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Long Term Reliability of Nissan Altima



  • Yesterday I bought a 2005 Nissan Altima S 2.5L with 93k mi on it. It felt beautiful when I test drove it the other day but once I took it away yesterday I noticed problems.

    I am planning on taking it back to the local Used Nissan dealership today to ask them to fix things. Maybe I should take it to a good local mechanic first to be sure what I'm feeling is wrong is in fact wrong.

    I have discovered that this car sat on the Used car lot for 5 months. That isn't a good sign, is it?

    Problem 1 - It takes bumps VERY hard and I noticed they changed the front struts but that apparently wasn't enough?

    Problem 2 - Half the time when I turn on the engine I have to keep the key pushed forward for 3 full seconds in order for it to start. I fear this is one of those "bad" QR25DE engines.

    I fear my mother and I, two kind, innocent looking women, got scammed by a used car dealer who frankly made my skin crawl. He offered us absolutely no incentives or waurantees on this car.

    What could be wrong with the car and what course of action should I take with the dealership? They've got a "father" dealership nearby who I'd rather deal with, where the car initially was traded in to.
  • troy123troy123 Posts: 1
    Every time I plan to post, I find that I am not a member or too lazy to sign up.. today I took the time to sign up so that I can post my comments.

    I own a Nissan Altima 2000. and have been driving for the past 10 + years
    I got it new however from the beginning itself I had maintenance issues.

    Every time I plan to get rid of it due to its high maintenance costs.. I am ending up keeping it.. cause each time I feel this is the last repair.. and the car should be good(since I got it new)I have currently around 110K miles.

    I have had many issues. from intake manifold gasket replacements twice( costing around $800 each time); alternator; 02 sensors;AC compressor switch; gasket problems; Replacing radiator twice..

    I feel this is the worst car on repairs
  • m_zm_z New EnglandPosts: 10
    edited December 2011
    Different models were made at different times with varying quality control at that time so some were better built than others. It really depends so read the forum or other online forums to get a sense of "reliability" of the Nissan Altima.

    I have a 2005 pre-owned Altima S w/auto which came with 20,001 miles on it.
    It had rust all over the engine compartment and the cabin seat bolts. Finally got a cleaning that cleaned up most of it or at least made it look better.
    I've gotten 2 extended warranties, the last is the final one and not worth a 3d due to the car's age.

    Over the past 7-8 years, esp. within the past 2-3 months, repairs have been growing even though the car has ~75,000 miles on it :lemon:
    Vibration problems lead to replacement of suspension parts, new tires, new brakes, new steering wheel components, got confirmation upon replacing my rear fenders that car was previously involved in accident but didn't show up in Carfax when I bot the car (as Enterprise Rentacar, its previous owner, fixed it themselves shoddily and not reported) :mad:

    Issues... you bet I have issues with MY Altima but most were, thank fully, covered by warranty except for wear and tear like the tires/brakes :cry:

    I'm dealing with vibration issues now... winter is coming which means the fuel efficiency will DROP since the car's performance [email protected] in Cold weather as the 23/27 city/hwy mpg I have (due to monitoring) drops to 18/23 city/hwy in cold weather esp. in the winter.

    Get rid of the stock Continental Tires which, as many reviewers noted, [email protected] It has decent traction in warm weather but is lousy in cold weather and it wears down relatively easily!

    Some people may not have problems with their cars while others do.
    Good luck!
  • gh81gh81 Posts: 1
    I've driven some good and bad cars over the years in terms of reliability, the best being a 3 series BMW, the worst being a 2003 Mercedes C Class (luckily it was a company car and not me paying the bills). When I purchased this car I was concerned about buying a car that would be reliable long term.

    I purchased a 2006 Nissan Altima 2.5 S (special edition) in July 2010 with 45k miles on the clock. As far as I understand it was one of the last Atimas to be made before the updated model was released. Currently it has 71k miles. I became somewhat worried about some of the problems and recalls that I heard about the 2.5 engine, but so far, so good. So far the only unexpected repairs have been a suspension component and a battery. It starts first time when it's -20C outside. I've spoken at length with several mechanics who have seen this model reach 200k miles, they were much more negative about the Sentra and early Rogue. I have a friend who brought the same model on the same day as me in 2010, his car has higher mileage than mine and has had one minor issue so far. I will report back if I have some major problems. When you look through forums you'll undoubtedly see people posting about lemon cars, all manufacturers will make them (some more than others), but based on my experience I would recommend the Altima. It's a great car, comfortable, quick, much more interesting than the equivalent Toyota, Mazda, Chevrolet, Ford etc etc.
  • nik12nik12 Posts: 2
    I have an opportunity to buy a 2010 Nissan Altima with 65k miles on it. I need to know if it is possible for this car to last the six years they want me to pay on it. It's a clean car but I want to make sure I'm making the right decision. One owner. No accidents
  • nik12nik12 Posts: 2
    Any insight would be helpful. I drive about 50 miles to and from work every day.
  • My father bought my current car back in 2000 from a dealer with about 65k miles on it. It is now 2013, with 242k miles. It served him well and it's serving me well now too. The car hasn't given us problems except for wheel alignment and the factory alarm stopped working (it will occasionally override the installed alarm). It still has good power to it and I have no trouble keeping up with the flow of traffic, gets around 22mpg. I will be upgrading soon though just because of my commute and I need something with a better mpg. Overall, I loved the build and quality of the car.
  •[email protected] Vestal, NYPosts: 1
    I have been in the market for a "new" car for almost two years. I first looked at the Ford Fusion because my brother bought one and I got to drive it and liked it. I was also contemplating the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. Eventually, I thought better of the Fusion. Then my son suggested the Nissan Altima. I have always considered gas mileage to be an important factor when purchasing a car. I own a 2005 Toyota Corolla for that reason. Imagine my surprise when researching the Nissan Altima to find that it got better gas mileage than any of my choices or my Corolla! I also spoke to my sister-in-law who said that she had owned one for 15 years and loved it. So I bought a 2014 Nissan Altima and I love it! This is the first car that others have taken note of. They think it was expensive - it wasn't. So far, my average MPG is 36.6. And the car is very spunky and comfortable. I'm a believer!
  • m_zm_z New EnglandPosts: 10
    edited November 2015
    Can't speak about my newer 2014 Altima 2.5 SL but I had an older 2005 Altima S.

    Bought it pre-owned with ~20,006 miles on it (rental car company car) and got an extended warranty so it became a CPO.
    It lasted barely >10 years. Most issues occurred during the warranty period (Extended warranty with original purchase and another extended warranty).

    The reliability really depends on the driver (how s/he drives the car) and the conditions it's driven (location of driver/vehicle). The older models are prone to Rust! That's an issue IF you live in the colder areas of the U.S. where salt/brine solution is used on the roads in the winter. You must get the undercarriage washed During and After the winter time esp. after snow storms!

    The car will last longer IF you take very good care of it, like my old car.
    Towards the end of its life, it needed a new suspension/shocks for the entire car which is pretty good considering ~>10 years. The muffler's outer shell was rusted through but the internal one was still good to last another ~2-3 years. The catalytic converter was covered under a 10 year warranty so that got replaced. The AC unit/pump was replaced ~<$1000 in ~8th year. All new brake sets were replaced by ~8th year. Newer tires needed ~5-6th years as the Continental Tires sucked (AVOID Continental Tires) :angry: !!
    Used Full Synthetic oil so oil changes were ~5k-7500 miles.

    Most repairs were covered under warranty and keep up with the regular maintenance like oil changes.
    The major repairs were done towards the end of its life.
    Considering that it was formerly a rental car for ~8 months with ~20,006 miles on it when I bought it, it was acceptable though it got very expensive at the end (suspension/shocks needed as stated previously).
    MOST of the damage, IMO, was due to the Rust issue as there was some rust when I bought it.
    Found out in ~3d year that it was in an auto accident but NOT reported in CarFax as the Enterprising car rental company fixed it without going through insurance (rear end damage). But at least it was 'fixed' to working condition and the car lasted ~>10 years!

    The fuel economy was decent back then ~23mpg city, 27mpg hwy and 25 mpg mixed.
    It was WORSE in the winter ~18mpg city, 25mpg hwy and 21 mpg mixed >:(
    Make sure you use Good tires (AVOID Continental Tires!!) for good traction.

    That car was traded in ($5000 but probably worth more if Not for lots of underside rust!).
    That price acceptable considering that it was >10 years old :smile:
    I now drive a newer 2014 2.5 SL which I intend to keep for many years, ~10 years ;)
  • I have my 3rd Nissan now in a row, a beautiful 2004 Maxima 2.5 Which I suppose equals to Altima in your country. I bought it second hand in 2009 when the clock was 67k. I do lot of country travelling for my work and you wont believe now its 234k after 6 years! The smoothest car I ever had. Super comfy seats, time tested sleek VQ engine with just a mute purrr and all that power at request. Still runs like a young stallion! And I was told that VQ engines can easily go up to 400k with no major issues. All these years I have only replaced the radiator just because it showed a tiny leak at the top, not due to any blow ups.Nissans come with lifetime cam chain so no worries there and I changed brake pads twice or thrice so far.
    I live in Australia so I would comment in litres and I get 9.8 km per liter which equals to 35mpg in your terms which is pretty good for a V6.
    I have read few adverse comments here for Nissan but haven't top companies like Toyota GM and VW had heaps of major embarassments and recallas recently? I do not remember such naming and shaming incidents for Nissan ever. I would have to go for a SUV next year and that will be a Nissan for sure.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Those VQ engines made Wards 10 Best Engines list for a lot of years here in the States.

    btw, we use miles, but I assume you are referring to 234,000 kilometers? Er, I mean kilometres, right?
  • Hey Stever, Yep, all in Kilo metres so 234k means 146,000 miles.
  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    In 1997 , while in UK, I owned a 12 year old Nissan Sunny, and it lasted me another 7 years , and it was used for 5 more years by the next buyer :open_mouth:
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683

    Hey Stever, Yep, all in Kilo metres so 234k means 146,000 miles.

    Barely broken in. B)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 61,791
    One of my favorite "get you from here to there" cars.

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  • I'm a nissan newbie, I just purchased my first car, a 2000 nissan altima with 218+ miles on her. Fell in love at test drive. I paid 1800 cash including taxes. A friend is telling me it was not worth it. And thinks I could've gotten a so called better car. Any opinions? And how long do you think she will last. Drives great handles well, love this car! 
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 61,791
    For that price level, there's not much choice, really. The miles are very high, so the car's life might not be all that long; however, finding anything decent for $1800 is difficult, so it's not like you'll get much better if you shop around. I don't know why your friend would think that.

    Sure you could no doubt find "better" cars, but at much higher prices. If it runs, if its safe, and if it doesn't look all beat up, you did fine.

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  • @ Mr shift right, dealership just put new radiator in this morning, she's a beauty. Low on a few fluids but that's ok, needs oil change soon and 3 new tires. But beyond that I've bed great things about the Nissan, if i keep her maintained, I'm sure I'll get plenty of life from her. 
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 61,791
    edited March 2016
    Yep, with high miles cars you have to keep an eye on them---keep opening that hood, look around, check all the fluids, and every oil change get underneath there and look around. High miles cars are definitely a risk, but if that's your budget, then you learn to work with what you got. Sometimes you can get a great deal on used tires from Craigslist, but make sure they all match and give them a very good lookover inside and out---and learn how to date-check a tire to make sure it's not too old to be safe. You can also get good deals at Stay away from tire brands you never heard of. Tires are the only thing holding your car on the road.

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  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    Even a Best athlete cannot run well with worn out shoes. Same with tires :smile:
  • I've been driving a 2001 Nissan Altima since 2010. ~140k miles on it so far, and all it's needed has been a replacement of one of the rear sway bars. All I've been hearing otherwise has been that it's a remarkably reliable vehicle — I say you can't go wrong!
  • miguelg10miguelg10 Posts: 1
    I bought a Nissan Altima GXE '99 in 2014 with 196k miles from the original owner. He said he had put on half a motor at 100K. Now it's at 206K miles and it hasn't given me any problems. Has no trouble starting, no overheating issues, only maintenence has been done. When I changed the rear brakes I found the wheel cylinders on both sides were leaking some oil so I changed them both out.
  • I have a 1994 Nissan Altima base model with 5-speed that I bought used 7 years ago for $2k. It had 211k miles on it when I got it and it was already somewhat beat up. It is still my daily driver and recently rolled over to 300k miles. As is typical for cars this age, it has needed some repairs, but I have only had it towed twice since I got it (one for a bad distributor right after I got it and the other time when my clutch line disintegrated from old age). It rarely needs to go to the shop for repair, and most of the repairs it does need are pretty minor and inexpensive. I love this car! It has been crazy reliable and has put up with a lot. It's fun to drive, comfortable, fast, good on gas, and way more reliable than it looks like it should be. I still plan to drive this for at least a couple more years. Just not ready to get rid of it. Totally got my money's worth from this thing a long time ago. I'm sure I got lucky, but it's obvious that this is a quality vehicle that was built to last. I highly recommend Nissans and would rate the Altima among the ranks of Accords and Camrys.

    I was reading through the messages on this thread and couldn't find any reports of Nissans going as far as mine has, so I needed to put in my two cents.
  • aharrod30 said:
    I'm a nissan newbie, I just purchased my first car, a 2000 nissan altima with 218+ miles on her. Fell in love at test drive. I paid 1800 cash including taxes. A friend is telling me it was not worth it. And thinks I could've gotten a so called better car. Any opinions? And how long do you think she will last. Drives great handles well, love this car! 

    You got a great car for a great price. If you take good care of her, she'll take good care of you for a long time. My '94 has 300k miles now and is still running strong. I bought mine for $2k 7 years ago and have driven it almost 90k miles. Not ready to retire my baby, yet!

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited December 2016
    I thought I was doing good getting rid of my '99 Nissan (Quest) when it was a bit over 200,000 miles. Didn't want to fix the AC before moving south so we dumped it cheap to a kiddo a couple of years ago.

    300,000 miles is awfully darn good @singsreallylow. Congrats!
  • jarhead12jarhead12 Posts: 1
    I have a three foot crack in my Altima. There was a class action lawsuit for this in Florida. Also the sensor lights come on all the time for low tire(it isn’t). The car strands me when the brakes get wet, it won’t restart. The car only has 66,000 miles. Don’t buy a Nissan!
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