really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 7
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
76,816 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.

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #44

Sep 152006


  • 80,023 miles
2002 Altima service engine light appeared and vehicle stalled. The vehicle's had been serviced several time by the dealer because the check engine light illuminated and the vehicle lacked power, jerked and would stall. It was later determined that the vehicle developed a cracked block which caused coolant to leak in the engine. The engine was replaced. The vehicle had been maintained regularly.

- Chino, CA, USA

problem #43

Aug 102006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles
The car either hesitated or stalled (engine stopped running) on about 3 different trips while my wife was driving between 30 mph and 50 mph. The car started right back up each time. This vehicle had been though a recall on 11/17/2003 (R3021/R3022) to replace the cam position sensor. I was not the owner of the car when the recall was done. The dealer said this vehicle was repaired under that recall. The problem has appeared again or a similar problem is happening a second time. I brought the car into the dealer on 9/29/06 and they replaced the cam sensor to stop the stalling. Since the problem and the solution appeared to be the same as in the 11/17/2003 recall, the dealer said the problem was fixed once and therefore the second repair was not covered under the recall. I'm concerned weather this could be a recurring problem and if the original repair was adequate to remedy the stalling problem.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #42

Jul 252006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,500 miles
Check engine light came on. Engine was using oil every 1000-1500 miles. Took car to vann york Nissan. Was told catalytic converter came apart, was sucked into engine. Had an extended warranty. Thought it would cover the problem. Nissan of North America said the extended warranty doesn't cover the catalytic converter, therefore does not cover the engine. Asked to speak to a supervisor. Was told I'd get a call back within 24 hours. Never heard from them. Called several times over the next few weeks. Never would let me speak to anyone other than the telemarketer. Finally received a letter in the mail to inform they would not take responsibility for the problem. Took car to an independent mechanic. Replaced spark plugs and catalytic converter. Check engine light has come on again. I bought 2 Nissan in 2002- 1 Altima; 1-quest. Had owned a 1998 Altima previously. Thought Nissan was a good brand. Thought Nissan was a good company. Thought wrong! will never buy another Nissan product as long as I live. Have told every person I know. Will continue to talk about this experience until I go to my grave.

- Thomasville, NC, USA

problem #41

Sep 142006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
I own a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S. I have seen that they have issued recalls for newer models based on the engine consuming excessive amounts of oil. I have noticed the same thing happening on my car for the past few years. I have mentioned it to the dealer on a couple of occasions and have been sort of blown off and told I am not changing the oil often enough. I recently was in the dealership for a recall for the undercarriage and while there had a 90000 mile service done. After that service, the engine was going through oil roughly every 500 miles or so. It used to go through it every 4000 miles or so, which seems incredibly quick. I think the problem is not just on the newer models but on older models as well. From what I have read, this could be a fire hazard and would like the matter looked into further.

- Renton, WA, USA

problem #40

Aug 202006

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S difficult to start, will frequently stall once started as soon as its put into gear. (Nissan dealership said it was due to "bad fuel"-charged $500 to drain tank and refill..problem still exists..) backed out of driveway, vehicle stalled, steering becomes extremely hard, unable to maneuver car, hit tree and cracked spoiler/dent bumper. Not safe to take on highway, as you cannot "merge" into traffic at highway speeds.. if you try to accelerate, it will buck and stall. The "service engine soon" light has been on for 8 months, even after dealership says they "fixed the problems". light keeps coming back on. Vehicle started blowing warm air through A/C this summer. Took to dealership. They said "too much freon" and charged $300. Problem still existed the next day. Took back to dealership.. charged another $100 to do "diagnostics".. no problems ever fixed. Light still on. Nissan not addressing it. Basically ignoring the light, even though car has been in there for over $1000 worth of "repairs" in 1 month.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #39

Jul 112006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,100 miles
I was making a left turn when suddenly the engine shut off. About an hour later I went to start my car and would not start. After making several attempts I left the car parked where it was. About 3 hours later I started the car fine. A week had passed with no know problems when suddenly my "check engine light" came on. The next day the vehicle stalled when backing up from the drive way, and again while I was turning a corner. The dealer claims the check engine code came up as "app positioning sensor" which is the throttle chamber. I thought this was warranted for up to 60,000 miles?

- Lisle, IL, USA

problem #38

Aug 082006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,741 miles
: the contact stated while driving 65 mph on the highway, smoke erupted from the engine compartment followed by the engine stalling without warning. No fire was present, only smoke from the engine. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who determined the oil was dry in the engine and the engine needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not alerted. The inspector concluded that the failure was consistent from a lack of having the oil changed. Updated 10/12/06. Updated 1/17/2006 - at no time did the oil light illuminate to indicate low oil. The consumer indicated that the oil light had never illuminated because the vehicle received regular oil changes. The consumer believes the failure is due to a know defect in the 2.5 liter engines. The consumer is requesting reimbursement for the engine she had to replace. Updated

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #37

Aug 152006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,352 miles
Service engine soon light comes on. Continuously fails to start. Reduced engine power. Engine shuts off while driving.

- Athens, GA, USA

problem #36

May 052006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles
My 2002 Altima had the recall for the heat shields and every other one I was notified about. My car started consuming excessive amounts of oil. On approximately May 5 I drove the car in the morning, parked it in my moms yard, went to leave and it would not start. I called the dealer and had to tow at my expense the car to them. The car has 71,000 miles on it but I had purchased an extended warranty so I thought I was okay. Well dealer says that to tear it apart and find out what was wrong he needed to get authorization from the warranty company. I was informed that because I did all the oil changes myself, they wouldn't authorize it, even though I could get a statement from the garage attesting to this fact along with my own personal log where I recorded all my gas ups and oil changes. Any ideas how I can get them to fix this car I still owe three years on it. And I think it is bs they don't know what is wrong, they know exactly what is wrong they just don't want to payup. My car failed exactly how they described it would on aol the other complaints I read about, there was a problem with solder and they know it!!! thank you, mike redmond.

- Agawam, MA, USA

problem #35

Nov 192005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 88,000 miles
Oil consumption very high, engine seized without any warning or dashboard warning light.on highway engine stalled and burned some ruber hoses etc..car inoperabble.Nissan stated it was my problem due to miles on car were high..I paid $7,000 in Canadian money for repair that seems to be a defect..I am angry at Nissan for saying it was my problem...with no warning lights or other warning, I do not feel this is normal...

- Kitchener, 00, USA

problem #34

Jul 102006

Altima 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 81,000 miles
My 2002 Altima is using oil excessively. One quart in 500 -700 miles.

- Mandeville, LA, USA

problem #33

Jun 212006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,689 miles
The oxygen sensor on my 2002 Nissan Altima overheated and destroyed itself. The fragments of the sensor shattered the main catalytic converter and pieces of the parts mixed with the oil damaging the entire engine, ie. Pistons and other internal components, rendering the engine not serviceable. New engine is needed at a cost of about six thousand dollars. I have notified Nissan Consumer Affairs representative and I am waiting for their response.

- Escondido, CA, USA

problem #32

Jun 072006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,887 miles
Engine failure: At just under 78,000 miles the car would not start. Car towed to mechanic who was able to start the car after an extended crank. Cooling system pressurized instantly upon cold start in a.M. mechanic suggested towing to dealership because he suspects a possible cylinder head problem. He says the 02 Altima has a well-known history of engine problems. 3 months prior to this the engine was constantly running out of oil and coolant. The thermostat and radiator cap were replaced by a mechanic. 2 months prior to that, the check engine light came on and a full tune up was done. All recalls have been done previously. The car is currently at the dealer for diagnosis. After reading many customer complaints I am concerned that the recall work that I had done previously was either not completed properly or something else is not quite right. A Nissan shouldn't have a ruined engine with this few miles. This is my second Altima and my love affair with Nissan is fading fast.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #31

Apr 052006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40 miles
After purchasing my vehicle (2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S) in December 2001 I have consistently maintained the vehicle according to the manual. However, good maintenance have not led to good performance after about 10,000 miles I started experiencing all kinds of engine problems (radiator, throttle body and now the entire engine) which I mostly have had to pay out of my pocket. I have been taking the vehicle to the dealer numerous types concerning various engine problems, however, they told me some of the problems could not be fixed. I also contacted Nissan North America, however, they basically turned me down, leaving me with astronomical bills for causes that were manufacturer related and not operational related. Below is a few of the problems I have experienced thus far and have had to pay out of my pocket: 1. radiator crack - $1,000 including labor (at about 30,000 miles) 2. new throttle body - $1,200 including labor (at about 65,000 miles) 3. new engine - estimated $6,500 including labor (at 70,000 miles) 4. electrical problems leading to battery failure every 2/3 months (a new battery was put in a year ago and the problem still persists) 5. numerous other problems in which the dealer has not taken care of. As mentioned above, the dealer and Nissan North America have not stepped in and fixed or cover some of the these costs despite numerous visits. Consequences: 1. astronomical mechanical bills 2. no use of a vehicle presently which is affecting my livelihood.

- Cambria Heights, NY, USA

problem #30

Jan 012006

Altima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 100,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 30 mph the engine stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealership for inspection. They determined the engine needed to be replaced however no repairs were made. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Bogota, NJ, USA

problem #29

Nov 032005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
It has come to my attention that the Nissan 2.5 liter power plant has issues with intake butterfly valve screws that have became loose and are sucked into the engine resulting in stalling and severe damage that could cause grave harm or death. I myself have not experienced this however there is great knowledge and a current recall for some of the 04-05 Nissan Altima models. I am a current 2002 Nissan Altima owner and this issue has me concerned to the point that for my own safety I am going to have all of the 8 screws lock tightened so I can feel safe when driving. Please see the discussions on this issue as it is a common problem(one found >20% had missing screws): www.B15sentra.net/forums/showthread.php"T=86248 and www.nissanclub.com/forums/showthread.php?T=192671 and www.nissanclub.com/forums/showthread.php?T=192671 people have to use these instructions to repair this issue themselves just to feel safe here: forums.thevboard.com/viewtopic.php"T=64780 they have a current recall (04-05) why not older models with the same problem? www.nissanhelp.com/ownership/bulletins/Nissan/2005/ntb05-058.htm

- Fargo, ND, USA

problem #28

Jul 192005

Altima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles
The car had been using a little oil prior to the event. On my way out of town on the highway my car caught fire and blew the engine

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #27

Nov 052004

Altima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles
The consumer stated a new engine was placed in the car in November, then two months later, it needed a new driveshaft, and currently needs motor mounts. There was a moving sensation when first taking off. When the consumer stopped the vehicle there was a popping noise. The car has been doing this since ownership.

- Sacremento, CA, USA

problem #26

Mar 222005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles
Recall campaign 03V455000 crank shaft failure. Consumer took vehicle to dealer because the check engine light came on. Consumer was informed there was recall repairs that needed to be performed for the crank shaft sensor. Recall repairs were performed. Upon receiving the vehicle from the dealer the performance changed. Then, vehicle started to smoke from the rear. It was taken back to the dealer, and the engine was found to be defective, and needed to be replaced at consumer's expense. Consumer kept oil changed every 3,000 miles, engine failure.

- Temple Hills, MD, USA

problem #25

Mar 012003


  • miles
Recall campaign, replaced exhaust cat shields and front pipe. Several other problems. As soon as the vehicle was started it stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but they could not duplicate the problem. The vehicle consumer excessive amounts of oil and the check engine light illuminated. The consumer was told that he needed a long block engine assembly, a catalytic converter and front oxygen sensor.

- Hamburg, NJ, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »