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 6 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #215

Jun 192013


  • 1,500 miles


The light that indicates my passenger frontal air bag will not deploy is coming on when a normal sized adult is in the front seat. Apparently, this is tied to a sensor which is supposed to disable the air bag if someone has a small child (between 30 lbs and 80 lbs) in the front seat due to the increased risk of injury with an airbag deployment. When I first bought the car, it happened approximately 10% of the time I had an adult in the front seat. I have taken my vehicle into the Nissan dealership twice for this issue. Once I was told that it was inspected with no issues found. And the second time, the dealership performed a re-programming of the computer according to a tsb from Nissan that they had on file. Since the re-programming was done, the frequency has increased to roughly 30% of the time an adult is in the front seat. The size of the passenger is irrelevant. It happens equally often when my 135 lb wife is in the front seat as it does when my dad or father-in-law (both roughly 180 lbs - 200 lbs) are in the front seat. I love the car, but this safety issue needs to be addressed. The previous recall/tsb has not resolved or even improved the issue. It actually made it worse.

- Royse City, TX, USA

problem #214

Sep 012014


  • miles
My Nissan dealer supposedly said they fixed a faulty passenger air bag sensor. Since the "fix" the sensor is showing that there is no passenger in the seat when in fact their is someone riding there. When I went for my last routine oil change about three weeks ago, I let them know of the problem but they said that I would have to come back and schedule a different appointment to have this fixed.

- Gretna, NE, USA

problem #213

Feb 052014


  • 9,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while operating the vehicle, the front passenger side air bag sensor light would intermittently illuminate indicating that the air bag system was not activated although the passenger was seated in the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who diagnosed that the failure was caused by the occupant classification system software. The software was updated but the failure continued to intermittently occur. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 9,000.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #212

May 242013


  • 2,000 miles


Passenger air bag indicator says off when an adult is sitting in the passenger seat. Happened multiple times since the recall fix was applied. Nissan dealer has checked the system multiple times and recalibrated the sensor multiple times. Happens randomly. Can happen multiple times in 1 day and sometimes not occur for 2 months. Happens when it is 0F or 80F temperature in the car. Happens sometimes when you first start the car after a cold soak and happens when it is a warm restart. I have video recorded of this incident uploaded to a file sharing site please let me know if you want the web link for the video from February 20, 2015 of this exact malfunction. I am meeting with a Nissan factory representative on March 25, 2015 at gandrud Nissan in green bay, wi to discuss the issue. Nissan case #[xxx] a few weeks ago [xxx] from Nissan Consumer Affairs said Nissan has no further fixes for my Altima. I told her it was not an acceptable answer. She suggested Nissan initiate the manufacturer buyback process and they declined to buy it back after evaluating the notes on my car. Please help get these unsafe cars off the road until they are safe. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- De Pere, WI, USA

problem #211

Sep 262014


  • miles
Air bag light still doesn't work properly. An adult can be sitting in the passenger and it comes on, at times no one can be in the seat and it still stays on.

- Plano, TX, USA

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problem #210

Dec 252012


  • 500 miles
Since I purchased my Altima in 12/2012, 90% of the time the "pass" passenger airbag light comes on when my wife is sitting in the front passenger seat. I have had the Altima in for repairs on this about 5 times at tamaroff Nissan in southfield, Michigan, including when there was a recall. I've had it looked at twice after the recall repair and it is still not fixed. Tamaroff has reloaded software and checked the sensors with no luck. They finally indicated that since my wife weighs around 110 pounds, she is on the cusp of what the sensor will react to. Jokingly, they indicated that if she would carry something heavy in her lap, such as a bowling ball, the pass airbag light would not be activated. My previous Altima never had this problem.

- Royal Oak, MI, USA

problem #209

Mar 222015


  • 20,050 miles


This has occurred multiple times since the recall work was done on my car. When driving the passenger air bag off light will turn on, even when an adult passenger is in the passenger seat. I've taken the car into the dealership to address this issue and was told that the system is functioning properly. The only way I've found to fix this issue is to pull over, turn the car off and turn it back on. Sometimes it takes multiple restarts for resolve the issue.

- Bloomington, IL, USA

problem #208

Dec 282012


  • miles
The passenger airbag light would not go off. This happens periodically and not all the time. We had taken it back to Nissan three different times for repair and it still does the same thing. The most recent event was yesterday March 22, 2015. Updated 5/11/15

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #207

Mar 142015


  • 26,000 miles
This is for the current safety recall issue on this model. I had the dealer "fix" the initial recall but have had numerous incidents afterwards with the airbag. This includes the airbag light intermittently going on/off while my wife is in the passenger seat. In addition I have had the same issue with nothing in the seat. I have video and photo evidence of this occurring after the car was sent to Nissan for the initial "fix". when this occurs I am forced to pull over as soon as possible to restart the car. I have told my local Nissan dealer face to face that I do not feel safe driving their car which is leased from them and they did not take my concern seriously. I believe I should be allowed to return the car and terminate my lease since I don't feel safe driving my family and friends around in this family sedan. Thankfully I have not been involved in any accident but it makes me extremely nervous if an accident were to occur.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

problem #206

Mar 222015


  • 36,000 miles
We have had multiple incidents in this vehicle of the front passenger seat airbag light not extinguishing, indicating that the airbag is not armed, even with an adult passenger seated and buckled. We have dealt with this issue on and off for as long as we have had the car, despite the recall last year apparently designed to fix this issue. I decided to file a complaint today based on a news article I saw this morning that indicates that this is an ongoing issue for many drivers of this vehicle. There does not seem to be a logical reason why sometimes the light goes out and sometimes it stays on. The concern is that the passenger airbag would not deploy properly if it is ever needed.

- Penn Laird, VA, USA

problem #205

Mar 232015


  • 50,000 miles


Even after being repaired for a recall, the passenger airbag light continues to be on intermittently. The dealer did a simple inspection and claimed no problem found. They refused to perform detailed investigation unless I pay for the diagnosis, because the warranty has expired.

- Dublin, CA, USA

problem #204

Mar 122015


  • 500 miles
I have taken my Nissan Altima 2013 to premier Nissan dealership in fremont ca multiple times for passenger side airbag indicator, will remain on even when an adult passenger is sitting in passenger seat. Nissan dealership in fremont ca has tried to fix the problem multiple times but problem still remains same. Only thing that changed was me, that I stopped complaining about it to dealership. Today I saw the news that the problem still exists for other people so I thought of submitting a new complain today. I have filed a complain about a year and half ago.

- Hercules, CA, USA

problem #203

Jun 182013


  • 9,977 miles
My car have some issue I took the car complaining about the pax light airbag NHTSA num 14V138000 but as of now the problem exist and another NHTSA 13V069000 occupant detection system may disable pas airbag and this problem still exist on my car and another problem that I have my car has 3 new transmissions and only has 24763 miles.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #202

Sep 012012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
1) the low beam headlights are entirely inadequate to provide sufficient lighting intensity and distance. The lights barely illuminate about 2 car lengths ahead, which is too short a distance at speeds above 25-30mph, making highway travel at night very dangerous. Objects in the path of travel and on the side of the road are not visible in time to safely respond. Street signs and turns are nearly impossible to identify if they are not near street lights. This issue has been present since buying the car, which has been to the dealer multiple times for adjustment, but they insist that the lights are set within specs. The high beams provide excellent lighting, but when switched to low for an oncoming vehicle, I am suddenly driving without sufficient light. This is such a frightening problem that I prefer not to drive this car at night. I can't believe that these lights meet safety standards. 2) the passenger side air bag light often indicates that the bag is not activated even when there is an adult sitting in the seat. This was supposedly repaired in a recall 5/2014, but continues to happen. The dealer says "don't worry about it, " that the bag will deploy if needed. I have no way of knowing if that is the case and I believe this is a safety concern.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #201

Feb 012013


  • 1,500 miles
From the very beginning the air bag light comes on, no matter the weight of the passenger. It does it at random times. I have had it in 6 times, plus had the recall done last year. I just took it in after speaking with Nissan usa and they can not recreate the problem. I have pictures showing it not working. The reprogrammed the seat and hope that fixes it. Too bad it is not the first time they have reprogrammed it. The seat belt light comes on after someone gets out of the car and stays on like the seat is telling it there is someone in the car. Nissan has been no help on fixing this. I did advise them if I was to get in a wreck and it not deploy they will have a lawsuit on their hands. The topper I bought my car brand new, I had $500 negative equity. I have never skipped a payment, make extra payments and have a low interest rate. I am almost $7000 upside down on a 2 yr old car. I will never buy a Nissan again.

- Adkins, TX, USA

problem #200

Jun 072013


  • 500 miles
2013 Nissan Altima - contacted dealer shortly after purchase concerning passenger airbag disable light coming on when my wife (105 lbs) is sitting in the passenger seat. Dealer could not reproduce error and no error codes were found. Re-call was performed in May 2014, and did not resolve the issue. After many visits to the dealer complaining about the unresolved passenger airbag issue we were told the seat belt is the primary protection and the airbag is only supplementary. Feb 2014 dealer was finally able to reproduce the problem by placing two 50 lb salt bags in the passenger seat. Dealer contacted Nissan technical support for assistance, but they were told it was within allowable limits, therefore its okay and nothing will/can be done. After purchasing what we thought to be a quality vehicle @ $30,000+ only to find out we have no airbag protection was very disappointing to say the least, unfortunately this will not be corrected until there is a fatality associated with this issue. Current mileage is 23,731.

- Kimberly, WI, USA

problem #199

Jan 312013


  • 1,050 miles
Air bag light stays on indicating the air bag did not turn on.this problem occurs about 5% of the time. Problem has been worked on 12-15 times.Nissan says they cannot duplicate problem. There was a recall for this problem and work was performed on 10-16-14. It did not help!! work was last performed ON2-5-15 and they say they cannot duplicate problem so they cannot help me.could you help me??

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #198

May 212013


  • 5,676 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. While driving at approximately 45 mph, the front passenger side air bag warning light illuminated continuously. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 5,676.

- Gallatin, TN, USA

problem #197

Aug 222014


  • 30,733 miles
Wife was driving West bound on Ohio St rt 125 doing 40 mph when a car going East bound on Ohio St rt 125 attempted to make a left hand turn in front of her and hit her head on bringing the car to a complete stop in just a couple feet. None of the airbags went off. The seatbelt did not lock up. None of the safety equipment on this car worked during this head on collision.... updated 02/19/15 updated 10/28/2015

- Bethel, OH, USA

problem #196

Jun 272014


  • 12,736 miles
The occupant classification system (airbags) turn off when the passenger seat is occupied by person weighing 130+ pounds. This happens if car is idle, and at all speeds. Car has been taken to the dealership to be serviced for the recall on 4 seperate occasions and dealer has acknowledged that they do not know what to do as they have tried multiple remedies and cannot fix it. They refuse doing anything else to do and say it is not their problem. The dealership is Nissan of mckinney in Texas. General manager is david kelly and service technician is matt johnson. I do not feel safe in the car as this is a serious safety hazard. There is a rebuttable presumption that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a motor vehichle to the applicable express warranties. It has been subject to repair on 4 seperate occassions. The car has guards on the underside of the car that have fallen off on 3 seperate occasions and been fixed to no avail. The dealership acknowledges that they sold an extended maintance warranty to me and miss represented the product and did nothing to make amends until I inquired on several occasions. Nissan of mckinney in Texas sold the 2013 Nissan Altima with premium dunlop tires and charged a premium for the tires at the time of the sale. The orignial dunlop tires are bald an will not pass inspection, which was acknowledged by matt and general manager david kelly, at 19,000 miles. These tires have a 65,0000 manufacture warranty from dunlop/Goodyear and the dealer will not make good or replace the tires as they are clearly faulty. The missrepresentation of the 2013 Nissan Altima has caused an extreme amount of undo stress and the dealership refuses to make any remedy at all. Nissan of mckinney Texas and their general manager have sold me a car that falls under the Texas lemon law.

- Mckinney , TX, USA

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