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Nissan Altima Maintenance and Repair



  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133

    Don't know the answers to all your problems. But, my 94 had the same oil problem. Caused car to stall when oil got inside distributor. My mechanic drilled a small hole in base to let it drain. No more oil problem.
  • Thank you. I never heard of that. Most mechanics just say replace the distributor. Do you know where they drilled the hole? Did they drill into the black distributor cap or the actual distributor? I think that would work as a preventative to keep the distributor from shorting out because of the oil. It's such a common problem on these Nissans. Sounds like a good idea to me. Thanks.
  • I have the same car, 94 Altima GXE automatic. My car has over 309,000 miles on it. I've never had a distributor problem. Nonetheless, I believe I have read your previous posts that mentioned distributor replacement with NAPA and AutoZone parts. In most cases there is nothing wrong with NAPA and AutoZone parts. but when ever I have tried to take the cheep road and install non genuine Nissan parts I have had problems. I have since learned it is better to pay more for the real thing once than to pay less for an off the shelf part twice. My advice is to replace the distributor and possibly the coil (hard to find new) with new Nissan parts.

    I had a problem with the coil and it was very hard to diagnose. Some times the car would simply not start. The starter would turn over but it would not start. I consulted the Hanes Manual and tested ignition system with my multi-meter as subscribed. The only thing I could find was the coil resistance drop was slightly out of range. On a Saturday morning I got it started and took it to my Nissan dealer. The tech told me the coil was fine and wanted me to replace the distributor. He also told me that a bad coil can some times cause the distributor to malfunction. Not that I don't trust my deal's tech, but I know he can charge more to replace the distributor. Plus I tested it myself and had a strong feeling the problem was the coil - not the distributor. Therefore, I bought a new Nissan coil for my KA24DE engine and installed it myself. Since then it has started every time.

    I have the same problem with the sun visor. My local Nissan dealer wants $120 for the driver's side visor - Yeah not with my budget. Meanwhile I've checked a couple of junk yards and they visors seem to be the first items people take. I'll keep checking back - hopefully I will find one soon.


    Ray Danley
  • Thanks Ray, I hope mine will go 300,000. It currently has 133,000 and people are amazed at how good it looks. I am not hard on my vehicles and keep them protected from the sun. Here in Florida the sun can be brutal.

    I appreciate the info about the coil. I got two distributors from NAPA and they were both bad. One was bad right off the other failed at 9 months. The Auto Zone distributor has been in for about 3 years. I am not having a starting problem though it cranks a little longer than before. Just wondering if the tach has something with the distributor. A friend had a Dealer do his distributor (new Nissan distributor) and that car has never been as good. At least the Auto Zone distributor is a lifetime and they are easy to put in. Takes about 20 min. including getting the tools out.

    I guess the distributor has been the only unusual problem I have had up until recently. In the last year the antenna quit going down. The rear window would go up and down when the car was started (I unhooked the motor). The radio volume goes up and down. Of course the tach is bouncing around. Sometimes it just quits. So the car is now developing some electrical gremlins.

    I had thought about trading up but I've heard the early Nissan Altima are the best. I have been reading about all the problems the new cars have and I am afraid of them. I would hate to spend big bucks and end up with worse problems than I have on this old car. What have you replaced on yours? It might give me an idea of what to look out for. I appreciate your help and info. Thank you.
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    You're welcome. Don't know where he drilled. But, he's a top notch mechanic. Wherever, it allows it to drain with no impact to performance. I'd make sure whoever does it knows what thy are doing. If I can remember, I'll ask at my next oil change.
  • Glad you caught up ith one. Around here, we have great hope for tommorrows game with the Lions. Hopefully, the coaches will not screw up like the giant game. Not running Fortis or throwing to Cooley! Curses.

    We go to C- Town from time to time. Does anyone ever win at those slots? Good thing they have the ponies. At least we get a chance to watch our money before it is eaten up by the slots.
  • My 97 altima is acting very strange. I have recently replaced the distributor, and that aspect of the car seems to be just fine. The problems are when driving the car the RPM's seem too high, but at a light or stop sign or even in park the idle is really low and seems like it wants to stall, but doesn't. The idle will go even lower if the radiator fan kicks on or if I use the power windows. Any suggestions?
  • sln74sln74 Posts: 3
    Hello, I have a 2005 Nissan Altima that is turning off while I am driving. It is so scary with my 2 kids in the car. The Nissan dealership here said they don't know what it could be and since my engine light is not on, they can not get a code from the computer. Did you find out what caused the problem and did you solve it?
    Thank you,
  • ramancramanc Posts: 1
    I have 1999 nissan altima which has automatic transmission. It runs good in normal conditions. But, in reverse gear, i have to give lots of acceleration to move the car. I checked that the transmission fluid was clean, and was lacking about 1 quart of fluid. After adding the fluid, also, there is no improvement. Please help.
  • tleytley Posts: 3
    I have a 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5S. The car has 68,000 miles. The car will be driving fine and then the engine will stop. After waiting 45 minutes, the car may restart - but the problem persists.

    An error code says "camshaft position" is the problem. How is this problem fixed and how much does it cost?
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    most likely, the cam shaft position sensor is bad, and needs replaced. don't know how much, but probably a couple hundred, 2-3 would be my guess. Unless of course you do it yourself and avoid that $80 per hour labor rate :surprise:
  • Dear Jim,

    Wow! Nobody replied to your message. How depressing. We'll let me be the first to tell you how to fix this. You see I have a 1999 Altima with 152,000 and exactly the same problem. You see, I am replying to my own message as I have fixed the problem.

    The solution is as follows:
    1. The Evaporation Canister Vent Control Valve got stuck CLOSED. In normal operation this valve should be OPEN. It is only occassionally shut so that the smart engine computer can test for small leaks by creating a vacuum. Regardless, when the engine is off, this valve is supposed to be OPEN.

    2. Could buy the part from the dealer for $120-140. No parts store had it available. Bummer. Tried 3 national chains and nothing.

    3. First.... find the evap canister. Located under rear driver side bumper. Big rectangular plastic covered with black soot. Your hands will get black on this job.

    4. Second.... Find the metal thingy that is screwed directly onto the side of the evap canister. It has 2 10mm screws attaching it. The screws face the front of the car. The metal thingy (aka vent control valve) also has an electrical connection and a small hose attached to it. That metal thingy is the evap canister vent control valve.

    5. Third... Detach the tube (just pull) and detach the electrical connector from the vent control valve.

    6. Blow in the hole where the tube was connected. Are you able to blow through easily? If yes, then the vent control valve was open and this is not your problem. If you can't blow through real easy then this is your problem. Remember, when the engine is OFF this vent control valve should be WIDE OPEN.

    7. Ok, so its your problem. Spray lubricant into the hole and let it sit around in there for a few minutes, hours, days, whatever. That probably doesn't help but its always fun to do.

    8. Now grab a good metal flathead screw driver. Insert it into the bottom hole (the one that went into the evap canister) and pry the internal metal piston up about 3 millimeters. Hard to move the first time. Doesn't move much but it is all it takes. Now blow through the upper pipe. (be sure to wipe off your greasy lips later). You might need to pry more or even pry from the upper hole. Keep working at it, use some muscles and you will have it working in a jiffy.

    9. how much time? 7 hours. No, not really. Listen... I am a computer geek and not good at cars. I had the vent control valve off the evap canister in 10 minutes. Took 5 minutes to figure out how to get the electrical connector separated (use small screw driver, stick into the connection and gently pry plastic over a small stopper).

    So 15 minutes so far. Another 15 minutes to work the vent open and 5 minutes to re-assemble.

    10. That was easy. Took only 30 minutes total. Not bad considering it used to take 15 minutes just to put 5 gallons of gas in the car on a cold winter night. brrrr.

    11. Also, the fine folks at the parts stores told me I was dead wrong and that the vent control valve should be shut by default. If it weren't for a mechanic friend of mine who told me they were wrong I wouldn't have tried it. Glad I did as I now love my car.

    12. Why do I love my car? Very reliable, good 30mpg miles, kind of ugly but not too bad. Want to buy it? Let me know. (I just bought a miata :-) .) Why did I buy a miata? Because I hated putting gas in my altima!

    Hope you enjoyed my story and rejoice with me that this thing now works!!!

    Jim :)
  • Great story Jim. Now, that's the kind of story I like to read!

    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • My wife's 2005 Altima had a check engine light go on. We tested it, the code said it was the catalytic converter. She took it to the dealer. He told her she needed to reprogram the ECM. He did that, and told her to drive it around for a few days to see if the light comes back on. He charged $95 for the reprogramming. As far as I understand, that is supposed to be free. We are appealing to Nissan.
  • I am having the same problem with my car, excessive oil consumption and the muffler sounds loud. Its also consuming engine coolant and now the dealer says the coverter is blown and has caused damage to the engine
  • You guys need to be sure to read the "Nissan Altima Engine Failures" forum. There is a lot posted there about what you are discussing here, excessive oil consumption, catalytic converter failures, etc.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Good suggestion, thanks. Here's the link for everyone: Nissan Altima Engine Failures.
  • Sam,
    I have an 04 Altima, it began idling and shutting off if i did not accelerate while in a neutral position. It then began to shut off while driving down the road and i would have to put it in neutral to coast until i could crank it back up. The problem only gets worse. After awhile, it will not crank back up. Turns out it had a recall on the ecm, but first i had to replace the crank sensor, @$150.00 at the local dealership. Completely solved the problem tho until recently, which brings me to this site for my own problems that may or may not deal with this crank sensor. Hope this helps.
  • sln74sln74 Posts: 3
    Hi Lane,
    I got the crank shaft sensor and the cam sensor replaced and it is running fine now. I know the 2002 models have been recalled for the sensor issues...we should complain so they will pay for these repairs (hopefully)...but I am curious...what is the problem you are experiencing now?? do I have this to look forward too?
  • hopefully not! i got a flat tire, and put the spare on til had time to get the match to my other tires ordered. car sat for four days while i drove our truck. went to get in it mon morn...battery dead. its original 2004 battery, went and got a new battery, car would start, go dead. then not start at all. after many hours of research on this site I found that many people also have same probs we did. i found a post saying to turn the key to on, leave for two seconds turn back to off, pull key out, turn back to on 2 more sec then crank so i ran to my car and IT WORKED!!! THE ONLY reason i havent traded it in due to the hassles it gives me is because im so close to payoff! My suggestion- if you plan on keeping a car payment and you have already started experiancing the probs, trader er in. As for my car, we'll see if it will actually get me to the tire shop tomorrow. P.S. If you have any probs concerning yours, I'm a pro at this point. Everything that can go wrong, I probably have experiance on!
  • Hello everyone...
    Just as everyone else I have been having problems with my Nissan Altima '07. It has been the worst car ever and im stuck with it for the next three years...(by the way anyone has any ideas how can i get rid of it without loosing to much money?) any ways i took it to the dealer because it was rattling and shaking when accelerating and even more shaking when going above 60miles... they changed the transmission mount.. of course without even consulting me... but does anyone know if this is the issue? i thought these repairs were for old or worn out cars...
    Thank youuuuu
  • "my Nissan Altima '07"

    Is it a 2.5 or 3.5?
  • 2.5.... ok now they told me it is not the transmission mount but the engine mount... the left one...
  • neo_neo_ Posts: 14
    not really sure which forum this question belongs..

    when i turn on the blower with the selector on heat, the AC turns on by itself. i talked to the service dept and they said that's ok as the AC is trying to get rid of the moisture. my problem is, it always stays on, doesn't turn off after some time, as i would expect, and more annoyingly, it turns back on even after i turn it off, when i change the outlet selection.. I don't think it's ok for both heater and AC to be running at the same time. is this ok and is there a way to turn the AC off so that it doesn't turn on by itself?
  • I had the same problem with my 05 altima. i really thing its the transmission mount. You need to put some type of rubber around the mount to keepfrom making contact with the engine, It truly suck. P.S, how much did the dealer charge you for fixing it victrolajazz
  • how much did they charge for fixing it victrolajazz
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    If you have it set to defrost, then yes, it will turn on the ac. what the service dept told you was correct. it pulls the moisture out of the air and help clear the windows faster. If its on when you turn it to vents, or floor than something is wrong. the ac should only come on automaticly when you select defrost.
  • I have a 2001 Nissan Altima GXE. It has been a great car, but lately I am having touble with the transmission (I think). In the morning when I first start it and it is still cold, it does not seem to engage first gear. It is has an automatic transmission and when I step on the gas it will rev, but not go anywhere. Then it will suddenly catch first gear and take off sqealing the tires. At first this was just a minor annoyance, but seems to be getting worse and can be a real danger when I am stopped at a stop light and can't go anywhere for a few seconds until first gear engages. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  • The first thing is to check the automatic transmission fluid level. This should be done with the engine warmed up, parked on level ground, hold the brake and move the gear selector to all positions, holding in each one for about 5 seconds. Then put the gear selector in park, remove and wipe the transmission dipstick, reinsert it all the way in, then pull it out and read the fluid level. The level should be where indicated for "hot" or "warm". Also be sure that the correct transmission fluid is in the the transmission, and if you have to add any, be sure it is the correct type. Check the recommendation on the dipstick or owners manual.

    You have not indicated any service history. Has the transmision fluid been changed according to the manufacturer's recommendations? If not, but sure to have the transmission fluid and filter properly serviced. I prefer to flush and change my ATF every 30,000 miles.

    You have not indicated the miles on the vehicle. If all of the above is done and ok, then the transmission may be suffering from some common "aging" aliments. With age and heat, the rubber seals inside the transmission begin to harden and lose their seal from time to time. This will eventually happen to most automatic transmissions, if nothing worst happens first. You can add some non-slip additive to the transmission fluid to see if it may help. I have had the best luck with LUCAS Transmission Stop Leak, a white plastic bottle with 24 ounces of red goo that seems to work really well. It is available at almost any auto parts store.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • I have a 2008 Altima , 1000 miles. Yesterday a light came on the dash that had not been on before and has not gone out.
    It is up and right to the knob on the dash that controls the dash brightness. It would be in the one o'clock position. It looks like a little speedometer. It is round with a little hand and interval marks and about 4 hash marks below it. To describe it would be.. it looks like a little speedometer or tachometer. I have called 3 dealers, 2 don't know what it is or heard of it, the other said it would stay on all the time to show you were the dash brightness control knob was, well why wasn't it on before now.
    Has anyone heard of this little icon? It is not in the owners manual.
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