Nissan has a long standing reputation for producing reliable and affordable vehicles for families, commuters, and new drivers alike.
It will come as no surprise that the Nissan Altima has stood the test of time since 1992 to become one of the best selling midsize sedans in the world.
In this article, we break down exactly how many miles you can expect to get from your Nissan Altima
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Here is the short answer to how long will a Nissan Altima Last:
The Nissan Altima can last between 250,000 and 300,000 miles, which equals 15 to 20 years when considering the average driver’s annual mileage. Depending on factors such as maintenance and driving style, it’s not uncommon to find Nissan Altimas lasting over 300,000 miles.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Nissan Altima?
The Nissan Altima can last upwards of 200,000 miles and this has been proven time and time again.
There are many reports of Nissan Altimas from the late 1990s to early 2000s still on the road and the evidence is there to see for yourself on the used car market.
This is testament to the durability ingrained in the Altimas DNA.
With the latest Altima models offering hybrid options, it shows the Nissan can make not just the same reliable car over and over, but is constantly evolving with fresh design and state-of-the-art technology to keep up with the ever-improving market.
The Nissan Altima is renowned as a long-lasting car and as such is a popular choice for Uber drivers and taxi fleets across the globe, who need a proven vehicle that can withstand the test of time.
It goes without saying that proper maintenance and conservative driving can be the difference between your Altima reaching over 200,000 miles, and needing a transmission rebuild at 90,000 miles.
So consult the service manual and keep aggressive driving to a minimum and your Nissan Altima will be well on its way to providing you with up to two decades of service.
How Soon Should You Expect Rust?
Nissan’s 3rd generation of the Altima is notorious for having major rusting issues.
Rusting and corrosion of floorboards in 3rd generation Nissan Altimas (2002-2006), resulted in a class action lawsuit filed against the company.
If you’re in the market for a Nissan Altima, we recommend staying away from model years 2002-2006, as the rusting and corrosion problem is no longer present in 4th, 5th, and 6th generation Altimas.
For the current generation of the Nissan Altima, standard rust prevention measures such as ceramic coating, anti-rust sprays, keeping the interior dry and regular cleaning are enough to ensure your car stays rust free.
Note that for residents of coastal or snowy areas, salt in the air or salt used on roads causes your car to accumulate rust faster, so more frequent cleaning is necessary.
Salt buildup on vehicle surfaces is corrosive, and the sand, dirt and snow that accumulate can trap moisture in wheel wells and underbody structures.
To mitigate these issues, wash your vehicle thoroughly.
Make sure to open the hood during a wash and to get the undercarriage during routine washes.
How Long Does the Nissan Altima Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
The Japanese car market is famous for producing some of the most reliable and efficient cars in the world. Let’s see how the Nissan Altima stacks up against similar cars on the market.
Nissan Altima vs. Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry
Although the Nissan Altima is considered young when compared to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry which started production in 1976 and 1983 respectively, all three cars have dominated the midsize sedan range in terms of affordability, reliability, durability, and efficiency.
The Nissan Altima shares its 250,000 – 300,000 mile average with the Honda Accord, while the Toyota Camry has a broader range of 200,000 to 300,000 miles.
While All three cars are certainly capable of reaching 300,000 miles with proper maintenance, it’s important to note that the Altima and Accord do so on a more frequent basis.
When it comes to maintenance needed to reach high mileage, the Nissan Altima is the most expensive of the three at $483, followed by the Honda Accord at $400 in annual maintenance fees. Toyota leads as the most affordable to maintain at $388 annually.
The increasing homogeneity between these three cars means that customers can expect to get near-identical performance, practicality, reliability, and efficiency regardless of which one they choose.
You may also be interested in our article: Honda Accord Sport in snow and winter driving
Nissan Altima vs. Mazda 6
Mazda is a relative newcomer in the midsize sedan segment, with the Mazda 6 beginning production in 2002.
The Mazda 6 has a top-end life expectancy of 200,000 miles.
However, the annual maintenance of both these cars is separated by a mere $2. With the Nissan being $483 a year to maintain and the Mazda being $481.
What does set the Mazda 6 apart from the Nissan Altima is it’s noticeably sportier and sleeker design, along with more precise steering and a considerable jump in performance. The Mazda 6 produces 227 hp and 310 lb.ft of torque, compared to the Nissan Altima’s 182 hp and 178 lb.ft of torque.
While the Altima is the outright winner for durability, the Mazda 6 might be the way to go if you’re looking for something a bit more powerful.
How Reliable is a Nissan Altima?
Reliability is one of the most important factors to consider when looking for a practical everyday car.
ConsumerReports rates the reliability of the Nissan Altima as average (nearing above average), while RepairPal gives the Nissan Altima a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0.
The Nissan Altima certainly has a respectable rate of reliability, which means you can rest assured that you’ll be driving home from the dealership without worrying about your car breaking down. Of course, as standard, owners must also do their part in maintenance to make sure their car stays healthy over the years.
Reliability Compared to Other Midsize Cars
|Honda Accord||4.5 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Galant||4.5 / 5.0|
|Toyota Camry||4.0 / 5.0|
|Toyota Prius V||4.0 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Sonata||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mazda6||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Malibu Limited||4.0 / 5.0|
|Kia Optima||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Malibu||4.0 / 5.0|
|Toyota Prius||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Altima||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chrysler 200||4.0 / 5.0|
|Buick Regal||4.0 / 5.0|
|Honda Crosstour||4.0 / 5.0|
|Buick LaCrosse||4.0 / 5.0|
|Subaru Legacy||4.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Passat||4.0 / 5.0|
|Ford Fusion||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Challenger||3.5 / 5.0|
|Ford Mustang||3.5 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Camaro||3.5 / 5.0|
|Honda Accord Crosstour||3.5 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Corvette||3.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen CC||2.5 / 5.0|
|Avg. Midsize Car||4.0|
The Best and Worst Years of the Nissan Altima
CarComplaints keeps an extensive database of different issues the Nissan Altima has faced since it started production in 1992.
The 2013 Nissan Altima ranks as the worst year model for the car, and earned CarComplaint’s “Avoid Like the Plague” badge.
The 2013 model has the highest number of complaints by a large margin, with 836 complaints, followed by the 2009 model with 635 complaints.
The biggest problem with the 2013 Nissan Altima is CVT shuttering, with an average cost of $3000 to repair, and an average mileage of just 53,000 miles when the problem occurs.
Other problems found in the 2013 model include:
- Interior accessory problems
- Engine problems
- Faulty brake pads
- Steering problems
- AC/Heater problems
If you’re in the market for a Nissan Altima, we recommend staying away from the 2013, 2014, and 2009 models as they have the most severe complaints. Also make sure to stay away from the entire 3rd generation of the Altima, as the rusting problems were severe enough to warrant a class action lawsuit.
As with most cars, severe problems are less common in newer models. So we recommend opting for model years 2016 to present.
What About Recalls?
You’ll be glad to know that the Nissan Altima has had minimal recalls throughout its lifetime. A noticeable spike in recalls occurs in the infamous 3rd generation, as well as during other problemed years such as 2013-2015.
Below is the full list of recalls from 1993 to present:
- 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
Here is a full list of model years and generations:
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?
The average cost to maintain a Nissan Altima is $483 annually, with an estimated cost of $4002 over a 5 year period.
|Model||Avg. Annual |
|Probability of |
|Toyota Prius V||$437||0.5||9%|
|Chevrolet Malibu Limited||$448||0.2||12%|
|Honda Accord Crosstour||$493||0.8||13%|
|Avg. Midsize Car||$526||0.3||12%|
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
Nissan Altima brake pads typically last between 30,000 to 70,000 miles and can vary depending on driving habits.
Please read our article: Nissan Altima in snow and winter driving
How Long Do the Tires Last?
Nissan Altima tires are designed to last up to 60,000 miles which translates into 3-4 years.
Factors that affect tire longevity include poor roadway conditions, aggressive driving, heavy braking, extreme temperatures, and frequency of driving.
How Long Does the Transmission Last?
The CVT transmission in the Nissan Altima is expected to last in excess of 100,000 miles / 6.5 years (older CVTs may not last as long).
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
The Nissan Altima uses platinum-tipped spark plugs which last up to 105,000 miles.
What About Insurance Cost?
The average insurance costs for a Nissan Altima is $183 monthly or $2196 annually.
You may also be interested in our articles: how long do Kia Optima last
Tips to Make Your Nissan Altima Live Longer
- Avoid aggressive driving, use controlled acceleration and braking
- Keep up with scheduled maintenance
- Rinse / wash salt off as soon as possible
- Check engine oil once every 2 weeks and top up fluids regularly
- Check your tire pressures
- Keep vehicle weight down (don’t overload your vehicle)
- Consider rust proofing