CarComplaints.com Notes: You don't want to get 2009 and 2010 Altima owners started about their cars. That is, unless, you know how to start their cars.

These vehicles can suddenly become impossible to start thanks to a faulty electronic steering column lock (ESCL). Nissan dealers will gladly replace it, but that will run you $1000.

It's one of the many reasons this car was named CarTalk's Turd of the Week and given our Beware of this Clunker badge. Two dubious honors.

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

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,392 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2009 Nissan Altima electrical problems

electrical problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2009 Nissan Altima:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 10 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #208

May 052015

Altima

  • 94,000 miles

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

Electronic steering column lock failure. Engine would not turn over and electronic key warning light (yellow) lit. Car would not start and left stranded. Resorted to rapping on the escl box mounted under the steering column which works with varying degrees of success. Nissan is aware of the issue and extended the warranty of the part but, to the best of my knowledge, never attempted to contact or notify owners of the need to replace this part. My warranty for this part expired in October 2014, but it was unknown to me since my first issue was May 2015. Nissan dealer estimates $1016 to repair.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #207

May 112015

Altima

  • 99,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start and the key light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was towed to a dealer. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 99,000.

- Tylertown, MS, USA

problem #206

May 072015

Altima

  • 125,000 miles
Got out of vehicle to run in to the store, got back in the vehicle and it would not start.

- Anniston, AL, USA

problem #205

Feb 022015

Altima

  • 87,000 miles

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

After stopping at the store my car no longer would start. I live in Texas where it is hot, this is a danger to be stuck and no way to fix it. The key light popped on. Apparently after research it is noted Nissan is aware of the electronic steering lock problem. If there are so many issues why not recall the part instead of leaving motorist stranded. If the part malfunctions there is no way to move the car. I'm not sure where it is ok to charge 1200 dollars knowing your part is defective. This problem has left me stranded 3 different times.

- Decatur, TX, USA

problem #204

May 012015

Altima

  • miles
On May 1, 2015 my vehicle would not start. I had to have the car towed to a Nissan dealer. My 2009 Nissan Altima's electronic steering column lock (escl) system failed 4 months after the warranty extension expired.this is a known issue that according to Nissan "happening to only a small number of vehicles". if the number is so miniscule then why not issue a recall?? I cannot imagine what I would be dealing with if I experienced this failure away from home or traveling. I thank god that my family and I were at home.

- Land O Lakes, FL, USA

problem #203

Apr 302015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
I have a 2009 Nissan Altima. Apparently Nissan is fully aware of the issues that the electric steering column lock is having. Nissan chose to extend the warranty instead of recall the part. Knowing that the majority of the effected Altima owners would fall outside that warranty. Of course now my steering column has malfunctioned even though Nissan states that this would not be an issue for majority of car owners. They know this is a huge problem. I have found thousands of write ups on the internet. It is unfair to the Altima car owners. Nissan is not taking responsibility for using defective parts. They have since discontinued using these parts, and left Nissan Altima car owners holding their dirty little secret. The one car we have can not function, and they are asking for over$1000 to repair it. Issue: The car will not drive because of this malfunction and defective part. Please help us the 2009 Nissan Altima car owners G *tret this part fully recalled by Nissan. Thank you!

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #202

Sep 262014

Altima

  • 100,000 miles

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

There is a plug under the dash board close to the steering column that comes lose. The car will not start when this happens. This is a common problem with other Altima owners.

- Knob Noster, MO, USA

problem #201

Apr 212015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 145,309 miles
Driver side door lock stop functioning with the remote keyless entry fob. This is the only door that stopped working all the other doors function as intended. I believe it is a malfunction of the lock regulator.

- Ogdensburg, NJ, USA

problem #200

Sep 012014

Altima

  • 41,500 miles
In the September of 2014, the power door locks stopped working (would not open/close with the use of either the remote or the button on the driver door). At first it was the front and rear passenger doors, but then over the next 1-2 weeks both driver side door locks stopped working as well. The vehicle was not in any accident nor exposed to excessive water/fire/etc around this time. When I had it evaluated at the Nissan dealership, I was told the door actuators had broken, but given no explanation as to how/why this would happen for all 4 doors at the same time. Due to the high cost of repair (quoted $250 per door), I have not had these fixed. Now, nearly 9-10 months later, the locks remain completely unresponsive to the keyless entry remote and the power lock button on the driver's door, and must be manually locked/unlocked.

- Derry, NH, USA

problem #199

Apr 192015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 57,514 miles
I went to start my car and an amber light with a key came on my dashboard. My car would not start. The car had to be towed to a Nissan dealership where it was determined it was a malfunction of the escl(electronic steering column lock). The repair cost me $893.90. There was an extended warranty on this so Nissan new it was a problem. The warranty ended 3 months ago. Nissan will not pay for the repair. This is my 4th Nissan.

- Hollis, NH, USA

problem #198

Apr 152015

Altima

  • 55,000 miles

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

My car wouldn't start after work and couldn't figure out what was wrong, until I searched the internet for some help, and found that this is a known problem with Altima's from 2009 2010. I contacted corporate Nissan, who informed me that the warranty expired two months ago, exactly, and I would have to have it diagnosed by a Nissan before they consider covering faulty parts. My car was towed to the Nissan repair, who confirmed that the power steering lock was faulty and needed to be replaced for $1020. Nissan mechanic said that it is a known problem with 2009 and 2010 Altima's. I reported back to corporate, who said they would "investigate" my claim, and assured I would be contacted two days ago. Never received a call, despite several attempts to reach them, and convenient for Nissan that the department I need doesn't have an available telephone number.

- East Haven, CT, USA

problem #197

Apr 152015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
My car wouldn't start after leaving work, couldn't figure out what was wrong, until I did a google search. I contacted corporate Nissan, who informed me that the warranty expired two months ago, exactly, and I would have to have it diagnosed by a Nissan repair before they consider covering faulty parts. I had my car towed to the Nissan repair, who confirmed that the power steering lock was faulty and needed to be replaced for $1020. Nissan mechanic said that it is a known problem with 2009 and 2010 Altima's. I reported back to corporate, who said they would "investigate" my claim, and assured I would be contacted two days ago. Never received a call, despite several attempts to reach them, and convenient for Nissan that the department I need doesn't have an available telephone number.

- East Haven, CT, USA

problem #196

Feb 242015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 94,444 miles
Airbags light for both passenger and drivers side came on indicating that they will not deploy.

- Kailua Kona, HI, USA

problem #195

Sep 082014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 94,444 miles
Steering lock - not able to start vehicle.

- Kailua Kona, HI, USA

problem #194

Apr 112015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 95,524 miles
I was at the storage unit cleaning it out when I came out and the car would lock and unlock, but the brake was hard to push down, and with you pushed the start button it will not come out of the lock position. The car will not crank up at all.

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #193

Mar 202015

Altima

  • 83,902 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. The contact attempted to use the spare key to start the vehicle; however, it failed to start. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the steering lock module would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 83,902.

- South Weymouth, MA, USA

problem #192

Mar 282015

Altima

  • 53,456 miles
I went to start my car to go to work and the ignition locked and the car would not start. Needless to say I was late for work because of this incident and had to rely on someone else for a ride. I called the dealer ship and they explained to me that the steering lock probably failed on the car. I had to have the car towed to bowser. I got a called today confirming it was steering lock failure and that it would cost almost a thousand dollars to fix. I did some research and found that this is a common problem with the car. I asked the dealer ship if they have had many other cars with this problem and they explained that they have. As I continued to do more research, I found that this is an engineering flaw on Nissan's behalf. I do not believe I should have to pay for an engineering flaw that should have been a recall in the first place.

- West Newton , PA, USA

problem #191

Mar 142015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 121,036 miles
I had no electrical service in the vehicle at all, the ignition would not turn on the steering wheel was locked.

- Landisville, PA, USA

problem #190

Mar 212015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 153,637 miles
I drove to pick up my daughter from the babysitter and I parked my car alongside the curb. It was less than 10 min and we went to the car and it would not start. I performed my usual routine when starting it...insert key in slot...press foot down on brake...then press the ignition start button and it still would not start. I tried the same routine a second time only to no avail. Finally on the third time...my instrument panel displayed a yellow key and a red key and it the ignition button stayed in the lock position. I eventually called a tow truck and when he arrived he knew exactly what it was. I was informed by the tow driver that it was a steering wheel lock issue and the only reason he knew was because I was his 6th Nissan in over a three day span. Apparently...Nissan is aware of this issue but refuses to acknowledge this issue as a recall.

- Saginaw, MI, USA

problem #189

Feb 182015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
Just finished a 13 hour shift at work when I went out to my car to head home. The key fob opened the doors but would not allow the ignition to start. I had the car towed to the dealership and they told me it was a steering wheel lock failure, which Nissan is well aware of. I spoke with two dealerships which told me this is indeed a chronic issue. I submitted a claim to Nissan Consumer Affairs which they denied since my warranty had expired 8 weeks prior. When I returned to the dealership they again advised me to complain to Consumer Affairs as they had 5 cars come in for the same problem in the 4 days that my car was there. I again called Consumer Affairs who told me again that my claim was denied on the grounds that the warranty was expired, they would not budge on this. I had to argue with the representative for 15 minutes before he would have his supervisor call me back, still waiting for that call. Nissan is very aware that this part is defective and expect the consumer to eat the costs when the part inevitably fails. They say that this is not a safety concern, but do not take into account the possibility of being stranded. Nissan does not stand by its product or its consumers.

- Highland, UT, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?