Nissan Altima Repairs & Maintenance

Last Updated: January 25, 2018

Nissan Altima Problems and Repairs

The Nissan Altima coupe and sedan have a number of common problems, many of which don't bode well for prospective shoppers. If you're considering a used Altima, schedule a pre-purchase inspection with a mechanic to make sure the vehicle is in good condition before you buy. You may also want to consider a certified pre-owned Nissan Altima, which is a used car that has undergone an inspection from a certified Nissan dealership and comes with additional warranty coverage.

See certified Pre-Owned Nissan Altima inventory near me

Here are some common problems and complaints about the Altima as reported by owners to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Nissan Altima Common Problems

The current Nissan Altima generation first arrived in 2013. Since then, owners have complained about squealing brakes, air conditioning issues, and power steering whine. The Altima uses an electric power steering pump, and some noise can be expected when turning the steering wheel. If the noise seems excessive, it may stem from contact between power steering lines and nearby air conditioning lines. Repositioning these lines can quiet the noise. A replacement power steering bracket has also been developed with better vibration-insulating material.

The worst problems with the Altima have to do with its continuously variable transmission (CVT). Owners complain about delayed throttle response and feeling a shudder or jerking sensation when accelerating. Some models have even had transmission failure. New transmission software is available for both the QR25DE four-cylinder and VQ35DE V6 engines, which can remedy some of these problems. If severe transmission belt slip or other damage has occurred, the valve body, torque converter, or entire transmission may need to be replaced.

The previous Nissan Altima generation (2007 to 2012) is also prone to poor CVT operation and failure. Because of these issues, Nissan extended the Altima's powertrain warranty (2007 to 2010 models only) to cover CVT problems for up to 10 years or 120,000 miles. Overheating transmission fluid can cause the CVT to enter a fail-safe mode, which reduces engine power to prevent internal damage. Owners may experience this reduction in performance when driving in hot weather or climbing steep hills. An external transmission cooler is available from Nissan to fix this condition, though prolonged damage may still require CVT repair or replacement.

Owners have also complained about engine starting issues. Nissan identified a fault with the electronic steering column lock (ESCL) of 2009 and 2010 models, which is designed to prevent theft but can inadvertently keep the engine from starting once the vehicle is unlocked. Nissan replaces the component free of charge. Additionally, 2011 and 2012 Altima models may have faulty ignition switch software. Reprogramming the vehicle's body control module (BCM) can fix this issue.

Nissan Altima Recalls

Use the links below to find recalls for all Nissan Altima model years.

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2019 Nissan Altima Pictures