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


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,000 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 - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #3

May 022014


  • 93,000 miles


Traveling on the highway at about 70 mph, the air bag indicator went off signaling that there was no air bag. The next day, it went off signaling or indicating that there was no air bag, but only on the passenger side.

- Lubbock, TX, USA

problem #2

Mar 042014

Altima 6-cyl

  • miles
My dashboard is melting because of the sun. I contacted the Nissan dealership and they said they can't help me because my warranty expired. It is very difficult to see out my windshield because of the shiny glare from the dashboard melting. This makes driving extremely hazardous.

- Pembroke Pines , FL, USA

problem #1

Oct 302012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
My car it would not start. There was absolutely no activation of the ignition system. After following all trouble shooting advice in the car's manual, I towed the car to dealer where they stated an open circuit in steering control unit is not telling the control unit that the steering wheel is unlocked and ready to start. The steering lock control unit (part# 487009N00B) needed to be replaced. This is all part of the vehicle anti-theft immobilizer system. The cost to replace this unit was $1,062.90. I feel this is a serious safety flaw in the 2009 Nissan Altima. 1. this was a fully functioning car (except for anti-theft glitch) that left me and my daughter stranded in a very remote area. 2. Nissan promotes how safe, reliable and economical their cars are, but the anti-theft system can disable the vehicle leaving driver stranded with only one option, which is, to be towed to a dealer because of ant-theft system glitches. 3. the car, being economical, should not require an over $1,000 repair because of an anti-theft device circuit malfunction. 4. there are several conditions that can occur that will result in the Nissan Altima becoming immobilized stranding drivers. I am stating only one. This is particularly dangerous especially to female drivers. 5. I feel that Nissan should come up with an override code or device that will allow a driver to escape from potentially dangerous situations that were created by Nissan's vehicle immobilizer system. Especially when the car is fully functional except for an anti-theft immobilizing circuit falsely telling that the vehicle is not ready to start. I believe this is a serious safety flaw in their vehicle security system.

- Lutherville Timonium, MD, USA

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