2021 Nissan Altima Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Steering and visibility issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Sedans might not be as popular these days, but that doesn’t stop users from buying the 2021 Nissan Altima. The automaker encourages people to get behind the wheel by telling them to “commit to the drive.” However, those that have already driven the Altima have plenty of complaints, mainly about the steering and visibility.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2021 Nissan Altima

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Service Brakes
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Forward Collision Avoidance

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2018  2019  2020  2022

Problems with the Steering

The average driver can quickly tell that something is wrong with the Altima’s steering system, causing it to handle poorly.

Even auto publications have spoken out about it, with Edmunds saying, “Steering lacks road feel and can be slow to respond.”

It turns out that handling issues are something that Nissan has dealt with a lot over the past few years. In fact, the 2020 Altima had a major recall related to the tires. NHTSA Campaign Number #20V685000 states that the tires were over cured, which results in the sidewall breaking. When this happens, the air can escape suddenly, leading to a loss of control and an accident. While Nissan wants users to “commit to the drive,” the car itself can’t seem to follow through.

Problems with the Visibility

Seeing clearly out the windshield is vital to staying safe on the road. Yet, the 2021 Nissan Altima has massive visibility issues, which could lead to an accident.

Here’s another comment from Edmunds. “Poor outward visibility due to thick roof pillars and low-res rear camera.”

Again, auto glass and visibility hasn’t been a strong suit for Nissan recently. Look at this recall from the 2020 Altima models. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V570000 states that the rear window glass can separate from the vehicle because it wasn’t properly secured to the vehicle. With the way things are going, it won’t be long before there are recalls or class action lawsuits about the 2021 Altima models too. Instead of committing to the drive, maybe Nissan should commit to finding better designers and engineers that can create a vehicle without dangerous faults.

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Complaint Data

CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
DateFeb 04, 2023
Front impact radar malfunction. The light on the console would come on intermittently. I took the car to the dealer and they said the front radar was defective and they replaced the front radar. Not even two months have passed and the light is back on. This can cause your car to suddenly stop causing you to be rear ended because the car thinks you are in danger. It affects the automatic emergency braking system. This car is brand new and just went over 10,000 miles. It recently had it's first service and now I have to take it back and get it checked again.
CategoryElectrical System, Forward Collision Avoidance
DateAug 25, 2022
The contact owns a 2021 nissan altima. The contact stated that while driving approximately 25 mph in a rainstorm, the automatic emergency braking system warning light illuminated, however, the vehicle failed to stop. The contact continued to drive and noticed that once they cleared the rainstorm the warning light disengaged. The contact informed the dealer and was informed that the repair was not covered under warranty. The contact had not taken the vehicle to the dealer to be diagnosed or repaired. The contact stated that the failure was related to nhtsa id number: 10207869 (electrical system, forward collision avoidance). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and informed the contact that the rainstorm could have caused water to enter into the sensors for the automatic emergency brake to become defective. The approximate failure mileage was 17,000.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Service Brakes
DateAug 17, 2022
The forward emergency braking system periodically will engage with no reason. I did not record the first date this happened. It was in july 2021. This first happened not long after I purchased the car last year on the interstate in heavy traffic with low speed and nothing close enough to set it off. Sometimes just the emergency light will just appear and disappear quickly and sometimes it comes on and the brakes go on. The dealer service and the regional technician has inspected it a few times and could find no error but it only happens sporadically. I checked recently and there is a class action suit against nissan for the same problem in tennessee. There seems to be the same problem with other models from 2019 to present.
DateJun 01, 2022
The contact owns a 2021 nissan altima equipped with continental tires, tire line: procontact, tire size: 215/55/r17, dot number: vy3rwcn5(3621). The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the tpms showed that the tire pressures were low. After stopping the vehicle, the contact discovered a blowout of the driver's side rear tire. The cause of the failure was not yet determined. The manufacturer was not contacted. The local dealer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 6,000.
DateApr 07, 2022
The contact owns a 2021 nissan altima. The contact stated that while driving at an undisclosed speed, a rock hit the front windshield, causing the windshield to crack. The contact scheduled an appointment with an auto glass company to have the front windshield replaced. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired by an independent mechanic or dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 41,000.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Service Brakes
DateFeb 19, 2022
I bought the car in nov. 2021. I was at a store parked I put the car in reverse ,the car started to move, it made a lot of noise and it stoped. There was nothing behind me. This has happen about four times backing out of my driveway a lot of noise and the car stops. I took it to the dealer once and they told me that they could not find any problems.
CategoryLatches/locks/linkages:doors:latch, Structure:body
DateJan 25, 2022
The contact rented a 2021 nissan altima. The contact stated that the driver's side door was locked and failed to open with the door handle or the key fob. The contact was able to exit the vehicle through the passenger's side window. The contact was also unable to open the door from the outside. The contact had to use the key to unlock the door. The contact called the local dealer, but the vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was approximately 2,000.
CategoryElectrical System, Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Steering
DateDec 26, 2021
While driving home from work I experienced my fourth or fifth malfunction error flashing across my digital display. It scares me because this time is different. This time the flash made the seat vibrate and before I had a chance to react, I totally lost control of my steering even though I had my hand family placed on each side of the wheel none of my maneuvers resulting in the tires moving in any direction. I was trying to straighten myself out but the trajectory steered me to the right side of the road and up over the curb which tore out my front end and, had it not been for my superb braking skills, id be headfirst into a big cement hole on the side of the road. Brakes we're locked out until I pressed on them 15,000 times it seems. Fortunately I am the only one hurt, I'm grateful that no one else has been involved in this malfunction of supposed quality machinery. But this is a ridiculous thing to have happened to listen 1000 miles in the car, this thing has been malfunctioning since the first day that I drove it off the lot. No clue who to get in touch until I started researching this very same thing, and I am terrified for anyone else driving one of these vehicles right now, because it can totally happened to you, and you may not be so lucky to have all the injuries only for yourself.
CategoryService Brakes, Steering, Suspension
DateNov 10, 2021
First of all I know there is a break in period. The stering seems to be loose at times almost to loose when I'm turning , especially a more sharper turn. The brakes are loud at a stop almost like they are warped but it only has 300 miles. The suspension, brakes,,underneath the front end, and the steering do not feel like they are one unit.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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