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


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
85,754 miles
Total Complaints:
347 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace steering wheel lock (125 reports)
  2. not sure (98 reports)
  3. replace steering lock controller unit (82 reports)
  4. make it recall (9 reports)
  5. replace brake switch (8 reports)
  6. replace electronic steering wheel column (7 reports)
2009 Nissan Altima steering problems

steering problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 18)

problem #347

Aug 132016

Altima 2.5S 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles


Car would not start windows would not go up or down, Called Dealer and place where I bought the car, they said my 2009 Altima's vin number was not in record to replace Steering Lock Box,I never recieved a recall on this steering lock box and want to know why because it is a 2009 Nissan Altima and their was a recall on that part and why would it matter about the vin number it was a 2009 and it has a very dangerous problem with not starting and steering locks up./ I do not have the extra money to fix it and it is my only transportation. I don't think the dealer should discriminate against such vin number when I clearly bought this car as a 2009 and have answered to every recall they have sent in the past, just did not get this recall notice. I think they just don't want to pay for an part, dangerous or not if they don't have to they want me to have it towed there and see if it's a transmission , it's not just want to make a buck

- , Niantic, CT, USA

problem #346

Aug 172016

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles

Issue: Steering Lock fault preventing car from starting.

Dear Sir:

I am very angry, frustrated and disappointed with this ongoing issue with my ’09 Altima. I am sure you can imagine how disconcerting it is to not know when or if your car will start. I have been repeatedly stranded by this problem and have had to be jump started on many occasions and finally towed to the dealership to hopefully fix once and for all.

This is the 2nd repair I’ve had to have done on the same or related issue: Steering Lock. The first repair was resolved by replacing the brake light switch for a total of $177.18. The second repair was fixed by replacing the steering lock for a total of $908.04 plus rental of $45.00. The towing was included in my auto insurance policy.

I realize this is not a new vehicle, however in my mind, this is an item that should not fail as there is no manual/alternative starting mechanism. Not to mention, I’d be fine with the “old fashioned” key start. I’m not sure why Nissan hasn’t stepped up in a major way to fix this known problem. A simple google search will tell you this is no small/isolated issue.

As a multiple Nissan vehicle owner and hopefully a long time, repeat customer I am respectfully requesting a full reimbursement in the amount of - $1,130.22.

- , Peachtree City, GA, USA

problem #345

Mar 102016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Try this. It works.

- , Clovis, CA, USA

problem #344

Aug 122016


  • CVT transmission
  • 167,000 miles


Doesn't surprise me that there is yet ANOTHER car manufacture to have such serious issues, with so many of the same year models, and they do nothing about it.. I am so sick of being taken advantage of. I first trusted Honda, was so proud when I bought my car, to later find out they were notorious for transmission problems, and wouldn't fix the issue (yes reputable Honda.. going down the drain), two Accords in our family, both with transmission failures. Again, year before last, bought a 2009 Nissan Altima, Loved it! Was proud of it! Bragged about it!, Praised it! Referred people to purchase the Altima.. until it almost left me stranded on the way back from vacation (known transmission issue they refuse to acknowledge or fix GASP!), and then yesterday, it left me stranded for real.. with yet another known steering lock issue that they once acknowledged and now refuse to fix. Cost $1010 big ones.. Kicker.. 5 days before my destination wedding. We complained to the service manager and he did knock a bit off, new cost $875.00 (still a jolt to my wedding/vacations plans). Again, I am so sick of these auto manufactures being allowed to have these known issues, across many different years and makes, taking advantage of their customers, yet not being held accountable. They'll never fix the issue if they are not held accountable for their issues.. fixing this piece of crap and trading it in.. I'm done with Honda and now I'm done with Nissan.

- , Jackson, GA, USA

problem #343

Jul 312016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

The Steering wheel lock was recalled, I did not know about the recall when I purchased the car. They are saying that it is no longer covered. It will cost over $1,000 to get it fixed.

- , Pulaski, TN, USA

problem #342

Jul 312016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Purchased the car last year, and I was not told that there was a recall on the Steering Wheel Lock failure when the car was sold to me. Mine went out and they will not replace without me paying a $1,000 even though there was a recall on it.

- , Pulaski, TN, USA

problem #341

Jun 062016

Altima LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


Left me stranded in 98 degree heat. Had to have the car towed only to find out only the dealership could determine the problem. Towed it to the dealer. Found out it was a Steering Lock issue that happens to most 2009 and 2010 Altima's. Nissan had issued an extended warranty, knowing it was an issue, but not a recall. Unfortunately, the extended warranty expired before my car had the problem.

I've contacted Nissan corporate only to have them tell me "Sorry, the extended warranty has expired". No kidding. So, about to have to spend $1,000 for a repair that should be a recall. NOT HAPPY WITH NISSAN. We're getting ready to buy a new car. Guess which manufacturer we won't be looking at?


problem #340

Jun 282016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

My Nissan Altima 2009 world not Start after I Went to THE fármacy to get my prescription. THE car would not start. I became very worried and started sweating profussely. I am diabetic, hypertensive and have heart problems. Someone had to help me and call a toll truck that cost me $40.00, from THE pharmacy to my house. I called THE Nissan Dealer in ponce, and THEy told me I have to Pay another tow truck to Take it to THE Dealer and have to Pay THEM $39.95, for revisión of unit, and probable that this Will be at least $1,000.00. I dont have this Kind of money. If I knew of this recall, I would not have purchased this vehicle. I purchased this vehicle on february 2016. I am so upset, and can not use this car or get it fixed.

- , Ponce, Anguilla

problem #339

Jul 012016

Altima LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I went out to my car and it wouldn't start. The lights came on so I knew it wasn't the battery. It was towed to a Nissan dealership, they stated that it was the steering lock control unit that needed to be replaced along with needing to be reprogrammed and new keys. $1,121. WOW! Then looking online NISSAN KNEW about the problem for the 09 Altima and extended the warranty until Oct 2015. So they know it is an issue but I was NEVER told that there was a recall on that part. They should be cover this expense. This is ridiculous.

- , Naperville, IL, USA

problem #338

Jun 092016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Left the office to get gas during my lunch break, pumped my gas and got back in my car and it would not start, make a sound, brake did not work now gear shift. Nothing...had to call someone to come help me unlock the shift lock to shift the car into neutral to push it out of the way. Car still sitting at the gas station...keys won't work, can't jump start it. Gotta find a way to pay for the $900 repair + towing. PLEASE RECALL THIS! Glad I wasn't stranded at night somewhere....This is on top of the A/C going out last year...this car is a magnet for disaster will never buy another Nissan...

- , Auburn, AL, USA

problem #337

Jun 162016

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 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. I likely will get to the daycare only 2 hours late if AAA doesn't take to long to arrive at five o'clock then fight rush hour traffic and then get a ride to pick up my child. So that's $120 on top of the cost for the part which is $708.66 not including the labor, stress, and anxiety that this inconvenience has caused. I am infuriated. I was considering buying another Nissan as I have already purchased 6 vehicles from Nissan but this has been a great deterrent. 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 #336

Jun 062016

Altima 2.5S 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles

I was not aware this was a known issue with Nissans. I went to the doctor, came out and my car wouldn't start. It's hot outside and I was several miles away from work and home. My sister had to come pick me up from 25 miles away and take me to work. I also had to have my car towed to the dealer. I believe this should be a recall considering this could have stranded me somewhere where I could not get assistance easily.

- , Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #335

Jun 092016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

I went to start my car at work and the wheel locked. There was power to the battery and we tried jumping the car. Nothing. I had the car towed to a certified national dealer and they stated that the steering column module needed replacement with a bill of approximately $850.00.

- , Orchard Park, NY, USA

problem #334

May 082016

Altima 2.5L S Cvt

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

My Dad has a 2009 Nissan Altima, Which he services regularly and keeps in his garage.

On his return from a trip, he stopped to put gas and the car never started again. We had the car towed home and after some research on the internet we realized it was the steering lock mechanism and that they are aware of the problem because they extended the warranty on the 2009 Altimas for an extra 6 years. We contacted our local Nissan Premiere Dealership of Fremont, thinking this would be covered, only to find that it was not. We towed the car to the Dealership to get it checked out, GUESS WHAT? It's the steering lock mechanism! The part which is sold only through Nissan is around $800 and that it would take them 2 hours to install it. So, my Dad who is in his 80's and on a fixed income is going pay around $1200. to get his car fixed. I remember when they sold him this car, he was told how great and dependable the cat would be. Aahaha! I think Nissan should do the honorable thing and fix this car for free under it's extended warranty or under a recall.

- , Fremont, CA, USA

problem #333

Jun 102016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

My car was unable to start because the steering wheel wouldn't lock, we eventually got the car to start and I was able to drive it for just a couple of days until it started acting up again. Now the main issue is that we can not get the steering wheel to unlock. After countless times of tapping the steering lock mechanism, like suggested in some videos I watched, nothing seemed to work. I haven't even had this car for a year and I really do not want to pay an arm and a leg for something that needs to be recalled.

- , Taylorsville, GA, USA

problem #332

Jun 042016

Altima 3.2L

  • CVT transmission
  • 109,000 miles

I went to start my 09 Nissan Altima and it wouldn't start. I had to get the car towed to my mechanic which was on a Saturday so he wasn't going to be able to get to the car till Monday. After researching online I found out that this is a known issue with the Nissan vehicle's. When Nissan made the car they knew that this was a problem because they put it in the users manual letting drivers know that they would be stranded because the car will not start. I find this ridiculous because this is a major safety issue. Thank god I wasn't left stranded at night in a bad neighborhood.

- , West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #331

May 242016

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,865 miles

Apparently this is a known issue that happens to the 2009 Nissan Altima's right around 70k miles. Nissan extended the warranty on this part by 3 additional years, making it covered for a total of 6 years, however most people are not hitting 70k miles until the car is 7 years old. Instead of extending the warranty for a period of time, it should be covered until a certain mileage number (perhaps 80k) or just completely recall the part entirely. I would really like my money back for having to replace this part.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #330

May 292016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,000 miles

Steering lock release malfunction indicator on . . . can't start car!!! One-car family . . . have to beg a ride to work if this causes me to have to have the car towed.

- , Bristow, OK, USA

problem #329

May 102016

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Yesterday (05/10/2016) I drove into work, pulled up to clock in and then went to go move my vehicle over to the next lot when I got into my car, my vehicle would not allow me to press the brake and the my entire car was shut down.

When I called our local Nissan dealership she explained that there is not a recall and I stated all the complaints that I have reviewed, she stated that this was not an issue she was aware of and that if a recall is noted they would let me know.

I have owned my car for almost 4 years and have had to replace the catalytic converter x2 (almost 1 year to the date of each repair...which was costly in itself)

I then get on here to find out a recall was noted for August of last year....I was never notified....

I have never had any major issues with my vehicle but this is ridiculous. My car is my only mode of transportation, and I have a 3 year old and I could not imagine being stranded with her....this needs to be fixed ASAP before it ends up getting someone hurt

- , White Bluff, TN, USA

problem #328

Apr 202016

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

Online Forums note this issue yet Nissan has done nothing to help owners. This is for my daughters car, she stopped to buy milk and came out and car would not start. Repair $1025 plus $100 to tow. Nissan is well aware of this issue and has done little to assist consumer. My concern is there is not warning, no diagnostic, just a car that will not start and a repair bill that is beyond reasonable.

As the parent I paid the repair bill. I tried to discuss with the dealer but did not get any resolution as they claimed this was a Nissan problem and I would have to deal with them help at all

- , Union City, CA, USA

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