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Nissan Altima Maintenance and Repair

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  • Hi. I had a light accident a few years ago, when some car cut me while turning left. Since that moment, although the dealer says that the car has been "fixed", I have a recurrent problem with the air-bag light - for no reason whatsoever, from time to time (every month, I'd say) it goes on (blinking). It's most annoying, and the only solution has been to go to the dealer (again and again !) and pay about 25$ for the "computer reset". They say that the computer has NO error code, and they don't know what might be the reason for this behaviour - it might be some wiring problem, but they haven't been able to detect it. But, some time ago, a mechanic at the dealer didn't even bother taking the car into the garage - he reset it on the street, by using some sequence of brake-pedal pressing and door-switch pressing, something like "press the brakes once, then manually press on the door-switch three times in quick sequence, then again press the brakes once, and again the door-switch three times"... this is just an example. That guy didn't want to tell me what the trick was. So my question is: does anybody know these trick ? I'm really tired to spend time and money for my monthly "ritual" two-hours trip to the dealer. I have tried other mechanics, but they said that this is very specific to Nissan and I should go to the dealer, which is the only one to have that knowledge from the manufacturer.

    PS. Altima 1995, which otherwise runs just fine.
  • Hi. I had a light accident a few years ago, when some car cut me while turining left. Since that moment, although the dealer says that the car has been "fixed", I have a recurrent problem with the air-bag light - for no reason whatsoever, from time to time (every month, I'd say) it goes on (blinking). It's most annoying, and the only solution has been to go to the dealer (again and again !) and pay about 25$ for the "computer reset". They say that the computer has NO error code, and they don't know what might be the reason for this behaviour - it might be some wiring problem, but they haven't been able to detect it. But, some time ago, a mechanic at the dealer didn't even bother taking the car into the garage - he reset it on the street, by using some sequence of brake-pedal pressing and door-switch pressing, something like "press the brakes once, then manually press on the door-switch three times in quick sequence, then again press the brakes once, and again the door-switch three times"... this is just an example. That guy didn't want to tell me what the trick was. So my question is: does anybody know these trick ? I'm really tired to spend time and money for my monthly "ritual" two-hours trip to the dealer. I have tried other mechanics, but they said that this is very specific to Nissan and I should go to the dealer, which is the only one to have that knowledge from the manufacturer.

    PS. Altima 1995, which otherwise runs just fine.
  • beaghibeaghi Posts: 34
    From Nissan Altima 94 Service Manual,

    Driver's door switch is turned ON and OFF more than 5 times within 7 seconds after ingition switch is truned ON.

    That should clear your problem.
  • aldan93aldan93 Posts: 202
    I thought I would share this 1997 Altima, No problems!
  • In my 3.5SE, the seat heaters only generate heat once someone is sitting in them. I don't know if this is normal or not. The electrical obviously works, as the seats get toasty when sitting in them, but if I start the car for 10 minutes in the morning and then get into it, they are not already heated. Never having had heated seats before, I don't know if this is how they should work. Any comments would be appreciated. :)
  • In my 3.5SE, the seat heaters only generate heat once someone is sitting in them. I don't know if this is normal or not. The electrical obviously works, as the seats get toasty when sitting in them, but if I start the car for 10 minutes in the morning and then get into it, they are not already heated. Never having had heated seats before, I don't know if this is how they should work. Any comments would be appreciated. :)
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    put your backpack or a book in the seat!
  • I just purchased this car less than one month ago with 38,000 miles on it. The car seems to do fine on the freeway - other than a slight vibration throughout when stopped at a red light. Not sure what this is about - wasn't having this problem when I test drove the car. Another problem I have noticed is when I am driving in town (around 40 mph) the car seems to hesitate almost as if it is pulling back. It is hard to explain but it feels as though it wants to cut out but it isn't actually doing that at all. The gear change seems to be long as well. It is an automatic. Is it normal for the RBM (???) indicater to get all the way up to 4 before the gear actually changes?

    Any info would be greatly appreciated! Not sure if I purchased a lemon or not. I certainly hope I haven't - my budget couldn't take it.
  • I have a 98 Altima GXE with 67K miles. Recently I have problems starting the car. If I press on the gas pedal while turning the ignition key it sometimes starts. Otehr times, I move the car into Shift then back to Park before starting and it works. I know these discussions have happened before, can someone give insight into what they did and what really works.

    Secondly, when I press on the accelator I hear a 'click'. This happens all the time, any suggestions??
  • nascar33nascar33 Posts: 1
    I own a 2002 3.5 and have had it in for repairs around 10 times and have had 16 new tire (Bridgestone Tauranza tires) and 4 new rims put on. Have also been speaking with Nissan trying to get the problem fixed. It shakes between 50-75 mph, you can see the steering wheel shake and also feel it in the floor and seat. We are just waiting for some paperwork then we are going to file for the lemon law. would like to here if where (Sauron666) is on your car and the lemon law. and any advise anyone has would be great!!!
  • dschandschan Posts: 1
    My 2000 GXE started having an engine noise around 21,000 miles, similar to Sandman's post #142. Sandman described it as a "sewing machine" like noise. I think it sounded like a cartoon spring going "oing-oing-oing...", with the rate of noise proportional to engine RPM. The sound came from the pulleys between the engine and passenger side wheel well. Got it fixed under warranty a few weeks ago, now the car is quiet again.
  • I see a lot of posts about timing chains in Altimas, but nothing that answers "when should it be replaced". Took my '96 Altima (158K mi) to the dealer today because of a rattling noise that goes away once the car warms up. The mechanic said it's the timing chain, "...might fail tomorrow, might last another 100,000 miles". He said it would cost $2100 to repair. Seems kind of high, and I'd like to avoid the expense if I could. Question: how can I tell when it absolutely needs to be replaced?
  • My sons 95 gxe timing chain is also noisy. It has been for the last 50K miles. He now is at 180K and, like the dealer said, it could go anytime.

    Unfortunately, this chain is not very easy to get to in order to replace it. It's very labor intensive.

    I have seen no posts at what mileage these chains actually have broken. It would be interesting to find this data in order to make an informed decision.

    Altimas.net has some info about people changing them and whats involved in doing so, but not about actual breakages and when they occurred.

    If you find any statistics about this, please post it here.
  • I'm tying to find out if any one has had a car fire in the engine area. My wife Altima engine area had a fire on Friday. she was driving and was told by some people driving behind her. There was no light on the dash and the car was running when she stop. I looks like it was in the air cleaner area. I tying to find out if this is a problem before I call Nissan to reported. We like the and before I buy a new one I want to make sure this is not a problem.

    Thanks for you help. you can email at rockyp@dialupnet.com
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,768
    Has anyone installed an external disc changer in a 02/3 Altima? I just a 2.5S. I like the factory sterio so I'd like to install an external disc changer that will play through it.

    If you've done this, please let me know how you laid it out. Where did the unit go and where did the controls go?

    Thanks for your hlep
  • johnncjohnnc Posts: 4
    I have a 2003 Altima 2003 3.5 SE with 7.5k miles. I've been 'dancing' with my dealer about a shimmy in the front end between 55-70 MPH.
    They balanced and 'road force' balanced the tires 3 times, then replaced two of them (one came in worse than OEM and we waited a week for that replacement). Even with two new tires, all within 'Nissan spec' for road force, the front end shimmies badly at highway speeds. We are soon approaching Nissan about this directly and wanted to know how many other 02-03 Altima drivers have this problem? BTW, tires are the 17" Bridgestone Turanza's. Please respond, especially if you found a successful solution! Thanks.
  • ronsahnronsahn Posts: 2
    I have bought an '03 Altima 2.5S, and found out that the re-circulation light automatically turned off when the air flow control dial was turned to "floor". The dealer tells me it is so by design. I would understand the automatic turn-off when the dial is turned to "defog" or "defog & floor" in order to let the outside air in.
    But, I don't think, when the heater's working, it is not necessary to automatically turn off the re-circulation.

    Can anyone who owns an 03 Altima 2.5S verify my dealer's claim?

    Thanks.
  • altimanaltiman Posts: 9
    '03 Altima 3.5S specs claim a 20 gallon tank, but I've never been able to squeeze more than 16.5 in it, even on dead "E". Anybody else experience this? Is it really 20 gals? Can I have the gauge re-calibrated?
  • altimanaltiman Posts: 9
    '03 Altima 3.5S specs claim a 20 gallon tank, but I've never been able to squeeze more than 16.5 in it, even on dead "E". Anybody else experience this? Is it really 20 gals? Can I have the gauge re-calibrated?
  • vidtechvidtech Posts: 212
    just rented one of these altimas.i can't see why anyone would buy one of these.they are junk.
  • lmp180psulmp180psu Posts: 393
    You are entitled to your opinion, but could you expand on your reasoning of why the Altima is a piece of junk. Part of your dislike may be due to the fact that it is a rental car, which has been beaten on, not properly broken in etc. People here would respect your belief more if you provided your experience of the problems with the Altima, instead of a blanket statement like: "just rented one of these altimas.i can't see why anyone would buy one of these.they are junk."
  • vidtechvidtech Posts: 212
    i am sorry i was so vague,here are my dislikes of the altima.
    1.harsh,uncomfortable ride
    2.very akward controls,wipers,headlights etc.
    3.uncomfortable seating and driving position
    4.difficulty entering and exiting vehicle.
    5.with four adults,the ground clearance is so small,that every piece of road debris that everyone was driving over seemed to get caught somewhere underneath.
    I couldn't wait to get back into my worn out,86 ford.
  • beaghibeaghi Posts: 34
    Nobody forces you to drive a save and reliable car. You can go back to your old 86 car and keep putting money in it. I have been driving my Altima for the last 9 years (190000) and beleive me, nothing of what you said will impress any Altima driver.
  • ronbert1ronbert1 Posts: 1
    The dealer was telling the truth (this time). Nissan added this feature to keep the vehicle from flash fogging the windshield. Previously, when the driver changed mode from the defrost position (or def/foot - both of which forces AC on and fresh air) to foot position, the window would re-fog (with AC off in Recirc mode).
    FYI - for '03, another added feature is the compressor stays engaged, anytime after def or def/foot mode is used (until the next key off). This may help explain some of the fuel economy questions - although it would have little effect with low head pressure during colder weather.
  • colie74colie74 Posts: 42
    Truby, have you called a LL Attorney? They still may be able to help. I am pushing my car through LL (and then getting rid of it so I am here bc I will be gettig an Altima) right now. It's been in the shop for a trunk leak 4 times now. The manufacturer may not buy the car back, but they may offer me several thousand dollars for my inconvienence and to settle as no fault of their own. In other words, to shut me up :)! PLUS I get a higher up factory rep who will be flown out to personally correct the problem which the lawyer knows needs to be done, but the service people haven't bothered to go as far as to get it fixed completely. So all in all, I win no matter what and it doesn't cost me anything if I don't get anything excpet the car fixed.

    You may want to call one anyways and have them look over your case.

    Good luck, I know it sucks.

    Nicole
  • I have had the problem with the low fuel light and dte giving a low number also, only to fill up and the tank taking 15.5 gallons at most. I had been wondering if anyone else had run into this. Should we just not believe that gauge/low fuel indicator?
  • trudytootrudytoo Posts: 1
    Anyone have any advice or expeirence driving thru saltwater flooded streets? I can not always avoid this and really don't want to drive any thing but a sedan.
  • beaghibeaghi Posts: 34
    Nice try but the Altima does not have a time belt. It has a timing chain. What is the difference? A timing belt needs to be replaced every 100000KM (60000Miles) while a timing chain need to be replaced every 350000KM (200000Miles). Therefore, I do not mind if it is 2100$ to replace since most of the Altima driver will never have to replace it.
  • ronsahnronsahn Posts: 2
    I think it is really 16.5 gal rather than 20.0

    I had the same problem, so I did an experiment.
    We get the tank size if we divide dte(distance to empty) by avg. MPG.

    I filled up the tank, and reset the average MPG.
    Then I started driving, and checked the average MPG and dte(distance to empty). DTE reading was around 450 miles, and avg. MPG was around 26. When dividing DTE by avg MPG, I get around 17 gal.

    I am sure that we don't have 20 gal. gas tank in Altima...
  • rxurxu Posts: 5
    Try to put a fuel filter on my 1999 Altima. It's very hard to get it off the rubber gas hose - the hose grab the filter so tight. Is there anytrick to make it easier?
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