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.

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:
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 16 of 18)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #58

Jan 272013

Altima

  • miles

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

Attempted to start car with "push to start" ignition. Car sensed key, but I was unable to start ignition although I stepped on brake while pressing button. Lights work in car. Steering wheel is locked. Car starts with autostart using fob key, but when tries to put car in drive it shuts off. Attempted to put key in slot and push "start" button, but that attempt was also unsuccessful. Previously car was working fine.

- Farmingdale, NY, USA

problem #57

Jan 242013

Altima

  • miles
Dropped my son off at school, when I returned to the car, it would not start at all. The car recognized my key was present but push button did nothing. Manually using the key slot would not start the car either. Had to have the car towed and am being told that will cost $800-1100 to fix steering lock and that parts are on back order. Doing an internet search I have found literally hundreds of complaints on the same defect over the past three weeks. This did occur on a very cold day, about 10 degrees at the time.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #56

Jan 232013

Altima

  • 30,500 miles
Amber 'intelligent key' light started appearing on and off. Finally vehicle refused to engage starter and whirring noise indicating steering lock is functional no longer happens. Vehicle needs to be towed and research indicates the problem is common in 2009 Altima and other Nissan vehicles. Repair quotes online appear to be in the $900 range. Nissan needs to accept responsibility for this problem and issue a recall.

- Eagan, MN, USA

problem #55

Jan 232013

Altima

  • 70,000 miles

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

Trying to start vehicle, yellow key warning light came on and car would not start. This happened without warning and I was stranded at lunch 15 minutes from work with no way to get back. The steering lock unit failed to disengage. This part should be recalled since the same part (I've heard) was recalled on other Nissan models and can leave anyone in a dangerous situation.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #54

Jan 142013

Altima

  • 83,514 miles
The intelligent key warning light illuminated as I arrived at my office on the morning of 1/14/13. When I attempted to start the vehicle that afternoon, the push-start ignition remained in the "lock" position and the vehicle would not respond to repeated start attempts. Break lights and headlights continued to function correctly. Called local Nissan dealership and they instructed me to have the vehicle towed. After an hour, the Nissan service advisor contacted me with notice that the steering wheel lock control unit had failed and they estimated the total repair cost to be at $900. The dealership did not have the part in stock, but they were able to locate another dealership who was able to courier it over the following morning. I contacted Nissan North America on 1/23/13 and they refused to offer any compensation relative to the costs associated with this repair. This is a part that should have been recalled at least a year ago based on its apparently rampant history of failure for other Altima owners.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #53

Dec 302012

Altima

  • 28,887 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while parked, the engine failed to start when engaging the push-to-start switch. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician advised that the steering lock control unit needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and confirmed that the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 28,887 and the current mileage was 29,500.

- Furlong, PA, USA

problem #52

Jan 212013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 26,982 miles

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

Intelli key indicator light began illuminating two days ago. Last evening after dinner vehicle would not switch out of "lock" stranded in 15 degree temps waiting for tow for 2 hours. Nissan service advisor knew exactly what problem was. He called me later tonight to confirm electronic steering lock needed replacing. $800+. Nissan surely will recall "faulty" door handle springs at.50 cents a whack, but give me a break. It's time Nissan own up to the numerous 2009's that are having this part fail.

- Braintree, MA, USA

problem #51

Oct 202011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 33,022 miles
TPMS light blinks for a while and then stays on. The first incident happened at 33022 miles and again at 52033. It appears that the TPMS sensor batteries are defective causing the system to be unreliable.

- Huntersville, NC, USA

problem #50

Jan 082013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
I went to the valero in cabot, ar to get gas this past Wednesday morning before I was to go to work, and when I got back into my car and it wouldn't start. The intelligent key indicator light was on, and would not start. I could not press the brake it was very stiff and the start button would not come out of the lock position I read the owners manual, called the North little rock Nissan dealer, and realized there was nothing I could do except have it towed to the dealership. This is a 2009 model with 55,000 miles, and I take great care of it. The mechanic called me later and said I need a new steering lock unit. He said it would cost about $1200 to repair, and he said it isn't covered under warranty, and there was no recall, and to let him know what I wanted to do. This is faulty equipment from Nissan and this issue could not have been prevented by anything I could have done or not done. Not only do I not have $1200, but I have 3 kids and a job I that I need to get back & forth to. I have been stranded for 3 days now, I have missed work because I don't have another mode of transportation, my insurance covers nothing except $75 for the tow, and I have spent countless hours on my phone with Nissan. I'm without car, no way to get to work to support my family, and do not have enough groceries to survive the w/E !!! there should already be a recall on this, as I have read & been told by Nissan this has happened to 08,09,10 models. There definitely needs to be a formal recall on this part because it has affected too many people and it could easily result in death if the lock out takes place in traffic.. I have been unable to get the dealer to work with me, much less return my calls or emails. I may very well lose my job if I have to take off work anymore, because I do not have another means of transportation... pathetic.

- Cabot, AR, USA

problem #49

Jan 142013

Altima

  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the engine failed to start when engaging the push-to-start switch. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer, who informed the contact that the steering lock mechanism would need to be replaced. The required part was ordered and the vehicle was scheduled for repairs when the part would become available. The manufacturer was not notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #48

Jan 152013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles

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

My wife was about to head home from work in the afternoon. The key fob unlocked the car like usual but the car was unresponsive in her attempt to start it. The key light was illuminated on the dash. We tried a number of things but the push-to-start button wouldn't change out of the 'lock' position - even to go to 'accessory' mode. I had the car towed to a local Nissan dealer which informed us that the steering lock unit malfunctioned and will have to be replaced. The car will not be able to start up until it is fixed. The part is not under warranty and costs close to $500. My final quote was $864 from the dealer. The car will have to be reprogrammed, so there is no way to circumvent the dealer's cost. Nissan needs to own up to their mistake and recall this defective part.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #47

Jan 082013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 78,019 miles
Car failed to start, intelligent key would not work. Aftermarket remote start system was used to start car and drive home, perhaps 15 miles. Next day, remote start system was used to start car and drive to dealer, 40 miles away. After about 15 miles, everything died while on the interstate and had to coast to the shoulder. Car was then towed remainder of way to dealer. Diagnosed as defective steering lock and replaced. Dealer said aftermarket remote start system probably timed out, which is why it died on the interstate.

- Columbus, IN, USA

problem #46

Jan 092013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 58,910 miles
Car would not start. Yellow key light and flashing red key light on panel. Seemed like a security anti-theft problem but it turned out to be a faulty steering lock mechanism. A $700 repair. And, what's worse is, there was no recall for this item even with many complaints reported. This was recalled on other Nissan models (cube, 390, etc) but no on the Altima. Not happy.

- Carlisle, PA, USA

problem #45

Jan 082013

Altima

  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the intelligence key malfunction warning light illuminated and the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the technician stated that the electronic steering column lock needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 73,000. The VIN was not available.

- Temple, TX, USA

problem #44

Jan 092013

Altima

  • 85,320 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while starting the vehicle, the intelligence key malfunction warning light illuminated and the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for a diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 85,320.

- Woodbridge , VA, USA

problem #43

Jan 072013

Altima

  • 16,501 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that all attempts to start the vehicle with the intelligent key failed. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the contact was informed that the steering lock mechanism needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified but offered no assistance. The failure and current mileage was 16,501.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #42

Jan 022013

Altima

  • 83,000 miles
Parked car turned it off then when I returned the car would no longer do anything. It is a push to start and is not controlled with a key. So therefore when I got out of the store and returned to the car it no longer worked. It is said that this happens frequently to '09 Altima's yet they can not find the parts to my car.

- Ambrose, GA, USA

problem #41

Dec 272012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
[xxx], atlanta, Georgia my daughter's 2009 Nissan Altima did the same thing. She came over for a visit and upon leaving her car would not crank. My husband and I did all of the troubleshooting according to the manual to no avail. I called the dealership where she purchased the vehicle and he immediately knew what the problem was. He wanted to sell here another Altima, because Nissan knew this was an issue, so they stopped putting this mechanism on the 2012 models. Nissan who has a good standing and have millions of cars on the road should do right by consumers who purchased their vehicles and had this problem. I am going to send this complaint site to my local news station and try to put some fire under Nissan. This is ridiculous and other consumers need to be aware of this problem. The repair cost of our Nissan Altima was $919. I see several differences in the repair cost too. We cannot sit by and let consumers continue to be charged substantial amount of money for repair cost when Nissan know there is a problem with the steering lock mechanism. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Stockbridge, GA, USA

problem #40

Jan 082013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
When I attempted to start the engine the car failed to start. I noticed that there was an indicator in my dash that I had never seen. It was a red indicator that I would later find out showed a problem with my steering lock mechanism. The car would not move past the "lock" stage and I had to promptly have it towed to the Nissan dealership. This repair cost $800 before taxes. I have found that there have been many similar claims in the past few months. I would just like for my case to be known with others that have had a similar position. I hope to be reimbursed for this issue as its a obviously a mechanical malfunction and not something an owner should be held liable for.

- Rensselaer, NY, USA

problem #39

Jan 072013

Altima

  • 65,000 miles
Drove the car into work just fine. Seven hours later when I was leaving to go home car would not start. Key light was on in dashboard but nothing would happen. Jumped the battery, reset the batter, even took out the battery to get it tested. Still nothing. Finally paid $70 to get it towed to Nissan dealership (less than 3 miles) and it is the steering lock control unit, which cost $978 to replace. Apparently this happens when it is cold out. Nissan needs to recall these vehicles and reimburse everyone who have had similar issues. I will never buy another Nissan and you bet I'm going to tell everyone I know!!

- Conroe, TX, USA

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