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:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,627 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 steering problems

steering 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 16 of 30)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #286

Jun 202015


  • 100,000 miles


My 2009 Nissan Altima unexpectedly would not start in June of 2015 and I was on my way to pick up my brother from school. I thought it might have been a battery issue. So, I called my insurance company and they came out to give me a jump. That was not the culprit. Unfortunately, it was after hours and I had to wait till morning to have my vehicle towed to tires plus. They were unable to figure out the problem. Next, I had my vehicle towed to Nissan who were able to diagnose the issue. After further research, I learned that the escl is a known defect and that an extended warranty was issued to these vehicles. My warranty expired a month prior to this incident (very inconvenient) resulting in a $1,000 out of pocket expense that I did not have readily available (I am a graduate student). I wish that instead of just offering an extended warranty for this part that Nissan would have recalled the part to avoid this headache all together.

- Boiling Springs, SC, USA

problem #285

Jun 182015


  • 93,000 miles
Got into my car & it would not crank. Brakes were pressed & stayed in lock position. After turning the steering wheel back & forth it started.

- District Heights, MD, USA

problem #284

Jun 062015


  • miles
My 2009 Nissan has a key warning light on it which can cause the steering wheel to lock up when I visited the Nissan assist site it stated they had a extended warranty for this specific problem since it is a problem that affects the 2009 Altima, the warranty expired in January so they refuse to get it fixed this should be a safety recall issue since its a problem they know affects the 2009 Nissan Altima sand maximas

- Smyrna, TN, USA

problem #283

Jun 042015


  • miles


Steering lock actuator

- Smyrna, TN, USA

problem #282

May 222015


  • 112,000 miles
2009 Nissan Altima bought brand new. Under 36,000 the motor was changed out, around 70,000 miles the transmission was replaced. Good times. Friday 5/22/15 went to friends house and went to leave and car would not start. Checked battery and fuses and then noticed a yellow key flashing in gauge cluster. I called the dealer and told them what I saw. Dealer told me there was no way I was going to get the car to start and that it needed to be towed to the dealer. Called tow truck and was towed from helmet ca, to Ontario ca 60+ miles in the rain with my windows down. I could not roll the windows up or do anything else besides unlock and lock the doors. Nissan has extended the warranty for this problem but still denies that there is a problem. I was 3 months late for this warranty and I have been denied coverage for repairs that will cost more than a $1000 dollars. Nissan knows there is a problem and will not recall this problem witch is wide spread. Just google it and they will see. Want to get the news involved. Tired of being stranded by Nissan. Nissan step up to the plate and take care of your customers!!!

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #281

May 182015


  • miles
My son went to work and when he got off of work the vehicle would not start. I called the Nissan dealership they towed the vehicle and said it was the steering column lock. The manager stated "I see at least two of these a week every week for this same problem." It will cost us $999 to repair our vehicle. There are hundreds of the same problem with this model. Why there is no recall is laughable if it weren't so sad

- Edenton, NC, USA

problem #280

May 212015


  • 90,000 miles


Drove car to work with no problem. Reentered car 3 hrs later and it wouldn't start. A yellow key light displayed on the dash and the brake and steering wheel locked. Replaced key batteries but that didn't work. Had car towed to dealership and was told it was the steering lock mechanism which would cost $986.

- Kapolei, HI, USA

problem #279

May 142015


  • 128,000 miles
Steering column locked and has to be replaced. Car will not turn on at all. Had to get it towed to dealership where they are trying to slam me with a $1100 repair bill. Car was bought in Feb 2009, and extended warranty for said specific part ended Feb 2015.

- Missouri City, TX, USA

problem #278

Feb 022015


  • 87,000 miles
After stopping at the store my car no longer would start. I live in Texas where it is hot, this is a danger to be stuck and no way to fix it. The key light popped on. Apparently after research it is noted Nissan is aware of the electronic steering lock problem. If there are so many issues why not recall the part instead of leaving motorist stranded. If the part malfunctions there is no way to move the car. I'm not sure where it is ok to charge 1200 dollars knowing your part is defective. This problem has left me stranded 3 different times.

- Decatur, TX, USA

problem #277

May 012015


  • miles
On May 1, 2015 my vehicle would not start. I had to have the car towed to a Nissan dealer. My 2009 Nissan Altima's electronic steering column lock (escl) system failed 4 months after the warranty extension expired.this is a known issue that according to Nissan "happening to only a small number of vehicles". if the number is so miniscule then why not issue a recall?? I cannot imagine what I would be dealing with if I experienced this failure away from home or traveling. I thank god that my family and I were at home.

- Land O Lakes, FL, USA

problem #276

Apr 302015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


I have a 2009 Nissan Altima. Apparently Nissan is fully aware of the issues that the electric steering column lock is having. Nissan chose to extend the warranty instead of recall the part. Knowing that the majority of the effected Altima owners would fall outside that warranty. Of course now my steering column has malfunctioned even though Nissan states that this would not be an issue for majority of car owners. They know this is a huge problem. I have found thousands of write ups on the internet. It is unfair to the Altima car owners. Nissan is not taking responsibility for using defective parts. They have since discontinued using these parts, and left Nissan Altima car owners holding their dirty little secret. The one car we have can not function, and they are asking for over$1000 to repair it. Issue: The car will not drive because of this malfunction and defective part. Please help us the 2009 Nissan Altima car owners G *tret this part fully recalled by Nissan. Thank you!

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #275

Apr 272015


  • 120,000 miles
Went to start the car and nothing happened. After several attempts the orange "key" light appeared on the dash. Figured I needs to change the battery in the fob so I did... still nothing! googled the issue and found this is a known problem with this vehicle and that the warranty had been extended on this part. Called the closest dealer who informed me my extended warranty expired in 2/09/15 and the repair was no longer covered. Are they serious? I was never notified of this issue. Nissan should be ashamed. Will never buy another one...

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #274

Apr 192015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 57,514 miles
I went to start my car and an amber light with a key came on my dashboard. My car would not start. The car had to be towed to a Nissan dealership where it was determined it was a malfunction of the escl(electronic steering column lock). The repair cost me $893.90. There was an extended warranty on this so Nissan new it was a problem. The warranty ended 3 months ago. Nissan will not pay for the repair. This is my 4th Nissan.

- Hollis, NH, USA

problem #273

Mar 062015


  • 102,000 miles
My 2009 Nissan Altima did not start one morning as I needed to go in to work. I called Nissan in libertyville il and I was told the it was probably the steering column locking issue that needed to be addressed. I provided them the VIN number and they said it was still under warranty so it would be covered 100% if that was the issue. Once at their shop they determined it was the steering column locking issue but switched their story and said it no longer was under warranty. I called Nissan and they confirmed the warranty expired 4 months prior to the date of my Nissan breaking down. After further complaints and appeals to Nissan customer service I was forced to replace the part which cost me $850 in repairs.

- Mundelein, IL, USA

problem #272

Apr 152015


  • 55,000 miles
My car wouldn't start after work and couldn't figure out what was wrong, until I searched the internet for some help, and found that this is a known problem with Altima's from 2009 2010. I contacted corporate Nissan, who informed me that the warranty expired two months ago, exactly, and I would have to have it diagnosed by a Nissan before they consider covering faulty parts. My car was towed to the Nissan repair, who confirmed that the power steering lock was faulty and needed to be replaced for $1020. Nissan mechanic said that it is a known problem with 2009 and 2010 Altima's. I reported back to corporate, who said they would "investigate" my claim, and assured I would be contacted two days ago. Never received a call, despite several attempts to reach them, and convenient for Nissan that the department I need doesn't have an available telephone number.

- East Haven, CT, USA

problem #271

Apr 152015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
My car wouldn't start after leaving work, couldn't figure out what was wrong, until I did a google search. I contacted corporate Nissan, who informed me that the warranty expired two months ago, exactly, and I would have to have it diagnosed by a Nissan repair before they consider covering faulty parts. I had my car towed to the Nissan repair, who confirmed that the power steering lock was faulty and needed to be replaced for $1020. Nissan mechanic said that it is a known problem with 2009 and 2010 Altima's. I reported back to corporate, who said they would "investigate" my claim, and assured I would be contacted two days ago. Never received a call, despite several attempts to reach them, and convenient for Nissan that the department I need doesn't have an available telephone number.

- East Haven, CT, USA

problem #270

Mar 272015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
I had tried to leave Friday from work and my car would not start. The key light was on and nothing I did would start the vehicle. We were able to start the vehicle the next day and took it home and ran well for about a week but then as I was leaving for lunch the same issued happened. This time the vehicle would not start. I had to get the vehicle towed out of here to a Nissan dealership where I was informed the steering wheel lock was wrong with it and a lot of the models from that year are having the same issues. I contacted the corporate Nissan to file a claim and get the repairs paid by them since there is a known malfunction of this vehicles. After waiting for over two weeks and many calls to them to try and get them to return my calls I was told they would not be able to help with any of the repairs as it was outside the warranty. I explained to them or try to that if it was a warranty issue I would have paid for it through the extended warranty as well. But it was a well known malfunction they are having that should start a recall on it. The total for this repair is $1021 and Nissan should be responsible for paying for this repairs or start a recall campaign as the vehicle becomes completely disabled and you can't move it or even start it.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #269

Mar 202015


  • 83,902 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. The contact attempted to use the spare key to start the vehicle; however, it failed to start. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the steering lock module would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 83,902.

- South Weymouth, MA, USA

problem #268

Apr 052015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
Steering lock my wife drove the car to church from there to her moms from there to work from there home we was getting ready to go back to church car would not start. Warning light on dash showed steering lock. I looked on line there are a number of complaints listed for same problem they said Nissan would fix it for $700-$1000 web site says you can beat on control and this might fix it. If Nissan know they have the problem why dont they do a recall we do not have the money to fix the problem and a lot of other people do not.

- Monticello, KY, USA

problem #267

Apr 052015


  • 89,000 miles
Car wouldn't start in early morning. Nissan states steering lock. This has been reported as a known issue yet Nissan has not recalled the item. They even limit the warranty (which mine is out by 3 months). How can that be? they install a part that is known to prevent a car from starting and possibly leaving people stranded in dangerous areas or on interstates yet won't recall and want to charge us over $1000 to fix. Absolutely crazy. I hope you mandate a recall or I will join in class action lawsuit.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?