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
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.
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
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
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.
Shop Parts Mentioned in This Article
- Camshaft position sensor
- Crankshaft position sensor
- Oil Cooler Gasket
- Catalytic Convertor
- Intake Gasket
- Engine Air Filter
- MAF Sensor
- Throttle Body
- Fuel Pump
- Crankshaft Position Sensor Articles
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