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.

CarComplaints.com 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 NissanProblems.com.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,474 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

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 27 of 32)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #107

Jan 252013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 37,500 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My daughter and 2 year old were trying to get home under an ice storm warning. The push button start did not operate. They were stranded in the cold under a severe weather warning. Nissan says the steering wheel lock controller caused the failure and would not communicate with the intelligent key fob and start button. There is not a method to override the push button with a mechanical key. This is a known problem for the 2009 Altima. My Altima has only 37,500 miles but is past the 3-year warranty period. The repair was $803. The service writer at the dealership stated that he expects a recall in the near future because of the frequency with which they see this faulty module. The part was changed in 2010 but Nissan refuses to replace the bad ones in the 2008-2009 models.

- Roswell, GA, USA

problem #106

Jan 272013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
I went to the grocery store and came out and attempted to start my car. The intelligent key warning light came on so the car would not start. It was stuck in the lock position. Sent it to the dealer and $1100. This is ridiculous because this seems to be a common problem so why hasn't it been recalled? I was sitting outside in 13 degree weather with my infant son and they say it's not a safety issue. I was about to trade it in for a newer model but I will never buy a Nissan again.

- Middletown, RI, USA

problem #105

Jan 262013

Altima

  • 75,000 miles
Steering lock mechanism failed leaving car stranded.

- Loganville, GA, USA

problem #104

Jan 262013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Car wouldn't recognize key in it, but could unlock doors and trunk, and would not start. Car was towed to Nissan and they found the steering lock control module not communicating with ikey reader. Tech installed new ikey reader and cleared theft codes.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #103

Jan 242013

Altima

  • miles
Dropped my son off at school, when I returned to the car, it would not start at all. The car recognized my key was present but push button did nothing. Manually using the key slot would not start the car either. Had to have the car towed and am being told that will cost $800-1100 to fix steering lock and that parts are on back order. Doing an internet search I have found literally hundreds of complaints on the same defect over the past three weeks. This did occur on a very cold day, about 10 degrees at the time.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #102

Jan 232013

Altima

  • 30,500 miles
Amber 'intelligent key' light started appearing on and off. Finally vehicle refused to engage starter and whirring noise indicating steering lock is functional no longer happens. Vehicle needs to be towed and research indicates the problem is common in 2009 Altima and other Nissan vehicles. Repair quotes online appear to be in the $900 range. Nissan needs to accept responsibility for this problem and issue a recall.

- Eagan, MN, USA

problem #101

Jan 232013

Altima

  • 86,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle would not start using the keyless entry. The contact had the vehicle towed to the dealer and was told that the steering lock actuator needed to be replaced. The contact stated the failure was a repeat occurrence. The computer was previously reset to correct the failure. The vehicle was not repaired for the most recent failure. The failure and the current mileages were 86,000.

- Panama City, FL, USA

problem #100

Jan 212013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 45,400 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while parked, the vehicle would not start. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician advised that the steering lock assembly would have to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 45,400.

- Owings Mill, MD, USA

problem #99

Jan 242013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 74,600 miles
Drove to lunch in car. Came out 30 minutes later car wouldn't start. Had car towed to repair shop where a faulty steering column lock sensor was diagnosed. Repair cost with tow ~ $850.

- Bridgewater, NJ, USA

problem #98

Jan 222013

Altima

  • 55,000 miles
I parked my vehicle at my son's school to run in and pick him up from the after school program. Came back out to the car and it would not start. The vehicle steering wheel was locked. I attempted to push the start button and brake and nothing happened. The yellow key light was flashing on and off, lights were on in the car, however there were no lights on the dashboard or no sound was made from the car doors being opened. My mechanic called the dealership to get the part and was informed that it was on back order until January 29th. Repair cost is around $800.

- Windsor Mill, MD, USA

problem #97

Jan 182013

Altima

  • 61,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I came office on 18th Jan in my car and when I was heading back it didn't started. I towed my car to Nissan dealer and they said after diagnosis that car's steering lock controller is faulty and is not recognizing the key and need to be replaced: Final charges : $830, well clearly from the posts that its not one time incident and Nissan is aware of that. They should make a recall for this. Its just 3 years old car and I have to pay such a hefty amount when I cared my car like a baby.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #96

Jan 232013

Altima

  • 70,000 miles
Trying to start vehicle, yellow key warning light came on and car would not start. This happened without warning and I was stranded at lunch 15 minutes from work with no way to get back. The steering lock unit failed to disengage. This part should be recalled since the same part (I've heard) was recalled on other Nissan models and can leave anyone in a dangerous situation.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #95

Jan 142013

Altima

  • 83,514 miles
The intelligent key warning light illuminated as I arrived at my office on the morning of 1/14/13. When I attempted to start the vehicle that afternoon, the push-start ignition remained in the "lock" position and the vehicle would not respond to repeated start attempts. Break lights and headlights continued to function correctly. Called local Nissan dealership and they instructed me to have the vehicle towed. After an hour, the Nissan service advisor contacted me with notice that the steering wheel lock control unit had failed and they estimated the total repair cost to be at $900. The dealership did not have the part in stock, but they were able to locate another dealership who was able to courier it over the following morning. I contacted Nissan North America on 1/23/13 and they refused to offer any compensation relative to the costs associated with this repair. This is a part that should have been recalled at least a year ago based on its apparently rampant history of failure for other Altima owners.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #94

Jan 152013

Altima

  • 93,000 miles
Drove car a few minutes down the road, parked and went inside for aprox 15 mins. Came back out and car would not start. No key light was flashing on dash but key fob was in car. Got the spare as well and still would not work. Plugged in fob, disconnected car battery. All would not work. Stuck in the cold with my three year old daughter! had to have car towed to Nissan dealership ($100) and part was steering lock mechanism. Part was on back order! Nissan refuses to recall this! it's ridiculous. They no longer use this part on their cars yet refuse to recall costing us a lot of money! repair bill at Nissan dealership was $753.09 plus $100 tow so $853.09!! I will never buy another Nissan. Luckily dealership was able to get Nissan to cover my rental car since I went a week without a car. Unacceptable.

- Keller, TX, USA

problem #93

Jan 062013

Altima

  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the steering lock actuator failed, preventing the vehicle from being started. The contact had to have the vehicle towed to the dealer and the steering lock actuator was replaced. The failure and the current mileage was 60,000.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #92

Jan 232013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Went out to my car this morning and it would not start. It does not recognize the keyless start fob. This happens when the steering lock mechanism fails. This is a time bomb because it can fail at any time with no warning whatsoever. The age and mileage on the car do not matter.

- Lexington Park, MD, USA

problem #91

Jan 212013

Altima

  • 51,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that she attempted to start the vehicle but to no avail. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the technician diagnosed that the steering lock actuator was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 51,000.

- Centerburg, OH, USA

problem #90

Jan 212013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 26,982 miles
Intelli key indicator light began illuminating two days ago. Last evening after dinner vehicle would not switch out of "lock" stranded in 15 degree temps waiting for tow for 2 hours. Nissan service advisor knew exactly what problem was. He called me later tonight to confirm electronic steering lock needed replacing. $800+. Nissan surely will recall "faulty" door handle springs at.50 cents a whack, but give me a break. It's time Nissan own up to the numerous 2009's that are having this part fail.

- Braintree, MA, USA

problem #89

Jan 182013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
I parked my car at work, and when I went out 8 hours later to go home it wouldn't start. They key light was illuminated, and when I tried to start the car, it kept saying lock. My husband tried testing the battery, etc. The car ended up having to be towed to the Nissan dealership 50 miles away($200). Once the car was looked at, the dealership determined that the steering lock assembly needed to be replaced, and the total with labor would be approx $850. They also told me that it was on back order. The fact that the item is on back order, and that there are a ton of other complaints about this same issue tells me that Nissan needs to recall this part!!! I am waiting for a call back from Nissan regarding this issue.

- Pocomoke, MD, USA

problem #88

Mar 122012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 59,186 miles
Vehicle would not start. Key light on dash illuminated. Had towed to dealer. Informed problem was a faulty steering lock control unit. Very common problem on this model, part not in stock.

- Bethel, CT, USA

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