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


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
27,500 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 accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #3

Sep 012014


  • 41,500 miles


In the September of 2014, the power door locks stopped working (would not open/close with the use of either the remote or the button on the driver door). At first it was the front and rear passenger doors, but then over the next 1-2 weeks both driver side door locks stopped working as well. The vehicle was not in any accident nor exposed to excessive water/fire/etc around this time. When I had it evaluated at the Nissan dealership, I was told the door actuators had broken, but given no explanation as to how/why this would happen for all 4 doors at the same time. Due to the high cost of repair (quoted $250 per door), I have not had these fixed. Now, nearly 9-10 months later, the locks remain completely unresponsive to the keyless entry remote and the power lock button on the driver's door, and must be manually locked/unlocked.

- Derry, NH, USA

problem #2

Dec 192013

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Rear left and right doors, and right front door has failed door lock actuators. The doors will not open and close automatically. Electricity goes through the doors, but the actuators are dysfunctional. The vehicle only had 41,000 miles on date of purchase, but I am not sure if previous owner left doors open or windows wind down, and it caused water damage. The inspection given by the dealership is actually deceptive as well, because this car should have failed inspection. I can not drive with the doors locked because based on the findings at the Nissan dealer, the doors may become permanently locked due to the damages of the door lock actuator and lock me inside the car. The inspector should have failed the inspection based on the damages of the vehicle. The cost of repairs is $965.

- Pikesville, MD, USA

problem #1

Dec 172013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
I purchased a vehicle from national motors on 12/17/2013. The same date I purchased the vehicle from national motors, I noticed my locks did not work. The driver side door will open and close automatically with my key while the other three doors are nonresponsive. I contacted [xxx], a car sales man and was told my locks would be fixed once the locks were ordered. They would fix my tail light and the locks. In January, [xxx] advised that the locks were on back order but should arrive within another two weeks after the call.I called the dealership every week for a status update on the locks and continued to get the run around. [xxx] stated someone from the dealership would call me in regards to the locks on 2/13/14 after stating "he was no longer dealing with this anymore". no one called. Last week, 2/18-2/20 I was advised by [xxx] that the owner of the dealership, [xxx], decided to no longer fix my locks. [xxx] stated that the locks were ordered and [xxx] returned the locks to the warehouse stating that he was no longer going to repair the doors. My father contacted the dealership on 2/21/14 and john advised that I go to my local best buy to get a remote sensor. On 2/22/14 I was told by a best buy installer that the sensor would not fix the locks because there is something wrong with the car. Since the key opens one of the doors, the installer stated that the remote sensor is not the issue. There is something wrong with the doors. John hammer then stated to me and the installer of best buy that the dealership was made aware of the issues with the door prior to my purchase and still decided to sell the car to me. This same day, the best buy installer contacted john and told him that the locks would not be fixed by best buy. John told me to come to the dealership to trade the car because they would not fix the locks. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Pikesville, MD, USA

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