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:
68,463 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 3 of 35)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #647

Dec 042016


  • 78,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the push to start feature failed to start the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering lock mechanism failed and would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 78,000.

- Lowell, MA, USA

problem #646

Dec 032016


  • 110,000 miles
The steering lock broke while I was driving straight in a parking lot, forcing the engine to shut off. I have 10 month old twin daughters and this could have resulted in a very serious car accident if the vehicle was on a main road or highway and going at a faster speed. Supposedly this is a well-known issue with 2009 Nissan Altima's (and other year models as well). Instead of a recall, Nissan extended the warranty on this part by one year. I called Nissan and they told me that the extended warranty expired in August 2015, so I will have to pay for this out of pocket. The estimated cost is between $1,100 and $1,300. The car doesn't start at all, and apparently only Nissan dealers can fix it. This is very worrisome that Nissan acknowledged this as a problem, but did not consider the safety of its customers and issue a recall.

- Easton, MA, USA

problem #645

Nov 272016


  • 49,000 miles
Sterling locked, cannot operate vehicle

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #644

Dec 012016


  • miles


I got in my car the other day to run to the store and the cars push button ignition would not start the car, the llght on the dash suggests that the steering wheel is not locked, but it is locked. Vehicle is parked in my driveway

- Franklin, LA, USA

problem #643

Nov 192016


  • 90,000 miles
My wife was driving her 2009 Nissan Altima and parked. When leaving to go home, the car would not and could not start. The key lock symbol (red) and lock symbol (yellow) were lit on the dashboard. I did some research and found that the it was the steering column lock which many has been complaining about. I took it to the Nissan dealer and the part would be $600. Attached is the printout of the warranty. This had me and my wife stranded on one of the coldest day of the year. They wouldn't consider fixing it unless it was a standard repair. This is crazy!!! it's the holidays and now this is happening. Good grief!!!

- Crown Point, IN, USA

problem #642

Dec 032016


  • miles
For the 2nd time, the electronic steering column lock has malfunctioned in my 2009 Nissan Altima. This is utterly ridiculous! this is not normal maintenance. Someone needs to hold Nissan or the manufacturer of this part accountable for this. I am so disgusted with Nissan!!

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #641

Dec 022016


  • 130,000 miles


The steering lock ceased up and my car would no longer start. I went into a store came out and the car would no longer do anything! the key button would come on but nothing else. Was like I wasnt even trying to start the car. I had my two children with me and it was in the evening. Winter temps are getting into the freezing temps. I am thankful this did not happen on my way home, if I had to pull over on the highway for some reason and turn off my car to get something for my children we would have been stuck in 30 F weather. This happened with no warning at all!!! this can be a very dangerous liability!! this needs to be recalled and all replaced! right before christmas and we now have to pay a minimum of $600 just for the part.

- San Manuel, AZ, USA

problem #640

Nov 192016


  • 113,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. While trying to start the vehicle, the ignition switch had not engaged in order for the key to turn into the start position. The contact stated that the steering warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the mechanic informed the contact that the steering lock mechanism failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 113,000.

- Orange Park, FL, USA

problem #639

Nov 292016


  • 110,000 miles
The steering wheel lock has failed leaving the car unable to be started. I was stranded at my work and the car needed to be towed to the dealership to be diagnosed. The dealer is aware of this as a common problem yet are unwilling to issue a recall and my car is out of the warranty period. This problem is a major safety issue because people are being stranded on the road. If you're lucky, then you are parked safely in a parking lot but you might not be so lucky and it could fail while you are driving.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #638

Nov 052016


  • 96,000 miles
Was driving Altima running great got ne tires service done. Went to a friends house when I came back to start the Altima wouldn't start. I tried everything changing batteries in car, remote batteries changed. I finally came across this video and explain everything that was happening and said Nissan is aware of this issue but doesn't want to put a recall on it. It's believe it's a major safety problem what would have happen driving down the highway in their vehicle automatically stop and locked the strain will basin only one direction I would cause a major car pile up with myself and possibly many others because it is faulty part Nissan has put in. I have work in the car business for 10 years and I have never seen a manufacture do what they're doing right now. They have put me and my family in major jeopardy.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #637

Nov 212016


  • 115,000 miles


Electronic steering control lock failed, leaving me stranded on the side of the road, apparently a common problem with 09 Nissan, contacted Nissan and opened a case, they called back and refused to help, with anything. What a joke Nissan is turning out to be. There are literally thousands of posts on this problem, and Nissan gives an unlimited mileage replacement that ended in 2014, I offered to pay for the labor if they would replace the part, obviously they have no interest in my future business.

- Mohave Valley, AZ, USA

problem #636

Nov 282016


  • 109,000 miles
Electronic steering column lock (escl) failed and was sticks and stranded. I am a full time student as well as working full time. Had to get my 09 Altima towed to the dealship and lost out on work and made my daily life a financial hardship. It is going to cost me $1100 just for the part and labor. This is a known issue with 2009 Altima's and needs to be recalled until Nissan fixes the issue. This is very dangerous situation to be in, if I was camping and had no cell phone service my life could seriously be in danger. Please issue a recall for this part.

- Union City, CA, USA

problem #635

Nov 292016


  • 140,000 miles
The steering lock mechanism failed while stopped and parked, resulting in my significant other being stranded twice in a 3 day period. The first day a light tapping on the device allowed the car to be started. But after the second time, nothing could be done to get the car to start. This has happened 5 total times now over the course of the past 2 years. What if this were to happen in below 0 conditions where help is not close by?

- Sycamore, IL, USA

problem #634

Nov 282016


  • 106,000 miles
My car would not start and I was forced to sit in my car for hours as the stores had closed and it took over a hour to have my car towed. This left me in a situation in which I could have been harmed as a young woman in vulnerable situation. Nissan states that this is a manufacturer irregularity which means this is something that shouldn't be happening and is a manufacture issue. After getting it diagnosed by a certified Nissan dealer, I was told it was my escl. Nissan should honor their word and fix the issue at no cost since it's a manufacture malfunctioning issue in which the customer has no control over.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #633

Nov 272016


  • 94,420 miles
Luckily the car was parked and wouldn't start for this incident. After having it towed they needed to replace the steering lock mechanism. We're glad it wasn't being driven on the highway at the time it failed and possibly locked up the steering column. That could have been deadly. The replacement cost of this part is outrageous and should have been covered or replaced by Nissan. They've had a history of issues with this and should refund us the $1000 it cost just for the repair bill. It's ridiculous that people keep getting taken for something like this. Something needs to be done to remedy this situation.

- Mankato, MN, USA

problem #632

Nov 232016


  • 57,000 miles
The vehicle steering locked up in grocery store parking lot, leaving me stranded, it had to be towed to dealership, the day before thanksgiving leaving me with no transportation. The shuttle van had shut down for the day, being out of work and not having the funds for a rental car, I did get a loaner car. They called on Friday and stated they did have the part needed for the repair and hopefully would have car ready by Monday afternoon to the tune of $1021. I reviewed information on this problem seeing the mileage of vehicles starting at 88,000 to 156,000 miles, my vehicle has 57,000 miles. Needless to say I am very unhappy that this has not been made a recall by Nissan as it certainly should. The car was parked.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #631

Nov 262016


  • 43,000 miles
In the evening of Nov 26, 2016. It was a freezing cold night. My car could not start with "key and key sign" light on. It was on briefly before. But it went away after changing battery on the fob. This time I tried all tricks from internet and it does not work. Finally I took the electric steering lock from the steering rod. Depress the piston. The car can be turned on. From internet, there are so many 2009 Altima owner has the same issue and Nissan also knew it because it extended the warranty to March 2016. It could fail anytime and anywhere. It is a big safety issue. I suggest Nissan to make the warranty lifetime and replace all defective steering lock.

- Ramsey, NJ, USA

problem #630

Nov 162016


  • 72,640 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. While attempting to start the vehicle, it failed to start and the electronic steering lock warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was towed to the dealer to be diagnosed. The contact was informed that the lock steering and screw steering lock needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 72,640.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #629

Nov 202016


  • 151 miles
My car will not start and had to be towed to a garage. I replaced the battery in the car and replaced the battery on the key fob. I have seen several complaints on this and it seems to be the steering control unit in which is pretty pricey....I just replaced the cvt transmission in which cost me $2200 this was also recall but I was over my miles to have this honored by Nissan.

- Albion, IN, USA

problem #628

Nov 172016


  • miles
My Nissan Altima. 2009. Been having problems with the steering wheel lock coil the car did not want to start so a person walking by told me that he had the same problem with the steering wheel lock coil. So I looked it up and it was recalled when I called Nissan they told me yesterday was the last day. And the part is $800 I think that is to much for a little part that locks and starts the car.

- Fresno, CA, USA

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