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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.

9.4

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$765.00
Average Mileage:
60,174 miles
Total Complaints:
34 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace the steering lock control unit (15 reports)
  2. not sure (8 reports)
  3. replace the brake switch (4 reports)
  4. replace the ignition interlock (3 reports)
  5. replace the steering lock unit (2 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 2)

problem #34

Dec 132013

Altima 3.5 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,099 miles

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

Woke up Friday for my daily work commute, low and behold car would not start. It's as if intelligent key was rendered useless. Towed vehicle to local shop and waited a day for a diagnostic. While conducting independent research I found out that there is an extended warranty to all 2009 Nissan Altima's with Electronic Steering Column Lock (ESCL) issue. And from what I've read on this website this applies to 99.99% of people experiencing this issue.

Nissan will extend its new vehicle limited warranty coverage for the affected part numbers from its original duration of 36 months/ 36,000 miles to 72 months/unlimited miles. All other warranty terms, conditions and limitations otherwise remain unchanged and continue to apply.

Contact Nissan Consumer Affairs at 1-855-619-8190 and confirm your VIN to see if your vehicle is eligible.

Good luck and hope this helps!

- , Whitby, Ontario, canada

problem #33

Dec 052013

Altima SL V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Totally freaking pissed!!! Wife tried to take kids to school one morning and car wouldn't start. Doors would unlock with intelligent key but wouldn't start car. She tried everything, so no car to take kids to school. After much research we discovered the problem with the steering lock failure. We couldn't believe all the people having the exact same problems with their car. We did try the removing of the casing under the steering wheel and banging on lock until it disengaged. This actually worked for a couple days. In the meantime Nissan says that they know nothing of the problem and have car towed in we'll look at it for you. For $200!!!!

You gotta be kidding I'm telling you what the problem is. Oh by the way car is dead again, won't start and don't have the hundreds of dollars to fix. If Nissan knew this piece was faulty, which they did because they stopped putting it in the 2010, NISSAN NEEDS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!!!

- , Martinez, CA, USA

problem #32

Nov 262013

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

Went on my lunch break my car was fine. Then I came back and it would not start. The dash board was completely black and the key light was blinking and the anti theft light started blinking. And the outside of the car was making a beeping sound. Took it to Nissan and haven't heard anything yet!

- , Roanoke, VA, canada

problem #31

Nov 242013

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,894 miles

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

Went to gas station, 20 degrees outside, car wouldn't start, kept saying key (yellow light on dash). All the lights worked so it wasn't the battery, thank god for AAA. They towed my car to my nearest Nissan dealership, $119.00 just for the Nissan mechanics to look at it. Very pissed, lord knows how much it will cost for labor and for the actual part.

- , 6708 Burch Hill Rd, MD, USA

problem #30

Oct 102013

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I get off work at 2:00 AM. Went to resturant to eat, when I came out my car would not start. Had to call and wake up someone to come get me. Next day tried jumping it off and putting new battery in fob, nothing worked. Had it towed to mechanic and was told it was an anit-theft steering lock problem that a LOT of people have been having with their Nissan. After a 50.00 tow bill and 800.00 later at mechanic I am fixed. I called Nissan and they gave me a case number and told me to tell anyone else I knew having this same problem to call also. The # 1-800-647-7261 EVERYONE CALL AND COMPLAIN !!!!! Keep your receipts from having it fixed and if they have a recall you can get your money back.

- , Pell City, Alabama, USA

problem #29

Aug 222013

Altima SE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I was a faithful lover of Nissan vehicle since I was 20 years old I am now in my sixties and over the last 7 years I have been getting from Nissan and its dealers some bad deals and this is the latest where Nissan has an ongoing problem with the starting of the Altima and this has happen almost all owners of this car yet Nissan is not view this as a recall problem .The dealers are making money on the labour and part replacement also Nissan is making money on the sale and manufacture of this part so there no need for them to make a recall.So I have made a decision from here on my family and I will never buy another Nissan vehicle again.As I said earlier the dealers are no good too, so I now settling with buy Kia vehicles their warranty is better and vehicles are giving a better BANG for your money. Nissan has to know there is a problem with car and also there is with some of its"DEALERS" because they should monitor the internet and see the number of complaints about the Altima and some it Dealers.From Neverbuynissan

- , Queens, New York, USA

problem #28

Oct 292012

Altima 3.5 SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

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

Nissan told me it was covered the dealer is telling me otherwise will find out tomorrow when i call nissanUSA back.

- , Brownsville, TX, USA

problem #27

Jan 172013

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

WTH!!!!..09 Altima..only had ONE YEAR..bought with only 19K miles on it..and now electrical? and tell me..these things just happens...

Get the hell outta here with that...

I will be going to raise hell but have to get fixed..so I can TRADE IT.

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #26

Jan 252013

Altima

  • CVT transmission
  • 43,000 miles

I've had a few days where my car didn't seem to recognize my key was nearby, but after a long hard day at work, it was the first time the car would not start at all. The car knew I was there...the doors unlocked okay, and the lights all worked fine, so the battery wasn't dead. But nothing happened at all when pushing start. Just a black dashboard, aside from a new little yellow light that said KEY. Which was completely unhelpful. The manual was also completely unhelpful in this situation. Husband came, and neither his key nor mine had any effect on the car. When we had problems last summer, we put fresh batteries in the fobs. So the fob should work. Put the keyfob in the port, still nothing. Had to have the car towed, and now I hear it will be nearly $800 to fix the steering wheel lock mechanism, IF they can get the part. Which may not be available for weeks. What the heck am I supposed to do in the meantime? This is our fourth Altima, and we have never experienced anything like this before. I am stunned that there is no way to override an anti-theft flaw. Very pissed off.

- , Hooksett, NH, USA

problem #25

Feb 212013

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

This part went out on my wife's car stranding her, my two year old and six month old. While looking online I've found out that I am FAR from the only one having this issue. This exact part has been recalled in other Nissan models but apparently the recall for the Altima is lacking. Unbelievable. Never will get an Altima again.

- , Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #24

Dec 032012

Altima EX 3.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 45,000 miles

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

Car totally DEAD. - lights would go on - ( it was a brand new battery... ).

To add insult to injury - you cannot get the car out of Park - - so cannot move the car unless you get a tow truck to lift the front end of the car. No prior warning. Have to get a dealer to fix it. Fixed, but the dealer didn't complete the reprogramming so could not open / close doors by touching the sensor on the handle. (another trip to the dealer...MY time isn't worth anything to them) Now the car makes kind of a "zipping noise" - when you start it which doesn't give me much comfort that it is fixed. This is the FIRST bad experience I've had with Nissans - we've had three Altimas - But I LOVE THIS CAR.... ... it is the best driving car I've ever had - so it really is frustrating to have such a bad problem. Of course the car died when my daughter was driving it - it was cold and raining - making it more delightful... the best thing the AAA tow truck driver was pleasant and helpful...

- , Vienna, VA, USA

problem #23

Mar 312013

Altima

  • CVT transmission
  • 74,000 miles

I recently got stranded in a parking lot when my '09 Altima would not start. Try as I might, pushing the brake down and pressing the magical "Start" button did absolutely nothing. Luckily, I was at Wal-Mart, where I purchased an expensive battery, thinking this would solve the problem (like so many of you have also done. The car is 5 years old, I figured it was time...). Nothing. I started Googling on my smart phone, and found out that the electronic steering control lock was faulty.Thankfully, I was able to start it after taking some internet forum poster's suggestion by tapping the control module at the base of the steering wheel. I was able to get home. Although, the lingering thought of being a woman stranded somewhere was hanging over my head...

Two weeks later, I receieved a letter in the mail from Nissan USA telling me that the warranty was extended on- you guessed it!- the electronic steering control lock! Since I had done my research and found out that it was going to cost between $700- $900 to replace with no guarantee that it would fix the problem, I decided to keep a hammer in my glove box to beat my car in to submission, when needed.

I scheduled to take my car to my local dealership to be fixed. I was told that the part was in stock, and that it would take an hour and a half to replace. 5 hours later, I had to call the dealership myself since I received no phone call about the progress of my vehicle, as promised. I was then told that because my car was not incapacitated right at that moment, that they would NOT replace the faulty steering lock. I called Nissan Assist, and was given a bull crap answer about how the dealership was "following protocol" and that they would not do anything about it.

I sure hope a zombie apocalypse doesn't start when my Nissan Lemon decides to not start again. That would suck. Just sayin'.

- , Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #22

Mar 072013

Altima LX 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,133 miles

Getting in my car on a warm day, trying to get home before kids get in from school to find out that it will not start. Very embarrassing and humiliating to be sitting in my car and it not cranking. I hit the brake and the keyless switch and it wont say a word. This has happen about 3 or 4 times. It even happen with my car sitting in my yard. I am afraid to go anywhere because I don't want to get stranded off from home. I do not have the money to get this fixed right now. I cant understand that with the number of people that are having this same problem, why wouldn't this be on the recall list. They put less things on the recall list. I have not checked with my dealer to see if my warranty will cover it, but from the looks of it from everyone else's post, it probably wont. I have the bumper to bumper warranty on my car.

- , Buckatunna, MS, USA

problem #21

Mar 122013

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

Stopped to get gas and car wouldn't start. The backup method to start vehicle as described in user manual didn't work either. Had to tow car to dealer. It's barely out of warranty and we had to pay $980 to fix it.

- , Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #20

Feb 142013

Altima LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

HELLO how in the world is this not recalled???!! Thankfully I was leaving work to go to lunch when I hop in my car to leave IT WONT START. First thing, I changed my battery in my key, still didn't work. Second, I walk down a few doors where there is a local auto parts store and bought my self a new battery for the car. Thought for sure that was my problem and I would be on my way. NOPE!!! Car still wouldnt start. Its a push button start and when you go to push the button to start it won't move from the lock position. There is a little key symbol in left hand corner, and the theft symbol still flashes, brake lights still work, lights in car still works. After doing research on the internet I soon come to realize that there are tons of complaints about the same issue. Everyone says the steering lock control module will need to be replaced, which is about a $1000 repair. Me being a woman I was not really sure where to start...thankfully my brother is a pretty handy guy and decided to get in there and see if he could at least get it started to drive it home. He took the steering wheel apart basically and found the steering lock control module and tried to hit it several times..nothing. He then put his foot on the brake and held in the start button and at the same time he beat the crap out of the steering module..guess what... IT STARTED!!!!!! My car is now sitting in the garage at home, I'm scared to drive it anywhere because I dont want to be stranded. Obviously that is exactly what the problem is and it will need replaced. His 'repair' (if thats what you want to call it) may last a day or it could last a year.. bottom line this is a huge issue with the Altima, its amazing how many other people have the same problem. Something needs to be done. I feel as though Nissan should take care of this!!

- , Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #19

Jan 182013

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

2009 Altima. Electronic push button ignition will not start the car or even crank the car.

Had towed to dealer and they had 4 Altimas with the same issue. The symptoms are that the brake pedal will barely push down (which needs to be done to start the car) and no lights will come on the dash other than the "lock" light on the push start button as well as the steering wheel will not lock...you can spin it around and around albeit hard to do with electronic steering.

The fix is a $486.00 dollar sensor chip the size of two quarters that is installed with two $6.00 bolts underneath the steering column. I called Nissan customer service to see if they would pay with "Goodwill" and the lady kept reading off a script that said in synopsis "You are F'd and go F yourself---thanks for buying our Nissan Lemon."

There is another website with literally 100's of this exact issue and complaints. How they have not recalled this is disgusting.

- , Austin, Texas, USA

problem #18

Dec 272012

Altima 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Went to crank my car on my lunch and the car would not start. The key fob unlocked the doors, etc., but the brake and steering wheel locked up. Had to have the car towed to Nissan dealership. They said it was the battery. After repairing that, they said it was the "steering lock" device. Quoted me $1,250.00 for the repair. I had the car towed to another trusted company becuse the part was only $450.00. Nissan charged me $196.00 for the battery and "diagnostics". Found out today that the part is on NATIONAL back order. Nissan told them that it could be up to 3 weeks for him to receive the part and I've already been without my car for almost 2 weeks.

I'm very disappointed that Nissan is not recalling this. They say that it doesn't present a safety hazard, but how doesn't it? I've read online that people's have shut off in the middle of traffic and because you can't put the car into neutral without it running, you are stuck until a tow truck gets there. Fortunately, I was at work and it was day time when mine went out.

Do not plan on ever buying a Nissan vehicle again.

- , Mauldin, SC, USA

problem #17

Jan 022013

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I read Michelle's complaint about being stranded at work. This is exactly the same scenario I had. Called the Nissan dealership today and they told me it will cost approximately $800 to fix, can't assure me that it won't happen again (even though my car is only 3 years old with 50,000 miles on it), and now I have to be concerned with being stranded the next time (and I'm SURE there will be a next time....) it happens!! I have a 1998 Chevrolet Venture mini-van that hasn't had the problems that I'm having with this Altima!! Shame on Nissan--this should be a recall!!!

- , Zionsville, IN, USA

problem #16

Jan 082013

Altima S 2.5L V4

  • CVT transmission
  • 78,019 miles

Car would not start without warning, had to be towed to dealer from where it failed to start. Steering lock was bad. This appears to be a pretty common problem and voluntary recall was issued for the GT-R (Technical Service Bulletin NTB-10-025) but not for other models. A critical system failure like this on a car less than four years old should not be occurring with the frequency it appears to be. Complained to Nissan customer service and elevated it to regional representative with no satisfaction.

- , Columbus, IN, USA

problem #15

Dec 112012

Altima 2.5s

  • CVT transmission
  • 52,264 miles

I drove my car to work and parked it in my office underground garage. When I tried to leave work to pickup my kids, the car wouldn't start. There was power to the vehicle, indicating that it was not a battery-related issue. I had to take public transportation home got a ride to work the next day. I did some research and figured out that I needed to have my car towed to the dealer. I lost a day of work arranging for towing and having my car towed to the Nissan dealer close my my home. I was shocked to learn that the repair cost was $800 and was able to get a 10% discount which brought the price down to $728. I am still very angry that Nissan would manufacture a car with a component that has such a poor reliability and that cost $500. I am very, very disappointed with Nissan and will never buy another Nissan car. I also had a hole in my exhaust system when my car was about 33,000 mile, which was another unexpected repair for a fairly new car. With the exhaust problem, it was covered under warranty, but if I had driven a few thousand miles, I would have been stuck with a $1000 repair bill.

I contacted Nissan consumer affairs and after a week they agreed to send me a $250 gift card in about 4-6 weeks toward future repairs. I still plan to pursue the issue of the component reliability because I think that without the push start system, I would not have this problem and would buy a car with an actual key in the future to avoid this problem. As a consumer, I think that it is unacceptable to manufacture a car with a starting system that is so unreliable with such a high cost and that the manufacturer of that component should be responsible for replacing that part if the mean time before failure does not meet the reliability standards.

- , Laurel, MD, USA

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