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:
68,791 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 1 of 28)

problem #550

Aug 162016


  • 113,000 miles


Steering lock is stuck on my car and it will not start. The key light came on randomly and the car is locked down and wouldn't start. I was stranded in a very scary part of town that I had to wait at forever for someone to come get me.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #549

Aug 132016


  • 134,000 miles
Car would not start steering locked up, told it was the steering lock box which was on recall and I never recieved a recall notice, dealer said VIN number did not match with recall but my Nissan is clearly a 2009, I am afraid to drive it if this part is not replaced I can not start my car and the part is very expensive. I feel if this part was recalled it should be replaced in good standing by the dealer, I surely will never buy another Nissan if the dealer will not work with it's car buyers in good faith. Car was stationary as it would not start but do not want to get somewhere from home and have this happen again

- Niantic, CT, USA

problem #548

Aug 152016


  • 148,000 miles
I got gas at a station in havana, then tried to start the car and nothing. The key symbol came up on the dash. My husband brought the extra key fob and still nothing. Brakes were locked, no power to the engine. Key fob worked for locking but not for power. Aaa towed my car to krafft Nissan where I was told of the problem. I googled the problem and saw that it was common with the 2009 Altima. I was glad to be close to home with no grandchildren in the car. I need a car I can depend as I approach 70.

- Havana, FL, USA

problem #547

Aug 092016


  • 133,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to restart after being operated and turned off. In addition, the steering wheel was extremely difficult to move. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering wheel lock failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 133,000.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #546

Aug 042016


  • 109,167 miles
On my way home my intelligent key light came on. I was thinking that I had to change the battery in my remote.. once I did that, nothing changed. I continued to drive my car. The next day I drove to work. When I got off my car wouldn't start and the key light was on again!! I looked it up and it's the escl going bad!

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #545

Jul 112016


  • 105,000 miles
Takata recall I am emailing with hopes that Nissan will issue a recall for the 2009 Nissan Altima's steering lock failure. The warranty on this part was extended, but I didn't have any issues until after the warranty expired. I don't understand how a company can acknowledge that a part is defective and not issue a recall. I had to discover this issue at the end of my work day in 100 degree weather. It is not fair to expect car owners to pay for this out of pocket when Nissan is aware of the defective part.

- Olive Branch, MS, USA

problem #544

Aug 082016


  • 110,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. After starting the vehicle, the ignition switch warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The technician stated that the electrical steering lock system needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 110,000.

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #543

Aug 022016


  • miles
My intelligent key warning system is going out and also my steering lock system has gone out and the dealership tells me that the part has been extended warranty on it yet I have not been notified of that one now I have to replace the part myself financially

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #542

Aug 062016


  • 140,000 miles
They got it do something with this problem that had happen to everybody that own a 09 Altima, steering lock is really expensive tp fix it.

- Moonachie, NJ, USA

problem #541

Mar 152016

Altima 4-cyl

  • 210,000 miles
My 2009 Nissan Altima VIN number [xxx] has many safety issues that are not being reported with my VIN number. The struts, steering lock box{which I paid $900 to repair], ABS speed control sensor, engine oil coolant and most of all the cvt transmission have went out on my car and Nissan will not help me repair. So I am forced to attempt this last try before joining a class action law suit. I have only had the car 2 years and now I am out $9000 and the repairs are more than the car is worth. It would take too long to give detail about all the events so I pray someone at Nissan is decent enough to stand behind their product and make this right I am a single mom of three and ride less. I have contacted att. General [xxx] and BBB. My car is at [xxx] my number is [xxx] my name is [xxx] I have opened 5 cases and been denied. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Greenville, MS, USA

problem #540

Aug 042016


  • miles


My 2009 Nissan Altima is currently having issues with the defects in the electronic steering column lock (escl). The car just cut off on me as I was parking in a parking spot. Luckily I was able to force the gear in park. It disabled the push-button ignition on my car and locked my steering column. So, I was stranded! this is big safety issue because my car could've just continued to roll if I couldn't get it into the parked gear! it's unfair that as a consumer of Nissan, I have to experience this issue after the Nissan warranty on the escl expired in March 2015 and be posed with paying over $1000 in repair costs. Per Nissan, there was no specific mileage number that this defect could occur; so they should recall the escl systems in all affected cars instead of covering their own behinds and giving a warranty with unlimited miles and an end date of March 2015. Clearly Nissan is not concerned with its consumers safety. It's not fair to consumers that bought Nissan vehicles that experience the dangerous defect after March 2015. I am a very unhappy consumer at this time.

- Palestine, TX, USA

problem #539

Jul 222016


  • miles
I was out handling business all day Friday and later that evening I had to make my last stop. I went into the store and when I came out my care had no power and my steering wheel wouldn't move. The key indicator light was on, but I still had no idea of how I would get my car started.. I called my husband because it was late and getting dark out (very dangerous). I had to go the whole weekend and week without a car that I've had for the pass 6 years. I contacted the dealership and they informed me that the part would be $1000, ridiculous! I was unaware of any recall and take my car to the dealer regularly and was never notified of a recall.

- Conyers, GA, USA

problem #538

Jul 042016


  • miles
Steering lock column failure. Just outside of the supposed extended warranty. Called Nissan took a week to hear back said they would not cover repairs. About a $1000 to replace!

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #537

Jul 312016


  • miles
The steering will not lock in place therefore the car will not start.

- Hamlet, NC, USA

problem #536

Jul 272016


  • miles
Drove my car like I normally do. I park. Return to my car and it would not start. The red key warning light was flashing could not turn the wheel. Nothing happened when I put my foot on the brake and push the start button. My steering column lock malfunctioned. My car is in the shop. I've been told that this has happened a lot with 2009 Nissan Altima. There was an extended warranty for this but my extended warranty and it last year and I knew nothing about this issue.

- Raymore, MO, USA

problem #535

Jul 062016


  • 130,000 miles
Left me stranded in 98 degree heat. Had to have the car towed only to find out only the dealership could determine the problem. Towed it to the dealer. Found out it was a steering lock issue that happens to most 2009 and 2010 Altima's. Nissan had issued an extended warranty, knowing it was an issue, but not a recall. Unfortunately, the extended warranty expired before my car had the problem. I've contacted Nissan corporate only to have them tell me "sorry, the extended warranty has expired". no kidding. So, about to have to spend $1,000 for a repair that should be a recall.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #534

Jan 132016


  • 113,976 miles
Car was parked so my spouse could run an errand. When he went to start up the car, the engine wouldn't turn over and the steering didn't work at all. The car could not be driven. It had to be towed to the dealer. The dealer stated that the steering lock module needed to be replaced and that it was a recurring problem in some Nissan that had been addressed in more recent year models. It cost $961.33 to fix!!! the steering module alone cost $679.44. I am outraged that this "recurring problem" isn't the subject of a recall.

- Franklin, CT, USA

problem #533

Jul 152016


  • 90,000 miles
I parked my car in my driveway after coming home from the gym. About 45 min I left out to go to work. I tried to start my car and it would not come on. My push to start button locked light appeared and a picture of the steering wheel and brakes with arrows pointing in both directions. I called roadside assistance, they could not help...I had my car towed over to pep boys they stated it was nothing they can do and that I had to take it to the dealership. The dealership did not communicate with me what was wrong with my car but they went and fixed it without my permission and stated that I owed them 850 dollars. I was very upset that they did not update me before fixing it. I did some research and notice that it was a recall on 2009 Nissan Altima steering lock but they suspended it. I was very upset because I never received any notice by phone, mail or email that it was a recall on my car. I really hope they they issue another one and some how I can get my money back because I feel like I should have had to pay for an issues that wasn't my fault.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #532

Jul 192016


  • 170,000 miles
The electronic steering lock fails and locks the steering-wheel. The car fails to start again. I am worry this will lock while driving. Is unreliable. Repair cost goes up to thousand dollars.

- Baycity, TX, USA

problem #531

Jul 192016


  • 65,000 miles
Steering lock becomes stuck (will not allow car to be started). This happens for seemingly no reason. Many others have complained as well. Only option is to have the vehicle towed and have the steering lock replaced. Nissan issued a warranty extension of 3 years which expired in January 2016. However, there is no reason that this should happen and no reason that the fix should not be covered infinitely. Could have been stuck on the highway or a bad neighborhood or anywhere. Additionally, the fix is extremely expensive (>1,000 --- see attachment). This is no wear & tear issue. This is a faulty part. Nissan knew about it. They should have to make it right.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

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