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Long Term Reliability of Nissan Altima



  • winsanwinsan Posts: 36
    You can search the reliability at Consumer Reports. They usually have annual car buying guide - both for used and new car. Your local library should have the copy of it, or you can go online to your local library to download the electronic version.
  • :) I bought a 1993 Altima new. I still have the car. It has 285,000 miles on it. It is now having transmission problems, and I fear transmission repair or replacement would not be cost effective. I still love the car, the quality, reliability, solid feeling, and actually everything about it. The body and the interior are in great condition. The power windows work sporadically, and the a/c died last summer. I think it's time to say goodbye, but I'm emotionally attached to the car. We've been through a lot together. I researched new vehicles and found I really couldn't afford a new Altima. I bought a 2009 Toyota Corolla XLE 3 weeks ago and I love it. It reminds me so much of my Altima: the thick, leatherlike steering wheel, the interior, even down to the "wood" trim, solid feeling of the car, the console, the trunk, etc, etc. In fact, the only complaint I ever had with my Altima was its inability to turn short. My new Corolla even has a nice tight turning radius. Sooo ... I'm in love again. I only hope my new Corolla is as reliable in 15 years as the Altima has been. Just kidding, I don't plan to keep it that long ! I didn't plan to keep the Altima that long, either. Life got in the way.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Since you liked the Altima so much, did you consider the Sentra (since you bought the competition...Corolla)?

    Just curious, since my daughter is looking at a new car purchase soon.
  • Busiris, I went to the Cleveland Auto Show and checked out the Nissan Altima, Sentra, Honda Civic and Accord, and the Toyota Corolla. I didn't like the way the Hondas "felt" when I sat in them; the deeply sloping windshields reminded me of a Neon I once rented in Boston. I actually liked the Nissan Sentra but discovered it was made in Mexico. My Corolla was made in Fremont, CA, but could have been made in Japan as well. No problem; to me, Japanese = quality. Mexican really doesn't. Perhaps the Sentra is made in more than one factory, like the Corolla. I did not research it. The one on display at the Auto show was 100% Mexican assembled. I've owned Toyotas in the past, so I went that direction instead. :)
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Thanx! I appreciate your candid opinion.
  • I've had mine since June 2006 and have never had a problem with it with 34.5K miles on it, 14K of them mine. The only "problem" I've had with it is that it has become a magnet for other cars to rear end 3 times now since moving to Washington State near Seattle. Washington state drivers = worst drivers ever. I only put a claim on the first accident though, since that was the hardest hit, but the replacement cost was about $300-$350 to repaint and refurb the bumper that came out of the other person's insurance. I only had them check it out to make sure nothing had been damaged where I couldn't see it, and nothing had been. I even get 34+mpg on the highway, but closer to 20-21mpg city.

    One other issue I learned within one week of having it was that the power windows had been calibrated incorrectly and they would move to a default position of partially open whenever I fully closed them. Problem solved the next day when I brought it in.
  • I have an 05 Nissan Altima 2.5S. I bought it in 2005 with 10k miles on it. I love this car. It will be three years old in two weeks and I just rolled 88k miles lastnight. I spend quite a bit of time driving and my car has been great with no mechanical problems. I took it in once for recall work and all they ended up having to do was adjust the computer setting. I never even noticed a problem, just following up with the recall request. I get great gas mileage and I plan on keeping it for quite a long time. This was my first foreign car purchase and Im happy I did it. I would definitely recommend an Altima to anyone.
  • my 03 murano needed a new gas cap at about 35000 miles. my new altima's gas cap seems to loosen on its own, sometimes i can tighten it and the light goes off, sometimes i can't and it stays on.

    anyone else having issues with nissan gas caps.

    the dealer is taking its time replacing the altima's cap.

    thanks, rr70
  • I bought an '05 Altima with 38k last August. The owner hadn't performed a 30k maintenance on the engine before I bought it. However, after having it done, the car runs smoother and had a 3-4 increase in fuel econ.

    It's my personal belief that the engine failures were with early versions of the engine and had been addressed before the 05 models came out. My engine does not burn any oil.

    The car does have some wear issues on the inside. (Again, my car was used.) The glove box door has deep scratches in it and the "wood" trim has a soft clear coat and scratches very easily. Beyond that, nothing has fallen off, torn, or broken. I've had no electronic issues with the car either.

    The car has 43k on it now and runs fine. I have had only one mechanical issue:

    Parking overnight on an incline, the fuel apparently drained away from the engine, and it wouldn't start. After pumping the gas pedal while cranking it, the engine started. Afterwards, I dumped a bottle of fuel injector cleaner in the tank and since did the 30k maintenance on it. This may have been a fluke since I have not been able to repeat it, or the treatments to the fuel system fixed the problem.

    I have also had to repeatedly align the car (three times since purchase 8/08). This may be the fault of the shop just as it might be with the car.

    Hope this helps. Enjoy your Altima! :)
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    It's my personal belief that the engine failures were with early versions of the engine and had been addressed before the 05 models came out. My engine does not burn any oil.

    the thing to keep in mind with the oil problem is that; even though it it real, and has happened to a lot of people,
    it still represents a very small percentage of altima's on the road. the altima is the best selling vehicle nissan has, or has ever had. It has sold well over a million units, and continues to be outsold by only the camry and accord.

    I know thats of little consolation to those who have had the engine problems. but it does get blown out of proportion here. For every person here who's had an altima develop the dreaded "oil consumption" problem, there are thousands who haven't. and being as the problem didn't show up in every altima equipped with with QR25DE engine, it only stands to reason that it must require a fairly precise sequence of events to cause it. Probably involving driving habits, type of fuel, and whether or not the recall was performed, and performed properly. It's probably also notable that most of the people who have had the problem have had it on cars they've bough used.
  • Additional comments:
    It seems that most people that own 2002 on up Altimas, who have the excessive oil consumption problem or the bad cat problem, are people who bought them used and have milage above and beyond the warrenty. Though some cases have appeared during warrenty, most I have heard of are after the warrenty period, but still in a timeframe where you would expect an engine to last. So, how long do you think and engine should last? From my long experience, I think a well cared for engine should easily last over 200,000 miles. I drive all my cars to at least 160K to 200K miles, and they remain reliable and trouble free, with no major engine or transmission work, BUT you have to buy the RIGHT ones, do the right maintenance, and most of all do your extensive research before you buy the vehicle.
    The problem starting with the 2002 Altima is that it had a NEW 4 cylinder engine, the QR25DE and had no history to research at the time. But as time has went by, it has now developed a history of unreliability for some of the owners. My personal opinion is that the fault is not in the engine itself, as I have torn down and worked on the engine, and it seems quite well built. It seems to me that the problem stems from 2 possible sources,
    First, the computer programming may allow lean mixtures at inappropriate times, causing the exhaust to run too hot "under certain conditions" burning the catalytic converter top screen, thus allowing some inner cat material chemicals to break loose and get sucked back into the engine, damaging the inside of the engine.
    Second, the precat itself fails because the top screen fails or burns and allows the precatalyst material to be released and get sucked back into the engine and producing excessive wear in the pistons, piston rings, and cylinder walls.

    From what I can surmise, there are two ways that this problem could have been avoided.
    First, the computer should have been programed properly. Those that are not should be "reflashed" to correct the computer programing.
    Second, the Precatalyst should have been better made with a heavier duty top screen that would not burn out and allow the release of the catalyst material back into the engine.

    Further comments;
    Other manufacturers use the same precatalyst set up on their cars with no problem, Toyota and Honda as examples. That is because the computers are programed properly and the Precatylitic converters are well made to contain their chemicals.

    E,D. in Sunny Florida
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779

    First, the computer should have been programed properly. Those that are not should be "reflashed" to correct the computer programing.

    there was a recall issued to deal with the programming of the ECU. I'd be willing to bet that in the majority of cases involving the oil consumption problem that the recall either:

    1. wasn't performed
    2. wasn't performed properly
    3. was performed after the cat was damaged.

    any of those three would also explain why this problem only happens to some, and not all altima's with the QR25DE engine, and why it almost exclusively happens in cars bought used.
  • I own a 2003 Altima 2.5S. I have enjoyed it since I first got it in late 2002. The engine just began burning oil at 160,000 miles and my mechanic said that I need to get a new catalytic converter. I love the car and would have considered a new one, but my mechanic told me that 2009 verstion is still being made the same way and may encounter the same problem because of the location of the cat. conv.

    Should I expect the same problems with the '09 verstion? He said I should look at the 3.5 because it definitely would not have the same problem.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    I haven't heard of any problems with the 2007 and up altima. But he is correct, the 3.5 is a much better engine. it's been on Wards top ten engine list for about 12 years now.
  • Those stories about Honda's are just that - stories. The new Altima is excellent and will last you 40 years. Remember that since 1995 we've made a lot of progress in the world. if you don't think Honda's require a lot of maintenance, just watch the service department at a major Honda dealership... many sick cars go there, and many of them don't make it past 100,000 miles.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    I own a honda in addition to my 2 nissans. and honda builds excellent cars. though I probably wouldn't buy one for myself, I wouldn't hesitate to get another one for my wife, or even on of the kids when they can drive.
  • whitallwhitall Posts: 190
    Also posted this question on maintenance board.

    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 herad 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?
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    OR, he hasn't looked at the Accord. HOw does that compare safety wise, price wise?

    safety wise, they're probably about the same. I would imagine the crash ratings are pretty near ientical. Price wise, you're going to pay more for the accord. The accord has the best resale value in the class, so if your buying used, its going to cost you more. and because of the exceptional resale of the accord, a 2008 is probably going to cost pretty close to what a 2009 would.
  • rondholrondhol Posts: 32
    weak engine mounts, bad pre-cat, ECU program updates, weak front struts, weak MAF sensor on 02-03 model, body flex (creaking noise under the suspension) noise cause by loose brace bolts under the cowl, head gasket failure.

    Check all those problems before you buy any altima 02-06.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    You are correct, the engine problem is getting blown out of proportion by people hear; every car manufacture has at least 1 or 2 cars out of every 100 that are defective mechanically, technically, etc; those 1 or 2 people who get those vehicles come on hear and bad mouth an entire brand based on their bad experience; I have several relatives that have several pass generation altimas with over 120k miles on them who have had no major mechanical/technical problems with the altima other than normal maintenance; I drive a 08 Acura TL and had several technical and quality (build-quality) problem has soon as I got the vehicle and Acura is suppose to be one of the best quality/reliable cars up there with lexus yet I had problems yet I don't put acura down as a brand because I have had another acura with no problems what so ever and they do make pretty nice vehicles yet people come on and bad mouth nissan like they are crap; I test drove both a 2009 3.5SL Altima and a 2010 Camry XLE V6 last week and felt the build-quality and materials in the altima were far superior than the camry; in the camry, the buttons felt flimsy and there were gaps in body panels, lose body panels, and rattles during the test drive; I saw none of this in the altima; since 2007, nissan has come a long way with the altima and I feel the altima has surpassed the camry and is very close to quality to the accord; I think that when the redesigned 2012 altima comes, it will be even better than this one
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    I do agree that the 6th generation altima (02-06) had some pretty lousy build quality in regards to material quality and gaps but I would say about 95% of that has been addressed in the current 7th generation altima (07-11); that is probably why Car and Driver named the altima 2nd in a mid-size family sedan test comparison last year between the accord, camry, and malibu; they even said that the altima build quality and material quality where 2nd only to the accord; I think when the 8th generation redesigned altima comes out in 2012, Nissan will take the altima even further making it on par with the accord;
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    my apologies, I meant the altima is in its fourth generation now and when the 5th generation redesigned altima comes out in 2012
  • freezedfreezed Posts: 14
    My 2000 2.5 XLE still going at 270,000 miles. Replaced altenator, PCV valve, that's about it, other than normal wear and tear items. Still going strong and getting 34 mpg on the highway. I'm no mechanic, I do oil/filter changes and minor stuff myself, but other maintenance only as needed. Great car, and is the main reason I bought an 09. I understand that the 2002-2003 Altimas had issues, and I would probably be highly upset if that had happened to me.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    it happens. it was the first use of the QR25DE engine. hopefully for nissan they've worked out all the bugs now.
  • We drive a 2007 Altima 3.5 SE, purchase second hand with 26000 km. When the engine is first started the RPM rev's to 2500 then drops to 2000 until warmed up then drops to 750. We have complained about this problem and had scan's done and nothing comes up in the scan. We feel the engine should not be revving this high on cold start up as it causes premature engine wear. Is there some place that could reprogram the ECU to lower the cold start up idle?
  • I believe that is actually intentional. We live in Minnesota and my 07 3.5SL does something very similar. I have always used Synthetic Oil to maintain lubrication to the engine even on cold starts and actually think that this is a by-product of an emissions control requirement as it allows the engine to warm faster when it is in its most lean run period.
  • nick87nick87 Posts: 5
    1998 Altima with 255,000 miles. In the 12 years I've had it, excluding tires and front brake pads the only issues I've has was replacing a CV boot on one axle ($108) and a pulley came off on the serpentine belt($30). Couple of light bulbs also. Do oil changes about 4,500 miles, replace coolant and transmission every 30K and thats about it. Hope to make it to 300K in about 2 1/2 years.
  • I have a 1998 Altima I bought 10 years ago when it had less than 40,000 miles. It now has more than 222,000 miles. It's been an amazing car. I never gave it a tune up in all that time. Just this week, after driving more than 180,000 miles, a spark plug went bad and my car got a tuneup. The mechanic said it sure was a quiet running motor. Bravo to Altima for this highly reliable car. I've done little to it in 10 years.
  • It's got 88k mi, Carfax looks good, no accidents and lots of maintenance records. 2 deep but small dings and 1 paint chip on the exterior (it's black and I hear the paint is thin on these).

    More important to me is:
    Will the engine run another 5 years?
    Is it a gas guzzler?
    How will it perform in the snow?

    I love the power but I could get a used 2.5L Altima for a lot cheaper and those seem to be much more plentiful here in Boston.

    It's a bit outdated but loaded. I can get it at a dealer for $7999.

    It sure is pretty but will it last? Any major problems with these after 100k mi?
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