Tips for Buying a Used Nissan Altima

January 11, 2023

With the shortage of new cars, the used car market is quite hot right now. Prices of used cars have shot up; people are ready to pay markups and are not in any mood of waiting for a new one to arrive. Hence, if you’re in the market, looking for a used/new car, you may wonder what perhaps could be a good car to buy. 

Well, there are plenty of used Nissan Altima for sale in the market, and it can just prove to be a great buy if you’re looking for a car that could run daily errands. For one, the market is crazy for SUVs right now & nobody really, specifically shops for sedans. Secondly, cars like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have always been the favorites of the segment and the Altima is not a much sought-after car. And this means that you just end up getting a steal deal on a used Altima. 

Moreover, the Altima has always had excellent fuel economy numbers, and thus it could just help you save big on running costs at a time when gas prices are at an all-time high. However, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind while purchasing a used Altima. This article shall guide you through all that you need to consider before purchasing a used Nissan Altima. 


Reliability is a big concern when you’re buying a used car. You don’t want your car to break down regularly & you don’t want to end up spending money on fixing it. Safe to say, the recent model years of the Altima have proven to be extremely reliable and dependable. 

2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 model year Altima’s have earned excellent ratings from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, and hence these are the Altima model years that you should try and pick. 

We would recommend you avoiding 2013 and 2009 Altima’s as they had a lot of issues with them. The2009 Altima had problems with the electronic steering column. The 2013 Altima had even grave problems. The 2013 car had issues with the air-conditioning, door locks and many owners have also reported transmission failures. 

Older Altima models, the 2002-2006 ones, were also plagued with multiple mechanical issues. Altima’s from this phase had issues regarding excessive oil consumption and engine failure. Moreover, many owners of the 2002-2006 Altima’s have reported defective floorboards and premature rusting. Thus, we’d recommend you to not buy an Altima from this era. 

Moreover, from 2011-2012 Altima suffered problems with a faulty ignition switch software. On the other hand, the 2007-2010 models had troubles with the CVT.

So, if you’re looking for a used Altima, make sure you buy the 2017-2021 models only as these are the most reliable Altima’s & owners haven’t yet had any major issues with it. 


Well, the Altima indeed is a pretty comfortable car. It can easily accommodate 4 passengers and carry them around comfortably. Fitting in 3 adults on the rear seat is going to be a bit of a squeeze and if you’re going to carry 5 adults around every day, it might just get a little uncomfortable there. Nonetheless, pretty much all the Altima models offer enough room for 4 adults. It also has a generous amount of cargo space on offer and the truck can easily swallow luggage for 4 passengers. 

However, there always have been slight variations in passenger room and cargo space with generations, model years, and trim level of the Altima. Thus, our advice is that you yourself get into the car and check whether that specific model is comfortable for you.

Safety and Tech

Safety is not something you should compromise on while making a car purchase. The 2002-2006 Altima’s had average safety ratings from the NHTSA and the IIHS and they weren’t on par with their rivals. Moreover, Altima’s from this era hardly had any safety features or infotainment features and so buying a used Altima this old makes no sense. 

On the flip side, the 2013 Altima was awarded the IIHS ‘Top Safety Pick+’ and was highly rated by the IIHS and the NHTSA. 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021 Altima’s too have consistently been the IIHS ‘Top Safety Pick’ and have proven themselves to be pretty safe cars. 

Most pre-2015 Altima’s will have outdated infotainment systems and you’ll have to install an aftermarket infotainment system installed. Bluetooth and radio are perhaps the only relevant infotainment features from the older models in 2021 and hence if you pick an older Altima you wouldn’t get all that many safety and tech features. 

In a Nutshell… 

A used Nissan Altima can prove to be a great buy only when you properly inspect it while buying and select the right model year. Older Altima’s might sell dirt cheap but mind you, those cars were plagued with problems, didn’t get any infotainment features, and weren’t safe either. Recent Altima models from the last 5 years have improved tremendously, and even if you have to pay extra, you end up buying an all-around package. 

The 2017-2020 Altima’s had a good number of features to offer, had reliable mechanicals, were quite safe, and delivered decent fuel economy numbers at the same time. Long story short, if you’re in the market looking for a used Altima, make sure you buy a recent one, say, the 2017-2021 models. Older models just don’t make any sense while the recent ones will fetch good value for your money.

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