so we need to put their prestige in question and force them to fix this issue. Are they waiting for someone to DIE, it's very dangerous for the car to turn off in traffic while driving. It it's an accident and you survive, now you have a ticket on your driving record, your insurance goes high, and etc etc.

- sharazi, Fredericksburg, VA, US

problem #9

Dec 122015

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 29,000 miles

12/1215 Died at traffic light AGAIN. This is so ridiculous! Nissan consumer affairs was still reviewing repair records so I did not bring to dealer for a 5th time per my conversation with the regional manager Jerome on 12/14/15. Had I known I would get a call from one of his co-workers on 12/21/15 saying there was nothing they could do since the dealers can't replicate I would have brought it to the dealer for the 5th time sooner. It has since died again. See next post.

- Amy T., West Milford, NJ, US

problem #8

Nov 112015

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 28,214 miles

11/11/15 car died at stop light, brought back to Butler Nissan. 11/20 Butler still could not replicate/fix so I was told to pick up again, not fixed. Called Nissan consumer affairs and they told me to bring to another dealer.

- Amy T., West Milford, NJ, US

problem #7

Oct 222015

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 28,000 miles

10/22/15 Car died while I was driving through an intersection. Put in park and restarted, put in drive and stalled again. This happened about 10 times. During one of the times the no key detected warming illuminated although the key was in the cup holder where it always is. After several attempts it would no longer start. I was waiting for tow truck for about 15-20 minutes and I tried again, it started and did not stall when put in drive. I drove car to Nissan to leave for repair since it only had 28,000 miles & was still under warranty. They could not replicate the issue so after them keeping it for two weeks I was told to pick it up and keep an eye on it.

Update from Dec 21, 2015: Has since stalled four more times, has been to two different dealers, each twice and still NO resolution. I have four lease payments remaining, all I asked was they fix it or terminate my lease early without penalty so I don't have to drive this death trap. Nissan consumer affairs says since the dealers can't replicate it there is nothing they can do. Apparently me or someone else needs to be injured or killed for them to do something.

- Amy T., West Milford, NJ, US

problem #6

Nov 272015

Altima SL 4 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 53,000 miles


The car started stalling in July of 2015 - right before a trip, so I paid $800 to have Nissan Georgetown CT flush the entire fuel assembly, thinking that perhaps I had bad gas with water in it???. The mechanic could NOT find any problem with the car however. Well, just today - four months later - the exact same problem is occurring: The car bucks and bolts and chugs when I slow down, shaking when I stop at a stop sign or my mailbox, then shuts off.

I can't drive the damn car, it is a hazard on the roads, with just over 50,000 miles, it is a piece of junk. I scheduled another appointment for Monday to see if they can fix it.

Note: The last Nissan Altima I owned had a recall for bad intake manifold, with grit sucked into the engine: this same dealer replaced that engine after 64,000 miles. ... Let's see what they do on Monday!

Update from Dec 5, 2015: Well, the dealer replaced the entire transmission free (under warranty at 55,000 miles).

Took 2 days!

- James R., Ridgefield, CT, US

problem #5

Aug 122015

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 57,000 miles

2013 Nissan Altima, 2.5L, about 57k miles on it. My wife drives it, mainly highway miles. She turns it on the other day, puts it in reverse, the car shook, dashboard lit up with all sorts of lights and car turned off. After several attempts of starting the car back up, we called a tow truck and towed it to the dealership we bought it from. They kept it for 6 days and told us they can't find anything wrong with the car because nothing registered on their codes/computer.

We picked up the car and I'm driving it now. Same thing happened to me again, put the car in Drive, it shakes, and turns off. But it did turn on the first time and now it's driving fairly normally. I'm not the most technical guy in the world but the engine does not sound great, there's almost a clanking noise coming from it. My wife is 8 months pregnant, she's not driving this car again. Please contact me with any helpful information about this problem. Thank you

- Peter K., Wolcott, CT, US

problem #4

Aug 192015

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 34,797 miles

I have problem with my new Nissan Altima. When I park more than 15 minutes then drive the RPMs slow down until it stalls. Any one have a solution?

- ebrahimy, Manama, Bahrain

problem #3

Oct 112013

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 13,000 miles

My 2013 Altima has had several issues. I would not recommend this car to anyone.

- Dj S., Dublin, VA, US

problem #2

Sep 272013

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 39,000 miles

I have had this nightmare of a 2013 Altima for 13 months now, Bought it brand new and its been problem after problem. It has 39k on it and 12k of those miles are from making 120 mile trips to the dealers about once a week for service. Brand new with 500 miles on it the trouble starting began. It would keep rolling over until it finally started. The issue continued to get worse to the point of starting and then shutting off after a few seconds of idling. Now at 39k the worse issue has began. Usually when I am idling in park, then reverse and put the car in drive I'll get up to 10 mph and make it 500 ft and the car will shut off. It happened 4 times this week. the last time it happened the car shook and vibrated rapidly like it was going to shut off and I pushed the accelerator and it functioned as normal. Another issue surfacing is when I apply the brake at times the whole car will jerk and a huge drop in rpms will occur it will drop from 1500rpms to 500rpms like its trying to stall. This car idles just a tad over 1000rpms so why would it drop to 500rpms for braking??? I am always told its NORMAL for the CAR. What car do you buy new and STALLING OUT is a feature on the vehicle that's NORMAL????Nissan needs to take a good hard look and these cars and fix them instead of continuing to take our money. Most of us paid $23k+ for these cars and some of us paying $400+ a month for something for 5 or 6 years and its not even reliable.Some of these cars probably wont even be on the road when people pay them off 4-6 years from now they are that BAD!!!.

- natbugzmom, coden, AL, US

problem #1

Apr 092013

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 4,000 miles

while driving my car usually with lower amount of fuel, but not enough to have the fuel light on, and during a sharp turn from a complete stop, it has cut out on me 3 different times. I mean i have my pedal down and i push it further the more i realize that there is no power, and then after a few seconds the engine kicks back on and i start going. This is very scary because 2 of these times i had another car coming up on my back while trying to accelerate. took it to the dealer and they tell me they can not duplicate and that's it. what happens the day i get rear ended because this motor cut out?

- dynarider84, Reston, VA, US

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