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Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here.

CarComplaints.com 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.

9.0

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$890
Average Mileage:
69,150 miles
Total Complaints:
12 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (8 reports)
  2. replace headlight assembly (3 reports)
  3. reemplazae bombillas por hid (1 reports)
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2013 Nissan Altima lights problems

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2013 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #12

Oct 012018

Altima SRS 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

This is the second Nissan Altima I have owned. My first one the transmission went out and couldn't even back it out of my garage but it was under warranty still (had 24,000 miles). I gave them another change because I do like the car itself and the gas mileage. It is unsafe to drive my Nissan after dark because you can't even see the headlights on when the lights are on dim. I can only drive it with my brights on. If I continue to drive it at dark somebody is going to get hurt very badly. I WILL NEVER buy another NISSAN IN THIS LIFE.

- Jane L., Zachary, US

problem #11

Aug 032018

Altima SV 2.5L 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,200 miles

click to see larger images

dim low beams dim low beams

The low beam headlights on my 2013 Nissan Altima SV are dangerously dim. Difficult and dangerous to drive at night. Need to use high beams to properly see the road. This is an extreme safety risk for myself and other cars on the road. I've read online that it is not a bulb replacement issue - but a light projector issue with the design of the headlights. A safety concern that Nissan should be recalling to replace the defective headlights

Update from Nov 12, 2018: I had the lights repaired because I could no longer drive at night, the repair was done on 10/17/2018 at a cost of $674.88 parts and labor

- Steve D., Philadelphia, US

problem #10

Jan 302016

Altima SV 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 100,000 miles

SINCE 2016 MY LOW BEAMS HAVE GOTTEN DIMMER AND DIMMER. THEY ARE SO DIM NOW I CAN BARELY SEE THE ROAD AT NIGHT AND DRIVE WITH HIGH BEAMS ON AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. I COMMUTE 100 MILES A DAY TO AND FROM WORK. IT'S DARK WHEN I LEAVE IN THE MORNING AND DARK WHEN I GO HOME AT NIGHT.

I PAID A NISSAN DEALERSHIP $200.00 FOR LABOR LOOKING FOR FAULTY WIRING AND THEY SAID THEY COULD NOT FIND ANYTHING AND I WOULD HAVE TO BRING IT BACK AND LEAVE IT LONGER FOR THEM TO LOOK FOR THE PROBLEM. TOOK IT TO A SECOND MECHANIC WHO IN FACT ADVISED ME MY HEADLIGHT REFLECTORS WERE DEFECTIVE AND THE ONLY FIX WAS TO REPLACE THE ENTIRE ASSY.

I DO NOT HAVE THAT KIND OF MONEY ESPECIALLY AFTER BEING RAKED OVER THE COALS BY NISSAN WHEN I BOUGHT THE CAR BACK IN 2013 BRAND NEW. REPLACING THE BULB IS A WASTE OF MONEY SINCE THE REFLECTORS ARE DEFECTIVE.

BASED ON ALL THE COMPLAINTS NISSAN IS NOT ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DEFECT. I EVEN FOUND WHERE A CLASS ACTION SUIT HAD BEEN STARTED BUT APPARENTLY IT'S STILL IN THE BEGINNING STAGES AND ALL THEY WANTED ME TO DO WAS PROVIDE THEM WITH THE DEFECTIVE PARTS ONCE I HAD THEM REPLACED.

I HAVE YET TO SEE ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN ABLE TO AFFORD TO REPLACE THEIR HEADLIGHT ASSY GIVEN THE COST OF EACH LIGHT. I AM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THIS IS ANY LESS IMPORTANT THAN AIR BAG ISSUES OR HOOD LATCH DEFECTS. I GUESS ITS GOING TO TAKE SOMEONE SUING NISSAN TO GET THEIR ATTENTION

- Bonnie P., Sebastian, FL, US

problem #9

May 012018

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My 2013 Nissan Altima headlights are very dim and I have to drive with brights on just to see at night. This is a real safety concern. I have replaced the bulbs twice with LED and HID and they have not fixed the problem. I have had it to the mechanic and Nissan dealership and they offer no solution to the problem. I see that through internet research that this is a problem with others. Nissan should request a recall to fix this problem before someone is hurt!

- Tanya T., Hot Springs National Park, AR, US

problem #8

Oct 042018

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 190,000 miles

I drive 100 miles each day/night. I have been noticing that the headlights seem dim. My wife has been complaining for months about it. Last night I could not see anything in front of me and drove with my high beams. I brought the car to the dealer thinking the bulbs needed to be replaced. These are my originals. The dealer inspected and said it is not the bulb but the lens. My lens are cloudy and they seem to be burned or damaged. This is the same for both lights. I asked if this was normal and they said NO. I asked the cost to fix it and they laugh knowing it would be expensive. They looked up the parts and gave me a discount at $1,100. They said the only fix is to replace the entire assembly. I freaked out. Who expects to buy a car and when its time to change the bulb to actually change the entire assembly!!

I called Consumer Affairs at Nissan, received a case number, and was told someone will call you. I received the call with a pleasant response, "we have reviewed your case and we are sorry to inform you that this is no longer covered under your warranty". I explained this is a manufacture defect and not a warranty issue. Who expects to replace the assembly before the bulbs go out!! This is such BS and a large corporation like Nissan doesn't care because we don't do anything about it. Protest these jerks and it seem many of us have the same issue so it is a problem. How do we get this fixed? I don't mind making repairs but this is absurd!

- Albert F., Hopewell Junction, NY, US

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problem #7

Jan 012018

Altima CV 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

I have always been proud to be a Nissan Altima owner! People have always complimented my car! I have been Extremely frustrated this year! My low beam headlights are Extremely dim, like my lights are not even on! I have taken it to several places, that said it might be electrical. So I decided to take it to my dealership, Daytona Auto Mall Nissan of Daytona. I was told they would have to take off the front bumber to install a whole new light system and bulbs ( even though it is Not the bulbs! ). I asked what causes this, Don said.. time.., I said this car is only 6 years old, I have never had a problem with any of my cars like this. He also told me they would keep the price low, so it is more of a money issue then what the Real problem is! t just does Not make any sense, when the High Beams work fine! They DO need to do a Recall, and take care of their customers!!

Update from Oct 6, 2018: Nissan consumer affairs agreed with my dealership to pay 70% of my headlamp system replacement, therefore they agree there is a problem, Therefore I believe this should be a RECALL, How do I go about getting this as a recall, and have them totally replace the headlamp system??? It is a hazard to drive at night , my car is a 2013, this should not be happening !

- Linda K., Ormond Beach, US

problem #6

Aug 012017

Altima S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

It's very hard to see at night, unless I have my high beams on. I have cars flashing me to turn my lights on, when they are already on. On or about 8/26/2018 a person at the stop sign facing me slowly and passed by to tell me to turn my lights on. I want this to be a recall because this is due to no fault of mine. Based on the number of complaints, this matter should be resolved by the automaker before I get a ticket.

I went to the dealer to ask about the problem and they said I have to get diagnostic test because it's an electrical problem and they need to know exactly where the problem is at, but I don't have $400 plus dollars to get the test done. So now I turn my high beams on in order see where I'm going at night. 50% of time I'm on the road at night. This isn't good.

If anyone has the same issue, please share what you have done to correct the issue if anything.

- Terrell B., Miami, US

problem #5

Jul 012018

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 154,000 miles

I have had issues with the headlights on this vehicle since new. The first 3 years of owning it was bearable but it had gradually gotten worse. When it was new I noticed when you started the car and put it and gear and proceeded to drive the headlights would get very bright but only for a few seconds then they would go back to normal. The bright flash that lasted only a few seconds was how bright you would expect your low beams to be at night. For the last last year now they have gotten worse. They are extremely dim to the point where I avoid driving at night unless the high beams are on. This is very dangerous I have almost got in accidents several times driving at night due to the impaired visibility. I am thinking it’s an electrical issue. New bulbs or headlights didn’t fix it so what else could it be?

- natbugzmom, coden, AL, USA

problem #4

Jan 312014

Altima SL 3.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 62 miles

I am adding my voice to the countless other 2013 Nissan Altima Owners regarding Dim low beam headlights. We noticed soon after we bought the car. We don't drive too often at night and almost always in the city where street lighting and lower speeds makes the problem less critical... but I truly would be nervous driving at night on the highway with this problem. The only workaround solution until a repair of this defect is to drive with your high beams on which is not a great solution as it blinds oncoming drivers.

It is very clear from the countless reports from all the car complaints websites about this exact same issue that this is not an isolated incident. What is really scary is that this is TRULY A ROAD SAFETY HAZARD and yet Government agencies have not investigated and forced Nissan to fix the problem as a mandatory recall.

I could buy after-market headlight enclosure bodies with working projectors but this would likely be a $700-$1000 repair for something that should be Nissan's problem to address. I could also buy new extremely bright LED bulbs that increase the lumens from the stock 1500 to over 6000 but from what I have read, others have been doing this and because of the default of the projector lens/housing the increased bright lights do not seeming to be solving the problem.

- Perry F., Winnipeg, MB, Canada

problem #3

Dec 012014

Altima LS

  • CVT transmission
  • 24,000 miles

Worst headlights-ever! You can see maybe 3 feet in front of you when driving at night. I don't understand how this design was ever approved. Definitely a safety issue- I do not feel safe driving at night unless the brights are on. Just very disappointed, and not sure how to remedy.

- Donna R., Cookeville, TN, USA

problem #2

Dec 012013

Altima SV V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 20,000 miles

ongoing issue...not sure of exact start date...The headlights on my Altima are dim BUT will occasionally become bright for no reason (and no I'm not turning on the brights). I've noticed when they are dim (which is 98% of the time) they are a yellowish color and white when they get bright. We believe this to be an electrical issue and suggested this to the service department the second time I took it to be serviced which they had it for three days. However, the service manager stated they do not get reimbursed by Nissan to troubleshoot problems they only get reimbursed when they identify and fix a problem. Their solution was to turn the lights on and off, turn the brights on/off and pull up another 2013 Altima to visually compare. Thus I took it to another dealer and they don't have a solution either.

We have made a point not to drive the vehicle at night much, but now that we are going into winter again it will be difficult. There are many aspects of the car I really like BUT I do not feel safe in this car.

- tjin, Chesterton, IN, USA

problem #1

Oct 022012

Altima SV 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 100 miles

El nissan altima es un buen carro, pero como todo modelo nuevo tiene sus defectos,

( iluminacion frontal pobre aún cuando tiene foglight , ruidos en el tren, mala recepción del radio, el motor cuando acelera se oye en la cabina); que seguiran perfeccionandose con el paso de los años.

- Julio M., Yabucoa, PR, Puerto Rico

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