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:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,341 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 13 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #138

Feb 172014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
When returning to my car after work on February 14th, 2014 the engine would not start using the automatic start intelligent key system in my 2009 Nissan Altima. Upon doing research, I found this is a highly common issue with the 2009 Nissan Altima model. There are also various independent petitions and class action suits being filed by individuals who have been affected by the same part malfunction. In fact, the complications involving the electronic steering column lock (escl) mechanism was so common that Nissan did not implement this part into the 2010 or in any future Altima vehicles. In addition (and in effort to avoid a recall situation) Nissan North american, Inc issued a warranty extension - "as it applies to the electronic steering column lock unit to 6 years/unlimited miles." Furthermore, Nissan also sent a technical service bulletin to all service shops on how to handle this problem concerning 2009 Altima's. ultimately Nissan North America, Inc. Denied my request to utilize a buy back program toward their 2009 Altima and also denied me any further details as to how they reached their decision. The regional specialist said she could only say ┐┐arbitration decision(s) are always based on the service history of vehicle. Too close, it is in my opinion Nissan has monopolistic controls on consumers in this situation. Only a Nissan dealership/service shop can diagnose the escl malfunction, as it requires a Nissan product specific scan tool, and it is their company's arbitration department who facilitates all legal decisions at which are typically not in favor of the consumer. I do not believe a service history of vehicle is material information in this scenario. Nissan should be obligated to buy back any-and-all 2009 Nissan Altima when asked to do so by their consumers who purchased this product in good faith. Updated 04/07/14

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #137

Feb 192014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles


On the morning of 2/19/14 6:00 am proceeded to start car to use in walking distance. Both remote batteries were changed within 30 days previously by dealer. Every command on remote seem to work except that the car didn't recognize the remote to start the car. There were "no key" symbols on the dash. The car just returned from a hundred mile trip. Thank god it didn't happen then. Missing work, towing charges, big inconvenience. Nissan is responsible for this under recall!!!

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #136

Feb 052014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 61,989 miles
While I was driving my vehicle two alarms were going of on my dash board. I had no clue what either one meant but both include a key type alarm. I was afraid that my car would shut down in the middle of the road thinking I was a burglar. I pulled off to the side of the road, with the vehicle still running, and called a friend to drive behind me while we both had our hazards on. Since then I could only start my vehicle once and at that time I took it to a dealership, with my friend so I had a ride back, and I told them I was having trouble starting my car. They knew exactly the problem and what type of Nissan I was driving, they had two others come in within the last month, before I could explain anything and proceeded to explain to me that the part was on back order and said they would give me a call if they could do anything. Driving back home without ever turning off my car was very stressful and when I did return I turned it off and immediately tried to turn back on and it would not start.

- Big Spring, TX, USA

problem #135

Feb 142014


  • 26,000 miles
Replaced battery in fod still want crank says no key.

- Dalton, GA, USA

problem #134

Feb 082014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 18,800 miles
This past Saturday 2/8/14 at approximately 9pm I ran to the store. After shopping when getting back into my car it would not crank; it's like the car did not recognize the key. Steering wheel was locked, brake was stiff and red key light appeared on dashboard. I tried everything, nothing. I had to call my husband, to come get me. Luckily I didn't go far!! we had the car towed Monday morning to the dealership where it was purchased and were informed it was an issue with the sensor in the ignition recognizing the key fob and that it would be covered under extended warranty. The part to fix this problem is however on back order and they cannot give me a definite answer as to when it will be received? on Wednesday 2/13 I was provided with a rental until our car is repaired so at least I have transportation for work. Our car has less than 20,000K miles (I know I don't travel too far) and is paid for, so this is very disturbing. I suppose as long as it's fixed and is warrantied for any future issues for this same problem, I will have to deal with it - but this could be a very dangerous and inconvenient situation to place people in. If this is a known problem there needs to be a recall to alert customers to the situation. Our dealership has been very pleasant to deal with, have been accommodating, just can't answer the "when the part will be here question"; which isn't their fault; I have no complaints with them they have been great. I would just like the problem to be acknowledged so that others don't have to suffer the same inconvenience and possible danger of having this happen to them. From previous posts this is not an issue that just happened to me!

- Pascagoula, MS, USA

problem #133

Feb 102014


  • 104,000 miles


I was trying to get to the er and when I went to start my car the word "key" flashed on and the car will not start!!! I have already had to have the transmission replaced at 98K I am stranded and mathews Nissan in clarksville, tn says they will be glad to help for a price. I explained to them it was an emergency and they suggested " I call a friend".. said they didn't build it and I wasn't paying them for the car, I was paying the bank and to call Nissan if I had a problem with how they were built!!! terrible service and unreliable car!!! still haven't gotten medical attention!!!! thanks alot Nissan!!!!!!!

- Pleasant View, TN, USA

problem #132

Feb 042014


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start as the security warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 61,000.

- Covington, GA, USA

problem #131

Feb 102014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
This is probably the coldest day we have had in East Texas this winter especially when including the windchill factor. I came home at 5:45, parked my car in the garage, and went inside. When my son when to start the car at 9:30, it would not start. It would not recognize his key, he woke me up and we tried mine, it still will not start. We spent the next four hours disconnecting the battery, manually moving the car in and out of the garage, and even tried to jump start it as suggested on this site. Nothing worked. The car will not recognize the key and has the key light flashing in the top left corner. There was no warning and I am grateful after reading all of the complaints on here that it went out in my garage. We have narrowed it down to the steering lock module failure. The battery is only 2 years old and all the lights work, the car just won't start because it won't recognize the key fob. I'm going to call the dealership where I purchased this car this morning but I am very concerned about the lack of availability of this part and how I am going to get alternate transportation until this is fixed. This is a known problem with this part and was covered by warranty which was extended for unlimited miles for this part only. Currently, the part is not available due to high level of failures across the us. Part is susceptible to higher failure in extreme cold weather. Nissan you need to make good on this or it will be the last car many of us will buy from you.

- Tyler, TX, USA

problem #130

Feb 082014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 61,012 miles
I went to run an errand and when I came back out to my car from the store, it wouldn't start. I found that the "no key" warning light was lit on the dash and the vehicle security warning light would turn on when I tried to start the vehicle. When I pushed the start button, nothing happened, it stayed in the "lock" setting. After trying everything I could think of (with no tools available), including using both keys, to get the car to start and reading the owner's manual I realized that my car was not going to start. I was able to get a ride home and researched the issue where I found hundreds of complaints on the NHTSA website, along with threads on forums describing the exact same issue. I had to get the car towed to the dealership, where it was replaced free of charge because Nissan knows that this is a failed part and has extended the warranty. However, there should have been a recall on this as this failure renders the car incapable of starting and since there seems to be a lot of people affected by this failure. I have contacted Nissan about paying for my towing bill since, if there was a recall, I could have driven my vehicle to the dealership while it was still working to have the part replaced proactively instead of having to be stranded and charged for a towing bill.

- Abingdon, MD, USA

problem #129

Feb 072014


  • miles
Trying to start my 2009 Nissan Altima, it would not start!!! the brakes were almost stuck and the car simply would not start! the lights in the car turned on with out a problem so I know it wasn't the battery, plus I changed it 2 years ago. After reading many many reviews, 2009 Nissan Altima are having issues with the start button, now I have to pay tow company to take to dealer and pay so much money. Please please Nissan help replace this!!

- New Carrollton, MD, USA

problem #128

Feb 052014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
On Wednesday, February 5th at approximately 7:00pm I tried to start my car (which was parked on my driveway) via push start and a lock and key symbol appeared and my vehicle would not start. I looked up the symbols in my manual and it stated that this was an electrical problem with the start. I called the Nissan dealer in my area here in pa and explained what was happening to the car. They told me to have it towed in to be diagnosed. Which I will be doing today 02/06/14.

- Scotrun, PA, USA

problem #127

Feb 052014


  • 60,000 miles
2009 Altima sedan would not recognize my key this morning and the steering wheel was locked up. The anti-theft immobilizer system was engaged and the car was rendered useless. After contact with the dealer, there are many people with similar issues, the part is on back order and "they will contact me the part becomes available and when Nissan corporate determines how they are going to handle this problem". meanwhile the consumer is without a vehicle. I purchased this vehicle new and it has been excellent up until this point with no mechanical issues but this is something Nissan should take care of immediately. Huge inconvenience!

- Saint Cloud, FL, USA

problem #126

Feb 012014


  • 63,200 miles
My 2009 Nissan Altima coupe with 63,200 miles would not start last Saturday, 2/1. the steering column was locked, the brakes were locked, and the push to start button would not light up or start the car. The red light for the key was flashing and the car could never be started. My vehicle was towed to leith Nissan in cary, nc where service members there said this was a common problem and currently have two other vehicles in line for the same part. The electrical part for the start button is on serious backorder and the company has such a high demand for it that even Nissan corporate is saying it will be a few weeks to get the part in. The service staff at leith Nissan in cary, nc said this problem has been common and that Nissan was not recalling this part though they have knowledge this a serious issue affecting many Nissan car owners for a some time now. Leith Nissan told me to call corporate and anyone else I could to raise this concern and that maybe something would be done. Hundreds of other Nissan owners have posted this exact problem online and filed claims as well. Nissan needs to recall the part and reimburse those affected for rental cars and other expenses. I called the Nissan corporate office demanding reimbursement for rental car fees. The NHTSA needs to put a stop to this and enforce Nissan to recall this part on all Altima's. apparently this exact part has already been recalled on other Nissan vehicles.

- Apex, NC, USA

problem #125

Jan 212014


  • 95,000 miles
Would not start, electronic locking mech malfunction....pregnant wife got stranded without warning in negative degree issue.....not to mention, tow bill, time lost from work, and making arrangements, obtaining, paying for alternate transportation, while the part is currently on back order for going on 2 weeks now......luckily wife was only 30 minutes from home or could have been worse but was still potentially very dangerous getting stranded in negative degree weather.

- Corbin, KY, USA

problem #124

Feb 012014


  • 37,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the engine would not start. The contact had an independent mechanic inspect the vehicle but he was unable to diagnose the cause of failure. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 37,000.

- Braintree, MA, USA

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