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:
20 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
20 / 0
Average Mileage:
14,912 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2013 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 10 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #135

Apr 302014


  • 8,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the passenger's side seat belt light intermittently illuminated when a passenger was in the seat and secured. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 14V138000 (air bags, electrical system), however the failure was recurring. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 8,000.

- Dalycity, CA, USA

problem #134

Apr 282014


  • 16,800 miles
I have experienced several incidents where the airbag off light was on even though an adult passenger was riding in the passenger seat with their seat belt fastened. I was made aware of the passenger air bag recall affecting many 2013 Nissan Altima. I brought my vehicle to the Nissan dealership just one week ago for routine maintenance and I inquired about the recall. They performed the recall which I believe involved a software update. However even though the recall update was performed, today just 5 days after receiving the update, once again the airbag light was on with an adult sized passenger in the car's front passenger seat. I had to stop, turn off the car and restart in order to correct the situation.

- Bristow, VA, USA

problem #133

Dec 192012


  • 40 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the air bag warning light would illuminate while the passenger's seat was occupied. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the air bag sensor was replaced but the failure was not corrected. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 40. The VIN was not available. Updated 06/10/14

- Rocky Mount, VA, USA

problem #132

Feb 202014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 6,350 miles


My wife and I were driving I noticed the passenger airbag light saying "passenger airbag off".. my wife is about 150 lbs and the airbag seat sensor should not have an issue with a person of this weight. I worked on seat sensor design for almost two years and I know that most are programs to not deploy for people under 80lbs. This has happened three times so far (mid Jan, end of Feb, and early March 2014). I have pulled over each time, turned the car on and off and it re-set the error two of the three times. The one time it did not, I drove an additional 10 miles then retried the car off/on and it re-set so the airbag does work. Now I'm driving around checking for the light so I know the airbag will deploy in case of an accident when I have a passenger in my front seat.

- Northville, MI, USA

problem #131

Mar 032014


  • 2,900 miles
Front passenger air bag remain active (on) although there is no adult passenger sitting in the front seat.

- Forsyth, IL, USA

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problem #130

Feb 272013


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the passenger side air bag light illuminated intermittently when there was a passenger in the seat. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, who repaired the vehicle under NHTSA campaign id number 14V138000( air bags, electrical system ) however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 20,000.

- Asheboro, NC, USA

problem #129

Oct 162013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles


The passenger seat airbag sensor fails to notice a 110 pound passenger in the seat. This results in a warning on the display that the passenger airbag is disabled. The first incident was last fall. The date and mileage above is just a guess, the second time was on or about March 20, 2014 when the warning remained on for about 5 miles or until I stopped and restarted the car at a traffic light. It happened again April 5, 2013. The warning stayed on until I shut off the engine and then restarted it. I am not sure but it may be affected by whether of not her seat belt buckle is engaged before or after the car is started. (please note that this is my wife's car and their is seldom anyone in the passenger seat.) there was a recall for this issue in 2013 and there has been an announcement of a new recall starting soon. Both recalls are only for selected VIN numbers and neither includes our Altima. I checked with Nissan corporate customer service and with the dealer and they both confirmed the recalled vehicles do not include our car. The car is titled to my wife [xxx]. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Stevensville, MD, USA

problem #128

Mar 312014


  • 15,500 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that upon starting the vehicle, the engine rpms increased excessively without warning. Also, the contact stated that the air bag warning light would illuminate intermittently. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for a diagnostic. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 15,500.

- Daunn Loring , VA, USA

problem #127

Nov 012013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
2013 Nissan Altima. Consumer writes in regards to "passenger airbag off" light malfunction. The consumer stated the air bag light would illuminate randomly when someone sat in the passenger seat. No fault codes appeared on the computer. The dealer stated that was the design of the vehicle

- Holderness, NH, USA

problem #126

Mar 182014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 12,500 miles
On 3/18/14 I was stopped at a traffic light that was red and was at the bottom of a ramp located in interstate 225 Colorado going South. When the light turned green I preceded to cross the intersection/ passed the South lanes who were at a red light and all cars were stopped. When I preceded to cross in front of the North bound lane a car suddenly went through a red light and smashed into the front of my car turning the car around in a 180 degrees or more. The impact to the front of the car, fenders and hood was completely damaged from the full impact of the other car. The radiator and air conditioner were leaking and damaged and my vehicle needed to be towed from the scene after the police report was completed. The air bags did not inflate and I incurred multiple bruising from neck to lower back and mid thigh as documented by my doctor. I do not consider this Nissan Altima 2013 to be a safe car to drive and I drive small children to school which is even more worrisome. The air bags in this Nissan Altima 2013 are defective.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #125

May 302013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles


Passenger air bag light indicated that it was off. Had Nissan check it several times and they indicated that there was no issue. Airbag light malfunction several times with adult passenger sitting.

- Milton, FL, USA

problem #124

Jun 122013

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that he started the vehicle and the passenger side air bag illuminated. The contact also stated that the headlights were very low, he was unable to see the road at night and had to activate the high beam headlights. The brake warning light illuminated on the instrument panel while driving 30 mph. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 5,000.updated 05/28/14 MA the consumer stated the brake warning light illuminated at 45mph and then again at 30mph. The passenger air bag light illuminated on two separate occasions prior to a passenger sitting in the seat. The headlights improved since replacing the bulbs with 110 w, aftermarket bulbs. The seat belt light illuminated on 3 separate occasions. The vehicle had to be restarted. Updated 05/30/2014

- Moraga, CA, USA

problem #123

Mar 202014


  • miles
We purchased a Nissan Altima last August. Every time I sit in the passenger seat, it says that the passenger air bag is not operative. The owner's manual states that it will not function if a child or small adult occupies the seat. I weigh between 111 and 114 pounds. I called Nissan's Consumer Affairs office to determine the weight that would trigger the air bag's functionality. I was trying to ascertain whether the air bag was broken or whether I was considered a "small adult" for this purpose. We received a voice mail from [xxx], stating that she was assisting mark in this matter and that my case number was 14039699. She further stated that she could not answer my question because "the information was proprietary to the manufacturer of the component" and thus "not available to the public." As a result, there is no way for me to determine whether the air bag is malfunctioning. While I understand that the deployment of an air bag can be harmful to lightweight passengers, its failure to function for someone that exceeds an appropriate weight limit is dangerous and potentially fatal. I therefore ask you to assist me in getting that information from Nissan. I find it incredible that Nissan is telling me that this key safety information isn't available to their customers. Thank you for your help. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #122

Jan 022012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
The 2013 Altima S has an intermittent airbag problem. Is noticeable when the weight of the passenger is about 120 pounds and slim. Have notified Nissan Consumer Affairs and the dealer and despite a recall and parts being replaced the problem persists. More than likely is a software issue.

- Byron, GA, USA

problem #121

Mar 212014

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
I am sending this email to notify you a possible severe safety risk caused by the failure of airbag passenger detection sensor. Recently I found that the seat belt warning light is malfunctioning in case a heavy bag with 22 lb weight is placed in the right side passenger seat. If heavy bag is placed in the right front seat, the seat pressure sensor detects the heavy bag as a passenger is seated and the car safety system turns on the seatbelt warning indicator on driver's monitor screen. This is the detection algorism failure for seatbelt detection system. So, to turn off seat belt warning red light, I fastened the seatbelt of rightside front seat even though there was no passenger in the seat. Then the seat belt warning light (red) is turned off. But even though seat belt warning light is turned off, this failure also makes the front passenger airbag to stop functioning, as the system turns on "front passenger airbag status indicator" with orange color light. And this means the airbag is not functioning in case of accident if the heavy bag is placed in the front right side seat of the car. This detection algorism failure may lead a severe injury in case of accident. So please refer and test with above condition, and fix this problem by recommending or taking action to upgrade the front passenger detection algorism and related software, to stop the malfunctioning of front airbag system. If you see this notice, please give me your reply for confirmation of receiving this message. Solving and notifying this problem is very important because the insurance company also matters this faults and the insurance company also recognizes and makes record history that other passenger was seated in the pls give me your email, that I may send file attachment for detailed explanation for this complaint.

- Gilroy, CA, USA

problem #120

May 222013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 4,400 miles
I first had the air bag passenger sensor warning come on and stay on for around fifteen minutes and then it went off. My wife was sitting in the passenger seat in all these incidents. This happened twice before I took it in to the dealer and they told me there was a recall for the seat sensors. They replaced the sensors and performed the zero point reset on May 31, 2013. Prior to Sept. 6, 2013 I had the same problem of the passenger sensor warning come on and staying on for ten to 15 minutes. On Sept. 6th they secured some cables and performed another zero point reset. Prior to Feb. 21, 2014 I had the same problem and they performed another zero point reset on Feb. 21. on March 15th I had the same problem one night when we drove 5 blocks from a friends house and it was still on when I shut the car off. I haven't taken it back to the dealer yet but the zero point reset doesn't seem to be solving the problem. At this point I don't know if anyone in the front passenger seat is being protected or not. Has anyone else been reporting problems with this cars sensors?

- Crest Hill, IL, USA

problem #119

Mar 162014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 27,000 miles
Passenger airbag-off light comes on with passengers between 90 and 120 lb -- well above child weight. Reported to two separate dealers, who claim they found no problems and is not covered by any recalls or service campaigns. Yet this is a very common complain on this model (see forum link below). This seems to be just one crash away from a fatality. Here is the forum link (or go there and search for 2013 Altima airbag light) where many people are reporting this problem and not acknowledged by Nissan corporate or dealers:

- Dublin, CA, USA

problem #118

Jun 012013


  • miles
The orange passenger air bag light (underneath hazard lights button) comes on when a full-grown adult (150 lbs) is seated in the passenger seat. This means that the airbag would not deploy if I crash with them in the passenger seat, which makes me very nervous about safety. It does not happen every single time, but about 75% of the time a full-grown adult is seated in the passenger seat. I've taken it to Nissan dealers, and they have not been able to fix it.

- Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #117

Aug 292012

Altima 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
Airbag passenger sensor/system problem, airbag disabled with a 200+ pound person in the passenger seat (should only disable with a small child)! the issue continues intermittently to present, dealer has not been able to duplicate, and will not fix it without an error logged in the computer. Issue has occurred at least 50 times, most recently in the last two weeks.

- San Marcos, CA, USA

problem #116

Feb 222014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 9,026 miles
Passenger air bag illuminates, yellow status light "off", when engine started with full size adults buckled into front seats. Went one mile, stopped the car and shut off engine. Engine restarted and pass airbag "off" light came on again. Shut off eng. And restarted again. Light turned off after restart and has not illuminated. This intermittent problem has been reported many times before.

- Lebanon, OH, USA

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