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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2009-2010 Nissan Altima appears to have a defect where it occasionally refuses to start. We know the feeling, but it's just not acceptable in a car.

For the fix, Nissan dealers enjoy replacing the steering lock control unit for $800. Stranded Nissan owners have found that banging like hell on the steering lock unit at the base of the steering column will do the trick. Yes, the same unit that apparently has $800 worth of electronics.

How far do you have to drive to experience this? The average mileage at failure is just over 55,000 very short miles.

More info & videos are available over at NissanProblems.com.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,022 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 13)

problem #251

Jan 202015

Altima

  • 104,000 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 steering wheel lock mechanism was fractured. The vehicle was completely shut off and did not restart. The vehicle was towed to a dealer who stated that the steering lock mechanism failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 104,000.

- Demopolis, AL, USA

problem #250

Jan 292015

Altima

  • 62,000 miles
The electronic steering column locking mechanism is faulty and will not recognize the key pad and refuses to allow the push button starter to start the engine. According to what is on the internet, Nissan knows of this problem.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #249

Jan 142015

Altima

  • 40,395 miles
My 2009 Nissan Altima did not start. My car was towed to the bay ridge Nissan dealer. I was told that I had a steering column lock problem. They said that I might have a warranty but it was most likely expired. If I was to do other work on the car, they could make a pitch to the manufacturer to cover the steering column lock cost. To make a long story short, they told me that I had other problems, control arm, wheel alignment and service maintenance and I need to get it fix which total over $900. The warranty to fix the steering column lock would only apply if I was to agree to do this other "needed" work. The bay ridge Nissan advisor told me that I would have to pay the full charge of the steering column lock $966.63 if I did not agree to do the other work. At the time this happened, I did not know that I had an extended warranty. I did not find out until after the car was fixed and a second problem developed. They took full advantage of my situation to sell me services I didn't need. I'm very angry about this. If anyone knows of a good lawyer, please let me know. The manufacturer should have informed their customers about the extended warranty and dealers should be honoring the extended warranty, not taking advantage of customer's bad situation to make a profit. I will never buy another Nissan vehicle again. I contacted the Nissan Consumer Affairs too and they turned a blind eye, saying that they "resolved" the problem. They would not give me a refund and said they spoke to the dealer. This is their idea of "resolved". this is totally not acceptable. No one is taking responsibility for this dishonesty, not the manufacturer, not the dealer, not even the Nissan Consumer Affairs bureau. They are the worst car company ever with zero accountability for their defects. I hope no one will have to die before they decide to recall this defect.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #248

Jan 282015

Altima

  • 67,000 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 failed to start. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the electronic steering lock needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 67,000.

- Brookland, NY, USA

problem #247

Jan 022015

Altima

  • miles
After replacing the battery the vehice will not start / tow vehicle to dealer and got an estimate of $1150 for the steering lock sensor. I am disapointed and ask if I had to take a certain procedure to replace the battery dealer service advisor responde no......what happened the? no answer.

- San Bernardino, CA, USA

problem #246

Jan 262015

Altima

  • 135,000 miles
Drove car to gas station and after filling with gas car would no longer start. Car did not recognize key fob. The steering lock is broken and requires $800 to repair. Spoke with tow truck driver who took car to dealer and they tow a lot of these to the shop each week with the same problem. Incident is not isolated.

- Appleton, WI, USA

problem #245

Jan 162015

Altima

  • 108,000 miles

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

Car won't start due to the electronic steering column lock being defective.

- Nettleton, MS, USA

problem #244

Jan 112015

Altima

  • 14,000 miles
Steering wheel lock unit will no longer lock or unlock causing the car not to start.

- Matawan, NJ, USA

problem #243

Dec 042014

Altima

  • miles
My original incident date was not correct and I did not include the VIN# of the vehicle so I am submitting an updated complaint date complaint filed: 12/08/2014 component(s): Electrical system, engine, steering date of incident: 11/27/2014 NHTSA id number: 10662919 as previously stated I drove my 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5S to work on 12/04, I drove my 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 SE to work and it started up just fine. However, when I went to leave work for the day the car would not turn over. The keyless remote allowed me to lock and unlock my car, but the car did not start. Instead an error code shows that the electronic steering column lock (escl) mechanism was malfunctioning. Also, there is a yellow key icon on the left side of the dash that intermittently flashes no key. There were no prior warning that the part was about to fail including any lights on the dash panel. I was left stranded trying to find a way home. Due to being in a parking garage I had to leave my car for several days waiting for a tow truck with clearance to enter the garage. Since I cannot afford to pay the repairs at this time I have been a month with no car. Nissan is still refusing to repair my car indicating that it falls outside of the warranty extension period. Which is interesting considering there is a detailed letter explaining the warranty which clearly states, "Nissan has decided to extend the Nissan new vehicle limited warranty, as it applies to the escl unit, from 3 years / 36,000 miles to 6 years / unlimited miles, whichever comes first." - www.nissanassist.com/web/escl_warranty_extension/programdetails.php?menu=61 basic math shows that 6 years from 2009 would be 2015 not 2014. So I am still not certain as to how I am outside of the warranty period. Seeing as how my claim was originally filed in 2014 this should make me eligible for repairs under the covered warranty.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #242

Dec 282014

Altima

  • 60,000 miles
Upon arriving back to car after attending church it would not start. Steering wheel was not locked, ignition light would not come off of lock, battery was good. Had to have vehicle towed. Left us stranded. Talked to Nissan dealership in austin and said it was probably steering lock mechanism as have had several problems with 2009 Nissan. Said it was not under warranty and would cost around $1,000. Upon researching found this is a very common problem! why not a recall?

- West Point , TX, USA

problem #241

Nov 102014

Altima

  • 111,000 miles

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

I got into my 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 S and I pushed the start ignition button and my car would not start. It was the steering column lock set that controls the entire vehicle's starting capabilities. I had to pay for a tow truck to come tow my car way across town to a auto-nation Nissan dealership in farmers branch, Texas on the corner of welch road and high way 635. They said that this should be covered on the extended warranty and it is not however this is a recall item that Nissan should cover the cost for all of their customer's who purchased this rotten vehicle in the first place with this built in obsolescence or designed to break down and shut down on the owner and "leave them stranded" why would you knowingly allow this defect on all of these million's of manufactured defected "junk" of a car why would you Nissan allow this piece of sh_ T vehicle to be made knowing that this would be a "huge inconvenience to the customer vehicle owner" I was told by Nissan autonation's jeff burnett that the cost for repairing this piece of junk of a poorly and cheaply made car would cost me $849 plus tax. What the hell is the matter with you people" are you out of your F mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #240

Dec 252014

Altima

  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the steering wheel locking mechanism caused the vehicle to fail to start. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Cedar City , UT, USA

problem #239

Dec 232014

Altima

  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to restart. In addition, the electronic steering column lock (escl) warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that wheel lock needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 65,000.

- Charleston, WV, USA

problem #238

Dec 232014

Altima

  • 83,041 miles
2009 Nissan Altima 2.5S coupe. Car started fine in the morning, then failed to start (did not crank) after sitting in parking lot for 1 hour. Yellow "intelligent key" and red "security indicator" light were lit on dash, otherwise no other indications on the dash. Tried jumping battery and changing key battery, no luck. Called local Nissan dealership, they suspected steering interlock issue, stated that there was a warranty extension on this. Had vehicle towed to dealer. They confirmed it was the steering interlock and fixed it under warranty. Nissan is supposedly reimbursing for part of the tow charge also. Fortunately, car was still within the warranty time limit. Dealer stated there was no recall issued, "Nissan figured if there was going to be a problem, it would occur within a certain time period". I was lucky to be near home and dealership when this happened, could have been worse. Not sure why they wouldn't issue a recall on this type of thing.

- Ballston Lake, NY, USA

problem #237

Dec 192014

Altima

  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start and the key system warning light illuminated. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence where an independent mechanic diagnosed that the electronic steering column box needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 38,000.

- Monticello, NY, USA

problem #236

Dec 152014

Altima

  • 135,000 miles
The car was driven to a doctor's appointment. When we returned to the car, it would not start. We jumped the battery and nothing would happen. No lights would turn on in the car and the brake was very hard to push down. We did some research online and found that there was a huge problem with the steering mount. We attempted to get it started the next day by following directions online but no luck. We had it towed and found out it was in fact the steering mount. It is a large expense, impacted by the fact that the car had to be taken to a Nissan plant to be reprogrammed, adding an additional 280 dollars. This part needs a mass recall!

- Brandon, MS, USA

problem #235

Dec 162014

Altima

  • 80,000 miles
Car would not start after work on 12/16/14. Locks worked fine and doors unlocked. Tried jumping car battery and changing batteries in key with no success. Had car towed to local nissian dealership that night. After looking at car on 12/17/14, local shop advised the issue to be the electronic steering column lock. After reviewing this to be a common issue, so common Nissan extended warranty for this model for this part to 6 yrs unlimited miles (my car has about 80,000 miles). I ask the service advisor at the nissian dealer was there any recall on this part because of all the issues with it. I was told no and it would cost $1196 to repair it. So I call nssan Consumer Affairs for any chance of covering under this warranty. Nissan stated they would not do anything until I had a dealer review the issue. Dealer confirmed issue. But I was fully denied was told the warranty had expired October of 2014 and they could not do anything, with the large volume of complaints here and Nissan own admission of known issue by extending warranty for this model year and part, something more needs to be done. Im very disappointed with Nissan. Since 2007 I have purchased 4 nissian an at this point I will never spend my hard earn money on another nissian please spread the word on how nissian is treating thier so called "valued customers'.

- Elgin, SC, USA

problem #234

Dec 012014

Altima

  • 74,728 miles
Car would not start after a school meeting on evening of 12/1/14. Locks worked fine and remote start would still start vehicle, but would kill again after hitting start button. Tried jumping car battery and changing batteries in key fobs with no success. Had car towed to local shop next morning on 12/2 for review. After looking at car on 12/3, local shop advised the issue to be the electronic steering column lock. After reviewing this to be a common issue, so common Nissan extended warranty for this model for this part to 6 yrs unlimited miles (my car has just under 75,000 miles). Called my dealer (who I purchased car brand new and have all regular oil/service maintenance done there) and asked about it. My 6 yrs expired on 11/22 (9 days prior to issue) so would have to call Nissan Consumer Affairs for any chance of covering under warranty. Nissan stated they would nożżT listen to me until I had a dealer review the issue. Had to pay local shop for their diagnosis and incurred another towing expense to get to my dealer (which is the closest) 30 miles away. Dealer confirmed issue and in order to get my car back as I needed to use, I authorized repairs (over $1200 for just the repair). Submitted my claim then to Nissan for all my incurred expenses (which was $1500) but was fully denied. Was told 9 days is the same as 3 years over the warranty in their eyes and they can nożżT do anything, including even covering the additional towing and diagnosis fees incurred to meet their requirement of the dealer to review. Seeing the large volume of complaints here and Nissanż's own admission of known issue by extending warranty for this model year and part, something more needs to be done. Very disappointed in Nissan.

- Faribault, MN, USA

problem #233

Nov 272014

Altima

  • miles
I drove my 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5S to work on 11/27 and it started up just fine as usual. However, when I went to leave work for the day the car did not start. The keyless remote will allow me to lock and unlock my car, but when I go to start the car, it will not register my keyless remote. An error code shows that the electronic steering column lock (escl) mechanism was malfunctioning. Also, there is a yellow key icon on the left side of the dash that intermittently flashes no key. The ignition is indicating that the steering wheel is locked although I can turn the steering wheel. There are or were no prior warning that the part was about to fail including anylights on the dash panel. I had to leave my car in the garage and was stranded for sometime trying to find a way home. My car is still sitting in the garage as I cannot afford to pay the repairs at this time. After doing further research into the issue I have come to see that multiple people have complained about this same exact problem. A very disturbing factor since Nissan is aware of the problem, and for some customers has issued an extended warranty for this specific problem. Although either issuing a recall or removing the part from the later manufactured models to avoid this from occuring again. Hopefully, my vehicle does not fall outside the extended warranty window as Nissan is not assisting with the repairs.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #232

Nov 202014

Altima

  • 83,669 miles
Car would not start due to failure of steering lock mechanism. Contacted Nissan dealership, they were aware of issue and indicated that it would need to be towed in for repair. Repair and tow cost $1383.21. Nissan Nissan dealership stated Nissan was aware of defective part (steering lock #48700-1nc1A) and to call 1-800-nissan1 for reimbursement. Nissan is indicating the my vehicle is 2 months out of warranty. They are offering to pay 50% of the total bill. I feel this is a safety issue, due to being stranded, and potential for part to fail while the I in motion. Due to the fact that they were aware of the defective part in their vehicle, Nissan should have notified owners of affected vehicles. If they had we would have had the part replaced in advance of failure.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

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