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:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,497 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 11 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #504

Jun 022016


  • 43,918 miles


The car suddenly didnot start and when checked with the dealer, they said it is a known issue of electronic sterring column lock failure of 2009 Nissan Altima.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #503

Jun 022016


  • 43,918 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start as the key warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the electronic steering column lock needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 43,918.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #502

May 302016


  • miles
Steering lock 48700-9N00B went out no warranty Nissan dealership said. We did not get any information on this issue. All they have been doing is giving us the runaround said we could bring it in and it would cost us $1K dollars after parts and labor. This is there issue don't see how they are not responsible to fix the issue. They said there was a warranty on the transmission and the noise while we drive don't know if I will ever buy an Nissan again after not receiving any information on recalls.

- Portland, TX, USA

problem #501

May 272016


  • miles


Steering lock malfunction and now I'm unable to start my car. Nissan knows about this and hasn't recalled and now my warranty is over and I have to pay $900 to get it fixed

- Greenwood, SC, USA

problem #500

May 292016


  • 146,000 miles
Steering lock release malfunction indicator on; can't start car. It's sitting like a bump in my driveway. Thanks goodness it didn't leave me stranded!! but now I'm carless!!

- Bristow, OK, USA

problem #499

May 262016


  • 70,000 miles
The car was stationary and the steering wheel locked and so the car could not be started. I needed to have the car towed to the dealer to have the part replaced for $900 before taxes. Nissan is aware of the issue on the part and had extended the warranty but the extension ended in 2015. I don't understand how they can do this -- the defective part needs to fail within a certain timeframe in order for them to make it right?

- Lowell, MA, USA

problem #498

Mar 182016


  • 76,000 miles


My steering lock failed. I was stuck in the middle of the night at the airport parking lot with my 7 year old and my 3 year old daughters. I had to pay a towning truck to tow me. Witch cost me $560! later to contact Nissan about the warranty and was told it had expired in January! I called in March! I still haven't been able to fix my car the repair is over $1,000! there are so many cases with this same exact problem but Nissan refuses to help!

- Round Lake, IL, USA

problem #497

May 232016


  • 147,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. While attempting to restart the vehicle, it failed to start. The vehicle was towed to the manufacturer where it was diagnosed that the steering wheel sensor lock malfunctioned. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 147,000. The VIN was unknown.

- Bellows Falls, VT, USA

problem #496

May 222016


  • 114,500 miles
Takata recall. My complaint is regarding the 2009 Nissan Altima steering lock failure. My lock failure occurred on 05-22-16. I returned home after a day of spending time with some friends. I parked my car and later that evening, I decided to go to the store. Once I got in the car, I couldn't start it. The brake was really hard to push and yellow key light illuminated from my dashboard. The fob would allow me to unlock and close doors. The lights worked, but the engine would not start. I was lucky enough to have this situation occur in the parking lot of my apartment complex otherwise the car could have broken down somewhere really unsafe. My vehicle had to be towed to the nearest Nissan dealership where it was fixed for $939.38

- Pickens, MS, USA

problem #495

May 162016


  • miles
I own a 2009 Nissan Altima on May 16, 2016 I arrived home at 10:30 I parked the car in my drive way turned the car off an went inside my house. I prepared my dad's lunch and went back inside the vehicle when I attempted to start the car it would no longer start the a red car light with key was blinking and a orange key as well my windows are rolled down and won't roll up and its been raining please help I called Nissan they asked if without hurting myself could I jerk the brake and start the car they want me to pay for a diagnostic at Nissan this has happened to so many people

- Lodi, CA, USA

problem #494

May 172016


  • 134,000 miles


My 2009 Altima would not start, checked battery in car, put new battery in key fob and still nothing. I did some research online and found that it was possibly the steering lock. Hit on the box and finally car started. It has done this too me 2 time in the last week. I was not at home either time. Very frustrating and dangerous for a single woman. I do not have the $800 to $1000 dollars for the part and labor. Isn't there something Nissan can do to correct this with those of us that still have a 2009?. I went in wal mart today and came out and would not start. It took almost 1:50 hours tapping the box before it would start. I would appreciate any help or a solution for this problem. I have done some research on this and it looks as tho Nissan quit using this part in 2010 due to issues. Seems there should have been a recall.

- Mooringsport, LA, USA

problem #493

Apr 212016


  • 116,121 miles
This complaint is being filed in reference to the defective steering column lock (part # 48700-9N00A) on this car. When this component fails, it leaves you stranded by being unable to start the car. I had just ended my late shift only to find that my car would not start. Fortunately nothing happened to me, but this put me in a situation that could have ended very badly, as I had to wait for someone to come pick me up. Nissan obviously knew of this problem because they extended the warranty and also improved the part, (now part #48700-9N00B); but I believe that a defective part, which they acknowledged as such by extending the warranty, should have been replaced through a recall. From the number of people on-line who have also been affected, I would think they would do this recall just to keep the customer satisfied. I know I will be looking at other brands for my next car.

- Dover, NH, USA

problem #492

May 132016


  • 85,000 miles
Car will not start because steering lock will not disengage.

- Hoffman Estates, IL, USA

problem #491

May 092016


  • miles
Takata recall - I believe my car has that escl problem because I cant turn on my car at all. On Monday evening I was on my way to work from home and my car was driving fine until innotice that my steering wheel was wobbling. I arravied at work parked my car and went in my workplace for a meeting then when I came back out to my car to take it to the garage it wouldnt start up. I pressed my feet on the pedal like usual but nothing happen it kept showing on the dashboard only a key error. After I got off I tried to start it up again and nothing happend I even had got a hotshot because I thought it was something wrong with my battery but it wasnt. So then inhad to leave my car on the side streetbfor 24 hours because I couldnt afford to get a tow at 5am until I went home and got more money. So then when I came back to work the next day I got my car towed to my house which was on Tuesday May 5th 2016 until I have money to get it fixed because right now I cant afford it. I honestly feel like there should be a recall for this problem because I always toke car of my car since I had and this is the only problem that I had with my carbso far. I dont know what is the cause of the problem.

- Essex, MD, USA

problem #490

May 112016


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. Immediately after parking, the vehicle stalled without warning and failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the electronic steering column lock unit was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and refused to provide any assistance since the vehicle was no longer eligible for repairs under a customer satisfaction campaign. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 120,000.

- Freeport, NY, USA

problem #489

May 092016


  • 0 miles
I currently own a 2009 Nissan Altima with a steering wheel lock mechanism defect. Upon researching this defect I have come to realize that several consumers have had this issue. This defect has been so common that a warranty was placed on this part until 2014.because of the number of customers that have had this issue I believe that a total recall should've been made. Please review all of the petitions posted online in an attempt to drive the manufacture to do the right thing. The repair for this defect is costing it's customers a minimum of $1200 and I am outraged that they put a expiration date on the time this part has to malfunction.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #488

May 082016


  • 88,000 miles
Vehicle would not start. The brake was extremely stiff, the steering wheel was locked and pushing the start button did nothing. Aaa came and said it wasn't the battery, alternator or starter. I had the car towed to the local Nissan dealer they said it was a defective steering lock module which had an extended warranty but it was expired. This cost me approximately $700 for the tow, part and labor. The service department told me that they thought this should be a recalled item because it is a safety issue since the part was defective, Nissan is aware of the problem, and it could leave people stranded in a dangerous situation.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #487

May 032016


  • 143,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. When attempting to start the vehicle, it was unable to start. The "push to start" did not start the engine and the steering failed. The failure was included in an extended warranty; however, the contact was not sure if the vehicle would still be covered. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 143,000.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #486

Dec 092015


  • 63,883 miles
I pulled in to the gas station late night December 9,2015, and after filling up, the car refused to start. When tested it showed that the battery was fine. The car was towed to the dealer (even the tow company worker had the same problem with the same make and model car). True to the worker's experience, the dealer told me the car had a steering problem. This is a very expensive undertaking, and extremely inconveniencing. Needs to be recalled from the number of complaints I read.

- Freeport, NY, USA

problem #485

Apr 282016


  • 100,000 miles
Electric steering lock (escl) failure: Car will not start due to this failure. Vehicle was parked.

- Richland, WA, USA

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