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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
1,100 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

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #1

Oct 082009


  • 1,100 miles


I've gotten into a car accident involving 2 other cars, and complete brake failure. On October 8, 2009, I was driving by carson beach, located in South boston, MA, trying to find something to eat with a friend. I have seen that I was going only 28 mph's with no cars ahead of me. However, I knew the area was near the South boston state police headquarters, and I did not want any relations with a speeding ticket. I knew the posted speed limit was 30mph but my intent was to go at approximately 25 mph. This is my safety margin incase the speedometer goes up. At this point, the brakes did not work. When I stepped on it once, and numerous times to come, I remember the clunking noises as if someone was putting their feet to the ground, following a musical beat. So I look up and see how much space I got in front of me and noticed there was at least another 1/4 mile with no car in sight. I then look down to definitely make sure I was touching the brake and that it would stop. I looked down and kept stepping on the brake, and end up stretching forward my right foot to push the brakes. That did not work. For first thought, I was thinking I should if turn off the car but I doubt that would've work; it would've locked my steering wheel and braking would be harder. I panicked when I saw the traffic light sitting at red, with 2 cars on the left lane, and one on the right. I thought about having to swerve to the right lane, but there was another car right behind my blindside, so I did not go into the other lane. Sitting in a brand new car, with brake failures, my friend and I were hopeless and resulted in rear-ending 2 completely stopped vehicles innocently waiting for the light to turn green. My car's air bags deployed, but we didn't get hurt. However, the pass. Door was keeping my friend from getting out until someone outside ripped through and yanked the door open for him. At a cruising rate ~29 mph, I crashed into the other cars who were already stopped.

- Quincy, MA, USA

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