2002 Nissan Altima S 2.5L 4 cylinder from North America


Looks good, performs well, but has fatal flaw in the engine/catalytic converter design


The first problem was that the headlight case literally melted at 50,000 miles. It was replaced by Nissan under a recall, but only after the problem had occurred.

There were 10 recalls. In my opinion this shows how poorly designed the car was.

At 75,000 miles, the heater was not heating well. Our mechanic said that it was due to low coolant levels, but there was no external leak, indicating a blown head gasket. He refused to do any more work on the car, because he has been burned too many times by replacing the head gasket on this model, and having the engine fail catastrophically shortly thereafter. A few web searches confirm that this is a common (universal?) problem with this model. The pre-catalytic converter breaks up, and pieces are ingested into the engine, destroying the head gasket and scoring the cylinder walls. I am now basically left with a worthless piece of junk.

General Comments:

Good performance. Acceleration was good for a 4 cylinder and handled well.

Many, many recalls.

Poor turning radius. Difficult to parallel park.

Comfortable interior.

Looks great.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th January, 2011

2002 Nissan Altima S 2.5 from North America




Head lights.

High beams.

Leaking coolant.

Leaking oil.

Replaced catalytic converter.


Head light covers very gloomy.

General Comments:

I thought at first it was a great car, but more and more, I'm learning that it's not so good.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd November, 2010

2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 from North America




I bought the car brand new hoping to have a car I could drive for a very long time. As soon as I started driving it, I heard a swishing noise in the interior. The dealership never resolved it. They said they did not know what it was.

At a little more than 50,000 miles I started to notice it was using a lot of antifreeze.

The service engine light stays on. At first one smaller repair after another.

I had the cam shaft sensor replaced.

Now it is the head gasket, catalytic converter. I am now well into the the thousands of dollars.

The heater has never worker properly.

General Comments:

I have loved the appearance of the car and loved the comfort of the car, but sitting and staring at it is really not beneficial to me or my family.

For the first few years I told people how much I loved the car and a few even bought one as a result, now I feel like I have let people down that I know.

I just called my mechanic again and he told me to cut my losses, and get something different.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 11th August, 2010

2002 Nissan Altima S 2.5 Litre from North America


Great car with a bad motor


Rear main seal.

General Comments:

Car was great. Very comfortable. Liked the interior and exterior of the car.

On the highway this car got amazing fuel mileage. But in the end I would stay away from this car. After I got a premium oil change, about 1500-2000km later the oil was pitch black. Engine wasn't good I think so I sold it.

Also the rear main seal was leaking, so had to top off on oil every week.

Engine felt good and strong, but every time I checked the oil, it was pitch black with smoke coming out of the oil cap.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th March, 2010

2002 Nissan Altima SL 2.5 from North America


It's a really nice car, but Nissan needs to do better business


I woke up one morning and it would not start. I had it towed to the place where I bought it and they said it was the catalytic converter.

General Comments:

The car drives wonderful. I love the Bose sound system.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 11th March, 2010

2002 Nissan Altima from North America


Bad model to own


I loved this car until I had to survive a Minnesota winter in it.

I bought the car from my parents in summer 2009. This car has been family owned and has always had the best of care.

Mid winter 2009, the heat went out. It only blew heat when screaming down the highway. I took it into a mechanic, they did a backflush, which temporarily fixed it. Unfortunately, this was towards the end of winter/early spring so I didn't use the heat enough to realize it wasn't fixed.

Winter 2010, back to the same old games. I figured I chose an inexperienced mechanic, so I took it to a new one. He discovered that the 2002 Altima has 2 thermostats, so he replaced them. This cured the problem for about a month. I again had heat while driving, but frigid cold air when stopped. Had another backflush. This took away ALL heat. Mechanic kept my car for 2 1/2 weeks. He said I had a warped head gasket. He put a new head gasket and all new seals on the car. This didn't fix the heat either.

He tried new thermostats, new water pump, new heater core. The new heater core, which was a larger model from the 2003 Altima only improved the heat slightly. He didn't think the heater core was defective, possibly just plugged. After further testing he determined the heater core was not plugged, it was fully functional. In the process of determining this, he did end up breaking the water valve housing.

Long story short, and $1600.00 later, I have a new head gasket, new water pump, new thermostats, and a new water valve, and still minimal heat. We also own a 1996 Nissan Altima, with fantastic heat and 200,000+ miles on it. It is no secret that in attempts to make a longer lasting motor, Nissan settled for a poor heating system. They, like the Toyota company, refuse to own their mistakes and refuse to offer any advice on how to fix the problem.

Obviously, Toyota has a much bigger problem than poor heat, but none the less, they both provide very poor assistance and customer service to their customers. It has been proven to me and my family over and over that once they get the car off the lot, they are no longer concerned with assisting you.

I would strongly recommend steering clear of the Nissan dealership before they have the chance to steer clear of you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th February, 2010