Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. 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


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
70,250 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

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 11 of 18)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #158

Nov 302014

Altima 4WD 6-cyl

  • 99,000 miles


When trying to start my son's 2009 Nissan Altima 3.5se coupe, it will not start and displays a yellow key icon on the left side of the dash. We reviewed the car's manual, which states the light is an intelligent key malfunction. We changed the key faub battery and tried removing and reinstalling the battery, as some others suggested, but still nothing. After reviewing several different web sites, I see this is a common issue with 2009 Nissan/Altima. From reading different owner's comments and complaints, I believe it will be an issue with the steering lock and will have towed to Nissan tomorrow. I am surprised with so many comments over the same issue, there is not a campaign to fix? I've been a faithful Toyota patron all of my life and this is my first Nissan. Not good a first impression!!

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #157

Nov 162014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
My wife parked her 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5S and turned off her engine on 11/15/14.the next day when she went to start her car, it refused to start, giving her an error code that the electronic steering column lock (escl) mechanism was malfunctioning. There was no way to get around the problem and we eventually had to tow the car to the dealership to get it fixed. My wife was lucky, in that she was somewhere safe when she was stranded. But, since she had no prior warning that the part was about to fail, she very easily could have been stranded somewhere much less safe. Nissan is aware of the problem and has issued an extended warranty for this specific problem for the 2009 Altima, while issuing a recall for all other models with this part. Unfortunately, our vehicle fell outside the extended warranty window and Nissan will not help with the repair. I find it very disconcerting that Nissan would prefer to have its customers figure out that they have a problem by getting stranded in possibly dangerous situations than issue a recall to ensure that the problem never happens in the first place. I am asking that the NHTSA makes Nissan issue a recall for this problem so that others are not put in potential danger.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #156

Nov 182014


  • 95,000 miles
I tried to crank my car this morning (push start) my anti-theft light on my dashboard came on and it would not crank. The lights came on in my car but the car would not crank at all. Tried everything I could do and made calls but it will not crank.

- Blackshear, GA, USA

problem #155

Nov 092014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 78,862 miles


I went to osh with my kids. When we got back in the car it wouldn't start. Sat in parking lot for two hours. Had to have car towed eventually. Problem was a faulty steering lock control unit. Looked online - apparently hundreds of people have had this problem with the 2009 Altima (and imagine all the ones who haven't posted online). If you do a search in yahoo for "steering lock control unit, " 2009 Nissan Altima automatically pops up. They need to be recalled. It's not safe to have a car with a known problem that will cause it not to start and leave you stranded. Eventually, someone is going to get stuck somewhere and be hurt or killed.

- Clovis, CA, USA

problem #154

Sep 032014


  • 44,000 miles
I was trying to start my car and it would not start. The switch which allows the car to know you are pushing the brake did not work (push button ignition). I tried to put my key in the slot to start the car, but the car does not start if the car does not sense the brake is being pushed. This is a huge hazard. Good thing I was not stranded somewhere. I called Nissan with no help at all. A search on the internet revealed this is a problem that has not been addressed. The part number replaced is intermotor SL2110. Please respond with your investigation on this. Thank you.

- Springhill, FL, USA

problem #153

Sep 302014


  • 35,129 miles
Vehicle did not start. Vehicle was successfully jumped, driven for one (1) hour, then turned off, and then failed to start again. Vehicle was towed to mechanic. Mechanic diagnosed the problem to be a faulty brake pedal ignition switch, which is identical to Nissan service bulletin # ntb10-139. Vehicle was taken to pine belt Nissan, 111 highway 36, keyport, NJ, 07735-1424, who fixed the car and recommended I contact Nissan corporate for any reimbursement. Corporate Nissan, under confirmation number 315521 (spoke to raven), stated that "they are not in a position to pay for the parts", even after I told them that I would pay the labor. Nissan knowingly has put out a defective brake ignition switch that could cause the car to fail (not start) at any time, and will not work with the customer financially to replace the defective part with a good one. The vehicle was beyond its warranty time/mileage.

- Keyport, NJ, USA

problem #152

Oct 082014


  • miles


Vehicle would not start after short visit to convenience store. Problem believed to be "ignition lock cylinder" as many other complainants have already attested to. A continuing serious physical safety issue that should be recalled immediately. NHTSA has dropped the ball on this one!

- Anytown, NY, USA

problem #151

Sep 052014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
Will not start. Lights come on but engine won't start.

- Slidell, LA, USA

problem #150

Aug 082013


  • 31,000 miles
The car didn't want to start. It was parked at my house and I tried to start it wouldn't.

- Antioch , TN, USA

problem #149

Aug 062014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 72,822 miles
Have had several issues with my 2009 Nissan Altima. I bought it November 2012. By February 2013, I replaced tires. Was sold a car with incorrect license plates that owed registration fees to dmv. I almost got towed and didn't know why. Between February and November 2013, I replaced brakes, another set of tires, third brake light twice, and battery. May 2014, took it to rogers & rogers dealership for an oil change. Maintenance other light and tires on. (car was bought with a flashing tire maintenance light on) mounts and struts were replaced and was advised to replace sensors. August 2014, car wouldn't start again. Steering lock unit needs to be replaced. It's not covered under extended warranty. Rear left window doesn't work either. Everything adds up to over $3000.

- El Centro, CA, USA

problem #148

Jul 242014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 69,300 miles


Car will not start.dash display illuminates "no key",which is a "fob" type system which has a start button.this happened multiple times over the past 2 left at mike eardman Nissan of merritt island, fl today for replacement of the electronic lock module under the dash.Nissan warranty extension for up to 72 months just for this issue, a known problem.not a recall yet. Better not be a "diagnostic" fee for this.somebody needs to step up and demand a recall for this is all over the internet for the past several years, affecting 2009-2010 Nissan Altima's.

- Satellite Beach, FL, USA

problem #147

Mar 122014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 64,451 miles
Vehicle would not start. Appeared not to be a battery issue. Vehicle was towed to the dealership where I purchased the car. However, car started and electrical system seemed fine. Subsequently (after a discussion with the service person), it seemed apparent the there was a wheel lock switch assy failure (which is under a formal recall). I was told that the part is severely backordered. I then decided to return in a few months (during the next oil change) and attempt to schedule a warranty replacement per the formal recall. However, the dealership (grubbs Nissan in hurst, Texas) told me that "since the switch was not broken now, that they would not be able to honor the warranty". I was given a phone number to call corporate. After some research on the web, it appears that my warranty request should have been honored (especially since I already was stranded and had to pay for towing once before!). I will call corporate on Monday, but wanted to file this official complaint (if you look on the web, you can note countless people in the same situation with mixed results (obviously, very poorly communicated from corporate out to the dealerships or very poorly complied with at the dealerships (whichever is the answer, it is not acceptable). Thanks for listening, [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #146

Mar 282014


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle stalled. When the contact applied the brake pedal and pushed the ignition button, the vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. The failure occurred nearly 30 times. An independent mechanic stated that a sensor was faulty. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 90,000.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #145

Jul 072014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 72,300 miles
Car will not start.dash display illuminates "no key",which is a "fob" type system which has a start button.this happened multiple times over the past 2 left at Nissan of medford, MA today for replacement of the electronic lock module under the dash.Nissan extended the warranty for up to 72 months just for this issue, a known problem.not a recall yet.better not be a "diagnostic"fee for this.somebody needs to step up and demand a recall for this is all over the internet for the past several years, affecting 2009-2010 Nissan Altima's.

- Somerville, MA, USA

problem #144

Jul 072014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
2009 Nissan Altima intermittently will not start. Car will only click over and unable to shift car into neutral. Air conditioning and radio work, but when you press on brake to start car nothing happens. Dealers were unable to duplicate problem, but have been got caught out many times when car would not start and had to notify aaa. This is a common problem with many Nissan's and it is not covered under any warranty or recall.

- Newbury Park, CA, USA

problem #143

Jul 102014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
The car will not start. All electrics work, car and key fob batteries are new, but when you press the start button the car won't start. This 'gimmick' of a key-free vehicle is fundamentally defective and an internet review shows thousands of Nissan Altima owners having the same problem. Common wisdom says that the anti-theft steering lock is engaging when it should not and the repair cost is @ $1,000. Nissan should be required to fix this on recall as they did so on other vehicles and made changes to newer Altima models to address the problem. The effect is that I can't use my car at all even though it is in excellent condition in every other way.

- Folsom, CA, USA

problem #142

Jun 062014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 50,100 miles
Car will not start after pressing brake + start button. The steering wheel locks and the brake pedal becomes stiff. Only after trying multiple times will the car actually starts.

- Rosemead, CA, USA

problem #141

May 172014


  • 60,412 miles
Car doors unlocked normally, the dash showed a yellow key light blinking, no response to pushing the ignition button. Car locks and unlocks with the remote. Headlights worked battery was charged full. Exited the door, locked the car, unlocked the car, entered in - held the remote close to the ignition button. The dashboard still showed yellow key light blinking. Pushed ignition button no response. Upon googling there was a suggestion to removed negative from battery wait for a 5 minutes, reconnect and try. Same results after connecting the battery. One article suggested to move the adjustable steering up and down vigorously. I released the steering button underneath the steering and moved the steering up and down. Pushed the ignition button and the engine started. Drove to the dealer who refused to do correct the problem stating that at the time the dealer inspected the vehicle everything was fine. He did not want to see the video I captured showing the yellow key light blinking.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #140

Jan 302011


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start when activating the push-to-start button. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 95,000 and the current mileage was 125,000.

- Washington , DC, USA

problem #139

Mar 312014


  • 83,974 miles
Three months after installation of a new (dealer provided) battery, the positive terminal and cable had to be replaced due to heavy corrosion. The original car battery failed because of heavy corrosion around the positive terminal as well. The dealer service department said that the harness and cable should have been replaced at the time of battery replacement and do not know why this wasn't recommended. They stated that these batteries routinely vent excess gas that should condense into the battery compartment. They did not address the issue that heavy corrosion re-accumulated in a very short period of time (shorter than recommended maintenance intervals for the car). Further, this is not the first time I have heard of an Altima battery issue as my sister had to replace her battery twice as well. I would like the NHTSA to investigate if this is a repetitive issue with these batteries as this could lead to a safety problem if the car were to spontaneously shut down during driving due to battery malfunction.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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