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:
59,800 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.

2010 Nissan Altima body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2010 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #5

Jan 012015


  • 25,000 miles


The dashboard is literally melting and has puddles of tacky residue. I live in Florida. The vehicle was purchased in Florida. The dashboard is breaking down and causing a dangerous glare on the windshield. It is a serious safety hazard for passengers, other mva's and especially pedestrians as they are almost impossible to see in daylight. The tacky substance cannot be cleaned. Anything that touches it sticks. Nissan knows about the problem. It is a defect in composite material and has not been caused by solvents or cleaners. Nissan refuses to cover dashboard replacement despite this being a known issue. The cost to replace is over $2K. Nissan has entered into a class action settlement for model years 2008 & 2009 (sanborn V. Nissan North America) but I have a 2010 and it has the same problem. 2010's should be recalled now and I shouldn't have to pursue legal action for this known and extremely dangerous defect but more importantly someone is going to get killed unless these dashboards are recalled and replaced. The problem seems to be most prevalent in Florida based on what I've seen online. Please google "Nissan Altima melting dashboard" - it's not an uncommon complaint. I'm providing 2 pictures to demonstrate visibility when parked in the driveway as well as driving on the road. Try to locate the license plate on the truck in front of me, let alone read it. Now imagine if someone were to walk in front of my car.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #4

Apr 052016


  • 80,000 miles
Dashboard is melting from the heat and sun, has become sticky, un-cleanable and causing a terrible reflection on the windshield both day and night. Issue appears to be getting worse every week as this car sits outside 24/7 not always in the shade. I called Nissan of american and they setup an appointment to have the car looked at by my local dealership/service center. The end result was a wasted day and I was told that since the car was not under warranty (80K miles and 5 years old) there is nothing they could do for me. Estimated replacement cost of $2000. A few months later my ac condenser coil was diagnosed by Nissan with a leak. Nissan said it would be about $1500 to replace (and the service technician noted that due to the condition of my dashboard they could not make any guarantee to the condition of the dash after the repair and recommended dash replacement as well bring my repair total to and estimated $3500. With the ac recharged (but not fixed) I brought the car over to carmax to see what they would give me for the car. They saild although most Altima of this mileage and condition would be worth at least $6500-$7000 due to the dashboard condition (needs replacement according to their paperwork) they offered me $4500 for the car.

- Weston, FL, USA

problem #3

May 032015


  • 110,000 miles
The front drivers side floor gets soaked every time it rains. But only in one spot about the size of a regular size envelope. There is no signs where water streams there from any other part of the floor. Just that spot. It happens when I am driving and if the car is parked it just started this past may

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #2

Apr 292015


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the dashboard was melting and the material was lifting on the driver side. Due to the failure, the dashboard had a glossy surface which obstructed the contact's vision out of the front windshield. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or an independent mechanic. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 60,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Odessa, FL, USA

problem #1

Oct 252012


  • 24,000 miles
The lack of lighting indicator makes that car very dangerous to drive at dusk & dawn times. The dash board is slightly less lit when the lights are on. The driver would not know whether the board light is in the "more" or the "less" status. Unlike in older cars, the dash board is not dark when the light is not on so that the driver is alerted. This is a major human factor defect. It is the cause of collisions at times of rush hour traffic. I am a professional engineer with utmost qualifications in human reliability analyses(hra). For a period of 9 years, I was the elected chairman of a large international group of hra engineers responsible for minimizing human errors at nuclear power plants. Our car was totaled. My wife had 4 broken ribs. I had several injuries.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

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