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Nissan Altima



  • rkirkirkirki Posts: 8
    Looking through my owner's manual, there are three alternative maintenance schedules for the Altima: Premium, Schedule 1, and Schedule 2.

    Since I am not a mechanic, I'm having trouble weighing the costs and benefits of Premium vs. Schedule 1. I'm wondering whether the extra services provided under Premium might not be cost-justified--or are they a good investment? (I've ruled out Schedule 2 because it seems to be too infrequent.)

    Second, this is the first car I've owned where there is a 3,750-mile interval between scheduled maintenance. In the past, the cardinal rule I followed to give a car longevity was to change the oil every 3,000 miles. Has automotive technology improved to allow for less frequent oil changes?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Most fuel gauges are very conservative. And the low fuel light may come on with a few gallons left because Nissan doesn't want you to use that last gallon or so that has been sloshing around in the tank for a long time.

    As for service intervals, some now allow up to 10,000 miles between changes. I'd say 5k is about average, and 3750 is more than often enough.

  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    The fuel gauge in my 3.5SE is similarly pessimistic. With the needle just below the 1/4-tank mark, I have only been able to put in 12 gallons. I think it's due to the design of the car, preventing you from accidentally running out of gas.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If it were the other way around, customers would be really peeved! :-)

    I always use my trip odo anyway. I guess the actual range on the Altima is good, especially the 4-banger since the gas tank has the same capacity.

  • stebustebu Posts: 204
    I know this will be argued by some (many), but the old 3K oil change is little more then an urban legend. Engine technology has improved as far as materials and tolerences and oil filters have improved over the years. Plus, there have been improvements made to the additives that are routinely put in todays engine oils. The bottom line is that it is not necessary to change your oil more then the manufacturer recommends unless you are abusing your engine somehow (i.e. racing it). And I don't buy the argument, that I've heard more then once, that the manufacturers purposefully under rate the interval to ensure shorter engine life in order to boost long term sales. No way, it doesn't make any sense. Who here is going to go back to any car maker after they've had one of their engines seize in the first 100K miles or so after following the manufacturers maintenance recommendations. I know I wouldn't. You can bet the auto makers know that as well.

    Another myth is that some brands of oil offer more protection then others (for now let's ignore the synthetic vs. mineral oil debate). As long as they display the same API/SAE ratings, they offer the same protection.

    I recall a Consumer Reports article not that long ago where they tested the 3K theory. I think they used taxis for some of the testing. Pretty tough customers. What they found was that engine wear on the internal moving parts, cylinder walls, etc.., was negligible. Likewise, gas mileage didn't improve. In short there was no real benefit when using the shorter then recommended oil change interval over time. And CR isn't the only ones that have debunked the 3K interval. As for myself, I've put 100K - 150K trouble free miles on several autos using nothing more frequent then the vehicles suggested schedule. One thing that everyone does agree on is that the oil filter should always be changed with the oil.

    For many, the 3K oil change is like religious dogma, they can't REALLY prove it's benefits but their not willing to stop believing... just in case. So if shorter then recommended intervals gives you piece of mind, then go for it. But, it's basically an unneeded, expensive, and wasteful habit.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    German cars have service lights that come on when the oil is "spent", and it often takes more than 10k miles for that to happen.

  • I just recently acquired a 2000 Altima GXE Automatic and I am having a hard time determining my gas mileage. The manual says that the gas tank can hold 15.9 gallons. However, yesterday I was able to pump in 17.9 gallons and it still wasn't full! Has anyone else noticed this problem? If so, were you able to determine the actual size of the gas tank? It appears to be bottomless!!!!
  • gman40gman40 Posts: 15
    You should check the Gas tank for holes, the most I ever pumped into my 99 altima was 15 gallons.
    Maybe the pump was faulty and needs calibration,
    If this happens at every fill up you may want to consider checking for that hole though.
  • beanctrbeanctr Posts: 99
    I know the issue of torque steer has risen on the 2.5S (which surprises me being its a 4 cylinder), but I was wondering if the current owners of the 3.5 SE (w/either manual or automatic) encounter torque steer under normal driving conditions. I am considering purchasing a 3.5SE but have not had a chance to test drive one yet. Given the 3.5SE's high torque rating, I would anticipate torque steer during hard acceleration but would hope it wouldn't occur during normal driving. In a recent Car and Driver Family sedan comparison test they mentioned that the "engine torque tugs on steering" but didn't mention how they were driving when this occurred. I would appreciate any input from current 3.5SE owners.
  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    I have a 3.5SE manual, and I only experience the torque steer during hard acceleration. In everyday driving there's no torque steer. In fact, after having the car for a month and a half now, I don't really notice the torque steer in hard acceleration anymore. Doesn't mean it's not there, just that I've gotten used to it.
  • filodfilod Posts: 189
    98 Altima GXE
    Only problem I encountered with this car and it annoys me a lot is squeaking..It used to be just when you hit a pothole now it is becoming its way of life! (I experienced this only with old cars that I own). I found some on squeaking but I just have the numbers... Anyway I can get what these are? Thank you

    99-052 SEP 99 Interior - Squeak and Rattle Repair
    98-110 JAN 99 Squeak and Rattle Repair - Supplies
  • I am planning to buy Altima SE 3.5, But after I checked Nissan website, I found the 350Z is far more attractive. My Goodness, 350Z under 30K. Maybe I should drive my Nissan Stanza (which is a lousy car) for one more year.
  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    Do you need a sedan, or can you get by with a 2-seater?
  • I was just given an internet price quote for $18,700 for a 2002 Altima 2.5 S with Auto trans. Fog lights, and splash guards in Velvet beige (my first choise of color).
    The dealer is in NYC. Should I take the deal?
  • I purchase my Altima on Dec.31,2001. I got the Altima 2.5S automatic in polish pewter with the blond frost interior. I really do like how the car rides and handle. So far I'm the only one with the color polish pewter in the area. Most places I go to people will stop and notice the bold lines of the car and how the color gives the car a refine look. The 2.5L motor is plenty for my kind of driving. The color makes the car look more expensive.
  • My wife and I are torn between the 2002 Altima v6 SE and the 2002 Passat GLS (can't afford a V6).
    I need help:

    I drove the GLS (4cyl and 6cyl): great interior and quality but I felt the car to be a bit underpowered and the brakes soft.

    The 2002 altima is exactly the opposite: GREAT v6 Engine (a rocket), great outside looks, excellent brakes, more "organic" drive....but cheap looking material and inside fit and finish.

    My wife wants the Passat and I prefer the Altima

    Any feedback would be appreciated


    Vancouver, WA
  • ahossaahossa Posts: 152
    Mazen: The Passat is the standard. German engineering and all.if you need space go for the Altima.If you need a cool looking car Go for the Altima.If you want quality interior go for the Passat.I prefer the Altima cause it gives you a younger image and it's a real nice car.
  • That would be a great deal. In fact, it would be below invoice!

    Be careful, it could be a lowball price just to get you into the showroom. As I often tell my customers, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. One thing I would definately suggest is that you investigate the dealer with the Better Business Bureau. ( If they don't recommend them, i'd shop around.

  • We ended up taking a better offer from another dealer. We dealt directly with the internet sales
    So 1 fax, and 2 phone calls later...

    Splash guards
    Floor mats
    Auto Dimming Rearview mirror w/ compass
    $18,800 plus tax title and license.

    MSRP as configured on Nissan's website: $20,055.
    I think I did well.
    I will pick up the car in 3 days!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Get in line for the Z now. RWD, more power, less weight, too fun. There will be lines, though.

    Passat or Altima? The key is who is the primary driver? If it's her car, let her choose.

    The Passat does seem over-engineered. Check out the carpets, the door hinges, the articulating trunk hinge, the headliner, visors, all very nice. But reliability is not a strong point, and the 1.8T only makes 170hp, same as the 4 cylinder Altima.

    The Altima is all engine. Reliability should be a plus, too.

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Well, I've been casually car shopping for a replacement for my '93 Accord EX and test drove a Altima 3.5L SE 5-speed today. Over the weekend, I drove a Lexus is300 and a BMW 330i.

    My impressions:

    The engine is 90% as sweet as the BMW, and very comparable to the Lexus, though in a different way...there is just something about an I-6 that can't be duplicated.

    The Altima is quicker than both the BMW and Lexus in a straight line, but doesn't "feel" as quick as I thought it would.

    The suspension is well set up with a good combination of stiffness and compliance. I was impressed. The Altima, however, is not as composed as the BMW or Lexus on rough and/or twisty roads. Also, it is obviously front-wheel drive in that it exhibits some torque steer and understeer.

    Interior plastics and layout don't compare to the BMW but the Lexus is surprisingly cheap inside, although the Lexus is a nicer place to be in. The Altima doesn't really trail the Lexus by too much, and it is a lot roomier.

    The Altima is noticeably noisier on the road. I heard most road noise coming from the back of the cabin (trunk or back seat area?). I also heard a few rattles dring my test drive.

    I was surprised to learn that ABS is not standard on the Altima. I was impressed to learn that the ABS option includes side airbags, side curtain airbags, and Electronic Brake Force Distribution. Although traction control is noticeably absent, these options really bring the Altima up to the plate to compete with more expensive "luxury" imports.

    The BMW is one of the best looking cars on the road so I won't compare it to the Altima. I do think the Altima looks great, and is the best looking Nissan product ever! The Altima looks better than the Lexus, which I think looks like a Honda Civic with clear lenses.

    Anecdote: driving to work this morning, I saw what I thought was an IS300 ahead of me. As I caught up to it, I saw that it was actually a last generation (94-98) Honda Accord with round red stickers taped to the back trunk lid, flanking the license plate. I know my cars very well, and it still fooled me until I got right up to it!

    I was very impressed with the Altima. Carefully equipped, it is a true bargain, and a terrific sports sedan! Optioned up with all the goodies, it becomes somewhat less compelling because of the near-luxury competition. Bottom line - nothing costing around $28,000 will give you the combination of performance and features that the Altima offers. You could go with the BMW 325i or Audi A4 1.8T at that price and get more respect at the country club, but you won't get climate control, moonroof, 240 hp, leather, auto dim mirror, etc.

    I congratulate all you '02 Altima owners out there. You've made a great choice on a fine car!
  • stebustebu Posts: 204
    I can see where it might be possible to mistake the rear end of a few cars for a Lexus IS300, at least from a distance, if one were to add what appears to be the signature Lexus inside red lamps and change to clear tail lenses (I assume the Honda that confused you had those as well). BTW, the last gen Accord ran from 94-97.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Right! I forgot to count 1994 as one of the four years.
  • In an earlier post, ateixeira, said that the Passat was "over-engineered." Out of curiosity, what does this term mean, particularly in this context?
  • dsgnrdsgnr Posts: 5
    I just picked up my new Altima 2.5 S this past weekend. The rear speakers have the letters "NDSS" written on them. Does anyone know what that stands for and who the manufacturer of the stereo system is? Just curious. Thanks!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I meant built to withstand more abuse than it's ever likely to get. Check out the door hinges and you'll see what I mean. At an auto show a VW rep stood on the door and jumped up and down on it. Many cars would've suffered bad door alignment, but the Passat didn't - it sealed perfectly.

    Ask owners, and even the ones that suffered reliability problems tend to long for the materials quality that the Passat offers. They may need to move up to an Infiniti/Acura/Lexus to get what they're accustomed to.

    If VW had reliability under control, there's no telling what they could do.

  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    I believe Nissan's stereo systems are manufactured by Clarion. Not sure what NDSS stands for, however. Probably something like "Nissan Design Sound System."
  • kcb2kcb2 Posts: 22
    Can you install a cassette aftermarket and keep the CD in the dash as well? Circuit City told me I'd have to put the CD in the trunk if I installed a cassette in the dash. I can't see using a CD if it is in the trunk. Why did Nissan skimp on this?
  • lsclsc Posts: 210
    As you can see, Nissan skimped a lot in the interior of the Altima. They could have put in a cassette player, but it would have cost more money.

    I personally don't listen to cassettes anymore so it's not a problem, but if you do, I can see why you would be upset.
  • Now I get it. I couldn't figure out how a car could be over-engineered. Your explanation made a lot of sense.

    I just posted some comments on VW reliability on the Passat board. If you get a chance take a peek, I think it's post #2705 or thereabouts. I came to the same conclusion that you just did. If VW's reliability improved, they'd have some near perfect vehicles, especially in the non-luxury class. Then buying a Passat would be a no-brainer for me. I guess you just can't have it all, try as you might. *Sigh* .....
This discussion has been closed.