Common Nissan Altima Problems: 4th Gen 2007 to 2012

Mechanic showing nissan altima problems

Common 4th Gen Nissan Altima problems include oil leaks, starting problems, and poor fuel economy. There are a couple of different parts that could be causing these problems on your Nissan Altima. Learn the common issues on the 4th generation of the Nissan Altima, years 2007 to 2012, as we dive into the top 5 problems, their symptoms, causes, and fixes.

Top 5 Issues with the 4th Gen Altima (2007 to 2012)

1. Faulty Crankshaft Position or Camshaft Position Sensor

Symptoms of a Bad Crankshaft Position or Camshaft Position Sensor on the 2007 to 2013 Nissan Altima

  • Vehicle stalls while driving
  • Vehicle won’t start

Causes of a Bad Crankshaft Position or Camshaft Position Sensor

One or both of the sensors work intermittently. They may test fine on some days but not on others.

How to Fix a Bad Crank or Cam Position Sensor

The camshaft position sensor is located underneath the plastic engine cover. We recommend replacing both the cam and crank sensor at the same time.

For this issue, Nissan has a recall for specific VIN numbers. Contact the dealership to find out if you are covered for that recall. If the car is not covered, replace both sensors.

2. Leaking Oil—Worn Oil Cooler Gasket

Symptoms of Worn Oil Cooler O-Rings

  • Oil leak at the back of the engine
  • Oil leak on the passenger side

Causes of Leaking Oil from Worn Oil Cooler Rings on the 2007 – 2012 Nissan Altima

  • The leak starts at the oil cooler and happens when the gasket that sits between the oil cooler and the engine wears out

How to Fix Leaking Oil Cooler Gasket

Fixing this kind of oil leak requires the removal of the oil cooler and replacing the gasket.

3. Catalytic Convertor Failure

Symptoms of a Failed Catalytic Convertor:

  • Check engine light P0420
  • Gradual lack of engine power
  • Gradual poor fuel economy
  • Strong or faint egg smell
  • Excessive heat coming from catalytic convertor
  • Glowing red catalytic convertor

Causes of a Failed Catalytic Convertor

The engine power and fuel economy can gradually decrease over time, like three months or a year. This is from an issue with the internal parts of the catalytic convertor clogging and breaking up into pieces. This will affect the catalytic convertors performance. If the catalytic convertor is clogged or the honeycomb filter has moved and is blocking exhaust from expelling, engine performance will also be affected negatively, it might smell like an egg, and it could cause excessive heat in the convertor. If the catalytic convertor is excessively hot where it appears red, this is unsafe, especially if the vehicle is near a flammable or melt-able object, and we recommend replacing the catalytic convertor as soon as possible.

How to Fix a Failed Catalytic Convertor

While it is expensive to fix, we recommend replacing the catalytic convertor as soon as possible.

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4. Worn Intake Gasket

Symptoms of a Worn Intake Gasket

  • Lack of engine power
  • Poor fuel economy

Causes of a Failed Intake Gasket

On the 07-12 Nissan Altima, it’s common for the intake gasket to fail, which causes the vehicle to draw unmetered air into the engine. This means when the car is running and the gas pedal is pressed, the engine should be pulling air into the intake and past the mass air flow (MAF) sensor. This tells the computer how much fuel to apply to meet the air/fuel ratio for combustion. If there is a leak past the MAF sensor that it can’t detect, extra air entering the engine will not be recorded, affecting engine performance. This air can also be dirty as it has not passed the engine air filter, and this can create future problems if not attended.

How to Fix a Failed Intake Gasket

Replace the intake gasket and clean the air intake parts as they are removed, such as the air filter, MAF sensor, and the throttle body.

5. Starting Problems from Fuel Starvation

Signs the 4th Gen Altima Has Starting Problems from Fuel Starvation

  • Engine lagging or stalling
  • Engine cranks but dos not turn over
  • Smell of fuel in the car

Causes of Fuel Starvation Starting Problems

Starting problems from low fuel pressure on the 07-12 Nissan Altima can appear as a lagging in the engine or the car cranking but not starting. A smell of fuel in the car comes from the fuel pump being located under the rear seat and could mean vapor is leaking. If these symptoms occur, usually it’s from a leaking o-ring, worn electrical connector or wire on the fuel pump, or the fuel pump unit itself is defective.

How to Fix Fuel Starvation Problems

  • Check the o-rings on the fuel pump that connect to the fuel lines for wear like dryness or brittleness, and also check the o-rings for leaks. Also check the O-ring where the fuel pump unit connects to the gas tank.
  • Check the electrical connector and wires for power and ground. Check the electrical connector for looseness, corrosion, or discoloring
  • If the o-rings and electrical connector are functioning, replace the fuel pump, which is a common repair on this generation of Altimas

Replace 07-12 Nissan Altima Parts Yourself

Save money by doing repairs yourself. Find how-to videos that explain and show the steps for removing and installing many parts on the 07-12 Nissan Altima in 1A Auto’s video library.

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Model Years of the 4th Generation Nissan Altima

Summary
Common Nissan Altima Problems | 4th Generation (2007 to 2012)
Article Name
Common Nissan Altima Problems | 4th Generation (2007 to 2012)
Description
Common 4th Gen Nissan Altima problems include oil leaks, starting problems, and poor fuel economy.
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1A Auto
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