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.

8.6

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$955.00
Average Mileage:
87,099 miles
Total Complaints:
397 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace steering wheel lock (151 reports)
  2. not sure (100 reports)
  3. replace steering lock controller unit (88 reports)
  4. make it recall (20 reports)
  5. replace electronic steering wheel column (10 reports)
  6. replace brake switch (8 reports)
2009 Nissan Altima steering problems

steering problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 20)

problem #397

Dec 262012

Altima LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,572 miles

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

This is the first incident of the steering lock mechanism going bad. I have posted the second incident previously as it just occurred on 12/21/16. Substantially the same scenario: I go out on an errand, get back to the car, and it doesn't start. This is only a year after I purchased the car. So I have it towed to Capitol Nissan, and they diagnose it and replace the steering lock unit and ignition switch assembly. I am advised at this time that they have had other customers with the same complaint. It was under warranty, and I didn't have to pay for the repair. When they replaced the unit, I was certainly under the impression they wouldn't replace it with another flawed unit. It took another five years for substantially the same unit to fail.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #396

Dec 212016

Altima LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

I wondered why my 2009 Nissan Altima is such a piece of garbage when everyone else sings praises about the Nissan Altima. So I go online and Google 2009 Nissan Altima, and I find this site and all the complaints on this issue. Now, this is the second time I have gone out on an errand and come back to my car to find it won't start. I had to have the car towed on both occasions to the dealer. The first time this happened the dealership was Capitol Nissan, and they replaced the steering lock unit and told me that they had other customers with the same problem. The car was under warranty so I didn't have to pay for the fix. This dealership no longer exists. Nally Nissan fixed the problem the second time it happened. It cost me $1155.29 to have it fixed. The service department must know this is an ongoing problem, yet didn't feel the need to let me know about it, but did tell me they don't make the cars; they just fix them. They let me drive off their lot knowing this is going to happen again. Unconscionable.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #395

Dec 022016

Altima SL 2.4L

  • CVT transmission
  • 55,400 miles

12-2-16, Friday 9:30 PM very cold in Northeastern Ohio. Car in parking lot would not start because of a steering lock failure. Called neighbor 25 miles away for a ride home. 12-3-16,Sat.Car towed to Nissan dealer where purchased. Repair would cost upwards of $1,000. Research on the internet indicates Nissan had extended warranty repairs for this problem and then rescinded it. I believe this is a safety issue. If a person is stranded and cannot get a cell tower connection, one could freeze to death. What if a family with small children experienced this on a sub-zero night? The car has only 55,400 miles on it but I do not trust it for me or my wife to drive. There should be a Federal recall for this problem.

- , Berea, OH, USA

problem #394

Jan 072017

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,565 miles

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

I'm really pissed off... I can't believe it just happened on the week end. On Saturday Jan 07, 2017 we went into the grocery store and came out to go home and the car was dead. I tried to change the battery in the key fobs but it did not work. I had to call CAA to help me and after spending 3 hour in the parking lot in the freezing condition stranded in -20 degree temperature, the CAA arranged towing my vehicle to the nearest Nissan dealer to be checked. On Monday the Nissan dealer called me and said that the problem in my Altima 2009 is in the “Steering Lock” which is defected and need to be replaced and the cost of the part which they have to order is $977.39. I called Nissan Canada to inform about this Steering Lock defect problem of my Nissan Altima 2009 they told me that this part was no longer under the "extended warranty” I have to pay for its replacement and if Nissan do recall then I can present the expenses to them for reimbursement.

I have notice how many more complaints have been written about this Steering Lock “DEFECT” problem in just the recent months. This is very annoying; it seems to me this is a manufacturer problem. Nissan should cover the charges because it was a defective part that had been installed...Nissan needs to recall this and restore its customers trust. I have been a customer for about 17 years and what I found now that for Nissan there is no appreciation for its customers loyalty… shame on NISSAN... I will never buy another Nissan after this issue

- , Ca, AB, Canada

problem #393

Dec 192016

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,300 miles

Went out to go home from work and it would not start...waited 3 hours for AAA and finally cancelled it when I realized it was not a battery issue...I had called Nissan dealership and the service person told me that it should work if I put the fob in the little fob insert on the car...did not start...I had my sister bring me the other fob and it made no difference...After 3 hours, I cancelled AAA service and just went home...it was very cold and it was dark.

I drove my daughter's Altima to work the next day and called AAA to tow it to the dealership(towed at 8:30 am). They did not have time to look at it because they were so busy. I had left a note in the drivers seat about the steering lock issue with the 2009 Altima. The next day they told me it was no longer under the "extended warranty" and the part might be in Chicago and if so would be ready the next day (3 days later). When I went in to discuss this with the Service Manager about why this was not a recall or Nissan should cover the charges because it was a defective part that had been installed...he told me that the part was on "back order." He was not helpful at all...we can't just pay for everyones repairs. Things fail on cars.

Nissan needs to recall this and restore the trust in Nissan cars. I have been a customer for about 30 years and there is no loyalty with customers with Nissan as I can see.

Update from Dec 29, 2016: Notice how many more complaints have been written in just the recent months...shame on NISSAN...RECALL IT NOW

- , Fishers, IN, USA

problem #392

Jan 042017

Altima S 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

I'm really pissed....I get off from work in the evening and stop by the store and once I returned to my car it wouldn't start. Two key symbols come up on the dashboard. The lights, horn, and alarm all worked, but the car wouldn't start. I had to call someone to come and get me so I could get home. The next morning I had to borrow someone's car to get to work and I also had to have the car towed to the Nissan dealership yesterday and was told the steering lock control failed and it would cost $1200.00 to fix. I sent an email to NissanUSA.com about my concerns and they responded that the warranty had been extended to 7 years or unlimited mileage. I responded to email indicating the car owners were never notified. I have been assigned a case number and waiting for a response. What pisses me off is the fact the Nissan knew of this problem and instead of having a recall they changed the warranty and didn't notify the owners. That's just foul. The sad part about it is, I have been taking my car to get serviced at the Nissan dealership and they never mentioned anything.

- , Quincy, FL, USA

problem #391

Jan 052017

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,700 miles

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

I got off work last night and was about to start my car, nothing happened. Start engine not even on ACC mode. Then I saw the key sign is always on. I changed my key battery 2 weeks before, and it can lock/unlock the car, open the trunk, everything. So not the key problem. Then googled what's this about. Then realized it's my steering lock problem. I can't believe it just happened. Spending half an hour in the freezing car in the parking lot I gave it up. Due to the pricey replacement, I decided to fix it myself, by using hammer hitting that metal box. Now car can be turned on, but it's just a quick temporary fix, I am worried what I should do afterwards.

Nissan should help us on fixing its own problem.

- , Edison, NJ, USA

problem #390

Dec 132016

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Cold night here in Mn car to be unabel to start cR due to steering lock failure. Tried new batteries in smart keys, tried jump, tried shifting steering wheel. Had to have it towed to local garage and am having ignition control module replaced. Heard this has happened to many 2009 Nissans, anyway to recoop some cost from Nissan?

- , Woodbury, MN, USA

problem #389

May 012015

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,798 miles

IT IS VERY COLD AND COULD HAVE BEEN DISASTROUS IF I HAD BEEN SOMEWHERE WITHOUT HELP. I AM ELDERLY AND LUCKILY I WAS AT HOME AND CALLED A TOW TRUCK. I HAVE NOTICED THE AMOUNT OF COMPLAINTS OF THIS PARTICULAR PROBLEM AND FEEL NISSAN SHOULD AT LEAST MAKE THE PART FOR THIS FIX A BIT MORE REASONABLE. I AM RETIRED AND ON A FIXED INCOME, AND CONSIDERING THE DATE, I AM STRAPPED. I APPRECIATE YOUR LOOKING INTO THIS PROBLEM WITH A LITTLE MORE CONCERN.

- , Abbotsford, BC, Canada

problem #388

Nov 192016

Altima Coupe 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 165,000 miles

This is very annoying and really needs to be recalled as they are getting over on this small parts that's costing anywhere from $500 and up. I will never buy another Nissan after this issue.

- , Maywood, IL, USA

problem #387

Dec 072016

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

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

Nissan was aware that the failure of the Electronic Steering Lock was a widespread issue even extending warranty cover of this issue and additional 3 years, unlimited miles. Owners were not notified in advance.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #386

Dec 242016

Altima SL 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I am really pissed about this expensive situation. My car just stopped on Christmas Eve, the absolute worst time. My daughter and I where stranded and we couldn't even jump the car. After having the car looked at and discussing the issue with the Nissan dealer. The cost to fix it is 1250 for one Freaking lil part. No other mechanic can or will do it for cheaper because of the programming of the part involved. They say they are not comfortable doing it and that the dealer should repair it because they are the only ones that can program it.

I am a single mother on fixed freaking income. What the hell am I supposed to do. What angers me is if Nissan knew this was an issue why didn't the recall it instead of issuing an extended warranty. Which of course has run out. Its all about the money. I have had a Nissan for years and have been loyal to them but now I see and feel like they are saying ---- you we don't care. Who has this kind of money to spend on something that should have been recalled. Its about the principle. Nissan Really.

- , Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #385

Dec 122016

Altima 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 121,789 miles

second time this failed. first under warranty. i replaced my second one with an aftermarket dorman. came with a key fob programmer which was nice as i had a extra fob that nissan had told me was no good but actually was, the dorman has a lifetime warranty on this so i hope this will be the last time

- , Kelowna, Canada

problem #384

Dec 202016

Altima 2.5 SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,298 miles

This is a safety issue that Nissan needs to address. Once this happens you cannot start the car. In no service for cell phone area could die from this. This is no problem to be taken lightly. There needs to be a total recall on this device and I mean now before someone dies from this problem. There was an extended warranty but has run out. I wish I knew about this prior to it happening to me. If you have 2009 or 2010 Altima and you have not changed that part out, time is ticking and is only a matter of time before it goes.

- , Ludlow, USA

problem #383

Dec 182016

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 70,000 miles

The Nissan 2009 Altima Steering Lock DEFECT should be a recall. The defect was not communicated and was a rouse to appease the NTSB from mandating a recall. I was stranded in 17 degree temperature because of this defect.

I had to have it towed the next day to Clay Cooley Nissan in Irving TX where they charged me $1010.00 to replace a manufacturer NISSAN DEFECT. The "extended warranty" does nothing to help the original owners of new cars that experience this NISSAN DEFECT. This should be a lifetime warranty for the original owner or a TOTAL RECALL from Nissan.

This allowed Clay Cooley Nissan in Irving TX to gouge me $1010.00 for a manufacturer NISSAN DEFECT. I was stranded in the bitter cold because of this NISSAN DEFECT. Why would the NTSB or Nissan leave this defect repair cost up to the Clay Cooley Nissan in Irving TX to profit from it? The NTSB should force a recall. The NTSB has been played by Nissan with their "extended warranty." Further more, the repair MUST be done by a Nissan dealer! This seems like a scheme.

- , Dallas, TX, USA

problem #382

Dec 142016

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,197 miles

We went into the grocery store and came out to go home and the car was dead.. we tried jump starting and changed the battery in the key fobs to no avail. Only solution was to have car towed to the nearest Nissan dealer and have it replaced. There was no warning prior to this happening. End result four hours later and $1000.00 for repairs the car is running. Very poor design on Nissans part. May never buy another and we both drive Nissans. Just terrible.

- , Fulton, NY, USA

problem #381

Dec 192016

Altima 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 94,000 miles

NISSAN KNOWS OF THIS PROBLEM, BUT DID NOT DO A RECALL. THEY CHANGED AN INDEFINITE WARRANTY TO A 6 YEAR WARRANTY IN JANUARY 2015. I RAN TO THE STORE ON MY LUNCH HOUR TO PICK UP A FEW ITEMS, CAME OUT AND CAR WOULD NOT START. HAD TO HAVE THE CAR TOWED TO NISSAN. UPON LOOKING UP THIS PROBLEM, FOUND THAT NISSAN KNOWS THIS HAPPENS TO THIS CAR, BUT REFUSED TO DO A RECALL, JUST EXTENDED THE WARRANTY. UNFORTUNATELY, MY WARRANTY EXPIRED LAST YEAR - I PURCHASE THIS CAR BRAND NEW IN APRIL OF 2009. NOW THEY WANT ALMOST 1100.00 TO REPLACE THIS PART THEY KNEW WAS DEFECTIVE TO BEGIN WITH! I AM WAITING TO SEE IF THE DEALERSHIP IS GOING TO BE OF ANY HELP IN GETTING THIS REPLACED FOR NO CHARGE.

- , East Patchogue, NY, USA

problem #380

Dec 052016

Altima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,489 miles

Came to work and car started fine, leaving work it would do nothing! I pushed the start button and all that would light up is the yellow key and the red blinking car with the key inside (indicating security). I work inside a secure Government instillation so I had to call roadside assistance, get them a pass, escort them in to get my car then back out with my car. It was pouring rain and was just a serious pain in the ass!! As I have read more and more on the issue, I see that there are apparently 1,000's that are experiencing this problem and Nissan will do nothing about it!!! My car has just over 72,000 miles on it and I will be trading it in Spring 2017 and going with a Honda or Toyota. This isn't my first issues with Nissan or other Nissan's I have owned. They could care less about their customers.

- , Oxford, AL, USA

problem #379

Dec 172016

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 93,300 miles

It is extremely frustrating that I've read MANY blogs and write ups of people that have had this very same issue and yet Nissan is not acknowledging that it is an issue and needs to be recalled!!!

- , East Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #378

Nov 262016

Altima

  • CVT transmission
  • 43,000 miles

The key and key sign lit up couple weeks ago. So I changed the battery in the key FOB. It seems working. on the freezing evening of Nov. 26, 2016. I can not start the car on street. I tried tricks on the website. Not working at all. So I had to leave the car on the street. I searched on the internet and found that many other people had the same problem with "the key and key sign" light. and it is typical for 2009 Nissan Altima. the problem is the electric steering lock was failed. I took it off from the steering wheel and press the piston all the way down to start my car. The parts itself costs about $500-600, plus labor, towing etc. it easily costs about $800-1000. Plus it could fail anywhere and any time. It is a big safety concerns. I strongly recommend Nissan to make warranty lifetime and recall it right away.

- , Ramsey, NJ, USA

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