The Worst Nissan Altima Problems You Could Have Before 100,000 Miles

Nissan is known for making good, quality cars that are quite reliable. Despite that reputation, though, no company is perfect, and neither is Nissan. Here are the worst problems that the Nissan Altima has before it even reaches 100,000 miles.

The 2014 Nissan Altima – transmission failure

One of the most common and terrible problems that the 2014 Altima experienced, according to Car Complaints, was simply a transmission failure. However, even before its transmission completely fails, many 2014 Altima owners reported that their transmissions were problematic. 

With an average mileage of about 39,000 miles, the second-worst transmission issue that plagued the 2014 Altima was the fact that its transmission would shudder and jerk at times. This was uncomfortable for some owners and downright frustrating for others. Overall, Car Complaints said that the best remedy for this issue was to replace the transmission. This cost, on average, about $3,200.

If the 2014 Altima survived that, then at approximately 68,000 miles, many 2014 Altima owners reported that their transmission stopped working. This total transmission failure could only be fixed by replacing the transmission. In this instance, the average cost of replacing the transmission was, according to Car Complaints, about $3,800.

The 2009 model experienced steering wheel lock failure

Denis Le Vot (left), the new chairman of Nissan North America and Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president, Global Design, stand beside the 2019 Nissan Altima sedan at the New York International Auto Show
The Nissan Altima | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

While the 2009 Nissan Altima had fewer complaints overall than the 2014 Altima did, it had an extremely common issue that was far more common than the transmission issues that it also suffered from. That issue was the fact that the 2009 Altima’s steering wheel lock would stop working. This caused the car to not start most of the time.

This was a very common issue that received over 1,000 complaints on Car Complaints. The average mileage of those 2009 Altima models was about 90,000 miles. The most typical way to fix this issue, outside of homemade fixes, was to simply replace the steering wheel lock. That cost $960 on average, according to Car Complaints. On top of that, Car Complaints says that at least four crashes and one fire were caused by this issue. 

This steering wheel lock issue is also related to another issue that the 2009 Altima had. Hundreds of 2009 Altima owners reported that their car suffered an electrical problem, which caused their car to lose speed while driving. This related issue caused at least two crashes, two fires, and two injuries, according to Car Complaints.

The 2013 Nissan Altima – CVT issues

Like the 2014 Nissan Altima, the 2013 Altima also suffered from a host of transmission issues. In fact, these issues were so common in both model years that Car Complaints gave both the “Avoid Like The Plague” badge. 

And, like the 2014 Altima, one of the most common transmission issues was the fact that the 2013 Altima’s transmission would shutter, vibrate, hesitate, or run roughly. This transmission issue happened when the 2013 Altima had about 53,000 miles on average, and once again, the only way to fix it was to replace the whole transmission. That cost, on average, about $3,100, according to Car Complaints.

Once again, just like the 2014 Altima, another common transmission issue reportedly would happen later in the car’s lifespan, and that’s another total transmission failure. The average mileage of the 2013 Altima models that had a total transmission failure was about 78,000 miles, and the only way to fix that was to replace the transmission. That, on average, cost about $3,300.

The verdict 

It’s clear given the Nissan Altima’s history that it has a lot of transmission problems. That said, Nissan seems to have fixed those issues with the latest model years of the Altima. So, if you have to buy an Altima, you probably want to avoid buying it used.