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The Nissan Altima is a midsize car produced by the Japanese automaker Nissan since 1992. The Altima has been a popular car in the United States due to its reliability, comfort, and affordability. However, like any other vehicle, the Altima has had its fair share of maintenance issues over the years.

It’s important to note that not all Nissan Altimas will experience these issues, and regular maintenance and care can help prevent or mitigate problems. So let’s take a look at the very worst used Nissan Altima model years.

1. The 2002 Nissan Altima

A gold color 2002 Nissan Altima.
2002 Nissan Altima | David Cooper via Getty Images

Excessive oil consumption in the 2002 Nissan Altima is a known issue and can be caused by several factors, including faulty piston rings, valve seals, or gaskets. The average repair cost for this is $3,300. CarComplaints claims that the concern is more common at an average mileage of 96,000 miles and can sometimes be prevented by performing regular oil changes and maintenance.

Another frequent issue with the 2002 Altima is catalytic converter failure, which can be brought on by a broken oxygen sensor, high oil consumption, or damage from road debris. At 102,000 miles, the average cost to repair this is about $2,300. This may result in decreased engine performance, bad fuel efficiency, and emissions issues.

A blown head gasket in the 2002 Altima is a severe issue that can cause engine overheating, loss of coolant, and poor performance at a mileage of 102,000 miles. The repair cost is typically around $2,100, although it can be more expensive if other engine components are damaged.

2. The 2009 Altima

It is challenging to start a 2009 Altima with a steering wheel lock failure, frequently brought on by an electronic steering column lock (ESCL) system that needs replacing. The typical cost to fix this is about $900, which can happen at about 90,000 miles on average.

Another common concern reported by 2009 Altima owners is a shuddering or hesitation feeling while accelerating. According to, this issue can occur at around 79,000 miles on average, and the average cost to fix it is around $2,500. It is often caused by a faulty catalytic converter or transmission, which can be fixed by replacing the affected component.

A defective transmission is frequently blamed for a whining sound that gets louder and higher-pitched as the automobile accelerates. The transmission may need to be replaced or rebuilt to solve the problem. The typical mileage at which this happens is 80,000, and the repair cost is $5,700.

3. The 2013 Nissan Altima


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The 2013 Nissan Altima has been reported to have the most problems overall, with one of the most common issues being CVT shuttering, vibration, hesitation, and running roughly. These symptoms can be felt while driving, leading to a frustrating experience for the driver. The average cost to fix this issue is around $3,100, and it tends to occur around 55,000 miles.

Another transmission issue that could leave the driver of the 2013 Altima stranded on the side of the road is transmission failure. It can be costly to address this, with an average repair cost of $3,300. Around 79,000 miles, transmission failure usually occurs, presenting drivers with the unpleasant choice of whether to spend money on an expensive repair or hunt for a new car.

Dimmer low beams can also be a concern with the 2013 Altima. Driving may become more difficult due to decreased vision, making it harder to see the road ahead. Drivers can resume safe driving after spending an average of $700 to address the problem. Those who have never had this before may find it aggravating that it tends to happen after 84,000 miles.