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Nissan Altima Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Nissan Altima based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

Several owners have reported instances of vehicle stalling at random. Professional diagnosis by a qualified shop is recommended. Issues could begin with various engine control sensors to fuel system modules and other major components. Diagnosis of the issue will prevent unnecessary part replacement and expenditure.

The front struts can wear prematurely and create a knocking noise when driving over bumps.

Rattling and tapping in the front of the engine on the 2002-2016 Nissan Altima V6 is very evident, especially on cold starts. This rattling noise should not be taken lightly as it warns of upcoming timing chain failure. 

The cause of the noise is faulty timing chain guide rails and timing chain tensioners that wear out well ahead of schedule. These components are there to keep the timing chain tight and properly positioned. When these parts fail, the timing chain becomes loose, and pieces of the timing chain guides break off, falling into the oil pan. 

To remedy the situation, Nissan/Infiniti has made revised guides and tensioners, but replacement can be very costly. 

Proper oil change intervals and oil type may help slow or prevent the situation. 

The AC system may blow warm air due to refrigerant loss caused by a leaking low pressure AC hose. These hoses commonly develop a leak at the hose crimp connection.

Crankshaft and camshaft position sensors can leak oil into the connector causing Check Engine Light illumination. The engine may also stall as a result. Leaking sensors should be replaced. Certain 2002 models were recalled for a separate camshaft and crankshaft sensor issue. For more information on the recall please click here»

Screws inside the intake manifold can become loose causing internal engine damage if they fall out completely. Our technicians report that using a strong thread locker on the power valve butterfly screws can help prevent them from becoming loose.

A problem in the vehicle speed sensor circuit may cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate.
A navigation unit that is failing can intermittently display a disc error on the screen.

The Camshaft position sensor can leak oil into its electrical connector causing the Check Engine light to illuminate. The engine may also stall intermittently as a result.