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 18 of 18)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

Dec 032012


  • 60,150 miles


After work my wife's car would not start. The intelligent key warning light was on but the push button was non responsive even with the fob in the key fob slot. We had the vehicle towed to the dealer and was told it the steering lock control unit had gone bad and is preventing the ignition swith from working. This part should be recalled by Nissan since it prevents starting the car leaving you stranded.

- Cedar Park, TX, USA

problem #17

Nov 262012


  • 57,000 miles
Went out to start car in the am to leave for work and car wouldnt start. All electrics however still did, . steering wheel was locked I couldnt get it out of park. Tried to jump it. That didnt work eitther. So we replaced the battery. That didnt work. Still wouldnt start. Dealer came and towed it to the dealership today. Said its the steering lock assembly going bad. I need it replaced. Its not covered under warrenty. $723 it will cost me. Dealership stated they have had this issue with many many 2009 Altima.. why is this not a recalled part?

- Hooper, UT, USA

problem #16

Nov 252012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
2009 Nissan Altima coupe was in parking lot and would not start. The intelligent key warning light was on dash. Had car towed to dealer. They advised steering lock control unit (part #48700-9N00B) was bad. This is a common problem on '09 Altima as well as 370Z. Dealer offered 10% discount and advised $600 total. I called Nissan customer care and escalated to regional office. This is a real safety issue because who knows where and when you can be stranded. Nissan has recalled this part on other models and discontinued this feature on subsequent models. This is a safety issue and something needs to be done!

- Camp Hill, PA, USA

problem #15

Nov 112012


  • miles


Car will not start. The ikey light and the "red key" security light come on. The ikey opens the door locks, trunk. Holding the unlock key down resulted in the windows rolling down. Could not get the widows to go back up. Disconnecting the battery for 10 minutes, replacing the battery in the key fob, using either key did not work. Towed car to the dealer for diagnostics.

- Clarksville, MD, USA

problem #14

Nov 062012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
This morning was very cold. I warmed my car up, went to vote. When I left the poll, I get to my car and it won't start, says that there is no fob in the car. The red security light is flashing. So I put the fob in the "doghouse" that is supposed to work as a back up method.. nothing.. still won't start.. disconnected the battery, reconnected and tried again.. nothing. Did all my research to find many many page so complains about it.. it's the steering lock mechanism. Seems they did away with that feature in late 2010 models.. guess they know why.. so now I'm stuck with a $700 bill for an issue hundreds of people are having. As a matter of fact, my car was the second 09 of the day with the same exact issue. Coincidence?? I think not.

- Bozrah, CT, USA

problem #13

Oct 302012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
My car it would not start. There was absolutely no activation of the ignition system. After following all trouble shooting advice in the car's manual, I towed the car to dealer where they stated an open circuit in steering control unit is not telling the control unit that the steering wheel is unlocked and ready to start. The steering lock control unit (part# 487009N00B) needed to be replaced. This is all part of the vehicle anti-theft immobilizer system. The cost to replace this unit was $1,062.90. I feel this is a serious safety flaw in the 2009 Nissan Altima. 1. this was a fully functioning car (except for anti-theft glitch) that left me and my daughter stranded in a very remote area. 2. Nissan promotes how safe, reliable and economical their cars are, but the anti-theft system can disable the vehicle leaving driver stranded with only one option, which is, to be towed to a dealer because of ant-theft system glitches. 3. the car, being economical, should not require an over $1,000 repair because of an anti-theft device circuit malfunction. 4. there are several conditions that can occur that will result in the Nissan Altima becoming immobilized stranding drivers. I am stating only one. This is particularly dangerous especially to female drivers. 5. I feel that Nissan should come up with an override code or device that will allow a driver to escape from potentially dangerous situations that were created by Nissan's vehicle immobilizer system. Especially when the car is fully functional except for an anti-theft immobilizing circuit falsely telling that the vehicle is not ready to start. I believe this is a serious safety flaw in their vehicle security system.

- Lutherville Timonium, MD, USA

problem #12

Aug 302010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 69,500 miles


Car will not start. The intelligent key warning light is on and preventing me from starting the car.

- Calumet City, IL, USA

problem #11

Oct 082012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 44,150 miles
09 Nissan Altima just over 44K miles the steering wheel lock malfunctioned. No lights on dashboard, brake pedal very stiff, the vehicle will recognize that the key is inside and outside and is inserted at the location on the left side on driver and is able to lock and unlock but it will not start at all. Towed to dealer and as I am over my 36K warranty but not over the 3 year warranty I had to pay over $800 to fix for a vehicle that is not even over 3 years old. I will not buy another Nissan again.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #10

Sep 292012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 18,730 miles
Failure of car battery 18,730 miles I noted a strong smell of rotten eggs a few months ago and found that the positive post on the battery had considerable corrosion. I cleaned it off as best I could and hoped that would solve the problem. The smell of rotten eggs has continued and the corrosion returned and even more. It would appear that the positive post is no longer sealed into the battery. The battery is no longer a sealed maintenance free battery and thus is allowing sulfuric acid fumes to leak out around the post and corrode the terminal and all connecting cables.

- Enterprise, AL, USA

problem #9

Sep 192012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 40,971 miles
Brake lights not lighting & push to start not working at times. Nissan said this is a known issue with the brake light switch & sub harness. After investigating the issue on the internet I found numerous reports of this problem. When the switch fails you are not aware of your brake lights not working.

- Little Silver, NJ, USA

problem #8

May 042012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 62,203 miles


I drove my 09 Altima to the mall parked it, an hour later I tried turning it on and it wouldn't start. No crank, and it wouldn't even go to acc. I tried jump starting it and even change out the battery but no luck.

- Lynwood, CA, USA

problem #7

Feb 212012


  • 44,193 miles
My 2009 Nissan Altima would not start. Vehicle is equipped with factory intelligent key starting system, and the intelligent key warning light would blink on the dash.had vehicle towed to nearest Nissan dealer. A faulty steering lock control unit (part #48700-9N00B) needed to be replaced. This is becoming a common issue with 2008-2009 Nissan Altima's and other Nissan vehicles produced in those years. A recall should be started!

- Southbury, CT, USA

problem #6

Jul 112011


  • 43,400 miles
2009 Nissan Altima 2.5S was backed into in a parking lot, low speed collision, minor damage to rear bumper. A few days after this incident, when trying to start car with keyless ignition system, it took nearly 30 minutes to start. It is required that the brakes be depressed to start car, but when pushing on brakes, the brake lights do not turn on, and when ignition button is pushed it only turns on the accessories, which is the normal action expected if brake pedal was not being pressed. It is not clear if this is because of the collision or just highly coincidental. I believe that this is a problem with the brake switch. This is now an intermittent problem, but has made the car unreliable with the possibility to leave a driver stranded.

- Lincoln, NE, USA

problem #5

Jan 012011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
My 2009 Nissan Altima power windows that when you use the required buttons to raise the window or windows they raise themselves without the assistance of keeping your finger on the upside of the button. So they raise up automatically and if you have kids or dogs or someonewith their head, hands or fingers the window does not stop until it reaches the closed position. My dog was caught in one but I was fast enough to stop and lower the window. What if a child has any part of their body and one does not see them. These windows should not have the automatic up feature.

- Hollister, CA, USA

problem #4

Jan 162011


  • 40,100 miles
Intelligent key waning light would flash infrequently while driving and this warning warns of BCM failure and the end result is the vehicle will not start leaving the driver stranded at any place and time. Repairs have not been completed yet, but I was told that BCM replacement would solve the problem.

- Oklahoma, OK, USA

problem #3

Mar 012010

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle began to jerk and exhibit trouble moving forward. Also, the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed of a failure within the electrical system. The system was repaired. Approximately five months later, the vehicle would not start and was towed to an authorized dealer where the vehicle was diagnosed (contact could not recall the diagnosis); an unknown repair was performed. Approximately four months later, the vehicle experienced the same failure and the vehicle would not start. The during the failure, the anti-theft light began illuminated and after repeated attempts, the contact was able to get the vehicle started. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the ipdm failed; the vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage is approximately 21,000. Updated 03/02/11 updated 03/08/11

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #2

Aug 132009


  • 370 miles
Purchased new 2009 Nissan Altima on July 31st 2009, car died on August 13th 2009. Dealer stated fusible link failure, to date (Aug 19 09) no response from dealer per status on the vehicle. Is there a problem associated with this as it relates to this vehicle ??. please let me know. Updated 08/27/09 the consumer received a call and was told the vehicle had a cracked engine from the manufacturing. Updated 08/31/09.

- Queens, NY, USA

problem #1

Jan 232009


  • 1,478 miles
The 2009 Nissan Altima has an electrical discharge design flaw. The headlights turn off automatically after 5 minutes, apparently the battery rapidly drains even after the auto-headlight shutoff with the car turned off. I purchased a 2009 Nissan Altima 2500S December 7th, 2008, the car died January 23rd, 2009. I drove the car from home to work in the rain. The car was parked for around 10 hours, after returning to drive home, the car was dead - the keyless entry didn't work, using the mechanical key to enter the car, the start button didn't work. Aaa couldn't tow the car due to a height beam blocking the tow truck - the car couldn't be moved because the car was frozen in park due to the dead electrical system - the trunk couldn't be opened with the switch on the trunk or by the switch on the dash. Aaa jumped the battery and the car has run for 3 days now without any problems. The battery was so fully drained that the radio needed to be reprogrammed with the time and stations. This raises questions of how many safety systems relying on the battery will fail - for example the car can roll away if shutoff in neutral - if the battery discharges, is the shift gear then frozen in neutral? the rapid discharge of the battery with the car off is a design flaw which leaves the consumer stranded, potentially in a dangerous situation.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

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