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


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,081 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Aug 012014


  • miles


My dashboard is melting, causing extreme glare and dangerous driving conditions. First noticed the issue while living in Hawaii.

- Vail, AZ, USA

problem #19

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 #18

Feb 192013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Dashboard is melting. Contacted Nissan and they offered to pay for the part if I paid the labor. Stated it was a known issue but would not give me a letter explaining same.

- Dunedin, FL, USA

problem #17

Apr 092013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles


Last summer (2013), I noticed that my dashboard had started to have this sticky gluey substance on it. At first, I thought I had spilled something on the dashboard and so I started to clean it. I've used both car wipes and both a damp towel and the substance does not rub off. Rather, it collected the fibers from whatever I've used and it has gotten worse (due to the houston heat of the summer). I then concluded that the dashboard becomes sticky because it is melting. It's not so much the melting dashboard that gets me (even though it does diminish the value of the car, it's only a 2009), it is the glare that the melting dashboard reflects. The dashboard reflects a powerful glare in my front view window and it has become extremely difficult to drive. I constantly have to wear sunglasses in order to help with the glare that the dashboard reflects. Over the course of the year, the dashboard has gotten so bad that I have to ask a member of my family to drive me to where ever I need to go. This is an extreme problem. If the glare is this bad for me, I can only imagine how bad to must be for older generations that own this particular car. This spreading glare has the potential to be a big problem. It could be the onset of multiple accidents and even major harm. And so I ask you if you could please have Nissan fix this problem.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #16

Aug 062012

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
The dashboard of the vehicle, 2009 Nissan Altima, has been melting away for the past 2 years. This has caused a huge glare effect reflective on the windshield. It make driving difficult especially in the early morning sun when I drive East towards work. I currently have glaucoma in my eyes for which I am treating for the past 2 years, and it is getting worse. The glare from the deteriorating dashboard has significantly affected my eyes. I have heard news reports that a complaint has been filed on Lexus and other car models regarding the same melting dashboard phenomena here in South Florida.

- Hialeah, FL, USA

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problem #15

Mar 212013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
My cars dash started looking shiny and felt sticky. It is all sticky as if it were melting its also cracking. The stickiness causes a glare that makes seeing the road almost impossible. Everything in the air sticks on the dash too. Even though the biggest and most important issue is the glare that reflects from the windshield. This can seriously cause an accident.

- Las Marias, PR, USA

problem #14

Sep 172013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles


My 2009 Nissan Altima dash is melting. Dash has cracks as well near the front passenger air bags and near the instrument cluster. Read in forums that the car dealerships say that when the dash has cracks and is melting air bags could not deploy correctly. Nissan will not replace dash due to the car being out of warranty and expect me to buy a new one when this seems like a manufacturing issue not taken into account as part of the design.

- San German, PR, USA

problem #13

Jun 012012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Around 2012 the dashboard in this Altima is melting. It's turning into a glossy goo that is causing a extreme glare into the drivers side of the windshield. Nissan has not issued any recalls on this, so they wont fix it. I went to and found that apparently this is a widespread problem with Nissan, Toyota, Mazda & Lexus.

- Natchez, MS, USA

problem #12

Nov 012013


  • 70,000 miles
My 2009 Nissan Altima coupe' dash is melting. A car dealership told me when the dashboard is melting the airbag on the passenger side will not deploy correctly in a crash. I also can not see out of the front windshield because the shiny sticky mess throws a blinding glare while driving. Nissan will not help me. This is a problem with the product used for the dashboard.

- West Palm Beach , FL, USA

problem #11

Oct 042013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I notice a shine started to build up on my dashboard. I thought that the car wash place might have used too much product so I stopped going to the carwash. I decided I was going to clean it off myself and when I went to clean it off I realized there was a thick film of sticky residue. The residue is was so sticky that nothing could take it off and everything would get stuck to it. After a few months the film kept growing to the point where the shine became almost glassy and too reflective. I realized the substance had become a hazard to my safety and those of others, so I proceeded to try a number of products to try and remove the film. I was unsuccessful and proceeded to do some research online, where I discovered that this is not a maintenance problem, but rather a factory defect that is well documented now with both this Agency and Nissan itself. As far as I can tell there are at least 100 other cases. I would like Nissan to acknowledge and repair the problem before lives are lost.

- Altamonte Springs , FL, USA

problem #10

Nov 052013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles


My vehicle is 5 years old and the dash is completely melting. The glare from the mushy, sticky mess on the dashboard makes it very hard to see while driving. I have contacted Nissan and they refuse to admit this is poor craftmanship.

- West Palm Beach , FL, USA

problem #9

Jul 252013


  • 18,500 miles
Well I have a black 09 Nissan Altima and I started to notice that my dashboard is very sticky and shiny and it looks like its melting. There is such a big glare that blocks your view when you're driving. I look online and saw that other people in Florida have the same problem I do. In Florida the weather is always hot. The cars in Florida should be made to withstand the hot weather and not start melting. This is such a safety hazard for drivers.

- Plantation, FL, USA

problem #8

May 042011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
The dash on my Altima coupe is "melting". the dash has never been cleaned with any chemicals and is very tacky to the touch around the vents and seams. Due to the location of the melted components, it creates a very blinding glare that impairs my forward visibility through the windshield. I have contacted Nissan and they refuse to help me although this is a common issue with this model vehicle. Nissan has already had a replacement dash made with different materials which uses a different part # than the original dash. This is a very dangerous issue as I have almost gotten into accidents due to being blinded by the glare.

- Hialeah, FL, USA

problem #7

Mar 012013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
We have a 2009 Nissan Altima with less than 3500K miles. We use a sun shade and we try to limit sun exposure. The dashboard is melting and causes a major reflection in the windshield which makes it unsafe to drive since it blocks the view of vehicles and pedestrians. The windows keep filming up from the off-gassing produced which cannot be healthy.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #6

May 012013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 79,400 miles
Mildew in air condition. Terrible smell coming from vents. Burns your eyes and gives terrible migraines. Changed 3 cabin air filters and used multiple cans of mildew removal. Please help. Any recommendations?

- Mechanicsville , MD, USA

problem #5

Mar 182013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 69,500 miles
Driving on street when moonroof shattered. No apparent cause determined, but was raining at the time of the failure. Break of moonroof sounded like a gun shot with glass fragments going both inside and outside of vehicle. Driver and front seat passenger covered in glass, but no injuries. However, roof and trunk had paint damage from broken glass.

- Bartlett, TN, USA

problem #4

Jan 212013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 26,982 miles
Intelli key indicator light began illuminating two days ago. Last evening after dinner vehicle would not switch out of "lock" stranded in 15 degree temps waiting for tow for 2 hours. Nissan service advisor knew exactly what problem was. He called me later tonight to confirm electronic steering lock needed replacing. $800+. Nissan surely will recall "faulty" door handle springs at.50 cents a whack, but give me a break. It's time Nissan own up to the numerous 2009's that are having this part fail.

- Braintree, MA, USA

problem #3

Jan 212011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
I have a 2009 Nissan Altima with just over 13000 miles on it. Last week as I was driving to work at about 65 mph I heard what sounded like a shotgun blast over my head. The sunroof glass had shattered (more like exploded) leaving about a 2 foot circular hole in the glass. At first I thought something must have hit me but when I pulled over I could obviously see that the glass was mushroomed out as if it had exploded from the inside out, not pushed in. I took the car to my Nissan dealer and they agreed that that there was no evidence that anything had hit the glass and that it had simply spontaneously shattered. They also pointed out chips in the paint on the roof and trunk lid caused by the pieces of broken glass. After first denying any coverage, Nissan now has agreed to pay for the new glass as a "goodwill repair" but they still refuse to pay for installation or the paint damage. The dealership picked up the installation and my insurance company is covering the $2500 of paint damage. I did contact Nissan Consumer Affairs to appeal their decision but was very curtly denied again.

- Davenport, IA, USA

problem #2

Oct 012008

Altima 4-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
- the contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact observed when the vehicle was parked, that any time the right turn signal selector lever was engaged in an upward position to activate, the headlights operation occurred. The turn signal selector lever includes the function of the headlight switch. The vehilce had not been diagnosed by the authorized dealer. There were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 26,000. Updated 6/1/10 updated 06/04/10

- Milford, CT, USA

problem #1

Feb 212010


  • 7,000 miles
At regular driving, brakes failed at 7500 miles (while driving approximately 47 mph on the 5 freeway southbound). Tustin Nissan dealership found all 4 rotors warped and brakes defective. Replaced all rotors and all brakes. Also defective: Driver's side rear view mirror (replaced at 8000 miles), paint trim peeling (upon new vehicle delivery).

- Laguna Niguel, CA, USA

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