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 5 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #235

Aug 012015


  • 20,000 miles


The passenger side airbag light comes on indicating that the airbag is disabled when a passenger is in the front seat.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #234

Sep 012015


  • miles
My passenger air bag light intermittently comes on when an adult is seated in the passenger seat. Sometimes it comes on when no one is seated. Soon after this first happened, I received a recall, and on May 9, 2014, took my car to the Nissan dealer. It was "reprogramed" and did not fix the problem. I took it back on June 6, 2014, and the report says "general maintenance". the problem persisted. I took it again on Nov 14, 2014, and the "strain gauge" was reset. I was told to return if problem persisted, which it did (and continues to do). Very frustrated, I returned June 25, 2015. The problem "cannot be verified", so nothing was done. I returned again Sept 8, 2015 and was really truly upset that this serious potentially life threatening problem is still unable to be eliminated. This time I was told that it is a "design" problem and cannot be fixed by mechanics. I was told engineers have been called to the dealership to address this same problem and that they are unable to fix it. I find it hard to imagine that Nissan wants to dust this off. It cannot be fixed" I imagine the next time I go in they will poke out the light bulb, or perhaps put black tape over the light so it won't "disturb" me. Should I just "not worry"? what is the remedy, and how much longer do I have to drive the care with the worry that the air bag will not operate in the event of a crash" I find this intolerable.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #233

Sep 172015


  • 51,000 miles
My car was a part of the Altima airbag recall in 2014. The action was taken by the dealer. The Altima has always had the issue of the passenger seat not registering it's occupant on an intermittent basis. The only way to have fixed this was to shut my car off and recalibrate the system. Today, nothing was in the passenger seat yet the airbag and seatbelt light were lit. This means that the Altima believed someone was in the passenger seat even though it was completely empty. I no longer feel safe for a passenger to sit in the Altima.

- Bel Air, MD, USA

problem #232

Dec 302013


  • 100 miles


The vehicle was involve in the 2014 recall for the safety defect due to a computer program could misjudge the weight of the person in the front passenger seat and conclude that a child instead of an adult was sitting there. The local Nissan dealer has tried at lest 5 time times to correct to no avail

- Metairie, LA, USA

problem #231

Aug 232013


  • 500 miles
2013 Nissan Altima sv; passenger side airbag indicator light illuminates, representing that the airbag is off, when a passenger weighing 118 lbs is present in the passenger seat. This is the 5th time reporting issue to Nissan. To repeat issue, park&stop car on hill with the passenger side of car on the downhill side of slope. Have passenger seated and buckled into seat prior to starting car. Light will stay illuminated until car is turned off, passenger exits car, car is turned on and light goes off. In addition, this has occurred while driving on interstate. Incidents captured via video and available for viewing. Incident reported to Nissan after taking to dealer 4 times without resolution. Subsequently Nissan denied requests. Vehicle going for 5th time to dealership on 8/7/15. Https://

- South Park , PA, USA

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problem #230

Jul 022015


  • 66,000 miles
The red airbag indicator light does not go off on my vehicle - the exact symptom listed in recall campaign id PC214. The dealership said that even though my car is a 2013 as indicated in the recall notice that the recall does not apply to my car because the VIN number was not included. My car is the same year, with the same problem indicated in the recall and they want me to pay to have it fixed. I have reported this to Nissan and I am waiting to hear back.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

problem #229

Sep 082012


  • 550 miles


I have a 2013 Nissan Altima. The passenger seat air bag occupant sensor comes on showing that the passenger air bag is turned off when an adult is sitting in the seat. The adult is 200 lbs. The light will stay on for 15-20 minutes while driving. My car was recalled for the occupant sensor classifacation reset. It did not change anything. It still does the same thing. I have complained about it numorous times to the dealer. The dealer says there is still not a fix from Nissan. I want this fixed. Please help.

- Rossville, GA, USA

problem #228

Jul 052013


  • 1,600 miles
First and foremost, this vehicle is not safe since the air bag light for the passenger has never worked. More than 6 times the dealer has tried to fix to no avail. I wont let passengers sit in the front for their safety. I always have them sit in the back. It looks like I am their employee/driver. Also a huge problem is the cvt transmission. It shudders, grumbles and the whole car vibrates intermittently. First the dealer said it was the alternator and replaced it, that didnt fix it so they said it was a bolt, that wasnt it, finally they just gave up and said they dont know and "they cant reproduce the problem" its all a scam. This car is defective.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #227

Jun 062014


  • 7,000 miles
Several times the passenger seat / occupant detection system has failed to properly identify an adult occupant and has disabled the passenger air bag. Dealer has serviced twice but issue persist. The only resolution is to pull over, power car completely off and restart car. On restart the car recognized the occupant and enabled the passenger airbag.this happened several more times with the most recent being April 2015. Now I feel unsafe specially with my wife pregnant seating on the passenger side.

- Pacoima, CA, USA

problem #226

Jun 202014


  • 15,000 miles
Several times the passenger seat / occupant detection system has failed to properly identify an adult occupant and has disabled the passenger airbag. This occurs with males and females ranging from 40th to 70th percentile in all genders. I have recorded videos of these incidents for record of their occurrence. The only resolution is to pull over, power car completely off and restart car. On restart the car recognized the occupant and enabled the passenger airbag. The date of incident is of the first occurrence. This happened several more times with the most recent being May 2015 with approximately 29,000 miles on the vehicle.

- Nazareth, PA, USA

problem #225

Dec 172014


  • 19,000 miles


Air bag indicator light shows airbag off with adults in the passenger seat. Multiple occurances, had reprogramming done, problem persists.

- Ashland, KY, USA

problem #224

Dec 302014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 26,635 miles
The passenger airbag light turns on when a passenger is present, meaning if in an accident the airbag will not deploy. The dealer has had the car in 5 times for this issue and is not able to repair it since now the vehicle will not give a code to fix it. I was able to get Nissan North America involved and they said the vehicle is repaired, how do I feel safe having a passenger in that seat with out certainty that airbag will deploy in an accident. When we met with [xxx], from Nissan North America, the engineer, he stated that this airbag is under rated and causes more harm than good. Why would an engineer from the factory say something this ridiculous, this is why we bought the car..for the safety ratings and all the airbags. He stated they only cause black eyes and broken noses, to which I said "its better than the alternative..,death. I am not feeling safe in this car and hope someone can help us get it rectified. Thank you for your time. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Santee, CA, USA

problem #223

Aug 222012


  • 75 miles
Like many many of other people have complained, my airbag sensor is still not working correctly after 3 attempts to fix the problem. I was assured by the dealer that it was working properly even though the passenger airbag light show that the airbag is off when there is a passenger in the seat. I'm nervous every time I see the light on (meaning the bag is off) when my wife is in the car with me. If we get into an accident its a crap shoot whether the airbag will really work or not.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #222

Aug 092014


  • 15,681 miles
I've had the passenger airbag light that is in the center of dash come on multiple times even with an adult sitting in the seat. The first time I took my car to the dealership (8/9/14), they said this is new issue and that they would do some sort of software update and the problem will be solved. The issue happened again so I took the car back in (11/19/14) and they said the update might not have taken properly, so they did the update again. Well it took several weeks, but the issue happened again. I took the car in (3/16/15) and they said that they will do a complete reprogram just in case there was a lingering issue from last time. Well, that did not work. The issue is still happening and I took the car in yesterday (4/14/15) and the dealership called me today and said that they performed a function test and couldn't find any error codes, so they said that they couldn't do anything. They said that if it happens to bring it in asap. With this issue being so intermittent, I have resorted to taking photos of people in the passenger seat of the car while the car is in motion. I feel this issue needs to be addressed more seriously.

- League City, TX, USA

problem #221

Feb 252015


  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the air bags failed to deploy and the seat belt failed to lock and restrain the driver. A police report was filed and the contact sustained chest injuries. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where an inspection was done on the vehicle. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 13,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Clevland, OH, USA

problem #220

Mar 112015


  • miles
Vehicle was serviced by Nissan dealership per NHTSA campaign #14V138000 on 3/11/15. On 3/12/15, the occupant classification system continued to operate improperly (e.g. not detecting an occupant in the passenger seat). This has been noted several times since the OCS software was updated by the oem.

- Milton, FL, USA

problem #219

Oct 222013


  • 10,183 miles
The passenger side air bag light will come on intermittently when there are passengers sitting in the seat. The light stays on indicating that the air bag is not functioning. The safety of the passengers are at great risk when this is occurring. The vehicle has been to a Nissan dealer numerous times for this safety concern to no avail.

- Lemont, IL, USA

problem #218

Mar 262013


  • 300 miles
Air bag off light comes on with passenger in seat. Dealer checked, no issue found. Months later, light continues to come on, dealer finally replaced sensor and reprogrammed car's computer. As of today, two years later, light still turns on. Have pics of air bag off light on with passenger in seat, and light on with no passenger in seat. Car now out of 36,000 mile warranty, but have appointment with dealer to check out again on 04/14/2015.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #217

Mar 242015


  • 22,000 miles
This is the fourth time the passenger air bag sensor light came on with an adult in the seat. Nissan has attempted to fix it numerous time without success. I question whether the bag will go off in an accident. I was told by the local dealer that I should call corporate and recorded the complaint. They said they would get back to me.

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #216

Nov 152013

Altima 6-cyl

  • 500 miles
I noticed that the air bag indicator light came on (indicating no one was in the passenger seat) when an adult was sitting in the seat. I called the dealer and also heard that there was a recall. Dealer told me that a fix was unknown at the time and that I should wait for a recall notice. I received a recall notice many months later. I took the car in and something was adjusted/fixed per the dealer but problem was not resolved. I was told that I probably was not sitting in the seat correctly or I was under weight. Neither are true. Dealer retested and said nothing was wrong but I still have the problem with the indicator light. I do not feel confident that the passenger side air bag would deploy if I had an accident. Problem is intermittent. I heard recently on tv that other people like me were still complaining. I thought you should know that this problem may be more widespread since I am also experiencing it. Hope I never have an accident in this car!

- Malvern, PA, USA

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