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Are Nissan Altimas Reliable? Here’s What You Need To Know!

Are Nissan Altimas Reliable? Here’s What You Need To Know!

When you are looking to purchase a new vehicle, reliability is of course one of your top priorities. If you are looking to purchase a Nissan Altima, you’ll want to know all about it, including its record of reliability. To help answer this and other questions you may have, here are the facts about the Nissan Altima.

The Nissan Altima is a moderately reliable car and ranks in the middle of the midsize sedan class at number 11 out of 24 vehicles. Although not common, the most common issues impacting consumers involve its continuously variable transmission (CVT), catalytic converter failures, and faulty fuel pumps.

With that in mind, let’s take a deeper look at some of the reliability issues that have been seen with the Nissan Altima.

How Reliable are Nissan Altimas?

Ever since the Nissan Altima made its debut in 1993, consumers have found it to be a reliable vehicle. Generally safe and dependable, it ranks in the middle of the midsize car class, coming in at number 11 out of 24 cars.

As technology has made its way more and more into auto manufacturing, reliability has become a much more important aspect that’s considered when buying a car. On average, the typical car owner keeps their car for over 11 years before buying a new one and drives it well over 100,000 miles.

Over the last decade or so, car prices have continued to go higher and higher, making it even more important for the car you buy to be reliable for at least 10 years!

For a Nissan Altima, this has seemed to be no problem whatsoever. In fact, many Nissan Altima owners have reported not only keeping their cars for at least 10 years, but driving them not just 100,000 miles, but actually 200,000 or more before trading them in on a newer vehicle.

As to why Nissan Altimas are so reliable, experts point to several reasons! 

First, auto parts are manufactured more precisely today, thanks to advanced technology and the use of 3-D printing. Next, more systems on cars of today are automated, making it less likely they will break down unexpectedly. 

Finally, today’s cars such as the Altima have electrical systems rather than mechanical systems, meaning their engines are much more efficient and at much less risk of breaking down.

For example, while older vehicles once needed their oil changed every 3,000 miles, a newer Altima may need its oil changed once every 15,000 miles. Also, instead of needing to change spark plugs every 3,000 miles, an Altima may be able to go as far as 100,000 miles before needing new spark plugs.

Common Problems to Watch Out For

Even though the Nissan Altima has ranked as one of the most reliable midsize cars for many years, that does not mean you won’t encounter any problems at all with your Altima. In fact, these are some problems with Altimas that are very common for the average owner to experience at some point while owning this vehicle.

The most common and potentially most expensive problem you may have with your Nissan Altima involves its transmission. Since the Altima has what is known as continuously variable transmission, or CVT, owners have reported having delayed throttle responses, jerking responses from the car when trying to accelerate, and in some cases a complete transmission breakdown.

Though the Altima and other Nissan models have been plagued by this ongoing CVT problem, the problem has been addressed by Nissan in that it has extended its powertrain warranty to as much as 10 years or 120,000 miles.

Other common problems for the Nissan Altima have included catalytic converter failures for 1999-2015 models, faulty fuel pumps for model years 2001-2015, faulty crankshaft position sensor that causes the engine to stall, which was for model years 2002 and 2005-2006, and failed engine seals that led to oil leaking from the engine. 

With this issue, it only seems to have occurred with Altima models that had a 3.5L V-6 engine. To avoid having these and other problems come up unexpectedly with your Altima, there are several things you can do.

First, the best thing to do is have your Altima serviced on a regular basis by a mechanic you know and trust. By doing so, problems that may be just beginning can be spotted and repaired before they turn into large issues that bring with them a large repair bill.

Next, don’t ignore the “Check Engine” light if it comes on while you are driving. While it may mean you only need a minor adjustment, it could also be warning you of a much bigger problem. Nevertheless, get it checked out as soon as you can.

Most Reliable Nissan Altima Years

Even when a particular model of a car is well-known for being extremely reliable, as is the case with the Nissan Altima, some models simply turn out to be more reliable than others.

In the case of the Nissan Altima, the most reliable years seem to be 2011 and 2012. These models, which were part of the Altima’s fourth generation, have annual maintenance costs averaging slightly less than $500, which is less than the $650 price tag for all vehicles on the road today, regardless of manufacturer.

If you want to buy an Altima that is a bit newer, you’ll still find some that are very reliable. These include the 2017, 2018, and 2019 models, all of which are safe bets to buy pre-owned. In many cases, they will still be under their powertrain warranty, which can be of great help should repairs become necessary.

To really cash in on reliability with these newer models, we suggest you look closely at the 2019 Altima. Reporting average annual maintenance costs that are less than $400, it was also rated as the third-best 2019 sedan in its class in terms of reliability, so keep this in mind when doing your car shopping.

What About the Nissan Altima Coupe?

Made by Nissan from 2008-2013, the Nissan Altima Coupe did not stick around very long due to slow sales. Yet despite this, the Coupe was still rated by J.D. Power as being one of the most reliable cars on the road.

When compared to other similar models, J.D. Power gave the Altima Coupe a “Great” rating, scoring 87 out of 100 on such areas as reliability, quality, driving experience, and resale value.

Unlike some Altimas, the Altima Coupe was noted for having a very smooth transmission, a quiet interior when on the road, and plenty of interior storage space. However, some problems were noted as well, most notably vehicle stability in poor driving conditions.

Why is a Nissan Altima so Reliable?

If you are wondering why the Nissan Altima is in fact so reliable, consider that Nissan itself has been manufacturing motor vehicles since 1933, and from the very beginning was noted for being a company that emphasized reliability, dependability, and quality.

Unlike some auto manufacturers, Nissan has also been very quick to adopt the latest technology to its manufacturing plants, enabling it to get a head start on using such procedures as robotic manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and 3-D printing of automotive parts for the Altima.

How is Vehicle Reliability Measured?

When you hear the term “reliability” as it relates to the Nissan Altima, you may be wondering exactly how this is measured. In the automotive industry, reliability may also be referred to as dependability. 

Yet no matter the term, a vehicle’s performance in this area is measured in terms of frequency of repairs, what those repairs cost, and the severity of unscheduled repairs.

As you do more research about the Nissan Altima, we imagine you will come to the same conclusion as we and many others have over the years. If you want a vehicle that has a track record of success in terms of reliability and performance, a Nissan Altima is a smart choice!

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!