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Nissan Altima Hybrid Engine Questions



  • esagesesages Posts: 4
    I live in MN and purchased a used NAH with 1600 mi on engine from dealer in TX on line. Took for a short drive the day I received it & the red temp light came on. Took it in to local dealer and was told aparently coolant system had been flushed and refilled prior to purchase and system had a bubble. They topped off but light came back on a week later. They finally had to top off and vaccuum out remaining air and light has not come back on since. Told dual cooling system extremely difficult to burp.

    Also since receiving car have noticed more than just a little jerk with initial motor start up after car has rested for more than an hour. It is more like a shutter, rattle, sometimes shakes steering wheel and shift handle. Very alarming and frankly embarrasing if anyone is around. It doesn't seem "normal", but have heard some rattle is ok? Could it be related to oil type as others have mentioned? Should I have this checked out? The car also seems to "twitch" or hesitate when I maintain 70mph. Is this just a quirk in the transmission?

    So far have avgd between 35 and 38 mpg so guess I can't complain too much. Just second guessing myself for not buying "new", but couldn't beat the deal and car not available for purchase in Midwest.
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Posts: 25
    Got the car back today after the dealer having it for two days. They said they spoke with the tech line and they stated the car switching between gas and EV every two seconds coasting down a hill is normal. BS. I've had the car over a year and it's never done this until now.

    Also he stated he drove and drove the car and everything seemed normal although he doesn't have any other hybrids to go by as a comparison. I guess drove and drove means the ONE mile they put on the odometer. Normally I like that they don't put any miles on the car, but not in this case. Also, don't tell me that you spent a lot of time driving the car if it's obvious you didn't.

    Does anybody have a number for a technical line to Nissan? I know what they call is probably a dealer only line, but is there a number for a consumer to call?
  • jsyarussjsyaruss Posts: 50
    Greetings all -- Got my NAV about 2 1/2 weeks ago...worked great until 2 days ago. Then, it started the "shudder." Plus some revving up and down on occasion. Ugh.

    Was reluctant to take it to a local dealer because of the lack of hybrid experience in my area. Found a hybrid certified technician who said that the problem was that the engine was set to rev to high (1200 vs. 1000 rpm). Said he recalibrated it and all was well.

    EXCEPT for the fact that even though the gas engine runs smoothly, I can't get it to go into EV mode at all! Even just when I turn it on, it sits in EV for about 10 seconds then the gas engine turns on and stays on. The dealer didn't have a clue (the hybrid certified tech had already gone home). Said it was because the battery wasn't fully charged, but it never is. It's typically just about 1/2-way and fluctuates a little up and a little down from there. I drove it a bit to ensure a full charge but still no EV.

    Anybody else had this? More than a little discouraging. The dealer where I bought it is 4 1/2 hours away. By coincidence, I'll be there next week anyway but I would hope this is an easy fix.

    I hate doubting a purchase like this - i've been very happy with it otherwise. Help?
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Posts: 25
    How long are you driving it after starting it up? I've found that once you turn the car off it doesn't switch into EV easily for a while the next time you drive it even if it never had time to cool down.

    I doubt that is your issue though, but just a thought.

    Just curious, what state are you in? I am also not in a NAH state and I'm running into dealer problems.
  • jsyarussjsyaruss Posts: 50
    Unfortunately, I get the same situation whether I drive short distances or long. Right now, it seems to be operating as a regular old 4-cyl car with an electronic motor booster... everything seems fine except no EV. Another appt with the dealer on Monday, so with luck, they'll figure it out.

    i'm in PA -- near pittsburgh. There is a hybrid certified tech about 30 mins from me, but sadly, mine is the first hybrid he's worked on...
  • esagesesages Posts: 4
    As of 7/3/08 my car is officially undriveable. It started shaking violently, especially while accelerating. The "check engine soon" light came on and off. I was able to limp it in to the dealer, but because of the holiday, they won't be able to look at it until 7/7 at the earliest. I think I am approaching a crossroad here. Either the dealer makes it work (under warranty), or I get a different car, either from the dealer replacing the hybrid or trading my existing hybrid (albeit broken) in for a non-hybrid Altima. I think I would take a substantial hit financially if I had to do the later.
  • cptcmpostcptcmpost Posts: 25
    What do your states lemon laws (or texas') say about used cars under warranty?

    Will a lemon law even apply?

    Either way, have the dealer fix it before selling or trading it in. If they won't/can't, get nissan corporate involved.
  • jsyarussjsyaruss Posts: 50
    Hi all - Just an update to my prior post about my NAH that wasn't going into EV mode. Turns out that there's a setting the car goes into during diagnostics for setting the idle speed (which for some reason was too high in my car...) Anyway, that setting forces the car to idle (i.e., not go into EV mode at rest). Well, we don't know why, but evidently the car didn't come out of that testing mode, so it wasn't switching into EV mode. The tech repeated that adjustment and this time the car gave appropriate lights and signals and then at the conclusion of the adjustment worked just fine. Thought I'd post in case somebody else runs into the same situation. now, i'm back up and running. hooray!
  • esagesesages Posts: 4
    Thanks for the feedback. I had the same ?'s, but today heard from dealer that I had a bad spark plug. Hard to imagine in a brand new car, but certainly would explain that shaking and hesitation. So far owned car one month, in to dealer 3x. Hopefully the new plug will make the difference and we won't have to go back except for oil changes (which sound like no picnic either).
  • esagesesages Posts: 4
    New spark plug helped. No more violent skaking, just the usual start up shaking, oh and the red temp light is back on again. It came on just after I had picked the car up from replacing spark plug. I guess it's back in to the dealer we go.
    I looked up the lemon law and in MN, a dealer has 4 chances to correct the problem before the car can be declared a lemon and the owner gets a refund or replacement. I am going back for the 3rd time in the last month for the coolant/temp light. :lemon:
  • occkingoccking Posts: 346
    I just had my 4th Oil change done on the vehicle today. Just hit 13,000 miles. First three oil changes were "on the house" but this is the first one I was to pay for, so I never really paid attention paid any attention to what kind of oil they were putting in, and wasn't aware that the vehicle "required" synthetic oil.

    Kind or surprised when I saw a bill for $60, which included 5 quarts of "OW 20" oil at $7.95 a pop. I was told that the hybrid requires synthetic oil. Not a big deal, cost another $20 or $25 but just a little irritated that I was not told about this at the time of purchase (why would a salesman want to tell me that?)

    I continue to have a problem with my bluetooth (people receiving calls from me cannot understand what I say, very muffled) The dealer says there is nothing wrong with it, I say there is. Nissan customer service refuses to help me on this matter, because the dealer does not believe there is any problem.

    Anyone out there with any ideas to whom I can bring this grievance to? I love the vehicle, but drive a lot (13,000 miles less than 4 months) and I talk a lot & travel in NY, CT where the fines are very steep if you get caught talking with handset to your ear.
  • tomscot2tomscot2 Posts: 33
    Regarding the Bluetooth, I think it is a function of the microphones in the car. I believe this because we have the same problem with both of our phones (two different models) AND because we have a problem with the whole voice command system being "hard of hearing" It only works when you yell out the command and even then it is a crap shoot as to whether it understands us. We have given up using the voice command system. We are using the BT because we are in Calif and it is the law.
  • tazdoctazdoc Posts: 6
    Try using blue tooth at different speed. I find if the speed is over 65, the voice issue deteriates. 60 or less, it is fine. Also, talking toward the midline of the car, where the mike is, helps.
  • occkingoccking Posts: 346
    I have tried every which way. I don't expect these things to be perfect, but they should usable. If the car is parked, or otherwise perfection motionless, I could probably manage, but any significant speed at all, it is not. Do you know where the microphone is in the vehicle. I think maybe much too close to windshield and too sensitive thus picking up those noises.

    I always lean forward when speaking to it and talk loud enough. Maybe I need to really shout, but loud of soft, if always sounds muffled.
  • jfc31jfc31 Posts: 4
    The bluetooth system in my 2008 works great....people on the other end can hear me and I can hear them. I just have to speak up a litlle when I give a voice command and the window is open. Are you sure that your phone is one that is compatible/recommended by Nissan? I was due for an upgrade to my phone anyway, but before I ordered, I went to the NissanUSA website and got the list of phones that they say are compatible with the bluetooth in the NAH. I ordered the Verizon Chocolate phone and it paired up easily and has been working great. Make sure your phone is on the Nissan list.
  • occkingoccking Posts: 346
    My phone (Blackberry 8830) is on the approved list. It paired very easily. I almost got another phone but found out, as you must have, not all phones have been approved, and some are still being tested.

    Like I said previously, they already replaced the "control unit" (whatever that is) and they say nothing further they can do. When I called for last service appointment, as a test I called using bluetooth. Service Dept could barely understand what I was saying.
    Then I switched over to hand held, and it was fine. Back to bluetooth and even they agreed it was very difficult to understand.
  • langjielangjie Posts: 250
    did they replace the mic as part of the "control unit"?
  • tazdoctazdoc Posts: 6
    I also has a Blackberry 8830. As I posted earlier, unless at high MPH with lots of road noise, mine works fine. The mic is in the midline of the car next to the map lights. I sometimes need to face the midline to talk but never had problem with being not understandable. I think you may need to have them check it when there is moderate background noise and see whether they can fix it. Good luck.
  • occkingoccking Posts: 346
    They claimed when they replaced the "control unit" that included the mike.
  • utahgalutahgal Posts: 1
    Saw the Altima Hybrid in CA so am negotiating with a dealer there to purchase one, meet him in Reno and then drive it back to Utah. Are you guys liking the hybrid? Also since they do not sell them in Utah yet there is only one certified Nissan tech about 45 minutes from where I live. How much service do these require and would it be stupid to purchase one with only 1 tech in the state?
  • tazdoctazdoc Posts: 6
    Kind of hard to comment on the maintainance aspect of the car because I only have about a thousand miles on it and just have one fill up (which gave me 36 mpg). In the break in period, I drive about 65 miles or less and I generally not a lead foot person, so I expect to have close to 35 mpg at least. With that mpg, the car accelerates very well if I want to. I used to own a 1999 Acura TL and the acceleration is very comparable if not better. The switch between the hybrid and the gas engine sometime did get a bit rough. One thing not mentioned a lot in the forum or the manual is that the electic motor actually get used a lot more than in pure EV mode. i.e. For regular driving condtion, even if the engine does not show EV, it is being used, especially in acceleration situations, which help save gas. So I really look at it as a 4 cylinder with 6 cylinder performance. In terms of economics, it really depends on how you drive and how much you drive. I figure it would probably save me about 270 to 300 gallons of gas a year based on the alternatives I plan to buy. So it will depends on what price the gas is or will be whether I will save over all. I generally pay the car in full and keep it for ten years. For me, I think the economy works for me. Whether you decide on whether to buy it or not, make sure you test drive one before buying. As far as I can find in these forum, the "feel" of the car is different for different cars and you really need to test drive the one you plan to own before the purchase.
  • mazda6dudemazda6dude Posts: 283
    Being a former NAH owner, make sure you do a thorough test drive of the NAH. Also, analyze your driving. In other words, do you drive a lot of city or highway. No matter what anybody says, to get the high MPG's in hybrids you will have to change your driving style. If you drive it like a regular car, don't expect to get high MPG's. I remember driving my NAH just like a normal car with no changes to my driving habits, I got 34-35MPG. Currently I have a 4 cylinder midsize sedan and I got 30MPG. Make sure to compare and workout all the numbers before buying a hybrid. With the current incentives ($500 rebate + $2350 Tax Credit), the NAH carries about a $3-$4K premium over the base 2.5S CVT altima. It will take sometime to recover the cost unless you drive a lot. As for features, the Camry Hybrid has more standard features then the NAH. Regardless, just do your research.
  • langjielangjie Posts: 250
    i'm at 18750 miles and i haven't had any major issues *knock on wood*. just a faulty nav unit that they replaced (but that's not a hybrid system related issue).

    but yes, make sure you do a thorough test drive, make sure your MPG's are pretty decent and make sure you can slowly cruise in EV mode. with a light throttle, you should be able to accelerate in EV mode to 15-20 MPH (once the car is warmed up)
  • occkingoccking Posts: 346
    I just turned 13k on my NAH and have had slightly over 4 months. Other than the bluetooth issue (which I have commented on several occasions on this and other NAH boards) no problems at all. I am a very conservative driver, lots of highway miles, rarely over 70 mph, and overall average since getting the vehicle has been 34 mpg. That's based on actual consumption, the computer always inflates actual mileage by approx 1.5 mpg.

    Got one for wife one week before mine but she only has 2000 miles on hers. Only filled up a few times but her driving mostly suburban, short distances, etc. and last time actual mpg around 35.5. Since last fill up computer indicated 39.9 so she is probably realistically averaging close to 37.

    I really questions others on this board who claim to be getting into the 40 mpg range. Unless you are one of those mileage "freeks" who tailgate, shut motor down and coast (no need to do that in NAH!) & other crazy stunts I really don't see how anyone can average into the 40's, no matter how conservative they drive.
  • My EV Mode indicator in not working all the time. Sometimes it doesn't light up at all when it should, (downhill, or slowing down). Other times it seams to work perfect

    Any ideas? :confuse:
  • langjielangjie Posts: 250
    are you sure you're in EV mode? when the car is warming up and speeds over 42 MPH, you will not get EV mode...or when battery is low
  • tazdoctazdoc Posts: 6
    Have any of you experience more vibration in engine than usual after driving it a while? I noticed that when the car is about 2.2K now. I did not recall the same experience in the beginning. Everything else including the EV works fine. I am going to bring it into the dealer for a check to see whether there is setting in the engine need adjustment.
  • langjielangjie Posts: 250
    more so when it's colder out
  • occkingoccking Posts: 346
    I am up to 17,500 miles now, 5 1/2 months. Car still runs fine, average 35 and 35.2 (actual, based on consumption) past few trips. Only change has been the trip computer, on the last two fill ups has shown even more of a discrepancy, 37.6 and 38.1.

    Do mostly highway driving. Second NAH we also bought in March has only 2500 miles on it. Should be filling within a few days, trip computer says 39.6, I believe so actualy mpg once I fill it up probably around 36.5. That vehicle mostly suburban driving lots of short trips.

    So, overall, pleased with mpg as slightly more than what sticker indicates.
  • Hi Everyone,
    My "Service Engine Soon" light just came on with under 3000 miles. The car is running fine. I have no clue why it's on. If I knew a way to reset it I would try that and wait to see if it came on again. If so, I'd run it in to the dealer. I'm quite a ways away so it would be nice to be able to do a reset and see what happens. Anyone have a clue on how to do a reset on the "Service Engine Soon" light on a NAH ?

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