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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
13,540 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

problem #15

Jan 052017


  • 500 miles


2013 Nissan Altima S - safety system defect / malfunction problem:2 aspects (1)the OCS airbag and seatbelt system warning light "incorrectly indicates" a passenger is not in the seat when in fact the seat is occupied! this condition "turns off the air bag protection for an adult passenger!" (2)the seatbelt light ¿incorrectly indicates¿ that a passenger is unbelted. Erroneous test results: Nissan ¿tests¿ this safety system on equipment programmed by Nissan ¿ via a humanly devised algorithm. In other words, since the ¿test equipment¿ is programmed incorrectly, the results will be wrong. Proof: Nissan has recalled to reprogram my vehicle 4 times (I think) ¿ a new ¿test¿ algorithm. Additionally, Nissan refuses to acknowledge that there could be a faulty components of this safety system. If the ¿test¿ fails to show a system fault. Nissan ignores the problem. Nissan refuses to replace components of this faulty system. 2013 ¿ 2017ocs system malfunction continues after multiple reprogrammings by Nissan. Nissan has never fixed this faulty system. Nissan needs to replace this safety system immediately!

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #14

Feb 122015


  • 68,000 miles
I purchased a 2013 Nissan Altima in September of 2015 with less than 43,000 miles. The car was really good gas and I was really happy with the purchase. In February of 2016 while me and my husband was driving in traffic we came to a stop and the car shut off. We started the car up fine but as soon as we placed the car in drive it shut off again. We repeated these steps over and over again until he was able to keep the car running while in drive so we could pull on the side of the road. We were very close to the warranty expiring so we took the car to antioch, ca Nissan dealership. They said that they would have to "duplicate" the problem before moving forward. They kept our car for 3 days to no avail. They said that they could not "duplicate" the problem and to come pick up the car. 2 days later we started experiencing the same problem. We decided to take the car to a different Nissan dealership in concord, ca hoping that we would get a different outcome. Needless to say they couldn't "duplicate" the problem for 2 weeks!! the guy in services admitted that they have many cars coming in with the same exact problem and he knew how to get the car to act up so that they could move forward. How crazy is that"?" he called me 2 weeks later and told me that they had to "reset" the transmission system. He also told me that even though I was very close to my warranty expiring that if the problem occurs again that they would still honor the warranty because the problem pre-existed. Not even a whole 2 months passed when my husband and I were moving from California to Texas did my car started having the exact same problems it had before but this time I noticed that the transmission was slipping. I was going 80 miles per hour on the freeway when my car slowed all the way down to 40 miles per hour while driving in front and on the side of a big rig!!!!

- Lewsiville, TX, USA

problem #13

Jan 012016


  • miles
Our Altima has been serviced at wallace Nissan in stuart, Florida, during which time we mentioned that the seat belt warning chime does not chime any longer. We were informed that the our car was not equipped with a seat belt warning chime. Nothing was indicated on the repair slip that we were concerned about the seat belt chime. The owner's manual indicates that it does indeed have a seat belt warming chime. If we forget to fasten our seat belt there is no warning that we have not done so.

- Palm City, FL, USA

problem #12

Jan 012016


  • miles


Takata recall - airbag warning light continues to come on while the car is in motion after the Altima has previously been to the wallace dealership in stuart, Florida for repair.

- Palm City, FL, USA

problem #11

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

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problem #10

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 #9

Dec 022013


  • 14,000 miles


The air bag deactivated warning light came on while the passenger seat was occupied. The Nissan dealer had the car for about 30 minutes and said that it was fixed. The light continued on and off to come on for the next 8 months. I took it to the dealer and they said there was nothing wrong.... just fine with only one error code in the system and that was from the first time. The car is now home and the light has been on and off for periods of between 5 minutes and a few hours twice since. It clearly is not fixed and they had no suggestion for me except to bring it back when the light stays on for a long period (which it does not). Some service huh ?

- Hamburg, NY, USA

problem #8

Jul 282014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 47,326 miles
My wife's vehicle was stopped on I-95 about a car length behind a minivan that had also stopped for debris in the road, a Toyota pickup truck hit the rear of her car at speeds in excess of 60mph pushing her car into the minivan in front of her at a speed of at least 30mph, the SRS airbag in her car failed to deploy and quite possibly the seatbelt as well. My wife struck her head on the vehicle's left side roof support beam and suffered a concussion, whiplash and other lesser degree injuries as a result. It is my understanding Nissan has had issues with SRS failures in 2013 Altima.

- Clayton, NC, USA

problem #7

Jun 122013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
Passenger air bag light stays on while passenger is sitting in the seat. Problem started a couple of weeks after I leased brand new car. The problem is ongoing for over a year now. The fox Nissan dealership cannot replicate the problem so Nissan will not offer any resolution. I've been trying for a year now and the problem persists, Nissan or dealership cannot say if the airbag will work in the case of a crash. I'm paying monthly lease payments on a car that may or may not be safe. What ever happened to customer service? took the car in last Friday for the airbag recall, problem is still there after dealership updated the software problem. Both fox Nissan dealership and Nissan regional field rep said there is nothing more they can do since they can't replicate the problem. Apparently the photos of the problem they had me take we're to make me feel like they actually cared. I can't believe I'm continuing to make payments on this unsafe vehicle.

- Middleville, MI, USA

problem #6

Jun 122013


  • 3,600 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the air bag and the seat belt warning lights were illuminated. The contact mentioned that the seat belt warning light would illuminate although the seal belt was latched. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where unknown repairs were made to the vehicle. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 3,600.

- Goshen, OH, USA

problem #5

Aug 142013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles


I got Nissan Altima 2013 in Sep. 2012 and since then I have been taking this car every month to dealership for airbag off indicator, which remains lit even when passenger is seated with seat belt on. This has happened multiple times and weight of the passenger ranged from 130 to 180 pounds. The most serious of these incidents was, when I drove my car for 15 miles (2 miles on city street and 13 miles on freeway). So far, I have been told by dealership that there are no error codes, they would reset some sensors but it hasn't made any difference. I was told it could have been because of the way passenger was sitting, so one time I asked passenger to jump on the seat, that 180lb passenger was jumping in the seat but the airbag off light still remained on. I noticed there are multiple complaints about this issue, and I hope these complaints will eventually get desired recall attention.

- Rose Hill , NC, USA

problem #4

Jul 202013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
2013 Altima passenger seat belt indicator lamp does not come on, or later turn off, when the car is already running / still running and passenger sits in front seat or exits the vehicle. After dealership had replaced the vehicle ods (under recall). I have had to either shut the vehicle off and restart it while the passenger is already seated, or wait several minutes while driving before the light would illuminate (while passenger seat belt was not engaged (worn). I have taken the vehicle to the dealership to have them and a field technician from Nissan (U.S.) look at the issue, they were able to re-create, as well as not get it to fail. Currently they are saying it is normal for the lamp to not come on or go off for up to 7 seconds (in user manual) when the car is running and passenger enters or exits the vehicle. I have told them this was not like this before the last ods replacement (this is the third time they have made the recall "fix"). after picking the vehicle up I drove home, left car running and had my wife recreate the issue, I had video running so I could capture the event and amount of time it takes and what I have to do to get the seat to recognize it is occupied, or not. I called dealership while I was making the video and reported what was occurring again. I am supposed to bring the car back to them later this week.

- Grapevine, TX, USA

problem #3

Feb 042013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 75 miles
After I bought the car I noticed the driver's side rear view mirror was vibrating while driving at all speeds. Then the dealer replaced the mirror several times until they fixed the vibrating problem. But now, the mirror they replaced it with seems to be a generic mirror, seems like a convex mirror and the objects and view look deformed. It isn't a flat mirror and the dealer said that is normal and all the cars have that same mirror. That is a lie because when they changed my very first mirror due to vibrating, it was flat and clear. This issue has not been solved but now they replaced 2 sensors that are on recall and waiting for a third sensor on the driver's airbag to be replaced as well due to recall. I am so tired of going back and forth to the dealer that I am finally going to file a complaint, this car is a lemon! (2013 Nissan Altima sv -pearl white).

- Pacoima, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 022013


  • 200 miles
When starting the car the starter would keep cranking after the release of the start button, the passenger air bag light stays on sometimes even when a passenger is in the seat also the rear seat belts are very hard to lock in do to the receiver end pushes down into the seat when driving there is a few problems the low end rattles and shakes and 45 and above there is a wining noise from the engine compartment that sounds like a bad alt bearing or trans problem it gets louder the faster you go very annoying with today technology these problems and this is just a few is a big step back for Nissan not a happy customer just broke 6000 miles.

- Manahawkin, NM, USA

problem #1

Feb 092013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
The day I purchased the vehicle (1/23/13) the seat belt light would not shut off. The passenger airbag light would also indicate that the passenger airbag was disengaged with a passenger in the vehicle. The dealership (rosenthal Nissan of tysons) took the car in back and made some adjustments. The problem apparently went away. Tonight (2/9/13) the passenger airbag sensor once again indicated no passenger when my 110 lb wife was sitting in the seat. I tried it with myself (175lb) and again it occurred. This is an unacceptable safety concern.

- Springfield, VA, USA

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