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Josh Rosenberg By Josh Rosenberg
Updated Dec. 6, 2023

2013 Nissan Altima: Has It Aged Well? It's Pros And Cons Today, Reliability And Possible Mechanical Problems

Related: How To Get The Best Deal On A "Brand New" Nissan Altima

In today's high-priced car market, many car shoppers have been buying "older" vehicles that have aged well as a way to save money. Is the 2013 Altima such a vehicle?

2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL sedan

Unfortunately, history seems to have proven that, no, its reliability record has been quite shakey and inconsistent. While it's true that many owners have been satisfied and have had a good long-term experience with only regular maintenance, many others have run into more significant problems and inconvenience.

According to Consumer Reports, the 2013 Altima has had low overall owner satisfaction and a higher-than-average rate of major problems.

It's also had 12 recalls, a much higher rate than most other vehicles in its class the same age. They've included airbags, an occupant detection system, a leaking fuel-sending unit (increased fire risk), loose steering and suspension bolts, spare tires, and a hood latch.

So here, ...

- We'll take a look at the 2013 Altima's overall pros and cons.

- Then we'll list mechanical problems that some owners have experienced that should be checked before buying.

- And finally, if you find one still in excellent condition and/or repaired and very well-maintained, we'll suggest ways of buying it at the lowest price.

But first, and very importantly ...

Things To Do When Considering An "Older" Altima

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the Dealer or private seller, it's best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

And My #1 Price Tip: Please, always get online price quotes at auto sites such as and (both, actually), whether looking for a new or used car. Competition among dealers for your business does amazing things to prices, and it's so easy. It really does make a difference.

And quickly, while we're at it, my #2 Tip is to always know the up-to-date trade-in value of your current car. You can get a quick and surprisingly accurate one at Edmund's Trade-In Quotes.

It's free and just takes a couple of minutes. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN# followed by many simple, but specific, yes/no questions. It really focuses in on the detail of the specific vehicle.

2013 Nissan Altima Pros

Cost Savings: Used cars generally come at a lower price compared to new ones. Given the current high-priced car market, opting for a 2013 Altima could save a significant amount of money upfront. However, this then has to be weighed against the risk of possibly above-average future maintenance and repair costs.

Depreciation: The major depreciation hit has already occurred on a 2013 model, so you won't experience the steep depreciation that new cars face in their initial years.

Reliability Potential: While there were reported mechanical issues, some owners had positive experiences without major problems. Vehicles that have been well-maintained and had any recalls or potential issues addressed may still offer reliable transportation.

More Car Buying Tips:

This One Tip Will Save Thousands On Car Insurance

Understand Wholesale And Trade-in Values

The Best Used Cars For Gas Mileage

How To Import A Car Into Canada

Spacious Interior: The Altima has a roomy cabin with comfortable seating, providing ample space for passengers.

Good Safety Ratings: It scored well in safety tests, offering peace of mind to drivers and passengers.

Capable and Composed Handling: The Altima already had an excellent reputation as one of the best handling family sedans. Even so, this area was improved still further with a revised steering system as well as a retuned rear suspension. This improved athleticism hasn't sacrificed overall ride quality either as the driving experience remains smooth and comfortable.

Good Fuel Economy: The four-cylinder's EPA-estimated gas mileage of 27 mpg city and 38 mpg on the highway is best in class. And even though the new Altima 3.5 can sprint from a standstill to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds, making it one of the fastest family sedans, its gas mileage performance is still very good for a V6, coming in at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

Strong Brakes: In performance tests, the 2013 Altima 3.5 came to a stop from 60 mph in an impressive 114 feet, 10 fewer than the average family sedan.

2013 Nissan Altima interior

Comfortable, Attractive and Well-Built Cabin: The newly redesigned interior is edgier and more attractive, with more comfortable seating as well as softer-touch materials. Its overall look and feel is decidedly more upscale, while the materials quality has also been upgraded (there are still some hard plastics remaining, but no more than what is typical in this segment).

2013 Nissan Altima Cons

CVT Issues: Some owners have reported issues with the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which might lead to jerky acceleration or reliability concerns. There were also a significant number of failures. Nissan extended the warranty on the transmission to 10 years or 120,000 miles to cover the high failure rate. If it hasn't occurred yet, most, if not all, are now out of warranty.

Resale Value: While you're buying at a lower price, the resale value might not hold as well compared to newer models. This could affect the ability to get a good price when selling or trading-in the vehicle in the future.

Outdated Technology: The 2013 Altima's technology might feel outdated compared to newer models. Infotainment systems, safety features, and convenience tech have seen significant improvements in newer vehicles.

Ongoing Maintenance: As any car ages, it might require more frequent maintenance and repairs, leading to additional expenses compared to a newer vehicle.

Interior Quality: While the cabin is spacious, the quality of materials used might not be as high as in some rival vehicles.

Limited Trunk Space: The trunk space, while adequate, might be considered smaller than what some competitors offer in this segment.

Tight Rear Headroom: Despite its many interior improvements, rear headroom can be tight for taller passengers due to its sleek, but downsloping, roof line. The result is modest headroom as well as average legroom.

Four-Cylinder Noise: While Altima's equipped with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces a fairly lively 182-horsepower and 180-pound-feet of torque, engine noise is elevated when accerating hard. This likely isn't a deal breaker for most shoppers, but some may find it bothersome. This is not an issue with the V6 due to its higher torque.


Segment leaders worth a look include the perennial class leaders: the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Other strong choices to compare it to would include the Kia Optima, the Hyundai Sonata, the Mazda6 and the Volkswagen Passat.

2013 Nissan Altima Mechanical Problem Watchlist:

The 2013 Altima faced some mechanical issues reported by owners which should be included in an inspection before buying:

CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) Issues: As mentioned above, one of the most commonly reported problems was related to the CVT. Some drivers experienced issues like transmission failure, shuddering, or jerking during acceleration. Nissan had released several software updates and, in some cases, extended warranties to address these problems.

Power Steering Issues: Some owners reported issues with the power steering system, such as noises or difficulties with steering, which might be attributed to problems with the power steering pump or related components.

Engine Problems: There were occasional complaints about issues with the engine, including excessive oil consumption or problems related to engine noise, though these were not as widespread as the CVT-related concerns.

Electrical and Electronics: A few drivers reported issues with various electrical components, such as malfunctioning sensors, faulty displays, or problems with the vehicle's keyless entry system.

Dim Headlights: The headlight components wear down and reduce the light output, potentially leading to dangerous situations. In a class-action lawsuit, Nissan has agreed to replace them and reimburse the owners.

Brake Issues: Some users also noted concerns with premature brake wear or squeaking, requiring earlier-than-expected brake pad replacements.

Lastly, Suggestions For Getting The Lowest Altima Price

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a very effective method.

Here's another method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them.

And for those of you who might be interested in a "brand new" Nissan Altima if the price was really good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Car. This works just phenomenally well.

And checkout our Facebook page for more tips, car news and fun.

Other Older Model Articles:
2014 Nissan Altima
Older Nissan Altima Overview
2012 Nissan Altima Review
2013 Nissan Rogue Review
Older Nissan Maxima Info
Older Nissan Sentra Info
Older Nissan Versa Review
Older Nissan Rogue Overview
Other Older Nissans