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:
50,829 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 #7

Sep 152016


  • 66,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the air bag warning indicator illuminated consistently without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the sensor failed on the passenger side of the vehicle. The seat bottom assembly needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The approximate failure mileage was 66,000.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #6

May 222016


  • 83,000 miles
Passenger occupant sensor has failed. The amber passenger occupant dashboard light always remains on. This means that even with the seat occupied by an appropriate sized adult, the light says the occupant is not being 'sensed'. also, the control panel above the steering wheel has a red flashing airbag light. The Nissan dealership says the error code indicates a failure in the passenger seat occupant airbag sensor. My cost is at least $2400 to replace the passenger seat. I am unable to pay that kind of money. I am hoping for a Nissan recall or technical bulletin on that make, model and year. I see many other years of this make and model had the issue and the manufacturer fixed them at no cost. That is what I am hoping for. This car has never had an accident. This just happened out of the blue.

- Davenport, IA, USA

problem #5

Jan 052016


  • 51,000 miles
First issue was with passenger seat airbag sensor. My wife or other passenger would be sitting in passenger seat and the sensor in the seat would not work and therefore the passenger airbag was disabled, putting passenger safety at risk. Second issue. Had to replace tire pressure monitoring sensor due to leaking tire pressure. Have had to replace 2 out of 4 so far in the last year. Causes low tire pressure and unsafe driving condition.

- Exton, PA, USA

problem #4

Jul 012012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles


Approximately a year ago I noticed shiny sticky spots on my dash. Someone told me that it was melting. I have lived in Florida all my life and have vehicles older than this one. I have never seen a dash melt and wasn't quite sure that was what was happening. I went to my dealership and they claimed that they have never heard of this. I was looking online and apparently it is a big problem with Nissan Altima's. I cannot clean the dash and the spots are getting bigger. They are very sticky and cause a bad glare on the windshield. I believe this to be a safety hazard! please let me know if there is a recall or any recourse to have Nissan fix this problem.

- Satellite Beach, FL, USA

problem #3

Feb 252013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
While sitting in the passenger seat riding with my wife, I noticed the passenger air bag lit meaning I was not protected in the event of a crash and I weigh 180 lbs. I don't see a recall for this but I am going to call dealer Monday and check on this. My son has also reported this to me as well and he weighs about 160 lbs.

- Chickamauga, GA, USA

problem #2

Mar 092013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
I was washing my car and then wanted to vacuum it out. I moved the driver seat forward and the back of the drivers seat detached and fell in the back seat. I could not fix it so I took to the dealer who initially wanted $ $1,200 to repair. They eventually put the seat in place and told me never to move it again. This is crazy it is a power seat. This has to be a defect from factory. Had I been driving when this happened I would have been looking up thru the roof and most likely have wrecked.

- Flowery Branch, GA, USA

problem #1

Nov 182011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 16,800 miles
On multiple occasions since taking ownership of this 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 S sedan, the passenger airbag warning light has come on, meaning that the airbag was disarmed, while a full sized adult was seated in the passenger seat. On the most current occasion, my wife was sitting properly with only her legs extended when this occurred (seatbelt was on properly too). I took a picture of the warning light, my wife seated in the passenger seat with my camera phone to show to a Nissan service center, as I had hoped they would fix this defect under warranty. The Nissan dealership could not replicate the warning light, so they said they would not be able to fix this issue. Doing some research both here and on other sources, there was a major recall of some 200,000 Nissan Altima in 2007 and 2008 for this very same issue. The worry that I have is that god forbid we are ever in a collision, that the airbag might not be there when we need it most. The feature is added in the Nissan Altima to guard against small children or preteens who are seated in the front passenger seat from airbag-inflation related injuries. What it has done is put the lives of many Nissan Altima owners in jeopardy. Shame on Nissan for not designing this feature poorly or not removing it from their design entirely with the previous history of recalls in prior years. This defective seat sensor system needs to be replaced, recalled, or fixed in my opinion.

- Exton, PA, USA

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