hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
55,465 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.

2002 Nissan Pathfinder engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Nissan Pathfinder Owner Comments

problem #7

Apr 062006


  • miles


I have had the pulley repaired on my 2002 Pathfinder repair twice, in 2006 and again in 2008 I believe. And it is still giving me a problem. The driver seat motor will not move forward or backward, and in extreme hot weather, my motor drags, and it is hard to start the engine. The cd player never work right.

- Americus, GA, USA

problem #6

Jul 102011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 143,123 miles
Recently, our 2002 Nissan Pathfinder had to have an engine replaced. The cause was a set of very small bolts in the butterfly valve assembly which is now a part of the intake manifold. My concern is that the engine shop tech now performing the engine replacement mentioned that he is seeing a lot of this type of problem with these specific engines. Also, this is the second 2002 Pathfinder we have had this happen to. The other one was my daughter's. I am an operations research systems engineer and know that the probability of this occurring to two vehicles of the same year within the same family; both purchased from the same location is a prime indicator of a systemic engineering problem. The factors are that the bolts work loose and drop into the cylinders. If they do not get caught in the cylinder, they are blown out the exhaust. If they do get caught by the piston, they scratch the walls of the cylinders allowing a significant amount of oil to be forced into the chamber where it ignites and is exhausted. The subsequent repair is costing $5200. In both of these situations, the oil reservoir was emptied within 2-3 days. I know this as I constantly check vehicle fluids (I was an army officer and had a motor pool). I caught a low oil quantity in both vehicles; refilled the reservoir; and checked in a few days to find them near empty again. I also know that had the oil run out while at highway speeds, an engine seizing could potentially occur, causing catastrophic engine damage and potential serious accidents. When this occurred, on both vehicles, I took the vehicles to the same dealership for inspection/repair. They seemed to be unaware of the cause of the problem and recommended a specific diagnostic action at a cost of $2000 that only would diagnose the problem and not repair it. A non-Nissan tech recommended the engine replacement given his knowledge of the vehicles and the recurring problem. I reported this situation to Nissan motor C

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #5

Oct 212008


  • 70 miles
Details: We have been loyal Nissan customers since 1987 and my 2002 Pathfinder started making a loud rattling noise. We had it towed to the dealership and the technician checked it out and told us that 2 screws had fallen out of the power valve and were bouncing around in the cylinder, and there was nothing we had done wrong. It is a design flaw that Nissan refuse to correct. I am told it could have been corrected for $150. The cost of repair the Pathfinder is $7,899.99 which Nissan North american has refuse to pay. We have talked to their Consumer Affairs specialist and she refuse to authorize the dealership to fix this problem. After being a loyal Nissan customer since 1987, I do not understand why they refuses to help us. I have a 1994 with over 100,000 miles on it and never had any engine problems. I went on line and find out that many Nissan Pathfinder customers are having the same problem. We kept the oil changed every 2,000-2,500 miles. I need help.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #4

Jul 302008

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact heard a loud noise coming from her vehicle. In addition, the engine warning indicator illuminated on the instrument control panel. She took her vehicle to a local repair shop and the technician stated that the catalytic converter was split in the middle. She took the vehicle to an authorized dealer and they stated that the resonator needed to be repaired instead of the catalytic converter. The repair would cost over $1,500. The vehicle has not been repaired. The contact recently smelled vapors coming from her vehicle. She filed a complaint with the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 58,000 and current mileage was 60,000. Updated 11/07/08. The front exhaust tubes were leaking and vent control valve was leaking. Updated 11/07/08.

- Lakewood, OH, USA

problem #3

Jul 082008


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Pathfinder. While driving 55 mph, the check engine and oil lights illuminated and the vehicle stalled. The contact coasted the vehicle to the side of the road, and it began smoking. The dealer stated that the vehicle was just overheating and not to worry. A few minutes later, the contact was informed that the vehicle was on fire. The entire front end of the vehicle burned to the ground. The fire and police departments arrived and the fire marshall had the vehicle towed to a junk yard. A police report was filed. The contact took pictures of the damage. The VIN was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 102,000.

- Media, PA, USA

problem #2

May 122008


  • 85,000 miles
My 2002 Pathfinder has a overheating problem. It began approximately 2 months ago. While going down the interstate the engine temp. Rose and the cruise control malfunctioned. A local mechanic noticed the A/C compressor going bad, replaced this and problem still continued and became more frequent. Mechanic pressure tested radiator, it seemed fine, found two very tiny leaks, sealed them, put on a new radiator cap. Problem still continued. Took the vehicle to a Nissan dealer. They replaced fan clutch. Still same problem. Nissan dealer tried flushing radiator. Still overheating. Dealership thinks there is some kind of blockage in the radiator that they cannot flush out. They cannot create enough pressure to flush it properly. They recommend a new radiator. They are supposed to install it in 2 days. Hopefully this fixes my problem. I've replaced the whole engine cooling system. What causes this problem? I've read a service bulletin of this happening to another person. Nissan can't explain cause. Check out consumer complaint: ODI case number: 10191259. Mileage on vehicle when problems arose: 85,000 miles.

- Scott City, KS, USA

problem #1

Dec 152002

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65 miles
Vibration problems during hard acceleration and constant vibration between 35 and 40 mph.... four visits to two dealerships... unable to fix problem... vehicle also was in twice for oil leak.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

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