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


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,898 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #54

Jul 082016


  • miles


My 2009 Nissan Altima slows down from 75 mph to 40-35 after traveling for 4 hours on long distance (trips). I have had to pull over several times in order for the car to cool off and gain speed. It is extremely dangers to when big trucks and other vehicles are coming behind you at a fast speed and you have to pull over quickly. I have to put a transmission valve kit and cooler on my car because Nissan neglected to put these parts on my car. Shame on you Nissan. How can you sleep at night knowing your error, greed, or lack of compassion can cause people their lives while on the highway. This is a safety issue that has been complained about on various blogs and no recall has taken place. I am annoyed and then my case manager for my complaint told me I should have taken out the extended warranty. No, don't blame this on me. This is a manufacturing issue. It is unfair to pass the blame unto the consumers. Safety is first or has the new generation of manufactures forgotten about this

- Stockbridge, GA, USA

problem #53

May 052016


  • 85,000 miles
Steering lock control unit failed. Car would not start left me stranded and needed to be towed to dealer. $ 1000 out of pocket cost for deffected part that extended warranty did not cover expensives due to end of their extended waranty campaign "??"like obviously Nissan North America Inc., have knowledge of the defective equiptment and need to recall the part.

- Firebaugh, CA, USA

problem #52

Jun 202016


  • 103,000 miles
I have a defective steering lock which won't allow the car to start. There was no warning and for my general safety and use of my car, this problem needs to be resolved by Nissan motor Inc.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #51

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 #50

Jun 182016


  • 47,000 miles
The steering lock control unit failed, resulting in my car being unable to start. If this had happened while I was parked in a remote location, I could have frozen or starved to death. This is a common issue as I found from doing some searching on the internet, with hundreds and hundreds of similar complaints. Nissan should recall the 2009 Altima or issue a recall to preemptively replace this part.

- Chicago, IL, USA

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problem #49

May 262016


  • 85,000 miles
Steering lock control unit died. No signs of wear, car just didn't start on a random day. Dealership specifically said, "found steering lock cont- unit internally oepn...)" when I asked the service guy at the dealership how this can happen, his response was "it can just happen over time".

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #48

Jan 092015


  • 6,055 miles


Dashboard is melting and cracking. This car has been garage kept since bought brand new in 08, it only has 6055 miles on it, & when ever it was out, it always had a sunshield. Been reading thousands of complaints, & a lawsuit should be filed as was done for Toyota. It does create a vision hazard and it cant be cleaned.

- Spring Hill, FL, USA

problem #47

Apr 102016


  • miles
On April 10, 2016, the steering wheel on my 2009 Nissan Altima suddenly, without any warning or prior problems, completely froze while I was parked in a different city from my home. I was unable to start the car or do anything. I tried jumping the engine and it did not help. I had no choice but to have it towed to the nearest Nissan dealer, which was closed that day, and had to wait until the next day to have it checked. The dealer said it was a faulty steering wheel lock. They charged me $699 for new parts and $250 for labor, just to replace a defective part, which I later discovered was a widely known defect. Fortunately I was parked in a relatively safe area while it was still daylight. Had this occurred at night in an unsafe area, this could have been quite a dangerous and frightening situation not being able to start or drive the car.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #46

May 182013


  • miles
I live in South Florida and purchased a 2009 Nissan Altima in 2013. The dashboard has melted to the point where it is becoming a problem. It reflects off the windshield and causes a terrible glare on the windshield. It is a sticky mess. I took it in to the dealer within a year of purchase and they stated it was out of warranty so they couldn't do anything about it. It has gotten worse and I would like Nissan to take some responsibility for this mess. I know I am not the only one with this issue and they really need to take notice. This is poor customer service and not good for their brand!

- Coconut Creek, FL, USA

problem #45

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 #44

Sep 122013


  • 75,000 miles


The locks have stopped working when the key fob or door button are used. I have replaced 3 out of the four door locks multiple times with the problem recurring. This presents a safety issue for people needing to exit the car or enter the car quickly. Furthermore, all of the locks have locked when the key fob was left in the car (locking me out). The car is not supposed to lock when the fob is in the car. In addition, pressing the lock and unlock button will only unlock 2 doors at this time. This appears to have happened to a number of people. I think a recall is in order so the locks work as designed to prevent safety issues.

- Middletown, CT, USA

problem #43

Apr 132016


  • miles
Steering wheel lock failure- disabling the car where it will not start. Nissan is aware of the issue and has not done anything about it. To get the car fixed it's going to be over 1000 dollars.

- Boones Mill, VA, USA

problem #42

Jul 012014


  • miles
The dashboard on this vehicle is melting due to warm climate. When driving towards the sun the gloss of the meting dashboard reflects the sun back up into the lower windshield. This is blinding to the driver and obscures visibility through the lower portion of the windshield when this condition exist. There should be a recall issued due to the unsafe condition. There have been many reports in the local media of this same condition yet Nissan refuses to address the issue. Hopefully there will not have to be a traffic fatality before this safety issue is addressed and a recall is issued.

- Deland, FL, USA

problem #41

Apr 052016


  • 140,000 miles
My car started fine yesterday I saw the key light came on I assumed it was because the battery was low. I changed the battery in both keys. The next day my fiancee drove my car to work an hour away. It would not start at all, the light comes on and the steering is not locked but the car will not start at all and it can not shift at all. After looking in the manual it states that it is an idicator that the steering lock has failed. This seems to be an issue with hundreds of other cars and it is going to cost 1200 to fix this. My fiancee was stranded an hour from home and his cell died, not to mention he works nights and got off at 5am and could not find a ride or a nearby place to call home long distance.

- Vincennes, IN, USA

problem #40

Mar 192016


  • miles
The dashboard of my 2009 Nissan Altima is melting, creating a shiny, sticky surface. The shine from the melted dash reflects on the windshield causing a glare that makes it hazardous to drive.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #39

Mar 142015


  • 90,000 miles
As I stopped at tollbooth and stop cut started right back long as I was moving it would stay on.then service engine soon light illuminated.ive heard of other complaints about this.I just bought car last year.

- Bellwood, IL, USA

problem #38

Mar 062016


  • 80,000 miles
Yesterday morning, the car no longer recognized my key fob and I was unable to start the engine. Upon contacting Nissan, I was informed that this is related to the electronic steering control lock assembly. The vehicle was stationary at the time of the incident and located in my home garage. Even after this assembly is replaced, I will continue to be concerned about the safety of my family. If the car were to no longer recognize my key fob again, but we are no longer in the safety of our home, we would be open to the elements. It's also possible that our means of transportation for emergencies could be unavailable when needed.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #37

Jan 012014


  • miles
My car has had the ABS and the tire light on constantly - does not go off and cost a fortune to have fixed - according the to manual after inflating the tires it states the light may not go off and you have to take it to the dealer to be repaired at your expense. The safety issue is since these lights are on constantly have to keep checking my tires to make sure they are properly inflated and with the ABS light all the time you don't know when there is an actual problem with the brakes

- Medford, NY, USA

problem #36

Feb 102016


  • 115,000 miles
I have a 2009 Nissan Altima with push-start ignition and respective 'smart key'. while 2 hours away from home and alone, the electronic steering column lock mechanism malfunctioned and therefore did not recognize my smart key was in the vehicle and would not allow me to start the car. I was stranded alone, at night, 2 hours from home with a vehicle that would not start due to malfunctioning part. I had to have the car towed to my local Nissan dealership where the diagnosis was made that the steering column lock malfunctioned and needs to be replaced. Upon calling Nissan corporate, I was informed that this was a known issue, however my car was no longer under warranty and it would not be covered. I purchased this car as certified pre-owned with the expectation that any safety related known issues would be addressed. I was never made aware of the issue or the possibility that I could be put in a dangerous situation. Nissan told me that while they were aware the part was mis-manufactured, the part was not a 'recall' (as determined by NHTSA) criteria) and as such would not have been proactively fixed if not broken. They did however extend the warranty on the part, but only for 6 years, assuming is a driver had this problem it would have occurred in the first 6 years of occurrence was when the vehicle was 8 years old. I feel like this a major safety concern especially if there was potential for the steering column lock to malfunction while driving and Nissan should have issued a voluntary recall or indefinitely extended the warranty.

- Mantua, NJ, USA

problem #35

Jan 202016


  • 84,500 miles
My 2009 Nissan Altima had its steering column lock malfunction and left my wife stranded in a blizzard. She went to work, was going to head home for the day and the car wouldn't start. So I started the process, check the batteries in both the car and the key fob. As it turns out from researching the problem that it's a steering column lock failure. This is a very common problem with 2009 and 2010 Altima. Nissan has full knowledge of this issue, but fails to recall these cars. They did extended warranty on this part, but of course, this occurred after the extended warranty had expired. Its a $1000 plus repair minimum and the part that they want to replace it with is faulty as well. In efforts to contact Nissan Consumer Affairs I was treated like crap. They cant do anything for me until I have it towed(at my expense) to a certified Nissan dealer(45 miles away) and have them diagnose the problem. After watching numerous videos on this issue. I'm sure that this is the issue and I have many hesitations on having the part replaced because again the new part is also faulty, and comes with no warranty. So Nissan has left me with two choices. Option a: have car towed, pay the labor, and replace with another faulty part($1100 at least). Or option B: try to fix myself by bi-passing the part all together. Unfortunately this option is going to be a temp fix and the part is riveted so access to it is difficult. Not to mention affects my resale value. Its almost like this was Nissan's plan with designing this steering lock mechanism. Its a safety hazard as my wife and countless others have been stranded alone. After watching numerous diy videos I was able to get the car home by tapping the part numerous times with a hammer. We were able to get the car home, but there it sits in the driveway useless. Ive tried to start it since and guess what...nothing. The vehicle is useless.

- Sleepy Eye, MN, USA

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