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Nissan Altima Maintenance and Repair



  • I have a 2002 Altima 3.5 V6 that I bought used with 84k miles on it in Jan 2007. I was the 3rd owner and this car had everything I wanted so I was excited thinking I was buying a reliable brand...WRONG! I thought maybe the person that had it before me ran it too hard but I've been reading the reports and maybe that's not the case and I'm afraid what will happen next. At about 3 months after purchase the AC went out so I took it back where I bought it and after 2 separate visits it was fixed no cost. At about a year after purchase it started doing this thing where it won't stay started when you first start it up unless you give it gas so I thought it needed a tune up so I had that done to the tune of $800 and they told me there was a recall on the headlights so they replaced them no charge and they said there was an oil leak behind the engine, but I couldn't afford to have it fixed and have yet to have it fixed (can't afford it). It does take alot of oil so I figured there was one but there was never any oil on the ground. So after the tune up I hoped the starting problem would be fixed NOPE it still does it. So a few months later the windshield washer sprayers stopped working on the passenger side and now the driver side barely works. In December 08 I had the battery replaced and again hoped that would help my starting problem and still doesn't stay started and now the lights dim quickly when the car's engine kicks in harder, it's sluggish to power when it first is started up also, and now it's doing this thing where the car will be warmed up but the heater isn't blowing warm air unless I have my foot on the gas then it heats up, but if I'm stopped at a light it starts blowing cold until I go again and I've seen others with that particular problem and it really sucks in the winter. And the other thing is when you're in stop and go traffic and you're barely pushing the brake you can hear it click in the gear shift (automatic) it's very strange. It has almost 122k miles on it now and I'm afraid it'll start that stalling out on the freeway at 65 mph thing I've read so much about or I'll have to replace the crankshaft and the motor like all these other people I've been seeing. I can't afford to dump so much money into a car and I know that's true for almost everyone. So to anyone who's thinking about buying a Nissan and haven't DON'T they may look great on the outside but under the hood they're crap, I'd rather have my FORD back and I'm not a big fan of American made cars because they're usually the ones with the problems.
  • Also go along with my long list above I thought of 2 more things. The driver side door will never stay open I was told by a mechanic friend that it seemed as if the clip or whatever is in there (I know next to nothing about parts sorry) to hold it seems to be broken and the inside door marker lights like to fall out of the door and they're not noticed until the door is closed on the them and they break, I've had both sides replaced a time a piece already.
  • It is very expensive to buy new and, perhaps it's better to get rid of it or put a new engine in it.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    your car is a very reliable car. especially with the 3.5VQ engine in it. the most likely problem is, this car had three other owners, and 84k miles on it. buying a used car is risky enough, but one that three other people had owned and possibly abused?

    and a bit of advice for the furture. people tend to sell higher milage cars becase they know there is something wrong.
  • I, too, am having the same problem with my 2003 Altima 3.5. I have taken it to the dealership and they said it is normal. However, it only started after having coolant flushed and they have purged the system twice to remove any air in there. I also had them check into whether the tube is clogged or not. They said the only way to stop this is to slow down the amount of water going into heater box with a filter. Unsure if this is the way to go but I'm going to call nissan and see what they have to say. I don't feel that this is normal.
  • Wondering if your rushing water noise has been resolved after you had your radiator bled or not. I have a 2003 altima 3.5 and it just started making this sound after having coolant flushed in dec 2008. the dealership has vacuum the air out twice and still the noise. just wanted to know if i should have radiator bled and refilled and noise will go away. Help?
  • bear26bear26 Posts: 12
    Hi, the rushing water noise went away after they bled out the radiator. I would suggest trying this as it seemed to be a fairly common problem according to what I heard. Thanks
  • My 2005 Altima 3.5 SE had the same bubbling water noise. I read a little about the problem and found out it was probably air in the coolant. I just topped it off and I haven't heard the noise since. I'm currently at 47,000 miles and topped it off over 20,000 miles ago. Bought the car at 22,000 miles.
  • This review of the 2005 Altima mentions that at the time they started manufacturing it there were two plants making it, one being a mature plant with experienced workers, the second being a brand new plant that was experiencing growing pains and having quality issues, at least in the beginning.

    Anyways the way to tell if your Altima was made in the good plant is if the 11th position in your VIN # is a C or an N.

    N is for Canton, Mississippi which is the type of 04/05 Altima you probably don't want as they had problems when they first opened
    C is for Smyrna (Nashville), Tennessee which represents an Altima that will most likely have very few quality problems. This plant had been in operation since 1992.

    This is where I got my info, and I haven't looked any more into it, but it seemed reputable enough:
  • THIS IS A REPLY TO WRITE2DIAZ remarks on his 05 altima

    I have the same problem with the sound coming from the front wheels.i have 18 inch rims and new tires on all of them. I have an 05 altima v6.if you also have 18s then it solves both our problems.if not then im hoping its nothing major for the sake of both of us.

    And In terms of the sound that you hear coming from the ac, i believe its a leaking hose.That what the nissan dealer told me.I have the same estimated $599 to repair. Damn stealerships!

    And does any one know why when i put my car from park to drive it jerks? done a transmission flush but its still the same.Can it be the filter?
  • My 2003 3.5 Altima has a problem. When I exited from the vehicle and turned off the ignition, the fog lights remained on and the chiming was coming from the dash when I removed the key. I made sure all the lights were in the off position but the fog lights stayed on. I also noticed when I turned the engine back on, the dashboard light by the spedometer and tachometer wasn't lighting up. Any ideas?
  • We start being sick in our Altima 6 month ago. Chess pain and raw throat, but no smell in the car. We’ve been to 4 different mechanics. Doctor's agree with us that something is irritating lungs, Right now we do not know what the problem is, we do know something is affecting our lungs, it is something that takes time to take effect, it is not happening over night.
    We got the car tested for Carbon monoxide, it was negative. We don’t know what to do anymore; anyone experienced that kind of issues??
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    Do you have another car to drive for a week or get a rental and see if things clear up. Then go back to the Altima and see if symptoms return. See if there is a freon leak.
    Find a person who can take an air sample of your car on the inside while running and maybe with the AC on then off. It could be off-gassing from the fabric or carpet flooring.
    You could also google your problem and see what comes up.

    Good Luck,

  • msahmedmsahmed Posts: 13
    I had the check engine light on and got the DTC code P0400 (Exhaust Gas Recirculation Flow).

    Any one can help me further clarify this code or help me with further trouble shoot.

  • Hello guys,

    I have a Nissan altima 2003 model, bought this couple of months ago. it has 37K miles on it. for some reason am not getting a good mileage on this one at all.the max is around 16mpg.other thing is i dont drive much on this one. very few times do i travel on interstates.its mainly used for city use. even then, i would expect any thing around 20+ mpg. any known issues with car ??
  • skinsfan3skinsfan3 Posts: 78
    Mine was bought new. I get the same crappy local mileage you do, but on the highway, I get around 33. My low mileage for local driving depends upon how and where I go (That is normal). I use an honest repair shop and have talked to them about a tune up. They told me that this is a typical complaint from others (not altimas) and is due to the gasoline blend these days, methanol, etc. and to save my money. Also said with those platinum plugs, I should be able to go 100,000 miles before changing them.

    Stay away from jackrabbitt starts. Think about how much it takes for an engine to start from a stop and get up yo speed you are looking for. I try to time my stopping for lights by slowing down or coasting to them. I am now at 70k miles and think the 03 is perhaps the best altima nissan produced. You hardly ever see them up or sale.
  • The cabin Climate Control fan in my '05 Altima has been making a clicking noise at all speeds. A number of things could be wrong with it, but it sounds like it's rubbing against something.

    Would it be an easy DIY job for me to look at it, or should I take it to the dealer? If I were to look at it, how would I get to it?

    It's the only thing in the car that's making noise and it's driving me up the wall.
  • skinsfan3skinsfan3 Posts: 78
    thee days of car dealers not making sales (I will bet they have to go "check with the general manager", the oldest rtick in the book, I am sure that there is tremendous pressure on service departments to find work." If I were you, absent of a good local repair shop, I would tun the volume up on my radio, Good luck.
  • orion123orion123 Posts: 1
    Has anyone out there experienced seat discomfort with the 09 Altima SL? Specifically the lack of support the lower back has on the driver side? Seems like the seat gives way too much and my back is sore after 20 mins of driving. The lumbar support really doesnt help since it is just pushing in all the way at the bottom. Seems like the seat from about half way down caves in...

    Anyone else feel this or is it just me? Thanks
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    My 94 has a similar noise. If I reach around the right side of my center console and reach directly up under the dash I can feel what seems to be a relay clicking and I can feel the click. Will have my mechanic look at it. He thinKs it may be the fan motor.

  • whitallwhitall Posts: 189
    Helping my son make decisions. He will spend $12,000 to 15,000 on a used car. He really likes the Altima and can get a 2006 with mid-high 30,000 miles for about 12k. He can get a 2008 with mid 20,000 mileage for 15k+. These are all pretty entry level cars without upgrades.

    I vote for the 2008 because it had warranty left on it and comes with lots of airbags and ABS. Some of the 2006's have ABS, but not side airbags. He is 19 and could care less about safety.

    He will (without a doubt) be putting bigger rims on it, I've heard him mention 20's, 18's minimum. He WILL be putting in a sub, amp and head unit (wants some DVD thing). So there is no point in getting one with upgraded sound and steering wheel controls.

    This stuff will void out parts of his warranty, right? Making the warranty on the '08 less of an issue.

    Altima redesigned in 2007? Is that year one to stay away from? I had told him re-design years are usually bad. I have an 06 Murano that is great (really low miles though) and read horror stories on the early model years, that is why I am afraid of the 2007. SHould we be afraid of the '07? 2007 would give him a little warranty...I like the idea of him getting the "newer" design for value, but the '06 has a nice price! (most of the cars with good prices are fleet or rentals)

    OR, he hasn't looked at the Accord. HOw does that compare safety wise, price wise?
  • skinsfan3skinsfan3 Posts: 78
    I have a 2003 Altima. This car is well put together. It is hard to find one in the classified sections. This ought to be a pretty good time for him to buy. It is tricky with used cars. The old adage is that people don't want to get rid of cars they are pleased with. If you are going to consider fleet rentals, why not go to an auction with someone who knows about cars. I think, nowadays, you could actually check with your local bank and find out what they are doing with their company cars. They are usually maintained well.
  • bsmartbsmart Posts: 8
    I vote for the 2008 Altima.
    I own a 1995 Altima bought new that now has 287,000 miles on it( still runs great and everything works on it ) and I have a 2008 Altima that will be 2 years old in Nov , has 20,000 on it now.
    I love that car. My aunt had a 2006 and had multiple problems with it, you may want to check this forum for 2006 problems.
    The 08 also drives, and handles better than the 06. If you test drive both models, I think you will see a difference in the response of the engine and handling.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    Deffinitly the 2008. Nissan made huge improvements with the 4th gen. the interior, overall quality, smart key system and a lot of other things makes the 2008 a much beter car than the 2006.
  • skinsfan3skinsfan3 Posts: 78
    I opt for the 20032.5.
  • Hello! I’m hoping someone can help me with my mystery ailment. I read previous posts and didn't find my "exact situation". I have a 2003 Nissan Altima 3.5 with 70,000 miles on it. My lights (headlights, internal lights, dashboard, radio display, etc.) are pulsing/flickering/blinking when the engine is running. They seem to pulse with engine revs. They otherwise work fine.

    8 months ago my oil change guy noticed my battery (original factory install) was not keeping a good charge and recommended that I replace it. Of course, I didn’t take him up on his advice… So two days ago the light pulsing started and I assumed that it might be the battery (which I needed, anyway). I installed a new battery last night but the lights are still blinking.

    I almost wish the lights were “completely dead” so I would have a better idea about a fuse or something. The blinking isn’t random – it’s a pattern – so I don’t think it’s a short. There isn’t any engine clicking or anything and I haven’t had any problems starting the car. No “check XYZ” lights are lit up on my dash. I haven’t installed a new anti-theft device or anything like that. I have had satellite radio in the car for three years with no issues.

    The headlights (and interior lights) aren’t dim but the blinking is driving me crazy. And I'm worried that at some point the engine will have problems and I'll get stranded somewhere. If anyone can point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. Thanks!!

  • It's a little late now for car4dell, but for anyone else ... The 94 and 95 Altimas (at least) have little rubber buttons on the brake and clutch pedals. After about 10 years they are brittle enough to break up and fall off. You'll see litlle crumbs of it under the driver's feet.

    The effect of the clutch button is to prevent starting the car. The effect of the brake button is that the brake lights will stay on. It may affect using cruise control too. The buttons (called plungers) are a dealer item but are inexpensive. Getting them installed is tricky.

    It's awkward to drive around with the brake lights always on, but when you park you'll want to pull the fuse for the relevant circuit so as not to burn out the battery, and put it back in next time you drive.

    (Seems like there is a third such button but I forgot what it was for. Maybe the cruise control has its own button on the clutch.)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    I'd test the alternator on the car and see if there are voltage ebbs and flows. I'm not sure how your alternator is regulated but if you see fluctuations in voltage coming out of the alternator then track the source of alternator regulation and that might do it.

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  • cdubs13cdubs13 Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Altima that is loosing approximately 2 quarts of oil per week. A while back I had the manifold replaced due to a crack. At that time the car was burning about a half a quart to a quart per month. Recently it has gotten extremely worse. I noticed that I was having difficulty starting the vehicle and I was loosing coolant. At the same time the service engine light came on and I began loosing a lot of oil. I brought the vehcile to a mechanic to have it checked. He did a compression test and found that the coolant was shooting out of cylinder 3 causing the ignition difficulties and misfires. Futher tests showed the compression on the head was fine, there were no leaks, and the car is not smoking through the exhaust. He replaced the head gasket and timing chain(which was stretched). The car is still burning oil. Maybe even a little more then it was before. Running out of money and I still owe on my loan. Does anyone have any similar experiences, advice, or possible causes? Please help.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Grab a sandwich and read through this topic (about 400 posts, but it will open your eyes).


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