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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.

9.0

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$755.00
Average Mileage:
70,737 miles
Total Complaints:
60 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (24 reports)
  2. replace the steering lock control unit (23 reports)
  3. replace the brake switch (4 reports)
  4. replace the steering lock unit (4 reports)
  5. replace the ignition interlock (3 reports)
  6. install new steering column lock sensor (1 reports)
2009 Nissan Altima electrical problems

electrical problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #60

Feb 182015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

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

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.

- , 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

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

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

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

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

problem #53

Jan 292015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

As with most warranties, Nissan knows of this problem and extended the normal warranty to cover up to 72 months for this problem. My 72 months ran out in Oct. 2014. So the cost is on me to get the faulty part replaced. I understand that it might cost me $700 - $1000. I am like an elephant, don't forget so I probably will not recommend Nissan to anyone nor will I buy another Nissan product. It has to do with the steering wheel lock and or the ignition switch lock. My car will not start. The push button starter is dead. I had to have it towed home until I figure out what to do now. I'm only glad it didn't happen last week while I was over 400 miles from home.

- , Marietta, GA, USA

problem #52

Jan 232015

Altima

  • CVT transmission
  • 102,150 miles

Key fob works for trunk, door locks, panic button but car won't even turn on, let alone start. Just have blinking red key security light and the gold key light stays on solid. Had to get a tow to the dealership. My warranty has expired. I have read over a hundred cases of this happening to other people. I'll find out tomorrow what the $$(damage) costs.

- , Modesto, CA, USA

problem #51

Jan 092015

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 104,000 miles

Also appear to be having the electronic steering column lock issue. Key fob works for trunk, door locks, panic button but car won't even turn on, let alone start. Just have blinking red key security light and the gold key light stays on solid. Tried disconnecting battery and reconnecting, but that didn't work. Tried moving the steering wheel every which way I could think of to no avail. Had to get a tow to the dealership. Find out the extended warranty is expired as of Oct. 28 2014.

Opened case with consumer affairs and am pushing my case to have this classified as a recall as I have read over a hundred cases of this happening to other people. Fortunately the dealership gave me a loaner which is just a step up from a Flintstone mobile but hey, it gets me from point A to point B so I'm not complaining too much. The only mystery that remains is how much I'm going to have to pay for this to get fixed. Hopefully Nissan consumer affairs is feeling generous this week so we'll see.

- , Raymore, MO - Missouri, USA

problem #50

Jan 122015

Altima 2.5 SL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

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

Left work today, my 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL started without a problem. Stopped at the store, was in there for 10 minutes. Came out, my car wouldn't start. It would lock and unlock, lights worked, but wouldn't start. It was freezing out and I had a kid and little puppy in the car, extremely frustrating. Called the Lia Nissan dealership, they didn't know what was wrong, manager said it was probably my battery. Which it wasn't. Had my friend who is a mechanic for Volvo come look at it, he said it was the steering column. He had to bring me home and my car is sitting at Stop&Shop!

- , West Springfield, MA, USA

problem #49

Jan 102015

Altima 2.5 S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

The car won't start. Both the keys are detected. I can unlock the car doors, etc but the car won't start.

- , New Iberia, LA, USA

problem #48

Jan 102015

Altima 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

Typical complaint, which is a total indictment of NISSAN'S GUILT AND FILTH on this particular problem.

Went inside a restaurant on Congress Ave in Austin, Texas to eat with friends. I had picked up a car full of compadre's to save everyone the hassle of individual commutes in a rare ice event. Finished meal, went outside to leave...and promptly encountered the electronic steering module defect fiasco. Car towage, lying and manipulative Nissan parts/repair dept. on display in all it's full glory. They made the now well-known song and dance routine regarding extended warranty" JUST running out. The level of dishonesty at the dealership was energy draining.

They parked the car outside the repair doors and told us to wait for a minute, someone would get our personal info and such. They took the key but never returned. We waited an hour, decided to ask "what up". Response..."SO sorry, we just forgot about you". Anyway, the porter went outside to do who knows what to the car but rolled down the windows in sleet and rain and then they wouldn't roll up. Manager, several employee's all came out to watch and had no idea what to do!

Luckily, the taxi service we had to call arrived and helped us, the customer, push it under an awning to get out of the weather. Nissan employees stood and watched. Total insanity, and the only solution offered was a $189 diagnostic test and then a $998 repair bill if it is the electronic steering lock. Awful, awful, awful experience.

- , Austin, Texas, USA

problem #47

Dec 282014

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I was at the gas station at 6am and I cut my car off as usual while getting gas and when I attempted to start my car afterwards it wouldn't start. I had to push my car away from the pump, then have it towed from the gas station. This was an awful experience! I've had my car for a little over a year and never had anything like this happen before. This is such an inconvenience and I'm pretty sure it's going to be costly as well. I'll never buy another Nissan ever.

- , Belleville, New Jersey, USA

problem #46

Dec 042014

Altima SE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,400 miles

I DROVE MY 2009 NISSAN ALTIMA 2.5S TO WORK ON 12/04 AND IT STARTED UP JUST FINE AS USUAL. HOWEVER, WHEN I WENT TO LEAVE WORK FOR THE DAY THE CAR DID NOT START. THE KEYLESS REMOTE WILL ALLOW ME TO LOCK AND UNLOCK MY CAR, BUT WHEN I GO TO START THE CAR, IT WILL NOT REGISTER MY KEY FOB. AN ERROR CODE SHOWS THAT THE ELECTRONIC STEERING COLUMN LOCK (ESCL) MECHANISM WAS MALFUNCTIONING. ALSO, THERE IS A YELLOW KEY ICON ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE DASH THAT INTERMITTENTLY FLASHES NO KEY. THE IGNITION IS INDICATING THAT THE STEERING WHEEL IS LOCKED ALTHOUGH I CAN TURN THE STEERING WHEEL. HOWEVER, WHEN TRYING TO SHIFT GEARS THE BRAKE WOULD NOT SUPRESS. THERE WERE NO PRIOR WARNING LIGHTS INDICATING THAT THE PART WAS ABOUT TO FAIL ON THE DASH PANEL.

I WAS STRANDED FOR SOMETIME TRYING TO FIND A WAY HOME. DUE TO BEING IN A PARKING GARAGE I HAD TO LEAVE MY CAR THERE FOR SEVERAL DAYS SINCE TOW TRUCKS DID NOT HAVE THE CLEARANCE TO ENTER THE GARAGE. AFTER DOING FURTHER RESEARCH INTO THE ISSUE I HAVE COME TO SEE THAT MULTIPLE PEOPLE HAVE COMPLAINED ABOUT THIS SAME EXACT PROBLEM. A VERY DISTURBING FACTOR SINCE NISSAN IS AWARE OF THE PROBLEM. THEY HAVE ISSUED AN EXTENDED WARRANTY FOR THIS SPECIFIC PROBLEM. HOWEVER, I HAVE BEEN WITHOUT MY CAR NOW FOR A MONTH AS I CANNOT AFFORD THE REPAIRS, AND AT WAR WITH NISSAN FROM DAY 1. THEY ARE STILL REFUSING TO REPAIR MY CAR INDICATING THAT IT FALLS OUTSIDE OF THE WARRANTY EXTENSION PERIOD. THIS IS VERY INTERESTING CONSIDERING THAT THERE IS A DETAILED LETTER EXPLAINING THE WARRANTY AND THE EXTENSION DATE. THE LETTER CLEARLY STATES THAT:

"Nissan has decided to extend the Nissan New Vehicle Limited Warranty, as it applies to the ESCL unit, from 3 years / 36,000 miles to 6 years / unlimited miles, whichever comes first."

DOING SOME BASIC MATH IT SHOWS THAT 6 YEARS FROM 2009 WOULD BE 2015 NOT 2014 SO I AM STILL NOT CERTAIN AS TO HOW I AM OUTSIDE OF THE WARRANTY PERIOD. SEEING AS HOW MY CLAIM WAS ORIGINALLY FILED IN 2014 THIS SHOULD MAKE ME ELIGIBLE FOR REPAIRS UNDER THE COVERED WARRANTY. I AM STILL GOING DOING BATTLE WITH NISSAN BUT HOPEFULLY THEY CORRECT THE ISSUE OR THE NEXT STEP IS COURT.

FOR ALL THOSE INTERESTED IN VIEWING THIS LETTER IN THE EVENT YOU FILED A COMPLAINT BEFORE THE 2015 TIME MARK PLEASE VISIT: http://www.nissanassist.com/web/ESCL_Warranty_Extension/ProgramDetails.php?menu=61

- , Detroit, MI, USA

problem #45

Dec 182014

Altima 2.5SL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,654 miles

I was told at dealership that this has been noted as a problem and Nissan extend warranties due to the issue. However this happened after it had expired. Nissan is aware of the issue however due to the timing good for them but diva sting for our family!! I thought I bought a car that was dependable and was wrong. Merry Christmas Nissan!! $1364 really!!!

- , Bentonville, AR, USA

problem #44

Dec 152014

Altima 2.5S 4L

  • CVT transmission
  • 60,024 miles

Well - I had to tow the car to the dealer to find out that nissan knew about this, extended the warranty, but did not think being unable to start the cat worthy of a recall.

I could open the car and get in (key was working, and I tried even "in" the keyport just in case key battery may be low), I could turn on the lights (battery was working) but I had two warning lights on the board - red key in the car icon and the yellow key icon. Push the button and nothing happens.

The dealer was super nice and replaced the ESCL piece for free, but they could not pick me up and I had to call Geico to tow me and that will again raise my insurance premium. After this end of a work day when I just wanted to go home and after finding out that Nissan knew about this before me I don't think I will ever... lest I forget... well... let's just say I liked my Altima a lot. Let's see what Nissan knows that I did not find out yet, I saw some news about settling a lawsuit for defect brakes just now for a few millions... I think I got a letter from them, but thought it did not apply to me since it said I should not do anything.

How can this still happen? I was very fortunate about my circumstances, but I see now that others have not

I hope you are not in the same mood I was in, but just in case this is happening to you know... maybe you are lucky and not in the middle of nowhere or just before Xmas or in a rush to get anywhere, 'cause even if Nissan pays for the fix you still need a ride, a rental, a tow truck and/or and/or roadside assistance.

Check http://www.nissanassist.com/web/ESCL_Warranty_Extension/index.php?menu=69 for the whole way Nissan envisioned this unique moment in your life when your car does not start.

- , Milford, Connecticut, USA

problem #43

Sep 302014

Altima ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

Went to leave work & the car won't start. Brake won't depress. Car doors will lock/unlock. Lights will come on. We removed the battery to reset any codes, that didn't work. Battery in the key FOB replaced, that didn't fix the issue. The dash blinks & knows there is a key in the car. Remote starter will start the car, but the ignition will not switch out of the LOCK position... It acts like ignition failure. It appears a lot of people are having the same issue... Why isn't there a recall?? Bang on the steer modular - what is that???

- , Maybrook, NY, USA

problem #42

Aug 202014

Altima SS 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles

My 2009 Altima. When I first bought it I loved it. It had like pull once in a while, like it would not catch up. But then I had this no key problem, where the car would lock the brakes and shifter. It will not let me start the car because it would say no key. I don't know why. I replaced the battery in the key fob and also disconnected the battery from the vehicle to no avail.

I'm a single girl in collage, so this was so stressful and depressing. I would have to ask for rides and till now I can't get it fixed I have to walk everywhere. I don't have the money to take it to a dealer. I need to tow it to the Nissan dealership and I'm not going to so my car is in my driveway just dying lol I'm dying without it. I hate being a girl and not know how to fix stupid stuff like this

- , Red Oak, TX, USA

problem #41

Aug 182014

Altima Z 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

My car won't start even after changing the battery in the remote and car... Only the key light was flashing on the dash and the brakes where stiff........... I was stuck in the hot sun with my baby. This was ridiculous..............

- , Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

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