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:
65,658 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 25)

problem #490

May 092016


  • miles


Takata recall - I believe my car has that escl problem because I cant turn on my car at all. On Monday evening I was on my way to work from home and my car was driving fine until innotice that my steering wheel was wobbling. I arravied at work parked my car and went in my workplace for a meeting then when I came back out to my car to take it to the garage it wouldnt start up. I pressed my feet on the pedal like usual but nothing happen it kept showing on the dashboard only a key error. After I got off I tried to start it up again and nothing happend I even had got a hotshot because I thought it was something wrong with my battery but it wasnt. So then inhad to leave my car on the side streetbfor 24 hours because I couldnt afford to get a tow at 5am until I went home and got more money. So then when I came back to work the next day I got my car towed to my house which was on Tuesday May 5th 2016 until I have money to get it fixed because right now I cant afford it. I honestly feel like there should be a recall for this problem because I always toke car of my car since I had and this is the only problem that I had with my carbso far. I dont know what is the cause of the problem.

- Essex, MD, USA

problem #489

May 112016


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. Immediately after parking, the vehicle stalled without warning and failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the electronic steering column lock unit was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and refused to provide any assistance since the vehicle was no longer eligible for repairs under a customer satisfaction campaign. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 120,000.

- Freeport, NY, USA

problem #488

May 092016


  • 0 miles
I currently own a 2009 Nissan Altima with a steering wheel lock mechanism defect. Upon researching this defect I have come to realize that several consumers have had this issue. This defect has been so common that a warranty was placed on this part until 2014.because of the number of customers that have had this issue I believe that a total recall should've been made. Please review all of the petitions posted online in an attempt to drive the manufacture to do the right thing. The repair for this defect is costing it's customers a minimum of $1200 and I am outraged that they put a expiration date on the time this part has to malfunction.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #487

May 082016


  • 88,000 miles


Vehicle would not start. The brake was extremely stiff, the steering wheel was locked and pushing the start button did nothing. Aaa came and said it wasn't the battery, alternator or starter. I had the car towed to the local Nissan dealer they said it was a defective steering lock module which had an extended warranty but it was expired. This cost me approximately $700 for the tow, part and labor. The service department told me that they thought this should be a recalled item because it is a safety issue since the part was defective, Nissan is aware of the problem, and it could leave people stranded in a dangerous situation.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #486

May 032016


  • 143,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. When attempting to start the vehicle, it was unable to start. The "push to start" did not start the engine and the steering failed. The failure was included in an extended warranty; however, the contact was not sure if the vehicle would still be covered. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 143,000.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #485

Dec 092015


  • 63,883 miles
I pulled in to the gas station late night December 9,2015, and after filling up, the car refused to start. When tested it showed that the battery was fine. The car was towed to the dealer (even the tow company worker had the same problem with the same make and model car). True to the worker's experience, the dealer told me the car had a steering problem. This is a very expensive undertaking, and extremely inconveniencing. Needs to be recalled from the number of complaints I read.

- Freeport, NY, USA

problem #484

Apr 282016


  • 100,000 miles


Electric steering lock (escl) failure: Car will not start due to this failure. Vehicle was parked.

- Richland, WA, USA

problem #483

Feb 012016


  • 78,479 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. While driving home at approximately 30 mph, the vehicle stalled and shut down. The check engine light illuminated. The vehicle restarted and was taken to a local dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering column lock fractured. The component was recalled and repaired previously; therefore, the manufacturer was not responsible for the repairs. The dealer also diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacture was made aware of the failure, but did not offer assistance. The failure mileage was 78,479.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #482

Apr 232016


  • 75,000 miles
The escl wheel lock will not release to let the vehicle start

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #481

Mar 152016


  • miles
Takada I got stranded on my work my car wouldn't turn on at all had to get it towed home. After I took it to the dealer auto service came to find out its the steering lock assembly I'm being charged $975 dollars to get it fix came to find out alot of people ware complaining of this problem theresolution need to be a recall for this parts.

- Hesperia, CA, USA

problem #480

Apr 172016


  • 174,000 miles


Car won't start. It's stuck in lock position.

- Washington, LA, USA

problem #479

Apr 182016


  • 178,000 miles
Car will not start or turn on accessories. Steering lock mechanism failed. I was unable to do anything with the car until aaa can to tow it to the deal.

- Basom, NY, USA

problem #478

Apr 152016


  • 110,000 miles
Steering lock mechanism failed leaving the car completely disabled and unable to move at all. Nissan has know about this being a very chronic problem with these cars but did not recall the part. The extended warrantee ended March 31 2015 and it should have been indefinitely because Nissan knows these are faulty and hasn't communicated to owners about it as far as I know.

- Gleneden Beach, OR, USA

problem #477

Apr 152016


  • miles
I was about to start my car at a gas station the vehicle was stationary and my car would not start leaving me stranded it is a known issue with Nissan and it was diagnosed as a steering lock control unit failure which prevents the vehicle from sensing your key fob which prevents you from starting the vehicle and you are stuck. There should be a recall for this defect leaving drivers stranded and the car useless. I could have been robbed or other. Nissan is aware of this issue and has done nothing to notify owners and replace stearing control unit.

- Lewisville, TX, USA

problem #476

Apr 132016


  • 73,000 miles
Steering lock went with no warning. Nissan aware of problem and hasn't recalled. Cost $959.21 to fix. Was shopping car shut off. When I returned with groceries wouldn't start. Had to tow to dealer

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #475

Apr 132016


  • miles
Steering wheel lock failure- disabling the car where it will not start. Nissan is aware of the issue and has not done anything about it. To get the car fixed it's going to be over 1000 dollars.

- Boones Mill, VA, USA

problem #474

Apr 122016


  • 150,000 miles
Key light appeared took the car to the dealership at lunch time. The battery changed in the key I went back to work. At the end of the work day went out to go home car would not start! it will not move from lock to acc! cannot reset so the car can start will have to have it towed!

- Stockbridge, GA, USA

problem #473

Apr 102016


  • 66,500 miles
Was going out of town and due to bad weather conditions on the area I was supposed to drive to, I did not go. However, on Sunday afternoon I got into vehicle, tried to start it and it would not start. Now, if I had of gone out of town like I was supposed to, I would have been stranded. I often have my small granddaughter with me. Glad she wasn't this time. Had to call tow service.

- Newark, OH, USA

problem #472

Apr 102016


  • 49,900 miles
I went to the grocery store and was inside for 30 min. When I got back to my car, it would not start, it was completely dead. I had it towed to the dealership and they diagnosed it as electronic steering column unit failure. I am the original owner, car has under 50K miles.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #471

Jan 072016


  • 94,334 miles
Drove to Laredo, Texas to get new tires for my vehicle. When the auto technician went to move the car from the parking lot it would not start. They checked everything they could think off, battery, battery cables, alternator. They called an electronic specialist to come check the car. It seemed it was the steering lock module. No warning, nothing. I never even received a recall notice for this part. I called the Nissan dealership and of course the recall had just expired. To top it off the Nissan dealership wanted to charge me towing fees from the tire dealership to the Nissan dealership and to fix it was going to be over a thousand dollars. I ended up paying $850 to repair the car somewhere else. I live in a very rural area where there are no stores, gasoline stations, etc. Nearest city is Laredo which is over forty miles away. At least I was at the parking lot of the tire dealership. I don't want to think if this would have happened when I am taking my elderly mother to the doctor, hospital, or for chemo treatments. I feel Nissan should reimburse me for the replacement for the steering column module. For instance, never did I receive the recall notice and this was such an unexpected experience. Not only was I without a vehicle for almost a week but finding someone to pick me up to take me home and then someone to take me back to pick up the car. I cannot believe that Nissan didn't have the common courtesy to notify its customers of this steering column defect and the Nissan dealership taking advantage of the situation.

- Bruni, TX, USA

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