Nissan Altima are typically quite reliable cars. However, they did have their fair share of problems throughout the years. In this article, we wrote extensively about all the common problems you´ll run into with a Nissan Altima. Today, we´ll look specifically at the radio problems. Here is a quick summary:
Nissan Altima have had radio problems that resulted in Android Auto skipping songs, the volume knob not working due to debris buildup, XM channel selection not working, issues with audio settings, iPod freezing after selecting the source button, and several other problems.
However, that certainly doesn´t tell us everything about the radio problems on a Nissan Altima. While radio problems aren’t always critical, they do get annoying, just like the liftgate problems common in the Nissan Murano. Below, we´ll give you a detailed look at the potential issues, what caused them and how you can fix them. Read on!
1. Skipping Songs And Buggy Interface
In January 2021, Nissan issued a technical service bulletin for a problem with the radio in 2019 – 2020 models. In it, they stated that common symptoms were that Android Auto would skip songs while playing or that other ”bugs” needed to be fixed (they did not specify what kind of bugs these were).
The proposed solution to this problem was installing new software on the infotainment system. This was done by dealers who received a special USB with the correct software.
Dealers were instructed to do the following to make sure that the Altima they had in their store needed software updating:
- Push the ”Menu” button on the infotainment system
- Select the ”Info” button on the bottom of the infotainment screen (if it’s not there, your vehicle has been updated)
- Select ”System Information”
- Select ”Software Version”
- If the software version DOES NOT say ”0912” the vehicle needed updating
What’s interesting to note here is the fact that Nissan already started a recall campaign for updating the infotainment software in October 2019. This recall only applied to the 2019 model year, and even though Nissan doesn’t clearly state why this recall was necessary, it can be assumed that it entails the same kind of problems.
2. Malfunctioning Volume Knob
In June 2020, Nissan issued a technical service bulletin for problems with the volume knob of the 2019 – 2020 Altima. In it, they stated owners experienced the following:
The customer states the speaker volume does not change or changes erratically when rotating the volume knob.Source
To fix this problem, with the ignition turned off, Nissan recommends turning the volume knob as rapidly as possible for 30 seconds in one direction. After that, repeat the process but turn it to the other side. This should eliminate any debris buildup in the internals of the volume knob.
With it, Nissan also recommends updating the display control unit software. However, this can only be done by a certified Nissan dealer or mechanic.
In other cases, owners found that using WD-40 was also a quick way to get rid of debris and make sure that the volume knob would function again:
In November 2018, Nissan issued a technical service bulletin for widespread problems with the infotainment system in 2014 – 2015 models. Symptoms that are directly related to issues with the radio are as follows:
- XM channel selection is sometimes not working as usual or shows “XM loading” for
long periods of time.
- Audio sometimes is not working.
- Sound levels for balance, fader, treble, or bass do not correspond to what is displayed by the audio unit after the ignition is cycled. Example: While the “adjusted balance” shown on the audio unit indicates that the sound is balanced 100% to the rear, the actual listening level is at 50/50.
- The connected iPod freezes after using the “Source” button or changing tracks.
- Audio preset buttons do not respond when selected.
Once again, it was confirmed that a software update was needed to fix these problems. Certified dealers could only check the current software and make sure it was outdated. These dealers were also the only ones with USB sticks that had the updated software on them.
4. System Update Audio Visual System
Another technical service bulletin was issued for the 2014 – 2015 model year in October 2014. In this case, the system also had many problems related to the radio. Symptoms included the following, according to Nissan documents:
- Satellite radio (SXM) will only show the channel number and name but will not show
artist and track/title information.
- The radio buttons will not illuminate at times, even though other dash illumination is
- Bluetooth will take up to 2 minutes to connect when using the vehicle’s onboard
Pandora® or iHeartRadio Internet Apps with an iPhone®, and “No Device Found” is
displayed for longer than normal.
- When not in Reverse, the center display screen becomes a pink/purple color with
the reverse guidelines displayed.
Once again, dealers received USB sticks with the correct software on them, and the audio-visual system was updated with this software.
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!