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:
69,148 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 29)

problem #571

Sep 082016

Altima

  • miles

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

Nissan has refused to recall their faulty electronic steering lock unit that is needed to turn the vehicle on. If it does not lock the wheel in place it will not allow the push start ignition to start the vehicle, thus leaving their occupants stranded with no option other than to have their vehicles towed to a Nissan dealership and forced to pay upwards of $1200 for the replacement of a defective factory part. They offered a extended warranty to address this issue, but neglected to inform consumers of this. They are clearly trying to get out of paying for their mistakes and are passing the cost on to their unsuspecting customers.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #570

Sep 092016

Altima

  • 120,000 miles
After routine drive, car "froze-up" door would not open, car would not start, wheel did not turn, car would not start, car dead. After some research found many complaints about this, it has something to do with "steering / engine locking-up" and can happen anywhere at anytime without any warning. Nissan at one point had extended the warranty on this indefinitely, then arbitrarily ended it in mid 2015. This is incredibly dangerous....can leave you stranded anywhere!!!

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #569

Sep 112016

Altima

  • 91,000 miles
Escl - electronic steering column lock I went to the store far from home and when I tried starting the car it did not start. The door locks worked but nothing else would come on. I checked online and it stated that it was escl. I put in a used one and it worked. I would like Nissan to replace that part with a new part. I was stranded for hours and had to leave my car in the store parking lot for 3 days.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #568

Aug 272016

Altima

  • 88,000 miles

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

My mother-in-law drove the car to work in the morning with no issues. When she went to leave at the end of her evening shift, the car would not turn on when the push button start was pressed. Thankfully a co-worker was still with her and able to drive her home, otherwise she would have been stranded in a precarious situation waiting for a tow truck for who knows how long. The car was parked in a parking lot of a bank branch (where she works). After researching the behavior, we learned about the steering lock module failure. After having it towed to the dealership, they confirmed our fears. Unfortunately, the repair was grossly expensive. Upon filing a claim for payment assistance or reimbursement with Nissan, we were denied as they said it was not a recall/safety issue, their "customer satisfaction warranty extension" offered has expired, and the NHTSA did not feel the issue was tied to customer safety therefore it wasn┐T a recall. I believe this is unreasonable. My mother-in-law, or any driver, could be stranded with a useless vehicle, unable to start the car, due to a known failure in a Nissan part. At a minimum, Nissan should have been required to notify owners of this known and the possibility of being left stranded should the car fail to properly turn on.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #567

Sep 122016

Altima

  • 65,000 miles
Takata recall steering lock control unit malfunction

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #566

Aug 222016

Altima

  • 190,345 miles
The Altima is equipped with an electronic steering column lock (escl) unit that locks the steering wheel when the vehicle is parked and the ignition is turned off to help prevent theft. Escl may malfunction after the vehicle is locked and could prevent the engine from starting. This condition, should it occur, will only occur when attempting to start the vehicle, and not while driving. I turned on my car and took my 6 month old daughter to the doctor as she was running a high fever. Upon leaving the doctor's office at 12A.M. I pushed my start button to turn on my vehicle and it was unresponsive. I was left in the dark unable to operate my vehicle in the middle of the night with my 6 M month old baby. The parking I was in did not allow for overnight parking and I was alone with my baby. Upon researching Nissan had extended the warranty to the electronics steering column lock to 6 years unlimited miles from 3 years 36,000 miles warranty. I no longer fall on that and I am having this issue. Nissan says I am out of warranty and there is nothing they can do for me. According to their annoucement this is a ┐manufacturing irregularity┐ that now I have to find a way to pay. I have no savings to pay for such part and the towing already cost me a handful and put my baby in a dangerous situation. I am a single mom and truly upset with the situation. This should have been a recall! please see link: Regarding the warranty web.archive.org/web/20150219214832/http://www.nissanassist.com/web/escl_warranty_extension/programdetails.php?menu=61

- San Benito, TX, USA

problem #565

Sep 102016

Altima

  • 117,000 miles

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

The steering lock is causing the car not to start at all. I have been stranded many times and this is not safe. I have been at my house where it hasn't worked, I have been at work.

- Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #564

Sep 092016

Altima

  • miles
Intelligent key light would come on but the car wouldn't start or do anything, but the lock/unlock feature would still work. Apparently the steering lock mechanism is defective

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #563

Sep 082016

Altima

  • 85,300 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the steering wheel seized without warning. The vehicle was towed 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 made aware of the failure and stated they would get back in touch with the contact. The failure mileage was approximately 85,300.

- Egg Harbor Township, NJ, USA

problem #562

Sep 072016

Altima

  • miles
Malfunction with the steering lock that won't allow the car to start. When I push the brakes to start the car the car it is stating that there is a malfunction with the steering wheel lock.

- North Charleston, SC, USA

problem #561

Aug 272016

Altima

  • 93,000 miles

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

The car was sluggish driving in to the driveway and went dead. It would not start and could not depress the brakes they were locked. Had to have the car towed to the dealer. If this would have happened while on the driving on the street or freeway my son could have been hit from behind since it just went dead without warning. After 3 days the dealer determined it was the electronic steering lock. Found out that there was a 6 year warranty added to this part on the car but I was never informed by Nissan. Unfortunately we did not have the problem until the 7th year, 1 year beyond the warranty. Nissan knows about the potential of this part failing and added the 6 year warranty but if outside of that time period you are responsible. This is a defect not something cause by an owner for lack of maintenance and should be a part of a recall not a limited warranty.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #560

Sep 072016

Altima

  • 50,000 miles
After sitting I cannot start my car, steering seems to be stuck and brake is very hard to press down.car has only 50.000 mi.

- Concord, OH, USA

problem #559

Sep 012016

Altima

  • 82,377 miles
Car will not start. Steering lock mechanism malfunction. Car parked on street in front of our house. At least I'm not on a trip. Nissan won't fix under a recall. They had an extended warranty to cover this problem, but it expired. Owners of pre-owned cars were never notified.

- Greenville, TX, USA

problem #558

Sep 012016

Altima

  • miles
My steering wheel lock is defective, my sister got stuck after a pit stop traveling from boston to New York. After doing some research online I came across informations showing it was a factory default. I purchased the car in 2013 and was never told about this at the dealership

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #557

Sep 022016

Altima

  • 146,000 miles
Notice a key indicator light on dash... vehicle wouldn't start! I was in a very dark area by myself and didn't know what to do! I was scared for my life because I was alone and didn't know what would happen!!

- High Point, NC, USA

problem #556

Aug 312016

Altima

  • 100,500 miles
My car would not start. The car battery is fine and the intelligent key fob is also working fine and was even tried with a new battery. Pushing the start button does nothing and the two key lights on the dash both light up when in the car. After checking the manual, calling the dealer, and checking the internet, it is clear that my steering lock mechanism has malfunctioned. This seems to be a very common problem as Nissan extended the warranty on it indefinitely and then went back and shortened it to run out in January of this year! they even tell you to call the dealer in the manual if you encounter it and it is then a $1000 repair. I'm just glad this didn't happen over the weekend while I was camping and potentially stranded!

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #555

Aug 182016

Altima

  • 80,000 miles
This problem is occuring in 2009-2011 Nissan Altima and maxima vehicles. When turning off vehicle, the steering locks and when you go to turn it back on, the steering wheel will not unlock after turning key on. Vehicle will not start due to steering wheel being locked. There are numerous complaints regarding this on the internet and the dealers want $1200 to fix problem. This should really be a recall item.

- Peyton, CO, USA

problem #554

Aug 202016

Altima

  • 65,000 miles
Car will not start due to steering lock on vehicle malfunctioned X 4. towed to dealership for diagnostic only to be told repair is $900. Contacted Nissan who is going back on their word to pay for repair. Car also has airbag lights that come on while driving. Car is always in parked positioned when there is a problem.

- Springfield, MA, USA

problem #553

Aug 192016

Altima

  • 65,000 miles
Car will not start with key fob. Called tow on three different occasions. Last tow was told to knock on steering lock box to start car. Car was towed due to inability to get car running. Unable to pay for diagnosis at dealership because of cost of 100. Unable to pay for tow because of 65 dollar cost. Stuck out in the middle of no where and now my car is useless. Will not be buying another Nissan or recommend to anyone. I am afraid I am going to lose my job because of no transportation thanks to Nissan.

- Springfield, MA, USA

problem #552

Jul 062016

Altima

  • 93,000 miles
Steering lock failure. The car had an extended warranty on this part but Nissan refuses to pay to have it replaced because the warranty expired last year. My car is unusable due to the high cost to replace this part. (1000.00) Nissan should be required to recall this part and cover the cost since it is a defect on their part. The car was stationary when this happened. It just wouldn't start back up.

- Columbia, MD, USA

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