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:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 1
Average Mileage:
39,666 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags 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 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #25

Jun 162014


  • 37,000 miles


The passenger airbag warning light stays on at all times, and now this week the supplemental airbag warning light has been flashing. I took it to a mechanic and they tell me that the passenger airbag is malfunctioning. If the car was in a collision and someone was seated in the front passenger seat, the airbag would not deploy. I have taken the car to the Nissan dealership, while this car was under warranty with same complaint, but they could find nothing wrong. Funny, how 2013-2014 Altima are being recalled for this exact problem, but the earlier model years have not been.

- Exton, PA, USA

problem #24

May 152013


  • miles
I own 2009 Altima coupe SE. The passenger airbag sensor does not work properly. Sometimes something as small as an ipad will activate the airbag. As where other times my 125 wife will have it turn off. Something needs to be done as I am seeing that a multitude of people are having this issue.

- Apison, TN, USA

problem #23

Apr 012013


  • 55,000 miles
My 2009 Nissan Altima coup V6 edition frequently turns off the passenger front airbag when someone is sitting in the seat. The person weighs over 125 lbs and should be enough for the seat to sense an adult in it. For some reason it intermittently will flash the dash board light indicating that the airbag will not go off during an accident because the occupant is too light. I have taken in into the dealer on 2 separate occasions and they have told me the sensor and airbag unit are functioning, and there is nothing that can fix the problem.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #22

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 #21

Nov 182009


  • 1,000 miles
Passengers seat air bag sensor not working. When my wife who weighs 113 lbs sits in the passenger seat the air bag is off when some one who weighs 150 or more sits there air bag is on.

- Delray Beach, FL, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #20

Apr 072014


  • 80,000 miles
When my husband gets in the passenger seat the supplemental air bag warning light flashes. I had my husband get out the car, and then I did he reset of the airbag, and the light stayed off for 8 minutes until I had my husband get back in the car, as soon as he got in the car, both airbag lights came on. When researching it, I found the same thing happened to another Nissan which was recalled but not for my year of 2009 Nissan Altima.

- Asheboro, NC, USA

problem #19

Apr 012014


  • miles


Throughout the duration of owning this car, the passenger airbag light will appear as "deactivated" when there is an adult female (weighing 150 lbs) sitting in the passenger seat. The approximate date and vehicle mileage are unknown but it has happened on multiple occasions.

- New Richmond, OH, USA

problem #18

Oct 172013


  • 14,000 miles
The airbag warning light comes on, meaning that the passenger airbag is disarmed, while my wife is sitting in the seat. This means if the car was in an accident, the airbag won't deploy and could cause more injury or death. There is a recent Nissan recall for Altima 2013-2014 for this same defect. The same issue is plaguing my 2009 Nissan Altima.

- Exton, PA, USA

problem #17

Mar 042014


  • 45,000 miles
Air bag deactivate on the passenger side even when someone is sitting in the seat. This happens on and off many times. I think they should of recalled more years.

- Monongahela, PA, USA

problem #16

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 #15

Jan 142013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 70,297 miles


I went to shop-rite at 6 am to purchase lunch meat for my daughters school lunch. When I went to start the car it would not start. I thought it was the battery so I read the car manual on how to jump a car battery. In the car manual on page 0-12, the warning /indicator lights, page.I saw a picture of the warning indicator that was on my dash board and it had a page number 2-26. On the page it read" it is a security indicator light, to call the dealership" the car would not start with the push button.the car does not have a back up key entry either. So I was stranded at the supermarket.I had to call a tow truck in order for me to get home. I had the company who towed the car and who has been servicing our family cars for years call Nissan to see how Nissan can fix the car. Nissan advised that this part is not under warranty or under any recall and that there is nothing that they can do. They said it will cause me an estimated $3000 dollars to get the car fixed. Mind you the car is only 3 1/2 years old and I am still making car payments. [xxx] who towed and fixed the car doubled checked for me to see if this part was under a Nissan recall or if this part is under warranty, to my surprise it is not.I can't believe that a push button car does not have a back up to start a car when the push button malfunction. This does not make any sense. I can not believe that there is no alternate way of starting a car when a push button does not work. Thank goodness that this happened close to home and not while I was out with my daughters. How can a car be built with out any back up plan. Better yet how can this happen to a 3 year old car with only 70297 miles. Also my tires have been recalled and the engine was recalled and lastly my passenger air bag goes on when it wants to. I am paying so much money for a lemon and no one can help me. I will never buy a Nissan again. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Colonia , NJ, USA

problem #14

Apr 192013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 39,700 miles
I was traveling westbound on the interstate when a Chevrolet Silverado truck cut into my lane and stopped abruptly. I did not have time to react and rear-ended the vehicle. My car ended up under his bumper with major front end damage. My bumper was dragging when I pulled to the side, both headlights were broken, the hood was damaged, and the radiator and transmission were leaking. The grill was smashed in and was behind the front bumper. I was traveling at least 40 miles per hour. I bought the car brand new in 2009 and it had less than 40,000 miles on it. This is the first accident I have ever been in. The other vehicle left the scene of the accident. I was taken to the hospital for head and neck injuries. The airbags did not deploy. The police, fire, and tow truck driver all said the airbags should have deployed.

- Avondale, AZ, USA

problem #13

Jan 102009

Altima 4-cyl

  • 980 miles
I was not aware of your Agency until a few weeks ago that is why I am sending this E-mail to you. My 2009 Altima was approximately 3-4 months old when I was sitting in the passenger seat (my husband was driving) the no air bag light came on for me. I notified alhambra Nissan, alhambra, California and they told me that there was nothing wrong. The problem continued for 3 years and every time I advised alhambra Nissan and they kept telling me nothing was wrong (I have documentation showing all the times this issue was brought up). In 2013 I advised alhambra Nissan I was still having problems with the air bag sensor, they told me to contact the Nissan corporation. I placed several calls with them and one of the representatives had the nerve to tell me that if Nissan took every silly complaint of a customer they would be out of business. Finally a report was made with them. I was advised by them that I would have to have the dealership see it when it occurred. When it occurred my husband drove me to the dealership they took pictures and ran some type of test with a laptop. I was told they would notify me when to return vehicle. I received a phone call and returned the vehicle. They replaced the seat on the passenger front were they told me that the sensor was located. When the replacement was done I picked up my vehicle. I drove it for several days and never had a chance to sit in the passenger side to test if it occurred again. When I did it occurred again my husband drove me back they took pictures again and did testing with a laptop and said they would get back to me. When they did I was told that per the Nissan corporation my vehicle is functioning as it should. I see that the 2013 Altima is recalled for the same issue that I have had for 4 years. I also see that 2003-08 has been recalled for same reason. Can you help me with this issue.

- Rosemead, CA, USA

problem #12

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 #11

Dec 062011

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Was in a wreck and the driver side air bags did not come out.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #10

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

problem #9

Aug 012011


  • 27,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated was driving 35 mph when he was involved in a crash. The front driver side air bag did not deploy. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was contacted and advised that the vehicle was safe to drive and the air bag did not deploy because the air bag sensor was not close enough to the battery area, where the vehicle was struck. The VIN was not available. The failure and the current mileage was 27,000. Updated 12/13/11

- Prospect , CT, USA

problem #8

Apr 212009


  • 25 miles
Passenger side airbag light comes on and stays on with adult (150 lbs plus) in the passenger seat. This happens about 50% of the time. Nissan has been aware of this problem for years and so far has done little to correct the problem. The problem started the first month after purchase of the new vehicle on 4-20-2009 and was reported to the dealer. They found no trouble with the airbag system.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #7

Aug 012009


  • miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima coupe. The contact was driving at an unknown speed with the passenger seat occupied when she noticed that the air bag warning light was illuminated. The failure persisted intermittently so the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they were unable to diagnose the failure. The bottom portion of the front passenger seat was replaced but the failure continued. The contact was informed by the manufacturer that they were aware of the failure but provided no assistance. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 16,877.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #6

Oct 012009

Altima 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
2009 Nissan Altima 2.5S - passenger airbag disabled light comes on when a person is sitting in the passenger seat indicating that the passenger airbag will not deploy in any situation. The passenger meets and passes the weight requirement and is seated correctly. We can not produce this issue on demand. Environment doesn't seem to matter. Shape and size of the passenger doesn't seem to matter either. Dealer replaced the seat bottom 6 or so months ago. Didn't fix the issue. My wife and I were blamed continually for months (10 or so) as being the cause of the issue. I documented with video and they still said it was our fault. One day we almost got hit and I the Nissan dealer I would hold them liable. That day the disabled light remained on and we were able to show the dealer. After that an engineer game in to check the car. They said the system works are it should, we were not doing anything wrong and they couldn't find a fault. That engineer submitted the issue up the chain to the Altima engineers in the usa. It has been two months now and no resolution has been made. Nissan has told me they are re-engineering the seat bottom and a replacement part will be produced. It will take time they say. My wife and I have had this car and complained about this issue from the first month we owned this car back in Sep/Oct 2009.

- Belleville, 00, USA

Read the next 5 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?