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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,237 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2009 Nissan Altima:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 27)

problem #531

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 #530

Feb 012016


  • 119,504 miles
Electronic steering control lock escl. When it fails, you instantaneously, with no warning cannot start your vehicle. The only remedy is to tow car to a dealer, which will charge you a large amount ($1000 or more) to replace it. This should be the subject of an immediate recall as this has long been a problem. Mine failed soon after the warranty extension expired. Why allow unlimited mileage, yet not unlimited time? the car has been unmoved for months now while payments are still being made on it.

- Berryton, KS, USA

problem #529

Jul 152016


  • 70,000 miles
Common problem from all Nissan 2009 owners.... steering wheel lock has failed. This is obviously a manufacture defect and the safety point is that it can go out at anytime and leave my wife stranded in places she should not have to worry

- Biloxi, MS, USA

problem #528

Jul 092016


  • 98,374 miles


Electronic steering lock sensor fail unable to start car or lock or start. Fortunately had just park vehicle.. on city street

- Thornton, CO, USA

problem #527

May 182016


  • 900,000 miles
Steering wheel lock causing the car to stall completely.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #526

Jul 012016


  • 92,000 miles
2009 Nissan Altima will not start they said it was the steering lock control unit that needs replaced. $1,100. Nissan knew of the issue and extended the warranty only until 2015. If there was an issue why was I never told about it. I would have had them replace it a long time ago. We should have been told and they should cover the cost!

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #525

Jul 012016


  • 110 miles


Takata recall my steering is locking and won't let me turn on the car it was stationary. Had to have it towed. Needs to be recalled again and fixed for everyone.

- Herriman, UT, USA

problem #524

Jun 222016


  • 106,000 miles
Car would not start at all and it was discovered that it was a failure of the steering lock mechanism. A part that Nissan has knowingly extended the warranty on multiple times.

- Caledonia, MS, USA

problem #523

Jun 272016


  • 99,000 miles
I went to start MY2009 Nissan Altima car that was parked in front of my door and it did not start, the doors would lock and unlock but it would not start it was in the lock position. I had my car towed to the dealership and was told that the electrical tech found that the steering lock failed. It is vey expensive to fix. It will cost me around a $1,000.oo to have it fix. I spoke with the custome service rep with the Nissan department and I was told that the extended warranty has expired and that I needed to take my my car to the dealeship and let them dignosed the problems and call back and they may be able to help. Called back with the ddiagnostic result and my claim was denied because the warranty has expired in September of 2015 and their was nothing they can do about it. I feel a recall should be call on this part. If there was an extended warranty to have this fix they should have informed buyer of this like it was a recall.

- Savannah, GA, USA

problem #522

Feb 082016


  • 50,000 miles
After work tried to start the car in the parking lot after, but it wont start. We towed it to the Nissan dealer who said it was an 'electronic steering lock column ' -escl failure. Just google it there are thousands of customer complains about this problem. It cost us about $1000 to fix it. Nissan corporate refused to pay for the repair. I need to be refunded because this is strictly the fault of Nissan.

- Romeoville, IL, USA

problem #521

Jun 202016


  • 103,000 miles


I have a defective steering lock which won't allow the car to start. There was no warning and for my general safety and use of my car, this problem needs to be resolved by Nissan motor Inc.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #520

Jun 082016


  • 80,000 miles
Nissan Altima 2009 had a defective steering lock that caused me to be struck alone late at night on at cvs store. My car was not at all starting. My car had to be towed to a dealer the next day. I found this issue as manufacture defect. This is a very dangerous if someone struck in isolated place in cold. I had no idea that this was going to happen. This is expensive. I paid 1200 which should be bare by Nissan but they have ignored it. This is a defective part in the 2009 Nissan Altima and there is no way to know if it will happen again and should be covered by a recall for the life of the car. Better to sell of 2009 model

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #519

May 302016


  • 103,000 miles
Car won't start. Steering lock is defective causing ignition problem.

- Yorktown Heights, NY, USA

problem #518

Jun 182016


  • miles
Steering lock malfunction!! got stranded in the Arizona heat because escl malfunctioned!!! Nissan Altima 2009 wouldn't start, had to get it towed to auto shop to be told it's a steering lock malfunction!! Nissan knows about this but hasn't done anything about it!!!! I'm dissatisfy with Nissan

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #517

Jun 122016


  • 90,000 miles
I was parked in the driveway at a relatives, had to move my vehicle from the driveway to the streets. When I came back out to start my vehicle to go home six hours later, it would not start. I contacted triple a, they wasn't successful getting my vehicle started, so I had the vehicle towed to pep boys which was unsuccessful, then I had the vehicle towed to the dealership.

- Avondale, AZ, USA

problem #516

Jun 162016


  • 123,000 miles
Went to start car to run an errand while at work on lunch break to get in the car and the car would not start. I'll have to get the car towed not to include the daycare late fees that I'm going to have to pay because I am unable to pick my child up from daycare because they close, needless to say it's $1 per minute that I'm late and it is due at the time of pick up. The cost for the part is $708.66 not including the labor, stress, and anxiety that this inconvenience has caused. I am infuriated. My other 2009 Nissan Altima had to have a new transmission replaced just 2 months ago. The Nissan quality is going down the drain!

- Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #515

Jun 132016


  • miles
Steering lock on a 2009 Nissan Altima broke June 13,2016. 1100 dollars to fix at dealer.

- Gonzales, LA, USA

problem #514

Jun 112016


  • 106,000 miles
On 6/11/16 drove to gas station went home came out to my car and it wouldn't start all the lights were on saw a yellow key light googled it didn't have to finish it automatically came up Nissan power steering went the place I'm financing my car from says that my fob key had to be reprogrammed to my car so now the tow company comes get my car brings it to the Nissan dealer and tech calls and says its the power steering and it will cost me 700$ are U serious I don't have that kind of money I just made a car payment last week and paid my car insurance along with rent and bills this is crazy I have a extended warranty and of course its not listed for cover I lost work today and now have to find ways for the rest of the week if this was recalled last year and expired last year that's not right that we still have to pay for Nissan mistake

- Hoosick Falls, NY, USA

problem #513

Jun 042016


  • 89,000 miles
Drove to work on 6-4-2016. Went out to move my car and it wouldn't start. Lights were working, alarm was working but car would not start. I noticed a tiny key emblem on the dash that I had never seen before, come to find out it is the steering lock which there was a recall on. Called Nissan dealership to fix it and was told the recall expired in July 2015 and it would cost me approximately $900 to fix. I cannot afford 900 dollars for something that they should be fixing for free as it is a Nissan induced issue and nothing personal. I have been without a car for almost a week, having to beg rides from people just so I can support my family with the (2) jobs that im working.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #512

Jun 092016


  • 84,000 miles
Try to start the car and nothing happens. The push button start and inserting the key into the dash do not work. Tried jumping the car and nothing. Had the car towed to a certified Goodyear repair facility. The service manager stated that the vehicle required a new steering column module. Cost of approximately $850

- Orchard Park, NY, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?