Nissan Altima Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Nissan Altima as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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33
Known Problems

The camshaft driven distributor can leak oil and cause a malfunction of the crankshaft position sensor. The engine may crank but not start or run very poorly.

Nissan issued a recall on the fuel pump for premature failure. There was an owner notification program and labels were placed on the fuel pump access panel and next to the AC charge label in the engine compartment.

Welds on the catalytic converter heat shield can corrode causing a rattle during acceleration and possibly causing Check Engine Light illumination. The common repair for this issue is replacement of the damaged catalytic converter.

Failure of the ignition power transistor can cause a "crank-no start" condition.

The engine may stall at times due to a failed crankshaft position sensor and/or camshaft position sensor, These sensors can fail intermittently as they warm with the engine. Sensors on certain models have been recalled by Nissan and will be replaced as necessary. Please visit our recall section for this model to see if your vehicle is covered by this recall.

The catalytic converter closest to the cylinder head can fail causing illumination of the Check Engine Light. Prompt repair of this problem is recommended because the catalyst material can be sucked into the engine and cause internal damage.

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 engine mount on the right side can wear prematurely and cause excessive engine movement.

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»

The external seal on the engine oil cooler can fail and create an oil leak.

The thermostat may become stuck closed, causing an overheating condition. Replacement of the thermostat will be required to correct this concern.

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.