really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,636 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Nissan Altima:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

problem #11

Dec 102006

Altima 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Re: 2002 Nissan Altima SE. Since approximately 3 years ago, I have been having problems with my brakes. I live in the ne where it gets cold in the winters, and only have this problem when the temp. Is approx. Below 30 degrees. This problem has typically occurred when the car has sat idle all night, but has also happened at other times when it hasn't been driven for a few hours. When first starting the car, the brake pedal is so stiff that I can't press it all the way to the floor - almost like it is frozen. Luckily, I have not yet had an accident, but have narrowly avoided one several times while backing out of my driveway without being able to slow down, coming to a stop sign or parking lot exit and not being able to stop, or trying to slow down to turn a corner. I have to try to remember to pump the brake pedal 10 - 15 times every time I start the car in cold weather, as this is the only way to "loosen" it up so that it will work correctly. Several mechanics have told me they have no idea what causes this. When I'm driving this car, I'm always afraid that the brakes will totally give out.

- Pawtucket, RI, USA

problem #10

Apr 182006


  • miles
My Nissan Altima 2002 is smoking my brakes have failed almost causing a wreck I have had to put brake pads on my car 4 times within a year my car has stopped in the middle of traffic and I don't know the reason why. I took my car to a Nissan dealership and was told that I need a new catalytic converter a new engine and that was the problem for my car stopping in the middle of traffic the brakes have failed once. I was told by Nissan of gadsden al. That I need to have over $13,000 worth of work on my car because it was a safety hazard. I called the Nissan company and they would not do anything about it then they stop accepting my calls and said deal with it because they was not going to have any repairs made to my car. I paid cash for my car after the first year I began to start having problems with it the dealer told me that nssan new about these problems and refused to do anything about it and they could work out something with me instead of paying $12,000 for the repairs that they would charge me $8,000 for the repairs I do not have any money to get my car fixed and Nissan told me to deal with it. What can I do about this please help I paid $13,000 for a car that don't work please help me. Thank you shelia gaston

- Gadsden, AL, USA

problem #9

Jan 132009


  • 80,000 miles
Nissan Altima '02-05 2.5/3.5 models have a known issue with a valve check assembly in a brake vacuum tube. When the car is exposed to extreme cold temperatures for prolonged periods of time, like those experienced this past winter in il, the valve freezes up and prevents proper operation of the vacuum and thus complete brake failure. It fixes itself after pumping of the brakes several times. I experienced this problem 3 times within a 2 week period. Imagine rolling up to a stop sign only to pump your brakes to the feeling of a brick stuck under them, no stopping action, helplessly coasting right into the intersection. I researched the problem and stumbled on to a Nissan enthusiast forum where it was apparently a known issue to them. They said that Nissan won't even acknowledge this to be an issue and to just order the redesigned part and replace it yourself as it was a dye job. The factory part replacement number is #47430-8J100 (3.5 model) or #47430-8J000 (2.5 model). Why did Nissan redesign the part in '06 if they didn't know there was an issue with it" when I called the Nissan dealership where I bought the car, sure enough they wouldn't acknowledge any problem with that part and even went as far as to claim that they have never even ordered that part. They have either never diagnosed the issue correctly or they outright lied to me. I called a different Nissan dealership, ordered the part and installed it myself and have not had the problem despite the subzero temperatures that have occurred since. I'll conclude with the fact that I have zero automotive/mechanical experience. I am a computer systems engineer so I'm used to replacing parts in small spaces on a different type of machinery. But yet I was able to research, diagnose, and fix my own car problem, caused by a known defect in a factory part, with the help of the guys in that forum. How many other people are out there driving ticking-timebomb Altima that don't have the knowledge to do that?"

- Frankfort, IL, USA

problem #8

Jan 152009

Altima 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
On extremely cold days (5 degrees F or lower) I have had several instances where the brakes do not stop the car when the car is first driven. The cause is due to apparent malfunction of a check valve in the vacuum line to power brake booster. The pedal remains hard (I.e. - the pedal does not go to the floor). Usually after a few subsequent attempts to brake, the boost function returns and the brakes function normally. Many people have experienced and reported this problem on internet forums such as www.nissanclub.com/forums/2002-2006-Nissan-Altima-discussion-2-5-3-5/256153-cold-weather-braking-issue.htmline. this is very dangerous and it is only by luck that I haven't been in an accident since it has resulted in being unable to stop at an intersection. This should definitely be the responsibility of Nissan to repair as a safety recall. Nissan has redesigned the part and it is very inexpensive (about $28) and the new hose/check valve assembly can be replaced in about 5 minutes. The part number for the redesigned vacuum hose/check valve is 47430-L31002 for the 3.5L V6 engine. For the 2.5L 4 cylinder engine the part number is 47430-L31001. It's called a "tube-vacuum". I purchased and installed the part myself. Some people reported that some dealers mistakenly think the power brake booster itself is the cause of the problem and have replaced it at a cost of up to $500 (and did not replace the hose) only to have the owner continue to experience the brake failure on the next extremely cold day.

- Delmar, NY, USA

problem #7

May 222002


  • 83,000 miles
2002 Nissan Altima. 1)rear pads + rotors worn at 35,000 miles: Replaced at owners cost. Now 83000 miles(may '08): Dealer has told rotors and pad need replacement and possibly calipers need to be evaluated. At 75000 mile check everything was ok. (per the service record). In Jan'08 I had specifically asked the breaks to be inspected. Told ok. Now suddenly the rotors are shot. Other than a squeal sound for 2 days no other symptoms. Concerned about how brakes go from fine to shot in 3 months. I think it is a big safety concern if the time it takes breaks to disintegrate is less than a 3 month period. 2) engine not starting after parked in the cold. Happened twice once at 48000 miles. (lower bill. ) 2nd time at 78000 miles. (huge bill ~$1000). Multiple parts replaced and serviced. Highlighted as problem on various forums with this particular Nissan model. Evaluate possibility related to ECM timings etc.

- Wappingers Falls, NY, USA

problem #6

May 022008


  • 143,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Altima. While driving 75 mph, the contact heard a bumping sound from outside the vehicle and noticed that the check engine light illuminated. The vehicle lost power and the brakes failed. The contact had to use the emergency brake to stop the vehicle. Once the vehicle was stopped, she was unable to place the vehicle into park. The contact exited the vehicle and noticed that the front end caught fire. There were no injuries and a police report was filed. The current and failure mileages were 143,000.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #5

Oct 112006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles
Rear brakes have failed again - after being replaced at 37,000 miles and 2 years of ownership in 2004. Now at 57,000 miles I need to replace the rear brakes completely again. Obviously the Nissan 'genuine' parts are defective if after only 20,000 the brakes are shot totally again. Why does Nissan keep ripping off the consumers this way and why isn't something done to remedy this situation?

- Herkimer, NY, USA

problem #4

Jul 272005


  • miles
At 25,000 miles the 2002 Altima rear brakes froze up and discontinued operating. I was told by a Nissan service mgr. That this was due to Nissan using faulty material. I had them repaired by an independent service garage and was told that he has seen a lot of this. Brakes not designed for northern weather.

- Biddeford , ME, USA

problem #3

May 152003


  • Manual transmission
  • 35,000 miles
Rear brake calipers corroded and failed to perform properly. Calipers seized in an applied brake fashion (constant pressure on the rotors). Both rear brakes have subsequently failed to the point where there is no more pad on the brakes, only metal-to-metal contact between the pad base and the rotors. The pads, shims, and rotors have to be replaced. The car is only 1.5 yrs old, with 35,000 highway miles on it. This is unacceptable. The dealer has indicated that the front brakes are close to the same condition. Dealer/Nissan have indicated that a $200 maintenance visit every 15, ooo miles is required to prevent this. In 150K+, and 190K+,miles on 2 of my old Honda (I owned them from day 1) I never had to perform this kind of maintenance, and never had this kind of failure. Same goes for my 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan (60K+ miles and no problems with front calipers)

- Boston, NY, USA

problem #2

Sep 152003

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Defect rotor: I have being driving my Altima 02 for 2 years. Three weeks ago (22 month), at less than 17000 miles, I took my car for a brake check because it made a lot of noise. The technician at performance Nissan dealership found that both rear rotors and pads need to be replaced and the front rotors needed to be cleaned and machined. It surprised me since it is such a short period of time and mileage. By the way, I placed a order for rear rotors from a Nissan dealership in tx. They told me they have to place a national order to find the part, and I have to wait for a unknown period of time for the part to come in. So everyday, I have to walk to work. Rusty gas intake pipe: There is a hole at the intake above the left rear tire, so mud and water came in during snow weather, then the intake mouth became rusty.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #1

Aug 152003


  • miles
When applying brakes vehicle shuts off without warning.

- Winter Park, FL, USA