How Long Do Nissan Altimas Last? (Real Owner Experience)

My family has a long history of buying cars made by Nissan because they are known as being reliable.

So, when I got the chance to upgrade my old Nissan, I opted for a new Nissan Altima.

My family had never owned this particular model, so I wasn’t sure how long to expect it to be reliable.

Below, I’ll give you a detailed account of my experience with the lifespan of a Nissan Altima and how many miles you can expect to get out of yours.

How Many Miles Can You Expect From A Nissan Altima?

Based on my experience, the lifespan for a Nissan Altima is 250,000 miles to 350,000 miles.

Personally, I don’t drive a lot of miles per year, so I was able to keep driving my Altima for almost two decades.

On average, I think it’s safe to bet on getting at least 15 years from your Nissan Altima.

Of course, this depends on your driving habits, if you keep up with automobile maintenance, and how rough you are on a vehicle – but the fact is that the Nissan Altima is a very reliable midsize sedan.

My Altima was a 1998 model year, but these days you can get hybrid models which may end up lasting longer than 20 years or 300,000 miles.

If you are a Uber driver or do a lot of carpooling, then the Nissan Altima is a reliable choice for you.

It’s also great for road trips since it’s so comfortable.

Are There Nissan Altima Issues With Rust?

As you may know, if you live near the sea, then you’ll start seeing rust on your vehicle a lot sooner than if you didn’t live near that salty air.

Or, if you’re in an area that gets lots of snow, then that road salt is a recipe for a rust disaster

But assuming that you don’t live near the ocean and you rinse off that winter road salt, then you can count on it being a while before any rust shows up on your vehicle.

Unless you have the misfortune of owning a 3rd generation Nissan Altima.

Unfortunately this generation of Altimas, which are model years 2002 to 2006, are well known for having premature rusting issues.

Some of the horror stories from owners include floorboard corrosion and serious rust issues.

This actually resulting in a class action lawsuit against Nissan.

Luckily, the model years after 2006 do not have this problem with rusting.

In fact, the subsequent model years have preventative measures to stop rust in its tracks, which includes:

  • anti-rust sprays
  • ceramic coating

You can also practice rust prevention with regular cleaning of the vehicle and keeping it dry.

How Long Does The Nissan Altima Last Compared To Similar Car Models?

Not yet convinced that the Nissan Altima is the most reliable car model for your daily driving needs?

Well, you may be interested in how it compares to other brands that are known for reliability.

My family has also owned some Honda and Toyotas sedans, so let’s dig into this comparison.

2021 nissan altima
2021 Nissan Altima

Comparison: Nissan Altima vs Honda Accord vs Toyota Camry

If you are considering buying a Nissan Altima, then there is a pretty good chance that you’re also considering the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord.

All three cars are reliable, affordable, and incredibly fuel effecient.

Basically, they are great midsize sedans.

On average, people seem to be able to squeeze a few more miles out of a Toyota Camry, but the truth is that how you take care of a vehicle is the primary determiner of how long it will last.

Now let’s look at maintenance costs for a lifetime of ownership:

  • The Nissan Altima has annual maintenance costs of around $500
  • The Honda Accord has annual maintenance costs of around $400
  • The Toyota Camry has annual maintenance costs of around $380

As you can see, while the annual maintenance costs are similar for these popular midsize sedan, the Nissan Altima does have the higher maintenance costs on average.

But all things considered, each of these cars are equally great purchases for performance, reliability, and affordability.

Comparison: Nissan Altima vs Mazda 6

Though it doesn’t have quite the same level of renown as the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, the Mazda is another midsize sedan with comparably offerings to the Nissan Altima.

If you’re considering purchasing either a Mazda 6 or a Nissan Altima, then there are a few things you should know.

While the Mazda 6 does have a lower price than the Nissan Altima, it simply does not have the lifespan of a Nissan Altima.

On average, you’re looking at only getting around 200,000 miles out of a Mazda 6, while you can easily expect 300,000 miles (or more) from a Nissan Altima.

The annual maintenance cost for a Mazda 6 is essentially the same as for a Nissan Altima.

There is one advantage the Mazda 6 brings to the table – more power under the hood.

  • Mazda 6: 227 hp and 310 lb.ft of torque
  • Nissan Altima: 182 hp and 178 lb.ft of torque

So, if you want a sedan with a bit more of a pick me up, then the Mazda 6 is the clear winner.

And if you are about aesthetics, then you’ll notice that the Mazda 6 has a sleeker design and profile, like a sporty sedan.

How Reliable Is The Nissan Altima?

The Nissan Altima is one of the most popular midsize sedans in part because it is so reliable.

2019 nissan altima
2019 nissan altima
  • RepairPal rates the Nissan Altima a solid 4.0 out of 5.0 for reliability
  • Consumer Reports rates the Nissan Altima a solid average for reliability

Coming from a family that has own and used Nissan car for decades, I can tell you that Nissan makes really great vehicles that are ultra reliable.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one for your family vehicle.

Best And Worst Years Of The Nissan Altima

As with any vehicle, there are some really good years and really bad years – and the same is true for the Nissan Altima.

As previously mentioned, the 3rd generation of Altimas are plagued by rust problems that resulted in a class action lawsuit.

But that is actually not the worst of it.

The 2013 year models of the Altima are known that the worst year and definitely the model year to avoid the Altima.

Even Car Complaint agrees with this assessment as a must-avoid model year for the Altima because it has the most consumer complaints.

According to Cars.com, transmission issues are the biggest problem with the 2013 Altima.

The problem:  Affected Nissan Altima vehicles may exhibit a whining or grinding noise while driving at highway speeds; the noise level may increase with vehicle speed. This condition may be due to a faulty bearing inside the constantly variable transmission, or a faulty CVT itself.

Altimas affected by this service issue:

  • 2013 Nissan Altima
  • 2014 Nissan Altima
  • 2015 Nissan Altima

Only Nissan Altima sedans with a 4-cylinder engine are affected with this transmission problem.

This is a rather costly repair at around $3,000 to fix it, and it shows up between 45,000 and 55,000 miles on the car.

2013 nissan altima
2013 nissan altima

Other common problems with the 2013 Nissan Altima reported by owners include:

  • Engine Stalling Due to Failed Crankshaft and/or Camshaft Sensor
  • Check Engine Light Due to Failure of Catalytic Converter Closest to Cylinder Head
  • Premature failure of the fuel pump
  • Engine Cranks and Doesn’t Start or Runs Rough
  • Failed External Seal on Engine Oil Cooler May Leak
  • Engine Turns Over But Doesn’t Start
  • Right Side Engine Mount May Wear and Cause Excessive Movement
  • Low Pressure AC Hose May Leak at Crimped Connection
  • Front Struts May Wear Prematurely and Cause Knocking Noise
  • Check Engine Light/Loss of Power Due to Throttle Body Unit Failure
  • Car Shuts off Intermittently
  • Rattle/CEL Due to Cracked Welds on Catalytic Converter Heat Shield
  • Timing Chain Rattle and Tapping Noise
  • Erratic or High Idle After Cleaning Throttle Body

The model year coming in second place with the most complaints is the 2009 Altima.

Are There Recalls On The Nissan Altima?

If you’re buying a used Altima, then you may want to know if there are any recalls for the older models.

As you may expect, there are some recalls.

Check out our list by models year.

1993:3 recalls
1994:4 recalls
1995:5 recalls
1996:2 recalls
1997:3 recalls
1998:4 recalls
1999:4 recalls
2000:2 recalls
2001:2 recalls
2002:12 recalls
2003:10 recalls
2004:5 recalls
2005:2 recalls
2006:4 recalls
2007:3 recalls
2008:4 recalls
2009:4 recalls
2010:3 recalls
2011:1 recall
2012:4 recalls
2013:12 recalls
2014:8 recalls
2015:10 recalls
2016:4 recalls
2017:3 recalls
2018:2 recalls
2019:4 recalls
2020:0 recalls

Nissan Altima Model Year List

Curious about the history of the Nissan Altima?

Check our list of model years below.

U13 First Generation

1993 Nissan Altima
1994 Nissan Altima
1995 Nissan Altima
1996 Nissan Altima
1997 Nissan Altima

L30 Second Generation

1998 Nissan Altima
1999 Nissan Altima
2000 Nissan Altima
2001 Nissan Altima

L31 Third Generation

2002 Nissan Altima
2003 Nissan Altima
2004 Nissan Altima
2005 Nissan Altima
2006 Nissan Altima

L32A/D32 Fourth Generation

2007 Nissan Altima
2008 Nissan Altima
2009 Nissan Altima
2010 Nissan Altima
2011 Nissan Altima
2012 Nissan Altima

L33 Fifth Generation

2013 Nissan Altima
2014 Nissan Altima
2015 Nissan Altima
2016 Nissan Altima
2017 Nissan Altima
2018 Nissan Altima

L34 Sixth Generation

2019 Nissan Altima
2020 Nissan Altima
2021 Nissan Altima

Are Nissan Altimas Expensive To Maintain & Care For? 

As previously mentioned, the annual maintenance costs for a Nissan Altima are only around $500 for the entire year.

Of course, this all depends on how you treat the vehicle and how you drive it.

How Long Do The Brakes Last On A Nissan Altima?

Depending on your driving habits, you can expect the brake pads on your Altima to last you between 30,000 miles and 70,000 miles.

How Long Do The Tires Last On A Nissan Altima?

The stock tires that come on a new Altima a pretty decent and should last you for 50,000 miles to 60,000 miles (depending on your driving habits).

Get regular tire rotations and balancing to extend the life of the tires on your Altima.

How Long Does The Transmission Last On A Nissan Altima?

Assuming you avoid one of the problem years listed above, your CVT transmission should last you around 100,000 miles on your new Altima.

How Long Do The Spark Plugs Last On A Nissan Altima?

You’ll discover that your Altima uses platinum-tipped spark plugs, which means a long life.

On average, you can expect the Altima’s spark plugs to last you for around 100,000 miles.

How Much Does Insurance Cost For A Nissan Altima?

Since the Altima is a relatively safe and reliable car, the average insurance cost is under $200 monthly.

On average, insurance on an Altima is around $2,200 per year.

Keep in mind that insurance rates vary by location and your driving record.

How To Extend The Life Of A Nissan Altima

If you’re interested in getting the most mileage out of your Altima, then we’ve got some tips for you.

  • Maintain a regular maintenance schedule.
  • Regularly check the oil level so it doesn’t get too low.
  • Don’t drive aggressively.
  • Keep your car clean and regularly washed (very important for road salt)
  • Regularly check tire pressure to keep at proper level
  • Don’t overload the vehicle with too much weight
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