2013 Nissan Altima Top 3 Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Transmission, Airbag and Electrical issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners


2013 Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima is a midsize car produced since 1992. When it first debuted, it was a no-frills sedan, with a traditional four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. Over the years, the Altima has seen many changes. By 2013, it had become a high-tech machine,  however sometimes, simple is better. Many of the advanced features on 2013 Altima are more problematic than the 1992 model technology. Some common problem areas for the 2013 Nissan Altima according to the NHTSA include the airbags, electrical system and transmission.

Airbags

Although other 2013 Nissan vehicles were affect by the Takata airbag recall, the Altima was not one of them. But it does have problems with the occupant classification system (OCS). The OCS is part of a vehicle’s airbag system, also known as the supplemental restraint system (SRS). Different size occupants are identified by the OCS. This allows the passenger airbag to be disabled if a child, or small person, is in the passenger seat. Airbags can cause severe injury to small individuals.

Passenger airbag may not deploy due to do OCS error

The OCS system in the 2013 Nissan Altima is comprised of a dedicated control module and two sensors located in the seat cushions. Passenger weight information is relayed to the control module by the two sensors. The control module sends this information to the airbag diagnostic unit. Then, the airbag diagnostic unit determines whether or not the passenger airbag should be disabled.

Nissan issued a recall regarding OSC control module problems. It states that an incorrect OSC control module may have been installed during assembly. This can lead to incorrect airbag deployment in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

To fix the problem, Nissan will replace the OSC control module and update its software free of charge.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2013 Nissan Altima Airbag Problems:

AS MANY OTHERS HAVE PREVIOUSLY REPORTED, THIS 2013 ALTIMA WILL NOT DETECT AN ADULT PASSENGER (140+ LBS) AND WILL TURN OFF THE PASSENGER AIRBAG. THE INITIAL SAFETY RECALL WORK WAS PERFORMED ON THE CAR (PRIOR TO OUR PURCHASE OF THE VEHICLE), BUT THE PROBLEM CONTINUES TO HAPPEN. WE HAVE TALKED TO SEVERAL DEALERS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO DO ANYTHING TO FIX THE PROBLEM BECAUSE IT APPEARS THAT NISSAN DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO FIX IT. THIS HUGE SAFETY CONCERN MAKES THE CAR UNUSABLE WHEN WE NEED TO HAVE MORE THAN ONE PERSON IN THE CAR AND WE CANNOT GET THE AIRBAG TO WORK PROPERLY. NHTSA: PLEASE FORCE NISSAN TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS ISSUE!

I WAS IN AN ACCIDENT AND THE AIR BAGS DID NOT DEPLOY. MY CHILDREN AND I WERE INJURED. I SERVICED MY CAR AT NISSAN FOR THE AIRBAG RECALL TWICE. I RECEIVED A RECALL FROM NHTSA AND NISSAN WOULDN’T COMPLY. EVERY TIME I’VE TAKEN MY CAR FOR THE BRAKE PADS TO BE SERVICED I ONLY NEED ROTORS NEVER BRAKE PADS! THE DRIVER SIDE DOOR HANDLE BROKE FOR NO REASON WHAT SO EVER THIS CAR IS A CLUNKER!

I’M HAVING AND ISSUES WITH THE PASSENGER SIDE AIRBAG NOT ENGAGING WHEN I HAVE A PASSENGER IN THE FRONT SEAT, NOT REGISTERING THAT THERE IS SOMEONE SITTING IN THE SEAT.. ANOTHER ISSUES IS WATER SATURATING THE PASSENGER FLOOR BOARDS ALL THE WAY TO THE BACK SEAT WHEN IS RAINS OUTSIDE

Powertrain

Continually variable transmissions (CVTs) are relatively new to the automotive scene. Many manufactures use them in place of traditional automatics to increase fuel economy. Instead of using gear sets, most CVT transmissions use a steel belt and pullies. This provides an infinite number of “gear ratios”. The 2013 Nissan Altima uses a CVT transmission that’s known for being very problematic.

CVT transmission problems

Faulty 2013 Nissan Altima CVT transmissions can exhibit a long list of symptoms, such as shuddering, slipping and neutralizing. In addition, problems with the CVT assembly usually turns on the check engine light and may put the vehicle into “limp mode”.

Nissan released a technical service bulletin (TSB) regarding the CVT to its dealerships. The TBS includes a diagnostic flow chart. This leads the service technician to either replace the transmission valve body, or the entire transmission. In most cases, the former doesn’t work and the entire transmission must be replaced.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Nissan for its shoddy CVT transmission.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2013 Nissan Altima Transmission Problems:

I OWN A 2013 NISSAN ALTIMA WHICH I PURCHASED NEW. THE CAR HAS APPROXIMATELY 90K MILES ON IT NOW. ABOUT 5 MONTHS AGO THE CAR BEGINNING DYING WHEN PUTTING IT IN GEAR AND/OR STOPPING WHILE DRIVING. THE OCCURRENCE OF THE PROBLEM GRADUALLY INCREASED UNTIL WE WERE FORCED TO TAKE IT TO A NISSAN DEALER. THE DEALER DIAGNOSED THE CAR AS NEEDING A TRANSMISSION REPROGRAM. I PAID THE DEALER TO PERFORM THE WORK. TWO WEEKS LATER WHEN PUTTING THE CAR INTO DRIVE OR REVERSE THE CAR WOULD NOT MOVE. WE HAD THE CAR TOWED TO THE DEALER, WHOM TOOK OVER A WEEK TO DIAGNOSE INFORMING US IT NEEDED A NEW CVT. THE DEALER INFORMED ME THAT THE NEW CVT HAD BEEN UPGRADED WITH HEAVIER DUTY PARTS INCLUDING A HEAVIER TRANSMISSION COOLER AS THESE UNITS WERE PRONE TO OVERHEATING, WHICH INDICATES (IN MY OPINION) A DESIGN FLAW. THE DEALER NOW WANTS $3.7K TO REPLACE THE CVT WITH A NEW UNIT THAT ONLY HAS A 1 YEAR OR 12K WARRANTY.

I WAS DRIVING MY VEHICLE WHEN IT SPUTTERED AND STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF A BUSY CITY STREET,. LUCKILY A POLICEMAN WAS RIGHT BEHIND ME AND WAS ABLE TO DIVERT TRAFFIC AWAY FROM MY CAR. I TOWED THE CAR TO A NEARBY MECHANIC SHOP WHO REPLACED THE BATTERY (BECAUSE IT WAS DEAD) AND ADVISED ME THAT THE PROBLEM COULD BE WITH THE TRANSMISSION. I DROVE THE CAR BUT THE RPMS WERE GOING UP AND DOWN AND PRESSING THE GAS PEDAL DID NOT CAUSE THE CAR TO MOVE ANY FASTER, AND THE TRANSMISSION DOES NOT ENGAGE IN A TIMELY MANNER WHEN I PUT THE CAR ON “DRIVE”. I SCHEDULED A TIME WITH THE DEALER TO INSPECT THE CAR IN TWO DAYS. THAT DAY IT TOOK ME A LONG TIME TO GET THE CAR STARTED AND MOVING AND IT BROKE DOWN AS I ENTERED THE DEALER’S SERVICE LOT. THEY DIAGNOSED THE PROBLEM AS A FAILED CVT TRANSMISSION WHICH HAD TO BE REPLACED FOR $3700, SINCE IT CANNOT BE REPAIRED. I TOLD THEM THAT I SEARCHED THE NISSAN WEBSITE THE NIGHT BEFORE AND THERE WAS A RECALL BY NISSAN OF THIS CAR IN DECEMBER 2016 BECAUSE THE CVT CONTROLLER HAD TO BE RE-PROGRAMMED, OTHERWISE IT WILL CAUSE EXCESSIVE WEAR AND DAMAGE TO THE CVT. THEY CLAIMED THE RECALL WAS ONLY FOR THE REPROGRAMMING AND BECAUSE THE VEHICLE WAS OVER THE WARRANTY, NOTHING WILL BE DONE FOR FREE. I TOLD THEM THAT THIS WAS A SAFETY ISSUE SINCE I ALMOST GOT HIT BY TRAFFIC WHEN THE CAR STALLED, THAT THEIR RECALL MENTIONED THE POSSIBLE DAMAGE, AND THAT I BECAME AWARE OF IT AFTER THE INCIDENT, BUT THAT DID NOT HELP AND ADVISED ME TO CALL NISSAN, BUT HE WOULDT. I BELIEVE THIS DEFECT WITH THE CVT PROGRAM IS A SERIOUS SAFETY ISSUE FROM MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. THE CAR GAVE NO WARNING SIGNS OR ALARMS OF THE PROBLEM AND IT HAPPENED SUDDENLY. THE CVT FAILURE BEING INDIRECTLY CAUSE BY THE DEFECTIVE PROGRAMING SHOULD HAVE BEEN COVERED BY A FEDERALLY MANDATED RECALL. THIS ISSUE IS ALL OVER THE INTERNET. ALSO NISSAN NEVER MADE OWNERS AWARE OF THIS RECALL.

MY CVT TRANSMISSION PROBLEM WAS AT 900-MILES TOOK TO DEALER WILKES NISSAN IN WILKESBORO,NC LIKE 8-TIMES AND 2-TIMES TO ANOTHER.CVT WOULD SHUDDER AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS.WILKES NISSAN SAID THAT WAS NORMAL IN ONE SENTENCE,THEN IN THE NEXT SAY THEY COULD NOT GET IT TO DUPLICATE.AFTER SEVERAL ATTEMPTS TO GET IT FIXED THE SERVICE MANAGER [XXX] WAS WALKING OUT IN THE SERVICE BAY AND WAS TELLING ME AS MY GIRLFRIEND WAS HEARING THIS THAT “NISSAN KNOWS THAT THIS IS A PROBLEM,BUT DOESN’T HAVE A FIX FOR THIS AND THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE NEVER LET THAT OUT OF THE FACTORY LIKE THAT” WHILE HE WAS SAYING THIS A EMPLOYEE HAD WALKED BY AND OVERHEARD THIS.AND HE WAS SHORTLY FIRED AFTERWARDS?THEY TOOK MY CAR IN AND HAD IT FOR LIKE 2-DAYS AND PUT A 124-MILES ON MY CAR,I HAD EXPLAINED THAT HE DIDN’T NEED TO DO THAT JUST TAKE OFF GET UP TO HIGHWAY SPEEDS AND SLOW DOWN THEN TAKE OFF,IT WILL START TO SHUDDER.I CAME DOWN AND GOT THE SERVICE MANAGER [XXX] AND THE TECH RODE WITH ME AND I GOT IT TO SHUDDER INSIDE OF 15-MINUTES WITH THEM WITH ME.WE GOT BACK TO THE DEALERSHIP AND WITHIN 15-MINUTES [XXX] SERVICE MANGER SAID “WE JUST GOT A TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETIN IN OCTOBER 2013 IN WHICH WAS A LIE.I FOUND OUT A TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETIN WAS ISSUED ON JUNE 13TH 2013 FOR A “CVT CLUTCH ENGAGEMENT SHUDDER”& [XXX] LOOKED MAD WHEN WE GOT BACK FROM THE TEST DRIVE.THEY DECIDED TO REPLACE THE TORQUE CONVERTER AND HAD MY CAR FOR 16-DAYS,WHEN I RETURNED TO PICK UP THE CAR,THE WILKES NISSAN DEALERSHIP SAID THAT EVERYTHING WAS FINE AND WITHIN 11-MILES THEY CAR STARTED SHUDDERING AGAIN AT SLOW SPEEDS AS WELL AS HIGHWAY SPEEDS.I WAS GOT SO SICK FROM ALL THE ARGUING THAT I WENT INTO THE HOSPITAL IN DECEMBER 2013 FOR 5-DAYS.I HAD THE PROBLEM AND WAS SICK FOR MONTHS SO WHEN I STARTED TO FEEL BETTER.I TOOK THE CAR DOWN TO WILKES AND THEY SAID NISSAN REFUSED TO WORK ON MY CAR EVEN THOUGH UNDER WARRANTY. 

Electrical system

Infotainment systems are great – until they stop working. Nissan has had plenty of problems with its NissanConnect infotainment system. There are a number of TSBs that pertain to the system. One of the main concerns is a screen that goes haywire.

Key FOB Issues

Many owners have complained about not being able to start the vehicle because the Key FOB was not being recognized.

Center display goes blank and/or iPod audiobooks play at 2x speed

Many Altima owners complained of the infotainment screens going blank and/or acting erratically. In some cases, audiobooks played through the iPod port play at 2x speed. Nissan issued a TSB regarding this issue. The document instructs service technicians to reprogram the unit with updated software.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2013 Nissan Altima Electrical Problems.

I TRIED TO START MY CAR AND THE ONBOARD COMPUTER SCREEN SAY NO KEY DETECTED, I HAVE THE KEY IN MY HAND AND STILL IT WILL NOT START, I CAN UNLOCK THE DOORS, TRUNK ETC. FINE, I EVEN WENT AND BOUGHT THE SAME EXACT NEW BATTERY FOR THE KEY FOG AND THE PROBLEM PERSIST, I WENT ONLINE AND LOOK UP NISSAN OWNERS WITH SIMILAR PROBLEM WITH NISSAN ALTIMA KEY FOB PROBLEM AND IT SEEM LIKE A COMMON ISSUE, BUT SURPRISE THAT THERE IS NO RECALL ON THE ISSUE, EVERYBODY I KNOW THAT OWNS A NISSAN TOLD ME THERE IS TIME THEY BE DRIVING AND THE ONBOARD COMPUTER STATE NO KEY DETECTED, THANK GOD I DON’T LIVE I A REMOTE LOCATION OR ELSE I WOULD BE STRANDED, ONLINE EVERYONE THAT HAD THE PROBLEM HAD TO END UP PAYING $500 OR MORE TO FIX THE ISSUE, WHICH I FEEL IS A DEFECT IN NISSAN ENGINE CONTROL UNIT SYSTEM, I CONTACT THE DEALERSHIP THAT I BOUGHT MY NISSAN ALTIMA FROM AND THEY WANTED TO CHARGE ME OVER #500 TOTAL TO FIX THE ISSUE, I THINK IT IS A SCAM, I FOUND A WORK AROUND THE ISSUE BUT IT IS JUST NOT RIGHT THAT THEY KNOW THE ENGINE CONTROL UNIT HAS A PROBLEM AND THE REFUSE TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE, EXCEPT LEAVE THE CUSTOMER WITH A NEW BILL OR STRANDED

I WAS TRYING TO GET INTO MY CAR TO GET TO WORK. THE KEY FOB WAS NOT WORKING AT ALL, THE DAS WAS TELLING ME THAT MY KEY I’D WAS INCORRECT. IT TOOK SEVERAL HOURS AND THE CAR FINALLY STARTED. I CALLED NISSAN AND THEY TOLD ME IT WAS MY BATTERY. I HAVE SINCE CHANGED MY BATTERY AND STILL AM HAVING THE PROBLEM. TONIGHT I WAS STUCK OUTSIDE OF MY CAR FOR HOURS B4 IT WOULD OPEN. 

WHEN I TRIED TO TURN VEHICLE ON, RADIO AND OTHER SYSTEM WAS ON, BUT COULD NOT PUT CAR IN GEAR, EVENTUALLY CAR HAD TO BE TOWED. THE DEALERSHIP ADVISED ME THAT THE BCM HAS AN INTERNAL SHORT AND NEEDED TO BE REPLACED. THIS VEHICLE WAS BOUGHT BRAND NEW AND HAS UNDER 52,000 MILES, HAS NOT BEEN OWNED FOR EVEN 2 YEARS AND IT BREAKS DOWN WITH NO ONE TAKING RESPONSIBILITY ON THIS ISSUE ON A SEMI NEW VEHICLE. MY SISTER OWNS THE SAME VEHICLE AND I AM AFRAID THAT IT WILL HAPPEN TO HER TOO. I HAVE DONE SOME RESEARCH AND FOUND NUMEROUS BOARDS WITH PEOPLE COMPLAINING ABOUT THIS ISSUES OR SOMETHING SIMILAR. 

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon at no cost to you. The law makes Nissan pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Lemberg Law are Lemon Law experts and can help you get Lemon Justice – absolutely free! Fill out our form on this page for a no-obligation case evaluation, or call toll free 475-277-2200.

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