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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2009-2010 Nissan Altima appears to have a defect where it occasionally refuses to start. We know the feeling, but it's just not acceptable in a car.

For the fix, Nissan dealers enjoy replacing the steering lock control unit for $800. Stranded Nissan owners have found that banging like hell on the steering lock unit at the base of the steering column will do the trick. Yes, the same unit that apparently has $800 worth of electronics.

How far do you have to drive to experience this? The average mileage at failure is just over 55,000 very short miles.

More info & videos are available over at NissanProblems.com.

8.9

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$798.00
Average Mileage:
75,414 miles
Total Complaints:
73 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace the steering lock control unit (31 reports)
  2. not sure (27 reports)
  3. replace the brake switch (5 reports)
  4. replace the steering lock unit (4 reports)
  5. replace the ignition interlock (3 reports)
  6. steering lock assembly replaced (2 reports)
2009 Nissan Altima electrical problems

electrical problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #73

Jul 012015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The light started appearing on the dash and before you know it didn’t start, looked it up and it shows the Anti-Lock Steering Lock control is a defect that is happening in all 2009 Nissan Altima’s. I called Avondale Nissan in Avondale, AZ and they informed me this is not a recall issue and will have to pay out of pocket.

The cost for everything came close to $1,000 its ridiculous that Nissan is not taking responsibility for a part they are surely aware is a malfunction and not recalling vehicles to get this taken care of, they said since it was not a safety issue it will not be recalled and expect their customers to dish out money for their incompetence. My next car will definitely not be a NISSAN!

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #72

Jul 072015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Steering wheel is locked, car is not reading fob key. Ignition will not start and cannot turn car on to put in neutral. Batteries in fob key were changed but made no difference. Have seen several other reports with identical complaints from other owners, Nissan has not issued a recall. This is a ridiculous issue that they have been ignoring and needs to be addressed!!!!

- , Irvine, CA, USA

problem #71

Jun 032015

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 50,000 miles

My vehicle will randomly not start. New battery and yes the battery cables are clean. I researched this issue online and viola, huge number of people have the dreaded steering wheel lock issue. Sure, Nissan extended the warranty to 6 years but with so many people having this problem, why the heck are they not recalling affected vehicles to get that $1200 part/labor replaced free of charge? It's obviously a defective part that will leave you stranded sooner or later. This has permanently ticked me off to the point where I, along with all of my family members will never buy another new Nissan again.

- , West Fargo, ND, USA

problem #70

Aug 122015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,324 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Plano Texas, 8/12/15 105 degrees, left the gym and my car wouldn't start!!! The brake wouldn't depress all the way and when I hit the push start button, the lights would come on, fans, dash lights would start but the engine wouldn't come on.

I called Auto nation Dallas(Formerly Bankston Nissan) 4707 Lyndon B Johnson FWY and told Matt about it, he thought it might be my battery - it wasn't. I replaced it this year and it has since been tested and found to be perfect). He asked me to bring the car in, had to call AAA to tow it in to the shop.

It took a full hour for diagnostics to be done after which he said it was the brake switch. My brakes had been just fine, also I had taken my car in for an oil change on 7/30/2015 and I had all green on my multi-point inspection. While I waited for my car's diagnostic my brother sent me a link to forums talking about the Warranty extension for the Electronic Steering Column Lock, when I asked the service guy about it, I was quickly passed on to a manager and then to Director Jeff all so they could tell me that the warranty expired 7/24/2015 and they would charge me $700 dollars if I wanted this fixed.

I did not receive a notice from Nissan and since I have been a customer at automation Nissan, they have my records and they don't show ever addressing the ESCL. They did fix the brake switch. They would not address the ESCL issue because the extension expired 20 Days ago!

- , Plano, USA

problem #69

Jul 232015

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

I will never purchase another Nissan again. I was at work one day thnking I was about to jump in my car and go pick my baby up from the babysitter only to find out that my car wouldn't start. Long story short I investigated the problem and it ended up being the steering lock default bs. Called Nissan only to find out that they knew that the part was defected and it would eventually go out on all the 2009 altimas. So they extended the warranty for almost 6 yrs. My luck the warranty ran out in Oct. 2014 and my part went out Jul 2015. So NissAN TELLING me they want cover it because it happen outside the warranty. So it would have had to happen during the time of the warranty. Being that that raggedy ass part lasted a couple more months then expected they want fix it. So im stuck paying almost $1100

- , Salisbury, NC, USA

problem #68

Apr 152015

Altima EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

I'm trying to leave work at the end of the day and my car won't start out of the blue. The key light is blinking, but won't start, on a fairly new vehicle.

- , East Haven, CT, USA

problem #67

Mar 142015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,036 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I had called Nissan USA asking about concerns regarding this problem, knowing this has been an issue. They had extended coverage on this part for 6 years unlimited mileage knowing full well it was a defective part and a flawed design. I have two concerns first the admitting of the company there is a a defective or flawed design on the car and they were extending coverage on the defective part.

I had purchased an extended warranty from Nissan when purchasing the vehicle which is still in time wise but out due to mileage, apparently the $1500.00 spent on that policy has no bearing except on their pockets, and no relation to the unlimited mileage they are offering in the extended warranty they are offering.

With the major car company goals of meeting or exceeding customers expectations Nissan falls far short of that goal in this area.

- , Landisville, PA, USA

problem #66

Mar 042015

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

Driving my 2009 Altima all day yesterday with no problem... Came out of salon appointment with my wife, who is wheelchair bound.. went to start the car and nothing happens! The key light is flashing, which I later find out is a known problem with the steering lock system going bad.

I bought the car used from Nissan in 2011... apparently the warranty expired on 03/03/2015.. The steering column lock issue happens to me on 03/04/2015!!

I have the car towed to the dealer.. I leave the car and I am informed less then 30 minutes later that the problem is the steering column lock issue and it will cost me $960 to repair... Get a call 2 hours later that the car is all done and ready.

I called in to Nissan to complain about this while I am waiting for dealership to do the repair.. At this point I am waiting for them to call me back before I have to go pickup the car. I am going to jump up and down to get them to cover this under warranty since it happened less then 24 hours after the 6 year/999,999 mile warranty on this problem expired... I certainly hope they do the right thing!!!!!!!

- , Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #65

Mar 052015

Altima ES 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,231 miles

I called Nissan Head Quarters 800-NISSAN1, they opened a case to help resolve the issue. Our vehicle is currently with Riverside Nissan. Looking forward to getting this issue resolved with the assistance of Nissan.

- , Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #64

Jan 242015

Altima SE 3.0L

  • CVT transmission
  • 154,000 miles

This car is a piece of crap. I had to take my car in for another issue and after only 2 weeks of it being out of the shop, I go out to get in my car and it won't start. The key icon is flashing on the dash, so I changed out the battery in my fob, no luck. I tried to start the car by inserting the fob into the manual override, nothing.

I do not have any extra money to spend in this car and have to wonder if the issue had anything to do with the dealer having to tear apart my transmission 2 weeks earlier. I had contacted Consumer Affairs 2 weeks prior in regards to another issue with the car and was told that "it's out of warranty, nothing we can do." Stuck with this piece of crap and can't even drive it. Sitting in my driveway rotting as I do not have any more money to fix it.

- , Culpeper, VA, USA

problem #63

Jan 182015

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 155,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

1) When my car did not start I was in another state 100's of miles from home. I attempted to replace the battery in the key but that did not solve the issue. I waited it out, which took about 30 minutes, sometimes longer. 2) This is not my first experience of this issue. I had it towed into a dealer over a year ago and was told the part was recalled and they replaced. This helped for about 1 1/2 years. 3) After the first few times it started to happen on a regular basis. I replaced the key, it did not happen again for over a year. 4) Removing the battery cables to reboot the car helped for a few months. 5) Now my current issue is while driving down the road all of a sudden my car does not recognize my key. It's been scary driving on an interstate and my car acts like I have stolen it. Headlights flash, the air or heat stops, no wipers, no radio.... 6) This is happening more often while I am driving. It has happened three times in the last week. Twice while I was on my way to work in the rain. The wipers stopped, even putting the key into the dash does not have an effect on the outcome. 7) I have just looked up recalls and of course there are none. 8) I planned on giving it to my daughter for her sixteenth birthday. I am thinking it's time replace the car and go upside down on another.

- , Smyrna, TN, USA

problem #62

Mar 052015

Altima SL 2.5L I4

  • CVT transmission
  • 38,400 miles

I got stuck with the car when the engine couldn't start because of this Steering Lock Failure. The car is just 38400 miles and the part failed! It was due to a manufacturing irregularity problem, which should be recalled.

Now because it is just several months out of warranty, I have to pay $1200 to fix it ! Plus the tow! And the pain to get stranded at freezing cold weather!

- , Latham, NY, USA

problem #61

Mar 022015

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

2009 Nissan Altima just decided to flash the key light on Saturday and stopped working on Sunday. Never had a problem with the ignition or key before this time. Car would not start, steering wheel was locked in position tightly. Entered the manual key into the ignition to put in Nuetral and the lights and radio started to work. This should have been a recall since my car is 5 years old with only 55k miles on it and has never really been driven but to work and back. Nissan stated that there was a way to fix this if it was within the warranty which is a bunch of B.S...due to it happening right after my warranty expired!! The only thing to do by your customers is to be fair due to you knowing about this problem and not having a full recall on this item. I wonder what else don't we know about our Nissan's!!! Seriously in debate of buying another Nissan EVER!

- , Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #60

Feb 182015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Steering lock failure-seems to be a major issue with this model and year. Called the dealer about the extended warranty which expired 2 months ago. Estimated cost 800 dollars not including tow.

Update from Mar 12, 2015: UPDATE: After speaking with a couple of dealers, who said this is a chronic issue with Nissan. I decided to call Nissan Consumer Affairs and filed a claim. The regional representative called back who denied my claim; said it was out of warranty and there is absolutely nothing that Nissan would do to resolve the issue. I picked up my car at the dealer on 03/12/15 at a cost of $1049.00. The dealer advised that I call back Nissan Consumer Affairs and complain, as the dealer had 5 cars come in for that same problem in the 4 day period that my car was there. I spoke with the representative, who wanted to know specifically who at the dealer referred me back to them. I refused to give him that information. After a long call with that representative, who still did not budge on their previous decision, I finally was able to get him to leave a message for his supervisor who should call me back in the next 48 hours. They seemed to not care that my experience with them will most likely make myself, my family, my friends and my co-workers never buy another Nissan product again. The funny thing about the whole situation was the consumer affairs operator said, "Thanks for being the best part about Nissan." Definitely the truth, cause the best part of Nissan sure isn't their product or the way they treat their consumers.

- , Highland, UT, USA

problem #59

Feb 202015

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,300 miles

This happened when it was near 0 degrees F, so it was a pain to deal with this in that kind of weather.

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #58

Jan 052015

Altima 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

IT IS FREE TO HAVE THE STEERING COLUMN LOCK UNIT REPLACED. IT IS WARRANTED FOR THE LIFE OF THE CAR*

So I went to leave work one day and my car would not start!!!!!!!!!! Red little car (security) light blinking, yellow key light blinking, would not even go into aux mode so I could roll my window up. Luck for me my friend owns a towing company and came and got me and the car and brought us home. I found this website and tried the quick fix of banging like hell on the steering column lock unit and it worked, for a couple of days. I also saw, from this site that the part was $800, which I don’t have!. So I waited to call the dealership and then had no choice when the quick fix would not work anymore.

After speaking with someone at Kingston Nissan Kingston NY I was told that THIS PART IS WARRANTED FOR THE LIFE OF THE CAR. I was pissed that they would not just make it a recall as it being warranted does not help you when your stranded somewhere. BUT MY FRIEND BROUGHT MY CAR TO THE DEALERSHIP AND THEY REPLACED THE PART AT NO COST TO ME AND THEY EVEN PAID MY TOW BILL. The car was only at the dealership for a couple of hours. Again this was great, but if I had gotten stranded somewhere with all 3 of my kids in the car I WOULD HAVE BEEN A LOT MORE PISSED. THIS SHOULD BE A RECALL.

- , Tannersville, NY, USA

problem #57

Feb 122015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,580 miles

I was told there have been numerous complaints regarding this problem but Nissan hasn't addressed the issue.

- , Manassas, VA, USA

problem #56

Jan 272015

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

NISSAN SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEM SELVES. THEY HAVE CUSTOMERS RIDING AROUND IN THESE 2009 VEHICLES THAT HAS A PROBABILITY OF SHUTTING DOWN. 3YRS AFTER PURCHASE OF THE VEHICLE OR AFTER 65,000 MILES DUE TO A FAULTY ELECTRICAL STEERING LOCK THAT'S INSTALLED IN THE 2009 MODELS...NISSSAN SHOULD HAVE PLACED A RECALL ON THE PART,,, THE NHTSA HAS THE ISSUE LISTED ON THEIR WEBSITE AS A RECALL ITEM...WHEN I CALLED NISSAN CONSUMER AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT, THEY REFUSES TO MAKE FULL PAYMENT FOR THE REPAIR OF MY VEHICLE. FOR NISSAN TO BE SUCH A LARGE CORPORATION, THEY SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEIR NAME FOR NOT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS MANUFACTURING PROBLEM AND PAYING FOR ALL REPAIRS IN FULL...

- , Bklyn, NY, USA

problem #55

Jan 282015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Like everyone else who has this car, the steering lock control unit locked up and now looking to pay up to $1,000 to fix it. I was told by the dealer to call consumer affairs and file a complaint. 3 days later I get told by Nissan that it is out of warranty and there is nothing they can do. The dealership is working on getting me a discount but it is not looking good. For a part that shouldn't be an issue in the first place and a lot of Nissan clients having the same problem, they were quick to say there is nothing they can do to help. If this doesn't get resolved, there is no way I will ever buy or recommend Nissan to anyone. They have nice vehicles but their loyalty to their clients is not worth much.

- , Belvidere, IL, USA

problem #54

Jan 302015

Altima

  • CVT transmission
  • 114,000 miles

Coming home from work, go to the car.... no start. Sounds like it's about to start and then cuts off mid-start. Lights come on, radio comes on, and interior lights fully light up. Steering wheel does NOT lock and the brakes are stiff to press, which is not normal. From what I'm seeing and hearing it's either the break switch or the electric steering control lock. This is the FIRST issue with the car besides the tire pressure sensors(all are taken out now). I'm not sure but it seems that temperature may also be part of the problem. A LOT of the issues I am hearing are during cold weather months. I'm going to try the "solutions" that I saw on the internet and publish the results. I am shocked that this isn't a recall by now with all the problems I am seeing with this issue. Besides this, it has been a wonderful car.

Update from Feb 1, 2015: Oh... went back to the car.... Still was the same issue as before. Stiff break pedal, car sounds like it's beginning to start and then turns off. The power ran down and I needed a jump after a while. Got the car jumped (charged for 20 mins). car finally started...called the dealer and they said it sounded like the Break Sensor and I . could bring it in for a $140 so they could look at it. I started the car a lot of times since then when no problem but I'll be on the look out... One thing I did do was take the battery out of the remote and put it back in.... or maybe completely losing power and needing a jump reset the car computer some how.... But its running fine now...

- , New Carrollton, MD - Maryland, USA

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