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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,765 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2009 Nissan Altima:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #5

Feb 062013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 26,000 miles


On a regular day, I drove my car to work in the morning. And it was parked at my workplace parking lot (luckily). In the evening, my keyless entry got me inside the car. But the brakes wouldn't engage and ofcourse, the push button wouldn't start the car. There is an amber light with a key sign inside it flashing on my dash screen. Lights would turn on so I was convinced it must not be the battery. When I looked it up in the car manual, it's supposedly an intelligent key sign. Since it was around 7:30pm, I couldn't get it towed immediately to the dealer workshop since they were closed. The next morning, I got it towed and the dealer workshop diagnosed it as "steering wheel lock unit needs to be replaced" and it would cost a whopping $850 (not including towing). Not just that, the part is back-ordered! so my car is in the workshop indefinitely as of now! I bought this car from a certified pre-owned dealer just six months ago and I have the seven year limited warranty on it too. The workshop said that this is not something my warranty can cover! my current mileage is 26000. And Nissan is supposed to be reliable? this problem is not something I have brought to my car and when I researched it on this very website, hundreds of other Nissan Altima users have the same problem. This is clearly a manufacturing defect and I truly hope Nissan address this problem asap and reimburse our hard earned money.

- White Plains, NY, USA

problem #4

Feb 062013


  • 73,800 miles
I parked the car and locked it with intelligent key. Came back, was able to enter the car without any problems, used the key to unlock the doors. While inside, the dashboard had two warning lights on: Key light(yellow) to the far left corner and flashing security light(red) to the far right. The car would not start. Ignition button is on lock and the steering is stiff unable to turn. Engine seems to be locked, no other lights are on. I have tried everything by the owner's manual and nothing works. I called the dealers and they told me that I would have to get it towed to the dealer and quoted me $600 to fix the problem, parts will take a couple of days, no guarantee problem will not happen again. For a recent bought vehicle, there are many issues with the car's intelligent key and in this case I have been left stranded in the middle of nowhere. Towing charges and everything will make amount close to $1000.

- West Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #3

Jan 202013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
My daughter stopped to fill up with fuel and when she tried to start the car the brake and steering wheel remained locked.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #2

Oct 282012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
I went by the mall on Sunday evening with my 9 month old and 27 month old in our 2 month old Nissan Altima 2009 which only had about 21,000 miles on it when we got, but at the time of the incidence, it had 28,000 miles on it. By the time we came out of the mall and decided to go home, the car would not start because the breaks would not depress. I called everybody I could call to get a ride with my little ones home but that took a while. It got dark on us but we eventually got home. I called Nissan manufacturer the next day and reported the issue (faulty brake switch harness) which I found out that a lot of 2009 Nissan Altima's had and they advised I towed the car to a Nissan dealership which was 3 miles away. Nissan dealership towed the car for $84.50 and the fixing totaled $552.34. This is money I don't have (nursing student, very broke, and little kids), so I called Nissan manufacturer for financial assistance with fixing the car but after going back and forth with them for about two weeks, they finally called saying that they could not help.

- Savannah, GA, USA

problem #1

Sep 192012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 40,971 miles
Brake lights not lighting & push to start not working at times. Nissan said this is a known issue with the brake light switch & sub harness. After investigating the issue on the internet I found numerous reports of this problem. When the switch fails you are not aware of your brake lights not working.

- Little Silver, NJ, USA

Not what you are looking for?