2002 Nissan Altima S 2.5 from North America




Undisclosed malfunctioning pre-catalyst - Nissan was or should have been well aware of the conclusions of NHTSA investigation #PE02078 (dated 3/25/2003), but failed to inform me of the cause of my persistent car trouble over the past 10 years. Not once during my many visits to one of their service departments did they disclose the finding of this NHTSA investigation, or offer to replace the malfunctioning pre-catalyst, which as it turns out is the ultimate cause of all of the problems.

Their failure to disclose or act upon these findings has put my family at risk (fire), and has cost me thousands in repairs, including a new engine, three catalytic converters and new pre-catalyst, not to mention thousands of dollars spent on false leads. Because they did not disclose the problem with the pre-catalyst, my mechanic did not know to replace the pre-catalyst, when he replaced the engine and converter. I drove for a year with the malfunctioning pre-catalyst, quite possibly damaging the new engine.

General Comments:

It's a lemon, and Nissan is a terrible car company for allowing people to drive around in this fire hazard.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th August, 2011

15th Aug 2011, 19:45

A guy I worked with had your same car, and it burned right in his driveway!!!

22nd Jul 2013, 15:18

I completely agree and feel for you! I'm 31 years old, starting a family, so I figured that I'd buy a "good" car with cash to avoid car payments.

I bought a 2002 Altima 2.5 S; it was the worst mistake I could have made. I've had the car 2 months, it started burning oil immediately & has broken down 4 times already, and is now having major engine issues. I saved for 2.5 years for this junk. I hate Nissan!!! I 110% assure you, I'm not exaggerating, not even a little. These cars are pretty, but HORRIBLE!!!

2002 Nissan Altima S 2.5L 4 cylinder from North America


Never again Nissan


A little background...

Back in 2002, I was fortunate enough to come into some money, so I treated myself and my wife each to new cars. We tend to keep our cars a long time, as we take great care of them. We bought a new Altima 2.5S for my wife, and I bought a Camry SE.

The Altima WAS a great car until June 2009 (the Camry still is a great car). My wife came home and mentioned a "yellow light" light had came on on her way home from work - it was the check engine light. So the next day we swapped cars, as I work close to the Nissan dealer where we purchased the car new, and had religiously serviced it. They kept it for the day, and when I picked it up, they said they replaced the catalytic converter. I paid for it, and drove the car home and returned it to my wife, thinking all was good.

Two weeks later, she returned home saying a "red light" was on in the car and it was making a "bad noise". I went outside and started the car - then quickly shut it off! The low oil light was on, and the engine was making a horrible noise. I added 4 litres (!) of oil to bring it to full line and restarted the engine. The noise mostly went away, but there was a small left over tick, which I knew wasn't good. I decided I had better start driving it so that if it died, it wouldn't be with my wife driving it. Over the next few months, it starting drinking nearly as much oil as gas - with only 110,000 km!

I took it back to the dealer, and they said I needed to replace the engine, and it was out of warranty and would cost over $4500! I couldn't believe this car that had been taken care of so well (oil change every three months at the Nissan dealer since my wife didn't drive too far) needed a new engine at 110,000 KMs. I looked at trading the car at the Nissan dealer, hoping they would help me out since I was a good customer, but they only offered me $800 for it, since it needed a new engine!!! For that money, I decided I would drive it into the ground.

I continued to drive the Altima (leaving my wife with the Camry), but with my much longer commute (200 km round trip) the Altima didn't last much longer, and it spun a main bearing at 122,000 km on my way home from work. No doubt the engine was fatally damaged from being run dry of oil (I don't blame my wife - it never should have happened in the first place).

It died in June 2009, and the Altima has since been parked out behind my barn with grass growing around it as a reminder to never buy another Nissan again. At that time, my Camry had gone nearly 400,000 km trouble free, and since my wife needed a new vehicle, we bought her a 2009 Toyota RAV4, which has been perfect. I also recently bought a 2011 Toyota Venza to replace my Camry (which as of this writing just passed 500,000 km and still runs great), which we gave to our son.

Thanks for nothing Nissan! Never again!

General Comments:

When it ran, it was comfortable, good on gas, and was a good looking car.

The barn cats like it for the shade it provides now...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th January, 2011

13th Aug 2011, 00:42

Hello, I need a car, and instead of having it sit and rot in the barn, wouldn't you rather consider if I could own it? I just might be able to fix it!

You can email me at clickmi@aim.com

4th Oct 2013, 11:02

This is sad... there is a little doubt that the lack of oil was related to the car being serviced by the dealer; most probably someone made an error.

A suggestion, next time when you need to replace the engine, there are always scrap yards and individuals dismembering cars and selling for parts in your area. An engine from the dealer would be new and cost about 4000$ parts + 1000$ for the job. A used engine would still have good chances to work well, and would cost around 500$ plus a 3-400$ for the job in a private garage. It's a better option in a used car, and used engines can be found in the local classified ads sites.