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: We don't recommend the 2009 Maxima nearly as highly as the 2007-2008 Maxima, because NHTSA complaints show a pattern of the steering lock module failing.

When the module fails it prevents the car from starting, & Nissan dealers charge over $1,000 (!!) to repair it. Nissan recalled the module on some other 2009 models with the same steering lock problem, but for some reason they left out the 2009 Maxima.

If you're thinking about buying a 2009 Maxima, instead consider a 2007-2008, or 2010 (or newer).


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,548 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 Maxima steering problems

steering problem

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2009 Nissan Maxima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 7)

problem #136

Nov 142016


  • miles


I went outside to start my vehicle and it wouldn't start..the steering wheel is locked and I can't get it unlocked..the steering wheel symbol with 2 up and down arrows on both sides of it lights up on the dash and a red flash in car symbol with a key in the center of it is on along with the lock word on the push won't go past the lock button when I try to start it.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #135

Nov 032016


  • miles
I tried to start my car and there was a yellow key indicator on the dash. Next the steering column locked. I am currently unable to start my car.

- Dundalk, MD, USA

problem #134

Oct 282016


  • 140,000 miles
I drove my car.5 of a mile to the store got down and came back to start my car. My gas pedal was hard and my push start button read lock. I saw a red blinking key sign. I inserted my key fob in the slot hoping that fixed it and nothing. I wiggled the wheel and pressed the start button and nothing. I tried everything in the book for 3 hours in the parking lot of heb until I got it towed to my apartment until I figured out what to do. I got online and saw so many complaints about the same issue. I called Nissan dealership Saturday and told them what happened. They said they needed to inspect the vehicle so I scheduled. I asked if they would cover the repairs since this has been going on to many vehicles, maybe a recall? they said no, unless I have warranty- I don't. turns out I need a new steering control. $1,500 later my car is being worked on now. I have a few questions for the service advisors. Not a happy Nissan owner right now.

- Manchaca, TX, USA

problem #133

Oct 272016


  • 103,000 miles


Electronic steering column lock (escl) warranty extension. I am a recently divorced single mother trying to survive in this tough economy. I park my vehicle at work, and I work near an airfield, at fort lauderdale airport. Imagine my surprise while on lunch break, I push to start my vehicle and nothing happens. I was stranded. Many of my male colleagues attempted to help me, thinking it was the battery, or a possible fuse, but nothing they did could start my vehicle. One suggested I contacted Nissan service to explain what was going on...and before I could finish my sentence of what lights were on my dashboard, the service employee knew it was the steering lock column. I ended up getting my vehicle towed (about $70) to the Nissan dealership and had to leave my vehicle overnight. I had to rent a vehicle for two days and had to pay late fees because I wasn't able to pick up my toddler from daycare before they closed. The following day, and within 40 minutes the Nissan dealership opening, they called to let me know my car was now fixed and it would cost me $1200!!! I'm sure it took less than the 40 minutes to repair my vehicle and I was paying over $400 for labor. I never heard of this mechanical failure concerning my vehicle but after researching, I am now seeing the plethora of complaints and I am super disappointed with Nissan over the fact that this was not considered a recall. I shudder at the thought of being stranded with my son in an inconvenient or dangerous location. Then to find out there is nothing I can do recoup my expense. I had to open a trade line to cover the expense because I cannot afford to spend the cash I have at this time. This is just not right and it is certainly not fair, not to me or anyone who has been affected by this. I would greatly appreciate someone looking into this issue and push the recall to indefinite.

- Lauderhill, FL, USA

problem #132

Jul 042015


  • 3,000 miles
Tires vibrated as if out of balance. Took back to dealer he rebalanced and rotated tires. This did not change vibration. Continued to have vibration and dealer stated he could find nothing wrong with tires. Dealer stated he had never seen a bad tire only bad drivers. These were new tires with less than 3000 miles. I continued to drive withn these tires but finally changed to cooper radials. Have no problem since changing. Feel dealer unjust in evaluation and complaint. Basically tires bounced at interstate speeds. Out of 4 tires one worn drastically while others wore fairly even but all continued to be out of balance. Cost at purchase about $875.

- Abingdon, VA, USA

problem #131

Oct 102016


  • 90,200 miles
Car wouldn't start, steering wheel lock would not disengage. Also windows went down with auto-down feature on key but no way to put them back up.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #130

Sep 092016


  • miles


The steeringwheel will not unlock and car wont start. 2009 Nissan Maxima

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #129

Sep 172016


  • 136,000 miles
Me and my family were out of town of a weekend getaway, not knowing this steering wheel lock situation was about to leave us stranded out of town and ruin a planned out weekend. Basically we arrived to our destination as perfect as can be, park the car and me and my family left my 2009 Nissan Maxima parked for a few hours as we enjoyed ourselves. When returning to the car is when the problem began and sense of worry hit my fiance and kids faces. The steering wheel locked and we had no control of the car no more. Stranded and trying to figure out what was exactly going on with the help of google and you tube. A lovely memorable weekend away became a nightmare in a matter of hours. Very disappointed in Nissan after reading all the similar complaints and malfunctions individuals have been dealing with and no support or recall from Nissan. Me and my family were stranded in a city were we had no family relations for support in an emergency situation. My Nissan steering lock situation really opened my eyes to the dangers of this. Definitely reconsidering what to do with my car and my next purchase. Thank god with the support of a you tube video I was able to follow instructions to get the car started after a few hours of trying for who knows how many more times. I drove straight home and now the car sits there non running, steeling wheel locked. My family was my priority and getting them home was a necessity. This steering wheel lock really put us as parents in a dangerous and scared situation for ourselves and children.

- Visalia, CA, USA

problem #128

Sep 182016


  • miles
Takata recall - I was at the barbershop getting my haircut and afterwards when leaving I was attending to crank up and drive off but my car wouldn't crank and it was in lock mode (steering wheel lock module )and took me almost a hour or two before it cranked up, so I was very frustrated because this happened and there was a lock indicator light on in the dash and today on September 18th, 2016 it happened again and now it won't say anything so I cant even drive my 09 Maxima someone please get a recall for this.

- Kinston, NC, USA

problem #127

Aug 272016


  • 140,000 miles
Escl disabled my push button start. Now I am unable to start let alone drive my vehicle. To add insult to injury I will have to have it towed to the dealer (additional cost to myself) and the dealer is going to charge close to $1200 to fix the problem. Apparently this was a recall but expired in 2015. Why won't Nissan be responsible and pay for this instead of the consumer? this was obviously a defect in the production of the vehicle seeing how it is such a widespread problem against Nissan vehicle owners

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #126

Jul 282016


  • miles


My steering wheel completely locked up. I was unable to start my car and had to have it towed. It cost me almost $1300 to fix. I see multiple complaints about this. Why is there not a recall??

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #125

Aug 182016


  • 88,984 miles
Turned car off to go into post office. Returned and it wouldn't do anything. Went had new battery put in key pad. Still nothing. Called Nissan for suggestions. None given. Had to have towed to Nissan. After they checked was told steering lock unit had internal failure. Never heard of this problem before after owning several cars. A very expensive repair and one that shouldn't be occurring on a 2009 model car. I 'm very disappointed with this car since I had heard so many good things about it. I gave up on Cadillac's to get a Nissan. Sure believe I made a big mistake. There are other little quirks that have bothered me. I'm on my third car battery. Bought the last one in April 2014.the key pad locks have to be changed every year. The original paint job is very shallow. The most important is the replacement of this steering lock unit.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #124

Aug 022016


  • 87,500 miles
When we purchased the car last year, the steering wheel would go up. It made a grinding noise. The dealership fixed it under warranty for no charge. It started doing the same thing in August of 2016. Car is not under warranty now. There are so many folks having the same issue with the same year and model car. Nissan should recall these cars and fix the problem for free. The steering wheel will not move up. It is stuck in the down position and makes a grinding noise.

- Everson, PA, USA

problem #123

Jun 252016


  • miles
Park car. Got back in steering wheel lock, left car over to friend house.

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #122

Jul 292016


  • 87,000 miles
My 18 old sons car just hit 87000 miles and the steering lock mechanism has failed. Not only is this a $900 repair but it is a reoccurring problem with Nissan vehicles. My son was stranded in a parking lot at 12am. This has occurred 3 times while his car is off. He is unable to start it. Had to have it towed 3 times with the dealer saying it was a battery problem. Had the battery replaced. Nissan admits there is a steering lock problem and that the recall period ended in Jan 3016. My son is 18 and just bought the car from a reputable major car dealership in town. Anytime a driver is at risk in a parking garage or lot or freeway with a car that had this notable problem it is a safety concern.

- Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #121

Jul 262016


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start and the "indicator key not being recognized" message appeared. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering lock module failed and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 60,000.

- Jamaica, NY, USA

problem #120

Jan 012016


  • 130,000 miles
Steering lock malfunctions stranding the driver in possibly dangerous locations or hours. Had to tow to dealer and pay $1094 for repairs

- Paducah, KY, USA

problem #119

Jul 142016


  • 110,000 miles
Steering wheel lock problem-I was not aware of this problem and was not able to benefit from the extended warranty. I was stranded late in the evening and was not able to get home and did not want to leave my car. My car was parked and would not start. The experience was traumatizing.

- Coconut Creek, FL, USA

problem #118

Jul 102016


  • 92,000 miles
The escl module went out on my Maxima. From what I have been reading in many, many Maxima forums, this is a common problem with the 2009 Maximas'. in fact, many forums discourage buying the 2009 and suggest earlier models. Currently, my automobile is disabled at the mechanic's shop with a repair fee of $1070.

- Forrestville, MD, USA

problem #117

Jul 072016


  • 65,357 miles
I just purchased the car (from an Audi dealership) about a week and a half ago (as is) and was not aware of the steering problems I've now researched. There was this weird growling noise coming from the steering wheel, it would eventually stop but it was disturbing. My sister and I took the car to the dealership and learn of that it was the telescopic steering column and two motors needed to be replaced. The dealership quoted about $900 to fix it. As a college student who just spent the money to purchase the car... I just can't afford it. However, I understand just how serious and dangerous the problem is. The possibility of the wheel locking is not only a safety issue to me and my passengers... but to others on the road as well. I'm not sure why a recall hasn't been issued by Nissan as they are aware of the problem. It also seems like a reoccurring issue with 09 Maxima owners across the board. Nissan evan issued a memo, but nothing more? this is too dangerous of a situation to ignore. There are lives at risk.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

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