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 4 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #323

May 182016


  • 900,000 miles


Steering wheel lock causing the car to stall completely.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #322

Dec 242015


  • 83,600 miles
Electronic steering column lock failure. Thankfully I was at work when this happened, so I was in a lit parking lot. However, this would have been very dangerous if I was stranded, as the car is completely inoperable once this occurs.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #321

Jul 052016


  • 0 miles
Electronic ignition wont start the car will not recognize the key. My friend had same issue cost him almost 1000K to repair the car. They told him that a common issue all cars have because its one manufacture who makes this key start

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #320

Jun 102016


  • 134,000 miles


My 2009 Nissan Altima had a defective steering lock that caused me to be stranded alone late at night on June 10, 2016 - not able to start my car. My car had to be towed to a dealer the next day. This is a very dangerous situation to be in because I had no warning that this was going to happen and this time it was not too cold. I was able to use my cellphone to call a friend to help. I had to get a ride back to my car the next day and wait for a tow truck. I was without my vehicle for 3 days waiting for it to be serviced. This cost me $900 to fix. This is a defective part in the 2009 Nissan Altima and there is no way to know if it will happen again and should be covered by a recall for the life of the car.

- East Providence, RI, USA

problem #319

Jun 122016


  • 90,000 miles
I was parked in the driveway at a relatives, had to move my vehicle from the driveway to the streets. When I came back out to start my vehicle to go home six hours later, it would not start. I contacted triple a, they wasn't successful getting my vehicle started, so I had the vehicle towed to pep boys which was unsuccessful, then I had the vehicle towed to the dealership.

- Avondale, AZ, USA

problem #318

Jun 042016


  • 89,000 miles
Drove to work on 6-4-2016. Went out to move my car and it wouldn't start. Lights were working, alarm was working but car would not start. I noticed a tiny key emblem on the dash that I had never seen before, come to find out it is the steering lock which there was a recall on. Called Nissan dealership to fix it and was told the recall expired in July 2015 and it would cost me approximately $900 to fix. I cannot afford 900 dollars for something that they should be fixing for free as it is a Nissan induced issue and nothing personal. I have been without a car for almost a week, having to beg rides from people just so I can support my family with the (2) jobs that im working.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #317

Jun 092016


  • miles


My 2009 Nissan ultima was parked in my work parking lot and would not start keyless entry pad mount function and had the lock steering gave me problems and it would not start I felt endangered because everyone at work left and I was all alone waiting for a tow truck.

- Westport, MA, USA

problem #316

May 172016


  • miles
Not too long ago my car would not start in several ocassions I had my children with me ages 4 & 7 in the heat stranded because my car would not recognize my key... I have contacted Nissan consumers affairs at one point their was a recall but has expire in its June 2016 and my car just started doing this I made 1yr with my pre owned car still makin payments not once was I notified about this recall..I just felt scared and this vehicle is not safe for me and my could leave us stranded any time and its June I cannot risk it in this heat.... this is a safety issue... Nissan did state to me that their was a recall and their sorry but it has expired and im responsible for the part... this is a manufacture issue they knew their vechicles had a safety issue when they made them I believe they are responsible for this costly matter... I am a single mom of 2 still making payments on a car that wont unlock and read my key I need help please someone..... this part is $680+ labor=$1150!!!! I believe Nissan is responsible for this issue...

- Vineland, NJ, USA

problem #315

May 222016


  • 83,000 miles
Passenger occupant sensor has failed. The amber passenger occupant dashboard light always remains on. This means that even with the seat occupied by an appropriate sized adult, the light says the occupant is not being 'sensed'. also, the control panel above the steering wheel has a red flashing airbag light. The Nissan dealership says the error code indicates a failure in the passenger seat occupant airbag sensor. My cost is at least $2400 to replace the passenger seat. I am unable to pay that kind of money. I am hoping for a Nissan recall or technical bulletin on that make, model and year. I see many other years of this make and model had the issue and the manufacturer fixed them at no cost. That is what I am hoping for. This car has never had an accident. This just happened out of the blue.

- Davenport, IA, USA

problem #314

May 292016


  • 80,000 miles
Electronic steering column lock is defective and will not allow the car to start leaving me stranded with my family without any other way or form of starting my car. Nissan will not respond or fix the issue due to expired warranty with only 80K on the car.

- La Habra, CA, USA

problem #313

Jun 022016


  • 43,918 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start as the key warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the electronic steering column lock needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 43,918.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #312

May 272016


  • miles
Steering lock malfunction and now I'm unable to start my car. Nissan knows about this and hasn't recalled and now my warranty is over and I have to pay $900 to get it fixed

- Greenwood, SC, USA

problem #311

May 192016


  • 89,406 miles
The electronic steering column lock failed after my son had parked his car at a convenience store. This left my son in a dangerous situation with no access to a functioning car in a neighborhood that I do not consider to be safe. The resolution was to call and wait for a tow truck to have the vehicle brought to the dealer where the issues was repaired. It is my understanding that this escl issue is a know problem for which Nissan initially issued a service bulletin and extended warrantee for that they have since withdrawn. I feel this issue should result N a recall for safety reasons as it can place a person in a dangerous situation without the ability to start the car.

- Plantsville, CT, USA

problem #310

May 232016


  • 147,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. While attempting to restart the vehicle, it failed to start. The vehicle was towed to the manufacturer where it was diagnosed that the steering wheel sensor lock malfunctioned. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 147,000. The VIN was unknown.

- Bellows Falls, VT, USA

problem #309

May 222016


  • 114,500 miles
Takata recall. My complaint is regarding the 2009 Nissan Altima steering lock failure. My lock failure occurred on 05-22-16. I returned home after a day of spending time with some friends. I parked my car and later that evening, I decided to go to the store. Once I got in the car, I couldn't start it. The brake was really hard to push and yellow key light illuminated from my dashboard. The fob would allow me to unlock and close doors. The lights worked, but the engine would not start. I was lucky enough to have this situation occur in the parking lot of my apartment complex otherwise the car could have broken down somewhere really unsafe. My vehicle had to be towed to the nearest Nissan dealership where it was fixed for $939.38

- Pickens, MS, USA

problem #308

May 162016


  • miles
I own a 2009 Nissan Altima on May 16, 2016 I arrived home at 10:30 I parked the car in my drive way turned the car off an went inside my house. I prepared my dad's lunch and went back inside the vehicle when I attempted to start the car it would no longer start the a red car light with key was blinking and a orange key as well my windows are rolled down and won't roll up and its been raining please help I called Nissan they asked if without hurting myself could I jerk the brake and start the car they want me to pay for a diagnostic at Nissan this has happened to so many people

- Lodi, CA, USA

problem #307

May 142016


  • 118,000 miles
Steering lock failed stranding me with a non starting car 190 miles from home with a toddler with no heat or ac.... it is a common Nissan failure and Nissan will not assist

- Toano, VA, USA

problem #306

May 062016


  • 120,000 miles
Steering lock mechanism failed causing my wife to be stranded. This problem is effecting thousands of other owners of 2009 Nissan Altima. There needs to be a recall on this part.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #305

May 032016


  • 143,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. When attempting to start the vehicle, it was unable to start. The "push to start" did not start the engine and the steering failed. The failure was included in an extended warranty; however, the contact was not sure if the vehicle would still be covered. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 143,000.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #304

May 022016


  • miles
The car will not start. There is a yellow key light on the dash and a red car light that blinks. The battery in the key is fine and opens the car doors and locks them ok. I got into the car this morning and it will not start.

- New Hyde Park, NY, USA

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