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


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,477 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #3

Mar 012010


  • 36,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving for 150 miles, he heard a loud noise and the vehicle stalled. The tacometer did not display a reading and the vehicle rapidly decelerated. An authorized dealer was unsuccessful at duplicating the failure after five attempts. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 36,000 and the current mileage was 85,325.

- Ashland , OR, USA

problem #2

Feb 102011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 18,700 miles
Vehicle transmission failed. From a stand still at a stop light, the vehicle shook and then jumped forward 2 feet as if being rear ended from behind. When the light turned green, I stepped on the gas and the vehicle started to accelerate. Then the vehicle made grinding noises, hesitated, shook, and completely lost power to the wheels. The first incident (jumping 2 feet) almost caused me to hit the vehicle in front of me. The second incident almost cause the vehicle behind me to rear end me because we were accelerating to merge onto a main road, and my vehicle all of a sudden stopped dead in the middle of the road, but with the engine still running.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #1

Feb 202009


  • 730 miles
Rented a 2009 Nissan Altima from avis los angeles airport. Less than 1000 miles on the car and the transmission had a wining noise. The vehicle would rev when excess acceleration and on a hill with oncoming traffic the vehicle went into neutral and popped out of gear. The engine would not engage with oncoming traffic.

- Rehoboth Beach, DE, USA

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