Worst Nissan Altima Years To Avoid (5 Major Problems)

When you need a spacious, good-looking sedan with modern in-car features and technologies, the Nissan Altima is an ideal consideration. The Altima is a midsize sedan produced by Nissan for global markets.

It debuted in 1992 and has since remained one of the best sedans from the Japanese automaker. Notwithstanding, even though the Nissan Altima is a good sedan to buy, it is essential to know that not all Altimas are built equally.

This article lists the worst Nissan Altima years to avoid and why you should do so. We also included the best Nissan Altima years to buy to complement the information shared here!

Nissan Altima Overview

The Nissan Altima replaced the “Bluebird” line and has been around since 1992. It is a line of midsize sedans produced by the infamous Japanese automaker, Nissan. This sedan offers sufficient space for up to 5 seaters. Of course, the design of build of the Nissan Altima has evolved across six generations.

Newer Nissan Altima models look just as you’d love them, featuring several advanced techs to help deliver a smooth, impressive driving experience.

A special edition model of the Nissan Altima is being used in Motorsports competitions. Nissan introduced “Coupe” Altima models in the fourth generation, but they short-lived.

See Also: Worst Nissan Armada Years To Avoid

Worst Nissan Altima Years To Avoid and Why

A few Nissan Altima model years seem problematic and “more” expensive to maintain. These model years typically develop different faults even at low mileage; hence, avoiding them is advisable, especially when buying a used Nissan Altima.

Hereunder is a list of the worst Nissan Altima years to avoid:

  • 2002 Nissan Altima
  • 2003 Nissan Altima
  • 2005 Nissan Altima
  • 2006 Nissan Altima
  • 2008 Nissan Altima
  • 2009 Nissan Altima
  • 2013 Nissan Altima
  • 2014 Nissan Altima
  • 2015 Nissan Altima

Too many? Maybe. However, even though these years are flagged as the “worst,” quite a lot of people still own and drive Nissan Altimas produced in those years.

In most cases, a proactive maintenance approach can salvage 50% of the problems reported in these above-mentioned Nissan Altima years.

Common Nissan Altima Problems

Photo by Rutger van der Maar via Flickr

1. Engine Faults

  • Affected Models: Mostly reported in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2005 Nissan Altimas.
  • Estimated Repair Cost: $3,000

Quite a high number of engine faults were recorded for the early 2000s Nissan Altima models. Commonly reported problems include high oil consumption, the engine burning oil, rough idling, head gasket issues, camshaft & crankshaft sensor failure, and bad motor mounts.

Well, these problems reportedly occur after hitting 84,000 miles on the odometer, and the repair cost ranges from $600 to $3,500 depending on the engine components that need to be fixed or replaced. In some cases, the Nissan Altima owners had to replace the entire engine.

2. Transmission Problems

  • Affected Models: 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 model years
  • Estimated Repair Cost: $3,500

A lot of Nissan Altimas seem to develop different transmission problems after you exceed 60,000 miles.

The Nissan Altima transmission issues include gear stuck in the park position, shuddering/vibration, hesitation, and slipping out of gear. These problems typically occurred on the Nissan Altima models with the CVT system – usually after 70,000 miles.

3. Steering and Wheel Problems

  • Affected Models: 2009, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Nissan Altima models
  • Estimated Repair Cost: $900

The steering wheel gets locked or wandering while driving, need corrections regularly, power steering module problems, and pulling to one side are common steering problems experienced by people who own/drive the above-indicated Nissan Altima model years.

The average repair cost of these problems cost from $900.

4. Interior Accessories Problems

  • Affected Models: Mostly reported on 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Nissan Altimas.
  • Estimated Repair Cost: $1,000

Many complaints were recorded about the interior accessories of the above-indicated Nissan Altima years.

The most common problem is dashboard melting; other high-complaint problems include locks failure, door handle issues, connectivity features not working, and faulty navigation/radio system.

5. Body and Paint Problems

  • Affected Models: 2005, 2006, and 2013 Nissan Altimas.
  • Estimated Repair Cost: $1,000

The 2005, 2006, and 2013 Nissan Altima seem to have a problem with the clear coat paint. A good number of people that own the model years allege that the sedan’s paint starts peeling off and chipping after a few years – even when they haven’t driven over a hundred thousand miles.

Also, there were complaints about body panels rusting around the floor pan and other sides of the rides – causing water to leak into the interior. These problems cost an average of $1,000; the most common fix is repainting the car.

Best Nissan Altima Years to Buy

Okay, we’ve talked of the worst Nissan Altima years; now, let’s talk about the best years of the sedan. Interestingly, there are pretty many model years of the Nissan Altima that seem to hold up well. Hereunder are the best Nissan Altima years to buy.

  • 2004 Nissan Altima
  • 2007 Nissan Altima
  • 2010 Nissan Altima
  • 2011 Nissan Altima
  • 2012 Nissan Altima
  • 2016 Nissan Altima
  • 2017 Nissan Altima
  • 2018 Nissan Altima
  • 2019 Nissan Altima
  • 2020 Nissan Altima
  • 2021 Nissan Altima

Well, it is not like these Nissan Altima years are completely flawless, but they receive very low complaints from their previous and current owners. Hence, they are considered much better options than the “worst” years listed earlier – in this article.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Nissan Altima a Good Car?

Yes. Put simply, the Nissan Altima (especially the new model years) is a good, desirable ride with enough space for five-seaters. It comes with several advanced technologies and driver assistance systems to deliver an immersive experience.

How Long Can a Nissan Altima Last?

Well, it all depends on how the car is driven and maintained. With proper maintenance and conservative driving culture, the Nissan Altima can last up to 15 years or 200,000 miles before showing signs of major problems. It is a sturdy ride built to last long.

Is The Nissan Altima Expensive To Maintain?

The Nissan Altima is less expensive than most sedans in its class and category. RepairPal estimates that the average annual repair cost of the Nissan Altima is $483, which is below the industry’s average for midsize sedans of its class. Also, the Nissan Altima takes home a 4.0 out of 5.0 reliability rating on RepairPal.

See Also: Worst Nissan Xterra Years to Avoid

What More?

Well, nothing more. This article has clearly listed and explained the worst Nissan Altima years to avoid and why you should do so – while also listing the best years of the ride.

In conclusion, the Nissan Altima is a cool, classic, “luxurious” sedan with hi-tech features and is very affordable.

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