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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2009-2010 Nissan Altima appears to have a defect where it occasionally refuses to start. We know the feeling, but it's just not acceptable in a car.

For the fix, Nissan dealers enjoy replacing the steering lock control unit for $800. Stranded Nissan owners have found that banging like hell on the steering lock unit at the base of the steering column will do the trick. Yes, the same unit that apparently has $800 worth of electronics.

How far do you have to drive to experience this? The average mileage at failure is just over 55,000 very short miles.

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


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
57,871 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 2 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #154

Nov 092014


  • 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 contol 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 #153

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 investion on this. Thank you.

- Springhill, FL, USA

problem #152

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 #151

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 #150

Sep 052014


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

- Slidell, LA, USA

problem #149

Aug 082013


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

- Antioch , TN, USA

problem #148

Jul 242014


  • 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 weeks.car 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 issue.it is all over the internet for the past several years, affecting 2009-2010 Nissan Altima's.

- Satellite Beach, FL, USA

problem #147

Mar 122014


  • 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, bruce campbell

- 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


  • 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 weeks.car 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 issue.it is all over the internet for the past several years, affecting 2009-2010 Nissan Altima's.

- Somerville, MA, USA

problem #144

Jul 072014


  • 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

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

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