pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
142,600 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. replace engine, catalytic converter and exhaust system (4 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
  3. replace engine (1 reports)
  4. replace engine/catalytic converter/exhaust system (1 reports)
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problem #7

Nov 182015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 154,000 miles


7/7/06 - (41,619 miles) Concern: Check engine light is on and vehicle is overheating. - cause: bad radiator - correction : replaced radiator and t-stat - total : 299.20

2/25/08 - (64,744 miles) reprogram ECM & IAVL as per recall R0712 (Selma Nissan)

11/13/08 - (73,350 miles) Concern: Check engine light is on. - Cause: Found code for at solenoid overheating malfunction - Correction: based on the testing we found that the solenoid is operating per the tech book but the transmission fluid is very bad. need to complete a transmission fluid exchange. Tech performed BG transmission fluid exchange to remove old burned fluid. -total : 278.97

7/16/09 - (80,442 miles) Concern: Vehicle overheating. Service engine light is on. - cause: Found coolant leaking into #3 cylinder due to the head gasket becoming bad. - correction: replaced engine head gasket, car had code P0302 cylinder 2 misfire checked and found that head gasket was blown. Replaced lower and upper radiator hoses. Replaced t-stat. - total: 1,570.37

12/9/09 - (87,625 miles) Concern: Heater not working. - cause: Found cooling system is low on refrigerant. Pressurized system and found leak from rear hose. Car leaking coolant from hose under electric throttle actuator . Found that there was a small hose under intake that was leaking coolant. - correction: replaced hose that was leaking. - total: 172.54

9/27/10 (92,405 miles) Concern: check engine light on. - cause: cylinder #2 misfire - correction : Replaced spark plugs - total: 210.00

10/27/12 (112,264 miles) concern: brake concern and dragging/grinding when turning left - cause: unknown - correction: Replaced power steering fluid. Replaced spark plugs. Replaced SERP belt. - total: 415.78

6/28/13 (117,526 miles) Concern: car would not start - correction: replaced battery - total: 103.30

6/28/13 (117,526 miles) Concern: problems starting vehicle, when vehicle would start gas pedal did not respond - cause: Code P1612 Immobilizer System Malfunction. Found defective alternator. - correction: replace alternator - total: 524.56

8/22/14 (131,647 miles) concern: check engine light on, battery light on, seat belt light on, brake light on - cause: Code P0335 - crankshaft position sensor A circuit malfunction. Found crankshaft sensor signal out of range intermittent. - correction: Replace crankshaft position sensor. - total: $278

5/16/15 (146,493 miles) concern: Vehicle stopped running multiple times while driving (engine died). Rough idle. Engine light on. - cause: Tech found code P0304 cylinder 4 misfire. Power valve screws and plate came loose. Screws were found in cylinder 4 chamber and were smashing spark plug tip. - correction: Replaced lower intake manifold. -total: 547.03

5/23/15 (146,524 miles) concern: rough left turn - cause: tie rod -correction: Replace tie rod. Transmission fluid service. Service alignment. - total: 420.91

8/25/15 (154,197 miles) concern: Vehicle stopped running multiple times while driving (engine died). - cause: unknown - technician did not find any error codes but recommended replacement of cam sensor and crank sensor - estimated total to replace: $603.15 (declined service at that time)

- mo_1980, San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #6

Oct 012014

Altima 4 cyl 2.5lcvtc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

The car is in excellent condition, body wise. The car was well taken care of and has 77,000 miles on this engine. Took care of the recalls for catalytic convertor, however, this car developed the problem stated of particles flowing into the engine rendering the engine useless. The recall stated if damage is found inside pre-catalyst it will be necessary to replace engine, free of charge. If the recall problem was fixed by Nissan why did my car's engine fail.

I believe the problem was never resolved properly. I have also noticed other Nissans have two tailpipes and mine has one. Could this be the reason for exhaust backup causing particles to get back into the engine causing rings to be worn and excessive oil use? Now the car is useless and has been sitting in my garage for 6 months. I am afraid to drive the car because it constantly stalls as well as burns oil. The dealership told me it would need a new engine and Nissan will not cover the cost. What can be done now?

Update from Jul 27, 2015: I took the car to an independent mechanic and was told the problem was with the crankshaft sensor. The Nissan dealer told me I would need a new engine. The crankshaft sensor was replaced twice by the Nissan dealer, however, the independent mechanic said it was not replaced. How do I recover the cost of replacing the crankshaft sensor which was recalled by Nissan but never resolved?

- dondi51, Melbourne Beach, FL, USA

problem #5

Jun 072008

Altima 2.5S 2.5s V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

This car had more major problems than the floor pans rusting out. That was the least of the problems. The car was running out of oil every couple of days and smoking. Was told would need a new engine and dangerous to drive. The car was only five years old. Horrible car. Do not buy this year model. It was the first year it came out.

- Jennifer H., Manorville, NY, USA

problem #4

Apr 022014

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 162,112 miles

After graduating from college in 2007, I decided it was time to upgrade from my old, trustworthy Honda Civic to something a bit bigger but would also be as reliable and kinda make me feel like a grown adult. I decided to bring my girlfriend along on that magical journey to find the perfect vehicle to fit these specs..horrible decision, reflecting back on that day. I had three choices...the 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S, a 2003 Honda Accord and a 2005 Toyota Camry..funnily enough, two of my three choices were unknowingly horribly rated, a game of russian roulette that I failed at miserably. I wasn't sold really sold on the Nissan at first but my glassy eyed girlfriend was ecstatic over how "cute" and "peppy" the Altima was and eventually I was nagged into submission to purchase the vehicle.

The first year, the car drove decently at first and then I began to notice that oil was being consumed a bit more faster than any other vehicle I had owned previously. Was told that switching to synthetic would help slow consumption, I was told a lie. Soon started experiencing the tell tale signs of catalytic converter issues with the "boiled eggs" smell...it all went down here after this started. Sudden gauge fluctuations, rough idling, etc...I probably would've been better off having an exorcism performed at this point. I also can't recall how many quarts of oil I fed this the POS, it got to a point where if I got a quart of oil for it...I went ahead and got myself a beer, might as well at least have a drinking buddy as some type of trade off. To it's it credit, outside of having to replace the catalytic converter, I kept the car going until earlier this year when the engine finally decided it didn't love me anymore. The positives won from this ordeal is that I can conveniently bring the purchase of this vehicle up to my girlfriend to decisively win any argument and I can amaze my friends about having a car as a drinking partner.

- Marcus H., Charlotte, NC, US

problem #3

Apr 042013

Altima 2.5S 2.5L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 255,000 miles

Ok let me start off by saying this loud and clear.... DO NOT BUY A 2002 NISSAN ALTIMA!!!!!! In fact I've grown to doubt Nissan as a company altogether. I grew up hearing Nissan's are great cars and they last forever. That is a damn lie. I first bought this car in Feb 2004 only 2 and 1/2 years old at best with 22,000 miles on it for $16k+ at the time. I've put more money into it during the entire time paying my loan I could've afforded a brand new Mercedes for as much. Within the first year owning the car the engine crapped out on me. It never gave me a problem before that and I took care of it like it was my baby so how the hell could my engine fail on me? Brought it to a reputable Long Island dealership my friend's father happened to work in the service department for and he told me the catalytic converter had a major mechanical default where it gets insanely hot and starts breaking into pieces flying back into the engine while chipping away at the rods and causing massive oil consumption. I couldn't believe I was hearing this. I've never heard of such a thing. "Luckily" for me the engine was under warranty for 50,000 miles and my car was towed to the dealer with 49,995 miles on it! The dealer is a good 15-20 miles away from my house so imagine if I would've attempted driving it there and went over the mileage. I had a good laugh about it at the time thinking how "lucky" I was but little did I know there would be much more pain and sorrow yet to come. We have much to cover. Anyway, he told me they knew it was a default and had a recall on the cat so they would've fixed it for free anyway but most likely would've given me a hard time before doing so. Needless to say they dropped a brand new engine and cat in my car and I drove off a happy camper until 50,000 miles later the same problem happened again. This time my friend's father said there was nothing they could do and bringing it to them to look at it just to tell me that afterward would've costed me $100 so instead I brought it to a friend that is a mechanic. Here's also why you shouldn't do business with friends sometimes. I explained the prior situation to him telling him how Nissan acknowledged a problem with the cat causing the engine to fail and he thought I was crazy. He, as I once believed, said Nissan makes great cars that last forever without engine failures and never heard anything about catalytic converters causing engine failures in his experience. I'm guessing he assumed I just never gave it oil changes so he found me a used engine with about 30,000 miles on it and charged me about $4,000 for the engine with no labor but he never checked the cat so I drove it out the shop for a few miles until the check engine light came on. I turned around and brought it back to him and he said its probably just the codes working out the bugs and to drive it around for awhile until the light goes off. Well I drove it for 2 days and the light stayed on so I called him up and he said to wait a few more days. I called him every few days for about 2 weeks until he finally told me to bring it back to him. Come to find out the engine he just put in my car was shot because the cat was destroying the inside of the engine the second I left the shop. Knowing he made a huge mistake he bought a used engine on his dime except this engine had about 50,000 miles on it and he had to charge me for the cat since he obviously didn't replace it the first time like he should've so that was another $650 out of my pocket. He then did some research to find out I was right about what Nissan told me and even showed me the inside of the destroyed cat and the new one. There's a honeycomb-looking grill inside that breaks up and because of the placement in the exhaust system props it so close to the engine, the engine burns up the cat and this grill insert breaks into pieces and flies back into the engine. When the engine was opened up I was told it looked like sand inside of it. After having my 4th engine now put into my car with still 2 and 1/2 years on my loan I knew I had to take extra care of this car if I wanted to have any resale value in it or at the very least escape my loan. I got oil changes every 2000 miles on it instead of 3000 but even that didn't last very long before the oil would burn dry. I was just starting the last year of my loan when the transmission blew up on me. Of course I had to get it fixed or risk having the car repo'ed further damaging my credit and there was no way I was going to let that happen on the last year of my loan so I had that fixed for another $3,000. After finally paying off my loan I was left with a car that had 170,000 miles on the body which is on it's 4th engine, 3rd cat, 2nd tranny and millions of other mechanical and electronic problems. Where's the resale value in that? Who would even buy this car after that? At this point I decided to get my money's worth out of it for as long as I could since I didn't have to make a car payment anymore. Instead the car just gave me less expensive yet still pricey headaches and major embarrassment as well. I really enjoyed breaking down on the RFK bridge on the hottest day of summer coming home from a Yankee game with a friend in the car getting towed by the bridge and tunnel crew and dumped off in Queens. Or breaking down in the winter with my girlfriend and her baby in the freezing cold car while I have to get the car towed again. Or the numerous tows I've had to my house waking up the neighbors for another exhaust problem or electrical/mechanical malfunction. I've had so many tows I started knowing the local tow guys. The mechanic near my old job hated seeing me walk through his door or should I say tow to his door. Other numerous problems to the electrical like the front door speakers turned on and off when they wanted to until finally turning off completely and the speakers weren't even blown. I was told the electrical system could take hundreds to thousands of dollars to diagnose and repair so I said screw it. I pretty much said that for everything after that because it didn't make sense dumping any more money into this heap so I decided to drive it to the grave which I did. Most recently I was dumping 2 Quarts of oil in the car on a WEEKLY basis!! I refused to pay a mechanic to even glance at it so I kept driving it while it fell apart. 255,000 miles later (about 205,000 on the 4th engine) it finally died on me for the last time constantly stalling on me for the last month. I had it towed to my cousin who wants to gut the entire thing himself and make it his own little project. Bless him for wanting to make it his toy but I couldn't sink another dollar into it. Guess you could say for the 10 years and about 230,000 miles that I drove it (23k/yr) I got my mileage out of it but it did take me 4 engines, a slew of mechanical and electrical problems, a boatload of money and embarrassment to get that much mileage out of it so for that what car really can't do just the same? I heard there's a new exhaust system created specifically for the car to help rectify the cat situation by placing the cat further down from the engine to prevent engine failure but I've never seen it so I can't attest to it. I did mention it to my cousin to take a look into though so I'd say the same for anyone else that reads this and is still daring enough to purchase the dreaded 2002 Nissan Altima!!

- Mike D., Ridge, NY, USA

problem #2

Jun 292012

Altima 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

Bought used with "only" 101,000 miles as a "second" car. Assured it would be good for 300,000 if taken care of. Put about 6,000 miles and many quarts of oil. (Amusing to read similar complaints from the poor souls who don't know they are victims of the NISSAN SCAM related to a recall for this car's catalytic converter back in about 2002. They were able to hide the problem that eventually destroys the cc and, in turn, destroys the engine. My car had problems during a trip from Mexico to Washington.

First had problems with starting when engine had been warm. Nissan dealer in Los Mochis, Mexico, said not to worry during drive because they couldn't fix it for a couple of weeks. Just keep fluids and fix at destination. We broke down in Arizona and paid over $1,100 (plus hotels for 2 days) to have a blown head gasket replaced. And it had never overheated. Got underway again and made it a couple hundred miles to Nevada. We stopped along the highway and paid $218 to get towed to a motel (early evening). Next day attempted to locate mechanic that could work on problem but everyone booked up for a few days and the weekend was approaching. So we paid $1,400 to rent a U-haul truck and trailer to tow the NISSAN CACA to Washington to get reliable repairs.

My mechanic here found the engine to be blown (piston cracked) and various other concerns. We had decided to replace with a used engine until he researched and found that a used engine would likely have the same problems. So tentative solution now is to cut my losses, buy a Toyota, and try to get the attorney general to sue Nissan.

I should take the time to write up each part of this as a separate problem...burning oil, head gasket, catalytic converter, etc., etc., but I need to spend my time buying a car and turning in my rental as this is getting expensive. I have already invested about twice what I should have paid for this car originally.

- dalitraveler, Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #1

Jun 292011

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles


- Ken S., Thomasville, NC, US