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Nissan Altima Hybrid



  • fxborfxbor Posts: 1
    I'm getting only 27.5 MPG on my Altima Hybrid after two tank fills here in the suburbs of Porttland, Oregon. My trips are usually short, 3-8 miles on flat terrain. I'm also registered at

    I had expected some decrease in MPG compared to the average based upon my short trips. I had not however, expected a 7 MPG decrease.

    If someone is looking for great mileage for short commutes, better to buy a clean diesel (when they become available) as opposed to a hybrid.
  • Does anyone experience occasional slight shudders when the engine is cold for the first one or two minutes after starting?

    For example, I started the car today, first time in two days, it's about 50F outside, pull out from the parking lot, and I can feel as if the car is trying to switch to EV mode, but the engine is too cold yet so it doesn't. You can feel those little shudders from time to time, some are stronger. It's was annoying at first, but need to ask Nissan service during first oil change.

    Any one experiencing the same? Thanx,

  • Every morning when I start my NAH, it starts the engine in less than a minute. Sometimes the shudder is worse than some mornings. For the first 15-20 minutes the engine warms up and the blue cold light turns off. When the blue light turns off, the engine is still warming because I would turn on my heater and at red lights, the car would turn go out of EV Mode and if I turn the heater off, the it would go back to EV mode. I would say, this is all normal because in general, hybrids work the best when the engine is running hot not cold. As for the shudders, sometimes it shudders very hard.
  • Thanx for the info mazda6dude.

    The shudders is what I'm concerned, but I see you experience the same.
    It runs smoother after 1-2 minutes and is all fine after 5 I would say. It does take 10 minutes or so for the cold engine light to go off, unless you start driving and it goes away faster. Probably depends how really cold it is.

    I was little bit surprised you can't just press the gas while parked, to rev up the engine. It doesn't do much. Kind of miss my '98 Honda where I new exactly what was going on. :shades:

    I wish I could have read about this in countless reviews that are out there. Hope our friends in CA don't have the same problem. Thank you cold east coast...

  • The reason your gas mileage isn't very good, is because your car doesn't have time to warm up. Warm oil and warm parts have the proper friction for best efficiency. Hybrids are almost magical, but the reality is that the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) has to warm up, as do all the other bits and pieces, before the car is running at max efficiency. 5 to 8 miles isn't enough, especially in cool weather.

    In regard to the shuddering, I live in Northern California. We've had some unseasonably cool weather just before the holidays. Frost almost every morning. In this weather, the car definitely shudders harder when the ICE kicks in, until it warms up. This is reasonable, considering that all the fluids (oils, greases, coolants) are all pretty viscous (even if the oil is a very thin 0w 20). Over longer trips, as the systems warm to their tasks, the shuddering returns to the slight bump we'd feel in the summer months. I am a backyard mechanic, and have listened for odd noises or behaviors. I don't think the harder bump is a problem. If it keeps bumping/shuddering hard come April/May, then we'll go see Nissan...
  • hiwayman do you think using 0w20 oil instead of 5w30 will make a difference in gas mileage? Also, is synthetic better? Thanks.
  • Thanx for the response hiwayman, good stuff, bloody winter...
  • I believe you are right about gas mileage being low when mostly short trips are made. I made a trip to the hardware store of only 5 miles one way and the ICE was running almost all the time. With the temperature around 39 the ICE seems to run even at traffic lights. I think what I need to get is a plug-in hybrid that will run on electric only for the first 20 miles or more. I am afraid that with my driving needs I will always get disappointing mileage with this hybrid.
  • Irecycle, In regard to your question about the oil, I believe that 0w 20, especially in winter, will give you slightly better gas mileage. If you think about it, you'll realize that thicker oil means more friction, which means the engine has to work harder to produce a given amount of power. I'm not sure how much of an increase you'll see, especially since you're driving the short distances, but thinner oil can only help. Nissan does reccommend 0w 20 for winter, and 5w 20 for hot summer, and tough conditions. I myself have trouble finding the 0w 20, and since our Nissan dealer only charges $30.00 for an oil change, I don't mess with it much. Just pay the man. My local autoparts store has offered to order cases of the stuff for me, so it is available if you want to go to the trouble.

    Synthetic is always better in today's engines. The longer molecular chains make is slipperier for a given application, reducing friction and wear, and a condition in oil lubrication called "shearing" (that's a bad thing). Synthetic generally isn't recommended for break in, since it is so slippery that the part that would normally be polishing against each other, plus rings trying to seat don't do that break in work as well, but once you've broken the engine in, synthetic is the thing to get, if you can afford it. The one myth to avoid, though, is that you can go longer between oil changes with synthetic. That's true as far as the oil's ability to lubricate go, but remember that your engine is constantly dumping garbage into your oil, so even synthetic should be changed regularly to get that crud that the oil is carrying out of your engine. A filter will get some of it, but once the filter gets full, a relieve valve lifts in the filter, and the oil is no longer filtered. Change the oil!

    In regard to batteries and extending the range, like everyone else (and you of course) I'm hoping for a breakthrough in hybrid technology which will extend the electrical range of the car. Out here in California there are companies which will install plug-in systems in hybrids, but the installation is currently quite expensive (on the order of $5,000 or more) and voids your warranty. Right now the technology for plug in hybrids is more for bragging rights than anything else. More work has to be done.

    My chemical engineer friends tell me there is currently a new battery technology in testing stages which is going to make current batteries pretty pathetic, if they can get all the bugs out of the thing. Additionally, it uses some sort of foam technology which allows the battery to be molded into pretty much any reasonable shape, and the materials used are considerably lighter than current technology batteries. The implications to the automotive industry (and motorcycle and recreational vehicle) are pretty obvious. No more need to lose 1/2 the trunk space for a big brick of a battery, like we NAH owners do. The battery could be conformally mounted to the belly pan, or inside fenders, behind bumpers, or any number of places. Fingers crossed that they can get the bugs out of the thing...
  • make sure u ask your dealer what grade of oil do they used on your hybrid...
  • At our dealership, the grade of oil used appears on the work order.
  • "Nissan does reccommend 0w 20 for winter, and 5w 20 for hot summer, and tough conditions.


    Where did you get this info? Everything I've read - owner's manual, shop manual, tech bulletins - the main recommendation is for 0W-20 year round. 5W-20 and 5W-30 are listed as acceptable substitutes but nowhere have I come across written recommendation to use 5W-20 in the summer instead of 0W-20.
  • emgremgr Posts: 109
    I am glad you posted it. I thought I was going crazy as I also looked in the manual, and the tech bulletins. Nowwhere did I see a recommendation for 5W-20 for Summer except as an acceptable substitute year around if you can't get 0W-20.
  • Noticed a few posts about plug-in conversions and that there are some companies doing it for around $5000. I was wondering if that's practical and/or cost effective in a car that was not designed to be a plug-in. In the NAH I noticed that the battery drains fairly quickly if driven only in EV Mode. So even with a full overnight charge I suspect that you won't get more than a couple of miles down the road before the engine kicks in anyway. Plus, if I remember correctly, the control system keeps the battery in the 40-80% charge state to maximize battery life. I'm not sure how the battery technology differs in the Chevy Volt or the Tesla roadster, but I've read that the Tesla could go upwards of 225 miles on a charge if driven conservatively, which means that the batteries have to have considerably more charge capacity than that built into current hybrids.
  • i have heard a few people saying that the dealer has giving them 5-30 on their hybrid if they didn't asked first...

    it used to be 0-20 but the latest one on the meunal(08) it said 5-20 or 5-30
  • emgremgr Posts: 109
    Mine is an O8 and it recommends 0w-20 all season. but states 5w-20 can be a substitute. Not a glowing recommendation. I think I will stick with and specificially ask for the 0w-20
  • Here's the link for the 2008 Manual on the Nissan website: id.pdf

    Page 9-2 still has 0W-20 as the primary recommendation for oil with 5W-20 or 5W-30 listed as acceptable substitites.
  • emgremgr Posts: 109
    This is from the 2008 manual on 9-2

    *3: SAE 5W-20 or 5W-30 engine oil may also be used. However, SAE 0W-20 is the best choice for optimum fuel economy and optimum starting in cold weather.
  • Saab George, Which info are you talking about? Your references jive with what I said, (at least what I meant) as far as I know, in regard to Nissan's recommended oils. If I didn't make it clear, I apologize.

    In regard to SYNTHETIC oils, the statements I made there are general knowledge about synthetics. Synthetics are always better, if you can afford them. Though Nissan doesn't specifically recommend them (the owner's manual of any make of car should be viewed with circumspection, since it is heavily edited by lawyers and bean-counters), it's fine to use them. It is common ICE research knowlege that synthetics are better for any given engine, ONCE IT HAS BROKEN IN. The reason being that synthetics, for any given grade, have better lubrication properties. This is due to longer, stronger molecular chains which work better to keep metal parts apart than "regular" oil. Synthetics also resist "shearing" better. Shearing is a condition in which the molecular chains in the oil are literally sheared, as the oil runs through gear trains (in a NAH, that would be a timing chain area, the oil pump, the cam chain). This can cause premature break down of the oil (causing premature loss of lubrication properties).

    In regard to changing synthetic oil, the oil DOES last longer as it was formulated, than regular oils, but the thing to remember is that your engine is constantly filling the oil with debris from on-going wear, combustion chemicals, and other junk, at about the same rate as it would for regular oil. Oils have three missions. 1. Lubricate. 2. Cool parts (which is why the oil pan always hangs down in the air stream below the car) 3. Carry microscopic debris away to the oil filter. So, for item #3, synthetic fills with junk, too, and should be changed only slightly less frequently than "regular" oil.

    All of what I've said about synthetic, is NOT in the Nissan Owner's Manual. It is just the current best practices and theories for synthetic oil. As far as what grades to use, you are dead on the money correct. The only caution I'd give in regard to the Nissan oil recommendations is to find that 0w20 if you can find it, expecially in winter. Any misbehaviors in your engine and Nissan MAY try to pin it on the use of the wrong grade oil (they cannot pin it on the use of the wrong brand, due to the Magnusson Moss Act).
  • What I was questioning was the statement:

    "Nissan does reccommend 0w 20 for winter, and 5w 20 for hot summer, and tough conditions."

    That's an exact quote from your post. I was curious where you read that about summer and tough conditions because I haven't seen that anywhere else. If it were true I'd like to know the source before I switch over to a heavier oil for the summer. In the past I always liked to use a heavier oil for the summer but the hybrid is a different beast and I'll stick to whatever Nissan recommends as their primary oil.

    BTW, you can always purchase Penzoil 0W-20 on line at the I just bought 12 quarts for about $5.60 a quart and that includes S&H.
  • or u can go to your local Toyota service dept. to get them which where i got my from when they were on sale for $3.5 a Qt.

    isn't all 0-20 are Synthetic?
  • "or u can go to your local Toyota service dept. to get them which where i got my from when they were on sale for $3.5 a Qt.

    isn't all 0-20 are Synthetic?"

    How often does Toyota have 0W-20 on sale and do you know if this is a national sale or just your local dealer? $3.20 a quart is a great deal.

    I believe, which doesn't make it fact, that 0W-20 would have to be a synthetic but I think that I've seen 5W-20 that isn't.
  • i think localy... they send me coupe almost like half of the year or so cause i have my Solara in for oil change($120 for 6 time). it about 3 or 4 month they will has one but the last time they were on sale for $4.5

    i think lots of the new Honda using 5-20 and is not sys.
  • To be honest, Saab (can I call you Saab? ;) ) That statement was a combo of the one you quoted from the owner's manual and a conversation I had with my own dealer's service rep when I took the car in for its last oil change. I'd mentioned to him that 0w 20 was almost impossible to find and asked him if it would be OK to run 5w20. His response was what I stated. He said that the thicker oil was better for high-stress and hot conditions. The thinner (0w 20) is for winter driving. This seems to be indicated in the section on oil recommendations. I personally don't see any particular anomaly here. The recommendations in the book are in section 9-2 or there abouts (I think..I'm going from memory). How much credence you want to give to this, is up to you.
  • got the coupon by mail today from local Toyota for sale 3.99 a Qt. and MSRP $4.54 only so not too bad if u want to do it yourself...
  • Cool! Too bad it takes a coupon (and a really, really long drive) haha! That probably indicates that the rare 0w 20 might be getting easier to find. It'll be interesting to see what it costs, soon, since petroleum just hit 100 bucks a barrel yesterday.

    We JUST hit 10K on our car on a trip, returning from friends' house in Sacramento, California. My wife, who is a much more gentle driver than I am, probably averaged about 75. We got 40 MPG according to the car's computer. Impressive for freeway driving, to say the least. We've also noted that the machinery is getting looser and looser (more broken in). When we first got the car, it wouldn't stay in EV mode much above 30. Now, it's common to see it top 40 for short distances before it switches to ICE. With crude oil hitting 100, we're very pleased.....
  • hiwayman, do you live in sacramento area, if so, and if you dont mind me asking, what dealer did you buy your NAH from? Thats very impressive you got 40 on freeway, probably more like 38 since the computer reading is not that accurate. I'll be coming up on 10K in the couple months. My MPG has been all over the charts. I got 31 on my last tank, and havent seen anything over 35 in the last month. Any idea why?
  • emgremgr Posts: 109
    I am liking this car more and more each day and appreciating the combined engineering of Nissan and Toyota. What a combination.
  • oops... if i know u r in Sacraemento i would have gave u those coupon from Elk Grove Toyota... wow, look like lots of us from sac.
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