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Long Term Reliability of Nissan Altima

bitpohbitpoh Posts: 9
edited May 2015 in Nissan
Hi all,

A newbie here. I am in the market for a new car with the intention of keeping it for long term use (thinking at least 10 years). I am very interested in the Altima 2.5s CVT sedan, but wife is a little worried about long-term reliability of Nissan cars.

A little bit of history: A few years ago I bought a used Nissa Altima 1995. Really like how the car drove, but it was giving me a lot of maintenance issues. Ultimately the headgasket blew at around 120k miles and I sold the car.

Wife remembers that car well. Hence her doubt about me purchasing another Altima. The way she puts it to me: "I keep hearing/reading stories about Hondas running up to 300k mile just fine, but you don't hear the same about Nissans do you?"

So, any long-term Altima owners out there? How long have you had your Altima, and how reliable has it been? Would really appreciate any input you would have on the subject matter. TIA!

See Also: Nissan Maintenance and Repair


  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    Well, I can't speak long term for the altima (mine is 2007), but I can speak for nissan reliablilty. First nissan I bought was a 1990 sentra XE. I put 220,000 miles on it over 12 years and traded it in running. in that time, I had to replace 2 cv boots, and one cv joint (about $150) 2 batteries, and a muffler. When I traded it in in 2002, it still had the original belts, hoses, atlenator, water pump transmission, clutch ect. The cv boots and joint were the only mechanical parts i ever replaced.

    Having been so reliable, in 1998 I bought my second nissan. A 200sx se. It now has 145,000 miles on it, and is 9 years old. In that time, the only work that was ever done to it was
    1. same day I bought it had to take it back to have a defective radiator cap replaced. the car still ran, but hot. the radiator cap wasn't properly pressurizing the system
    2. was recalled in 2000 (i think) because of a possibly faulty seal on one the windshield wiper motor.
    3. Replaced the front disc brakes at 79,000 miles, and 120,000 miles. the rear brakes are still original

    And that its. One defective part, one recall, and two sets of brakes.

    Its the reason I stuck with nissan and bought my altima.
  • bitpohbitpoh Posts: 9
    Hi jd, thanks for your reply. Certainly makes me feel more comfortable. I am surprise nobody else has responded to my question so far. Maybe they are out driving instead of spending time on this forum :).

    Anyway, any complaints so far for your 2007 Altima?
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    Not a one. It has actually exceeded my expectations. smooth, quiet, powerfull, roomy, and many more.

    Oh, and by the way, don't base reliability on used car experiences. some people abuse the hell out of their cars.
  • gar01gar01 Posts: 1
    I am the happy owner of a 97 Altima, actually purchased new in July of 96. As of eleven years now, I can say that there have only been two instances that my Altima did not start. The first incident was because I accidently left the interior light on overnight, (my own fault). The last incident was the distributor failing at the 139,000 mile mark. I now have 167,000 miles logged on this car. It also has the original timing chain which is supposed to be good for 100,000 miles. How's that for long term reliability?
  • We purchased a new Altima in 1994 and drove it for 13 years and 137,000 miles. We had to replace the speedometer, radiator, and distributor in that time (I've since learned that the original distributor could have been fixed easily and much more cheaply than the $250 + labor that I paid but that is hindsight). The car was still running and driving perfectly when it was involved in a minor collision (some front damage and set off the air bags, $1500 to replace). We donated it to Goodwill and they auctioned it for $700 even with the damage.
  • I have had 2 Altimas in the past. The first one, a 1996 model was absolutely trouble free. It got involved in an accident this year but I loved it so much, that I ended up buying a 1995 Altima SE. This one however, had its share of issues. But the main (only) reason for those issues was the extremely poor way in which the owner had handled the vehicle. I had to get some work done on it, but having been a Nissan owner in the past, I knew it was worth it. It now drives like a dream. Its got 135000 miles on it, no isses at all.

    Actually, a month or so back, I traded it in for a 2003 Honda Accord V6. I had been a huge fan of the Accord and had always wanted it. However, when I kept it for 3 weeks and drove it for 1000+ miles, it was no fun and totally boring. Fortunately for me, the deal fell through and I was able to get my Nissan back..

    This is just my opinion but I will tell you that I love driving the 1995 Altima more than the 2003 Accord V6. The Altima might not have the same power that the Accord does, but it definitely feels much sportier. I especially love its thick, leather wrapped meaty steering wheel. The leather on the Altima feels different and much better than the one on the Accord's steering..
  • I also have had the same concerns as you but i was looking at the 3.5L engine. Nissan QA seems to have dropped significantly. From what i can tell when they merged/bought out by renault thats when their quality went down. Here is an article back in 04 about it:

    You can not look at older vehicles and compare reliability because from 2000 to 2007 there were so many changes. I looked at reliability at both JD Power & Consumer Reports and, in general the Nissans aren't highly regarded. Even below domestics. Most people not in the know will think Nissan are very reliable because its a [non-permissible content removed] car.

    Its a shame to because i REALLY liked the design and performance of the 3.5SE Altima. I don't know if i would ever get one though because of the worries about QA/long term reliability.

    Oh and on a side note. I have an 03 ford F150 4x4 FX4 with the 5.4L. Other than a seat sqeak its been 100% reliable. A guy at work has a 05 Nissan Frontier NISMO with a 3.5L engine. He bought his car 2 years after mine and he has had more problems than me (fuel pump went out almost immediatly after he bought the truck). He bought his truck new. Also his truck is not nearly as big as mine yet his gas mileage is the same or worse than my truck and he has to put premium in his.
  • I have two Nissans. I have a '96 Nissan Pickup Truck. The only odd thing about it is that the paint on the wheel rims peeled off quite a while back. Other than that, the ONLY thing I've needed to do to the truck is replace the belts, which is quite normal. I have used and abused the truck for more than a decade, and it just keeps rolling.

    I've recently purchased a Nissan Altima Hybrid, so there's no long-term data to be had, there. It seems well made, and only minor bugs have made themselves known. Oddly enough, a rattle developed in the overhead soon after we bought the car. We took it in to the dealer, who found that my wife's sunglasses were rattling in the sunglasses holder :blush:

    It's important when checking for long term reliability of a car to NOT get sucked in by anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence is when you judge a car (or anything, for that matter) based upon a couple of stories, rather than a trend of hundreds of instances. If you have a neighbor who's Nissan is a lemon, that is not a reason to not buy Nissans, any more than the neighbor on the other side who has a Nissan that never needs gas, has gone to the moon and back without a hickup, and can levitate ;) .

    A good place to go to see long-term reliability is Consumer Reports and organizations like that. While you may not be able to see evidence of your particular model if it's a new one, you can get a general sense of the stable of all the Nissans by looking at the reports. Those reports are gathered through questionnaires sent out to new car and not-so-new-car owners. They're usually pretty good.

    Nissan's record of reliability has been somewhat spotty for some vehicles, and better for others. Nissan is paying attention, though, and I personally believe they are the hidden gem of brands. Their cars in the past few years have gotten significantly better across the board. They are fighting that legacy reputation, but the quality of their product is now very good.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    Nissan quality is fine. they did drop a some a couple years back, but it wasn't due to the renault deal. It had a lot more to do with the companies near bankruptcy. But, things are better now. their current so-so reliabilty ratings has a lot more to do with the competition greatly improving than nissan falling.
  • bitpohbitpoh Posts: 9
    Wow, this thread has certainly gotten more active lately. Unfortunately I haven't yet purchased my car. Got laid off recently due to company shutting down. So now everything has to wait. . . I have however had a chance to test drive the 2007 Altima 2.5s CVT since my original post and I am liking it quite a bit.
  • Mine has several problem:
    1) about 56000 mileage (6 years old), I need to rebuild the auto trans with $3000.
    2) alternator need to be changed with $200 at about 80000 mileage,
    3) at about 90000 mileage (8 years), the intake gasket
    need to be replaced (leak with code P0304) with $700.
    Now it has been 110000 mileage.
  • karsickkarsick Posts: 312
    Just a little testimony to Nissan...

    We're looking to trade our Infiniti G20 (Nissan Primera to the rest of the world) for a new Altima.

    The 1994 G20 has 249,000 miles, with NO engine issues ever (other than one fouled injector at 110k).
    Never needed a CV joint or axle.
    Still blows ice-cold A/C.
    Interior w/black leather is immaculate.
    Drives & steers tight & sharp.
    No rattles or loose trim.
    Pearl paint is still rich & deep.

    Only issue now is a worn 5th gear synchro.

    That G20 was my first Nissan product, and the reason I'm considering another. :)
  • ken75ken75 Posts: 52
    I was in a similar situation two weeks ago. I did not know a lot about Nissan but I liked the Altima. Did a lot of research and finally bought the 2008 Altima 2.5 SL which, I am finding, is a great car to drive. I am looking for excuses to drive the thing leading the wife to think I may have something going on the side. I traded a great Ford F-150 which I had purchased for a particular purpose, and I have not regretted it yet. Two weeks does not make a history, but I hope everything goes good. If not, that is why I purchased the seven year warranty. Could be money down the toilet, but on the other hand...........
  • waltchanwaltchan Posts: 124
    Nissan has already changed its image since 2002 and is now more concerned with performance, style, and looks. Nissan is no longer interested in high reliability like they did in the 80s and would rather get only average reliability ratings instead.

    According to Consumer Reports, the 1999 Nissan Altima is the most reliable Altima ever made in history. There's a high chance I think that Nissan will not make another reliable Altima again that will be better than the 1999. After 1999, Nissan Altima is getting more black dots. Toyota Camry and Honda Accord will continue to improve, but not Nissan Altima. Nissan is done, I think.
  • Toyota Camry and Honda Accord will continue to improve, but not Nissan Altima. Nissan is done, I think.

    Did you know that Camry is not on the Consumer Reports recommended list anymore? :blush:
  • waltchanwaltchan Posts: 124
    Yes I know the poor rating, but I can really bet for sure that the 2011 Toyota Camry, which will be the last year of this current generation, will be more reliable than the 2011 Nissan Altima. Like I said before, Nissan is done.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    Like I said before, Nissan is done.

  • "Nissan is done", what a joke. That's just dumb. I had a 97 Altima, 125,000 miles and ran like a top. Sister is driving it still with no problems. Now have a 2004 Altima with 40,000 miles, love it. Runs great, plenty of power for a 4 cyl. (2.5L) and wonderful gas mileage. I drove a 2007 rental for 2 weeks with the 4 cyl and CVT and loved it as well. The CVT is awesome! The 07 did feel a bit lighter and perhaps "cheaper" in some way than my 04 however.

    Looking at purchasing a Pathfinder or X-terra soon. Oh, wait...Nissan is done...Ha.
  • You're right waltchan, Nissan IS done, if they don't change their ways. The 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S seems to be proof of that. There are more reports every day of the Catalytic Converters failing, engines burning lots of oil and engines needing to be replaced. Just look over in the Edmunds Nissan Altima Engine Failures Forum. I already had to pull the head off a 2002 Altima 2.5L to fix the engine. Please don't buy a Nissan without first checking the history out throughly.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    lol, your funny man. you do realize nissan just completed a year that saw better sales gains then GM, Ford, Toyota, and Honda? over 6% growth in a down market. thye also consistently run higher margins than all thier competitor, earing billions of $$$ a year. Yea, they're about finished if you ask me.

    sure, they're some people how had engine problems with the altima. but the number of them compared to the over 1 million altima cars sold make it staticticaly meaningless.
  • hackdhackd Posts: 65
    I actually saw on the news that Nissan just claimed bankruptcy. They cited the fact that electricdesign from the Edmonds board claimed they are done so knew the writing was on the wall.
  • Ha ha ha! That is funny man!
    Maybe there are a lot of people that are happy with Nissan, but some are not. I'm not sure how the numbers run, but when it happens to you, then it's a lot more personal. When you get screwed by Nissan, it does'nt make you want to go out and buy another Nissan.

    I'm glad you guys are happy with your Nissans, and I hope they keep running well for you. But as for me, my next car will be a Toyota.
  • hackdhackd Posts: 65
    It is good to see you can take a joke as that all it was and nothing more. You have every right to not trust their cars due to a personal experience and I would probably feel the same way if I got burned by them. However, in terms of their success as a company jd10013 pretty much hit the nail on the head....they are more on the up swing these days. It seems every time I turn my head on the road I see an Altima or Murano. I actually don't own a Nissan but am considering one to replace my current car. I have been reading reviews and comments on this forums for all the companies to guide me on my decision and you will practically find owners with problems for all of them. Good luck on your next Toyota.
  • nofeernofeer Posts: 381
    when i last checked consumer reports the altima is the top family sedan above accord and camry. i drove one, soooo impressed with that engine/cvt combo--like who needs the v6, it's that responsive. my wife loved it, except for the sloping hood.
    maybe you can speak to the bluetooth in the altima, i can't find a local dealer that has one in stock (looked around christmas so inventory may be down)

    things my wife likes about this car
    push button start---won't have to fumble for keys
    bluetooth--won't have to fumbe for phone
    performance--than 4cyl with cvt is just great in the city perfomers like her turbo volvo
    looks (except for hood is "long" she has a volvo s40 now)

    the steering is lighter than the volvo she likes a bit more "sport" resistance in the turning

    trying to figure out if she can put the kids in the coupe WHICH IS SHARP
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    Maybe there are a lot of people that are happy with Nissan, but some are not. I'm not sure how the numbers run, but when it happens to you, then it's a lot more personal. When you get screwed by Nissan, it does'nt make you want to go out and buy another Nissan.

    no car company is perfect, and they all make lemons and have their share of problems. I don't blame you a bit for not ever being willing to buy a nissan again. there are several makes of cars that I won't touch for the same reason.

    You right, it does suck to get a :lemon: .
  • ken75ken75 Posts: 52
    In view of all I have read on this thread, I must wonder if the 2008 Altima 2.5 SL that we have had for two months will be operating by the end of the year. I have only 700 miles on the vehicle and think it is one of the finer vehicles I have driven with the CVT being pretty hard to beat. The only draw back would be the motor that sounds like the valves need adjusting. I do mostly city driving so I will call it 60% city and 40 % highway and I am seing fuel economy of 24.1 mpg as recorded by the on board system. Everything on the car seems to work as I would expect for a new vehicle and the in line four supplies more than enough ponies for what I need. The tires could have been upgraded to a higher quality, but as the car runs now, I am pretty happy. Fit and finish on the interior are certailny good enough on a 25K car but if I were paying 50K for a Lexus I may have a few gripes.
    What I am saying is that this is probably one of, if not the nicest, cars I have owned and as I have heard from others, longevity will have the final say. I put 6500 miles on a car per year and it will take a long time to get to the 80,000 to 100,000 mile mark where most of the observed problems have been seen, if there will be any problems at all.
    I am hopeful that all problems with the 2.5 L motor have been fixed or that if problems arise, the extended 7 year warranty I paid a lot for will work. I had more problems with my wifes 2006 Honda CR-V so this cannot be much worse. All I can do is hope that Nissan's engineering will do the job.
    When id10013 says "no car company is perfect" he says all that has to be said.
  • I don't think you have a thing to worry about, since you put such low miles on the car, you probably won't acumulate enough miles to see any significant problems. In your case, the long term longevity will not be a concern for you. Everybody loves those cars when they are new, so enjoy yours.
    My concerns about the longevity of the cars I buy is Great because I can not afford to buy new cars and trade them in every 3 or four years. I have only $12K to buy a car that I have to drive for six years, and I drive 15K miles per year. So with $12 K, I can buy an SUV that is about 5 years old with maybe 75K to 100K miles on it. Then I have to drive and maintain it for 6 years and another 90K miles, so it will have about 165K to 200K miles on it before I am ready to get another 5 year old SUV. So that period of miles between 75K and 200K MUST be reliable milage, hence I do a massive amount of research to be sure I get good reliable vehicles that will last a long time. During the time that I own the SUV, I do not want to have to pull the engine apart or pull out the transmission. I expect to do ONLY routine mantenance, such as engine oil and filter changes, air filters, transmission fluid flush and fluid changes, tires, etc.
    By the way, I drive a 2000 Ford Explorer XLT V8 5L Automatic with 148K miles on it, bought in 2005 and will sell it in 2011. Reliablity is extremely good, gas milage sucks. My wife drives a 1997 Ford Explorer XLT V8 5L Automatic with 164K miles on it, bought in 2002 and we will sell it in 2 months. Reliablity is extremely good, gas milage sucks. Next car for my wife may be a 2004 Toyota Highlander, we are looking now.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • Interested in purchasing a 2005 Altima 2.5S. Pics look great and sounds great on paper. An eBay Motors purchase. I'm looking for any feedback from '05 owners regarding vehicle reliability. Please reply regarding any issues.

    Also, looking for any feedback regarding dealings with eBay Motors. Thanks.
  • I am also interested in buying a 2005 Altima 3.5SE. Can anyone please say anything about the "05 Altimas and if they are reliable or not.

  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    you can't go wrong with the 3.5. nissan's VQ engine that is in it is one of the best, most reliable engines on the market. Its also one of the fastest :shades:
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