If you find CarComplaints.com is helpful ... We rely completely on word of mouth. Talk about us on Facebook, Twitter, tell your mother-in-law. Help us help more people.

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 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,824 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 engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2009 Nissan Altima:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Feb 062014


  • 1,400 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning while parked. The manufacturer was contacted and stated that the contact would have to have the vehicle diagnosed by dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 1400.

- Luisville , TX, USA

problem #21

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 nhsta 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 #20

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

problem #19

Jan 202014


  • 62,500 miles


Car would not start due to failure of the steering lock device

- Greenwich, CT, USA

problem #18

Nov 252013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 14,500 miles
On Monday night 11/25/13 I drove to my local supermarket and when I went back to my car, it wouldn't start after pushing the start button. Several lights lit up; service engine soon, battery, oil light, brake light etc. I tried it a few times with no luck. I then tried shifting from park to drive and back to park. Tried to start it again and no luck. After waiting about a minute I tried it again and it finally started. It has been starting since then (today is 11/29/13) but needless to say I am very nervous and concerned that this will happen again and I won't be near home. This needs to be looked into by Nissan and a recall issued since it seems to be happening to many owners.. my brother also owns a 2009 Altima and this happened to him last year and he had to get the car towed to the dealer.

- E Rockaway, NY, USA

problem #17

Nov 202013


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the push-to-start button failed to engage the engine. The vehicle was towed the dealer where the contact was awaiting diagnosis of the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 60,000.

- Ocean City, MD, USA

problem #16

Nov 142013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 35,675 miles


Two incidents on same day: First incident at 7:15am: Engine continued to rev without accelerator pedal being pushed. Braking distance much longer than normal. When car did stop, engine speed returned to normal. Second incidence at 10:45am (had stopped/started car 5 times, and driven approximately 40 miles since first occurrence): Same engine over-rev issue while braking (accelerator pedal not pushed). After stopping (distance required much longer than normal), engine speed did not return to normal. When transmission was shifted to neutral, then park, to keep engine from propelling car, engine speed went to 6000rpm, without accelerator pedal being pushed. Had to turn engine off, then start again to get engine to respond normally.

- Trenton, GA, USA

problem #15

Nov 052013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
I was driving on rt.190 northbound in leominster, MA to pick up my 2 1/2 year old son at daycare. As I was driving my car started to lose power. Everything light started to go on, check engine, battery, gas. I was able to pull over. Smoke then started to come from the hood. I thought it was overheating. Then another car pulled over in front of me and told me to get out the car. I grabbed my purse and got out of my car. When I got out I saw fire inside in my hood. Less than 2 minutes my entire front end was on fire.

- Leominster, MA, USA

problem #14

Oct 142013


  • 68,800 miles
2009 Nissan Altima coupe, SE. While making turns (without stopping), the car stalls in the middle of the turn and the steering locks up. The most recent time was October 14, 2013, and while making a right hand turn from a busy street and onto a busy street, the vehicle stalled which almost caused an accident due to another car making a left hand turn. Nissan has a current recall on several models regarding this happening due to a faulty accelerator sensor, however this vehicle (make, model, year) are not in the recall, and I suspect it should be. Could be a very dangerous situation. This has happened to me at least 10 times.

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #13

May 102013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
This part is cracked/broken just like all the other Nissan Altima exhaust manifolds. Had it happened six months earlier it would be covered under warranty. Six months, 9000 miles"?? its a $18000 car. A vital emissions part made of steel cracked and they wont fix it" there is a recall, ntb12-092 in effect for this car but according to Nissan my car doesn't fit the parameters because of the VIN#.it clearly has the exact same problem as the other cars, a defective emissions part and should be included in this safety recall.

- Citrus Heights, CA, USA

problem #12

Jul 172013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 30,837 miles


While driving down route 1 in norwood, MA. My dashboard panel went dark and my engine shut off. I was driving approximately 40 mph. I was able to coast to a stop, put the car in park and restart the engine. The engine did not sputter, or present any issue prior to the shut down. I took the car to the dealer and they said there was nothing wrong with the car. This leaves me feeling very uncomfortable as with no root cause identified it could happen again in a heavier traffic situation. Besides my own safety, I am concerned for other Altima owners.

- Norwood, MA, USA

problem #11

Apr 262013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
Driving down the road when the car started to stutter pulling over to the side of the highway the car begin to smoke under the hood. I came to a complete stop and got out the car. Flames begin to come from under the hood. After the fire was put out we spoke to the fire marshall ([xxx]) who stated the fire started from mid engine line. And more than likely the car was on fire while I was driving. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #10

Jan 142013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 70,297 miles
I went to shop-rite at 6 am to purchase lunch meat for my daughters school lunch. When I went to start the car it would not start. I thought it was the battery so I read the car manual on how to jump a car battery. In the car manual on page 0-12, the warning /indicator lights, page.I saw a picture of the warning indicator that was on my dash board and it had a page number 2-26. On the page it read" it is a security indicator light, to call the dealership" the car would not start with the push button.the car does not have a back up key entry either. So I was stranded at the supermarket.I had to call a tow truck in order for me to get home. I had the company who towed the car and who has been servicing our family cars for years call Nissan to see how Nissan can fix the car. Nissan advised that this part is not under warranty or under any recall and that there is nothing that they can do. They said it will cause me an estimated $3000 dollars to get the car fixed. Mind you the car is only 3 1/2 years old and I am still making car payments. [xxx] who towed and fixed the car doubled checked for me to see if this part was under a Nissan recall or if this part is under warranty, to my surprise it is not.I can't believe that a push button car does not have a back up to start a car when the push button malfunction. This does not make any sense. I can not believe that there is no alternate way of starting a car when a push button does not work. Thank goodness that this happened close to home and not while I was out with my daughters. How can a car be built with out any back up plan. Better yet how can this happen to a 3 year old car with only 70297 miles. Also my tires have been recalled and the engine was recalled and lastly my passenger air bag goes on when it wants to. I am paying so much money for a lemon and no one can help me. I will never buy a Nissan again. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Colonia , NJ, USA

problem #9

Apr 232013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 46,711 miles
After arriving home, I parked my car and went into the house. When I attempted to re-enter my car approximately 1 hour later, I pressed the brake and pushed the start button as I have done since purchasing my car approx. 4 months ago. The car would not start. The push brake sign was still illuminated and the steering wheel would not move. The brake was very hard. I left the car alone and said I would try again in the morning. I went to my vehicle at about 8:30am in the morning and problem occurred again; however, the engine finally started about 5 minutes later. I drove the car to the dealership and they diagnosed the issue to be a faulty break switch. Since the car was no longer under warranty (36 months/ 36000 miles) I had to pay $173 to fix this issue which would have been more if I had not complained that the dealership was charging 2 hours labor and diagnosis for a 1 hour job. After researching the issue online I have found several other owners experiencing the same issue with their 2009 Nissan Altima. Nissan needs to address this issue as I could have been stranded in a remote location or overnight.

- Riverdale , GA, USA

problem #8

Mar 132013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
On 3/13/2013 I drove my vehicle to work at approximately 8:55am and parked everything in car was fully operational and functioned properly. At 6:30pm I approached my vehicle unlocked the door using my key fob, entered the vehicle and proceeded to press the ignition button and nothing happens. After switching on the headlights and noticing no power issues I noticed a flashing indicator light in the dash that said no key present. After being the only car left in the dark secluded parking lot I started off on a journey to purchase a battery for the key fob and it did not solve the phenomenon. I had the vehicle towed to the nearest dealership which is about 60 miles away from my home. The dealer after investigating for a matter of minutes were quickly able to diagnose the problem which was a steering lock module that was very costly. Upon further research, I found that there are a great number of Altima's and other Nissan vehicle that are infected with the same defective steering lock devices that causes you to randomly be stranded in secluded areas without prior notice. This I find highly unethical for Nissan to be totally aware of such defective equipment and not have any concern for the welfare of it's customers nor their children. Im hoping that the NHTSA can protect consumers from bullies like Nissan and help us get the recall we deserve. All we want is a reliable product that can perform the way it was intended to perform. So let's do what is necessary to hold Nissan up to the american standard of putting out quality reliable products and not ripping off consumers.

- Powder Springs, GA, USA

problem #7

Jan 212013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
Car would not start / computer lock / car had to be towed.

- Saddle Brook, NJ, USA

problem #6

Jan 272013


  • miles
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 #5

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 #4

Dec 162012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
Our Altima has failed to recognize our intelligent keys and will not start. The doors will lock and unlock. The alarm will sound and the trunk will open but the car will not start. I'm being told this is due to a faulty steering lock mechanism that has been recalled in some Nissan models but not the Altima. The part itself is $500 and the labor will take it to almost $1000 or more. This is completely absurd. What would happen if this happened to my wife and infant daughter on the wrong side of town. What if this part had failed when we were in the mountains or off the beaten path. If a part is going to be recalled in one model, it needs to be recalled in all models. This is extremely unsafe and to know that Nissan is aware of this issue is unacceptable. We also own a murano that uses an actual key to start --- I'm considering replacing both after learning about this. I hope someone will respond to this.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #3

Dec 112012

Altima 6-cyl

  • 33,212 miles
After our first real freeze of the winter (low 20's), the car was locked up for no reason. Pressing the push button ignition, inserting the fob into the key holder, nothing will start the car. The brake pedal is heavy, no lights comes up on the instrument panel and the steering wheel is totally locked out. Had to get the Altima towed into a local dealership and come to find out it's a steering wheel lock out control unit that needs to be replaced. Car just came off the 36month warranty in September'12 and I am now turning in the 39month lease and now a $1K repair. Thanks Nissan... also, had the Nissan original battery replaced twice! original battery only has an 18month prorated warranty! not sure if it all relates somehow. This steering wheel lock control should be a manufacturer's responsibility to keep it for the life of the car.

- Plano, TX, USA

Read the next 2 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?