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 5 of 35)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #607

Nov 052016


  • miles


The key icon displays and the car does not start while it was stationary. Dealer said steering lock unit (Nissan part #: 48700-9N00B) is short circuited. Nissan dealer is asking for $1,100 to fix it.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #606

Oct 262016


  • 92,000 miles
I was at a friends house in downtown albany doing some work, ?ut when it came time to leave I got in my car which was parked on the street and my car just wouldn't start. I towed it to a Nissan dealership nearby and they told me that the issue with my car is the steering lock assembly. Apparently there was a recall on this issue and the warranty was extended because of this problem but neither my parents or I were notified by Nissan that the car was having this issue and there was a recall on it. The extension ended last year and now I'm here having to pay for this problem out of my pocket. I shouldn't have to pay for something that was clearly their manufacturers fault. The part is not cheap and there are a lot of people experiencing the same problem with their Nissan Altima.

- Astoria, NY, USA

problem #605

Oct 192016


  • 42,000 miles
I have Nissan Altima 2009. My car was parked at home and just would not start. Able to open doors with key fob but not start with the push button. Found the electronic steering column lock was the problem and needed to be replaced. Cost me $1100 to fix it. Nissan has known about this problem and had extended warranty on this part to 6 years, without informing the customers. I realized this when the part had a problem in the 7th year and Nissan denied to cover the costs. Thank fully this happened at my home. Would have been extremely dangerous if I was travelling with my family had the problem at an isolated place.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #604

Oct 282016


  • 46,000 miles


The car will not start when I push on the brake and push the button for it to start. The dealer says it is the steering column lock module. It was in a stationary position but we were stranded and had to get the car towed.

- Elizabeth, PA, USA

problem #603

Oct 122016


  • 91,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. When the contact attempted to start the vehicle, it failed to start and the steering wheel locked up without warning. The contact received an email that informed her of the failure; however, the VIN was excluded from the recall. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering wheel locked. The push to start button failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The NHTSA campaign number was unknown. The failure mileage was 91,000.

- Smithville, NJ, USA

problem #602

Apr 152016


  • 81,000 miles
Steering column lock

- Sulphur Springs, TX, USA

problem #601

Oct 222016


  • 111,000 miles


My stationary car would not start when I inserted the key. I was stranded. Nothing would happen. I had to have my car towed to the Nissan dealership where I had no choice but to pay 1000 for my electronic steering lock to be replaced. It is very frustrating because this is a known issue with 2009 Nissan Altima that the company is not taking responsibility for.

- Centerville, OH, USA

problem #600

Sep 282016


  • miles
Steering wheel won't lock there for im not able to turn on my car

- Hawthorne, CA, USA

problem #599

Apr 012016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start, both with the push to start button and the emergency key slot. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the steering column needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage and VIN were unknown.

- Opp, AL, USA

problem #598

Oct 272016


  • 105,000 miles
Car will not start because of the electronis steering column lock unit (escl) this is very unsafe I could have been with my children at a unsafe area for Nissan to tell me warranty is not avaiable anymore. The price to get this fix is 1200 this is so unfair if its a Nissan issue

- Galloway, NJ, USA

problem #597

Oct 262016


  • 85,000 miles


My electronic steering column lock has malfunctioned for the second time. This malfunction does not allow the car to recognize the key fob, preventing ignition. I was stranded in a remote part of a forest preserve and because my car would not start I had to hike out 6 miles until I got cell phone coverage and could call for help. This problem happened to me previously in 2011. At that point Nissan had covered this repair as part of a lifetime extended warranty on the electronic steering column lock, but they decided in January 2016 to cancel this warranty.

- Lake Bluff, IL, USA

problem #596

Oct 262016


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. While in park, the vehicle failed to start and "key fob" was displayed across the message board. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified and stated that there was an extended warranty for the electronic steering column lock (escl); however, the warranty was expired. The failure mileage was 50,000.

- Sunnyside, NY, USA

problem #595

Oct 252016


  • miles
Car wont start because of bad steering lock. Seems to be a common issue with 2009 Altima and should be recalled and covered by Nissan. Definitely a safety issue. Never received a notification from Nissan of faulty part.

- Norwalk, CA, USA

problem #594

Oct 212016


  • 122,000 miles
While out shopping, I returned to the car and the intelligent key warning light came on when I tried to start it. The car would not start at all. It was dark out, and I had to have the car towed because it was in the store parking lot, in addition to it not starting. When towed to dealer, they said the steering lock unit was broken and needed to be replaced. After looking online, I noticed that Nissan knew the steering lock unit was defective because they issued an extended warranty, which expired in November 2014. My problem is the same problem that they fixed for hundreds, if not thousands of other Altima owners for free, but since mine happened later that 11/2014, they refused to fix it. Now, I am out almost $1300 dollars for the repair. Defective is defective, regardless of when it happened. They knew it was defective, or they wouldn't have extended that warranty in the first place.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #593

Oct 242016


  • miles
Within the last month I've had problems with the steering wheel lock 3 times and it's very frustrasting. When I bought at the dealer they told me it was a very reliable car. This past Saturday I had to get it towed because it failed to turn on while I was grocery shopping. This problem occurs when I want to start the car.

- Orange, CA, USA

problem #592

Oct 242016


  • 105,000 miles
The electronic steering control lock disabled the starter so that I could not move my car. I was in a wal mart pharmacy parking lot when this occurred. My wife is undergoing chemo-therapy for breast cancer and we had to wait about an hour before we could get a ride home. The wait made my wife feel worse considering her condition.

- Thibodaux, LA, USA

problem #591

Oct 192016


  • 72,000 miles
My steering wheel locked up and now it will not start...... I have researched this and it is a huge problem with the 2009 Altima and I was told this is not coever under warranty

- Kankakee, IL, USA

problem #590

Oct 072016


  • 128,000 miles
Steering lock switch failed, which prevented the steering wheel from locking when parked, and the car from starting. Battery is in good condition. Required towing for repair. Nissan is aware of the steering lock issue, but has not issued a recall although this seems to be a frequent part failure.

- Rowlett, TX, USA

problem #589

Oct 102016


  • miles
"the 2009 Nissan Altima has a defective "steering lock" which causes owners to be unable to start their vehicles. This defect can affect owners of the 2009 Nissan Altima without warning and without cause. When this issue occurs the only way to resolve the issue is to have the car towed to a Nissan dealership to have the faulty steering lock replaced. The car cannot be started at all. Thus, owners of the 2009 Nissan Altima continuously find themselves stuck in very inconveniant circumstances with no ability to drive their car. This can be very dangerous for drivers who are in remote or dangerous areas." This was exactly what happened to my 2009 Nissan Altima on Oct 10, 2016. I was further disappointed to receive a phone call from Nissan to the effect that they knew this but their extended warranty expired last year and they will not even cover the cost for this defective product that imposes great danger.

- Westlake, OH, USA

problem #588

Oct 152016


  • 57,000 miles
Car will not start due to escl issues headlight turn on door locks and unlock, red and yellow key icon flashes

- Baltimore, MD, USA

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