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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,186 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2010 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #15

Oct 012012


  • 40,000 miles


There were 3 incidents. First, I was driving on the Washington beltway, in October 2012. I was driving about 65 mph. The vehicle stalled and I coasted to the shoulder. I was terrified. Second, I was driving on I-95 at around 50 mph the vehicle would not respond to the accelerator. I gave it gas but nothing happened. I was able to coast to the shoulder. Third, I was once again on the freeway, traveling at speed and the vehicle was non responsive to the accelerator. I coasted and eventually it did respond. The 2010 Nissan Altima is equipped with the cvt. There are hundreds of complaints all around the internet about this very same problem. I am reading about people being scared for their lives when they drive these peoples' lives are in danger when they drive these vehicles. The government should do something asap to help resolve this issue with these transmissions. Thank you.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #14

Jun 132012


  • 35,000 miles
I was leaving work when I had no acceleration I floored the accelerator pedal still nothing. I put the trans in park waited 15 seconds and back in drive and everything normal. I recently had it happen again last week. I was leaving a grocery store and it happened in the middle of traffic I pulled to the side for little bit.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #13

May 252012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
Subject: 2010 Nissan Altima hesitation problem contact information: NHTSA id: 370601 contact source: Owner follow up/ I now have 42000 on the car and the fix did not work!! I am still having problems and have been back to the dealer numerous times. They did find low transmission fluid and are checking it once per month. My wife feels that there is enough concern that she does not drive it often. I believe that it could cause the car to stall in oncoming traffic and may have caused several accidents already which have gone un-noticed as mechanical !!!

- Lufkin, TX, USA

problem #12

Nov 142012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 53,128 miles


I bought the 2010 Nissan Altima used in April 2012. Vehicle was previously part of a fleet unit in Washington DC. During my drive to work, I made a left hand turn at a low rate of speed and the vehicle acted as if the transmission was skipping. The car jerked as if I had pushed the gas too hard for the turn. I had to stop to make another left hand turn. After waiting on cars to pass, I pushed the accelerator to move out at a slow and normal rate of speed and the car lunged and jerked as if I had tried to pull out at a high rate of speed. No oncoming traffic thankfully. This vehicle has had issues moving past 20 mph since I purchased it. The car jerks as it is has a manual transmission but the care is an automatic. There is loud clicking noise that comes from under the hood that can be heard inside the vehicle. I recently had a rental car of the same make and model but different year (2012). I did not experience these problems from that car. There was a recall on a leaking break line. Nissan states they checked everything out and all looks good. I'll take the car back in along with copies of these complaints. I took at long trip that was about a 4 hr drive and did not experience what others are saying with acceleration, but may be just now getting to that point in the cars transmission issues.

- Covington, GA, USA

problem #11

Jul 062010


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the brakes and transmission failed. There were no lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact stated that she depressed the brake pedal, but the brakes seized and the vehicle slid and experienced an increased stopping distance. The contact stated that once that happened, the transmission failed. The contact restarted the vehicle and the vehicle functioned normally. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer for inspection and they stated that they could not duplicate the failure. The were unable to determine the cause of the failure. The manufacturer was notified and they did not respond. The failure mileage was 3,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Franklin, WI, USA

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problem #10

Jun 072012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
While driving home from Mexico we stop at the border check point and after coming to a complete stop and trying to accelerate, I had the gas pedal all the way to the floor and the car would not accelerate at all. From there after it did that after everytime time I had to come to a complete stop the entire way home. I have only had this car for less than a year.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #9

Dec 132011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles


My 2010 Nissan Altima 2.5S accelerates slowly when turning from a stop. I made a left turn against oncoming traffic. The oncoming car was about 200 ft away. I pressed the acellerator hard. The cvt transmission felt like it disengaged.the engine rev'ed but the tires didn't spin. The oncoming car must have locked his brakes as I was hit in the rear quarter panel. Their were no injuries. I had only had this car three months at the time. I feel the cvt transmission should be recalled as I am not the only one to post problem with the cvt.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #8

Jan 202012

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
I own a 2010 Nissan Altima coupe 2.5 and have had problems with acceleration. When I come to a stop, I push the gas pedal down tothe floor and experience very little speed then it accelerates thereafter. I have had problems where there are vehicles behind me at a stop then when its time to accelarate my vehicle takes time to accelarate almost causing rear end accidents.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #7

Nov 012010

Altima 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
When at a stop and starting to accelerate, it's almost as if the power train shifts immediately from low or 1st gear to hi and then vehicle starts to lunge and buck. Also, has little acceleration capacity when this happens.

- Mexico, MO, USA

problem #6

Jan 152012


  • 42,000 miles
When stopped at a stop sign pressed the gas. The car moved very slow then sped up very fast then slowed down again. I feel this car is very unsafe. I have read countless same issues with other people on the internet. If Nissan does not recall this car it will kill thousands of people over the coming years. I hope you can help save them.

- Hollywood, MD, USA

problem #5

Nov 172011


  • 23,300 miles


After driving at highway speeds for several hours, then exiting and coming to a full stop, the auto will barely move in drive or reverse when given gas. This has created a dangerous situation for me when cars come up behind and expect me to pull out. I can only go at 2-5 mph until the cvt transmission finally allows the car to go at normal speed levels. Nissan service advisor in Florida, my destination, told me it was a " computer glitch" where the computer was fooled into believing the car was still in highway speed gear and which had no fix.

- Marlboro, NJ, USA

problem #4

Jan 152010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
After a hard application of the brakes (ABS activates) and stop, the vehicle fails to accelerate at a normal rate of speed. Pushing the accelerator to the floor does not increase the speed of the vehicle. There is a delay before the vehicle will accelerate normally. Nissan reports there is nothing wrong with the transmission or the brakes. The process occurs everytime after the ABS is activated and rapid acceleration is attempted.

- Wilton Manors , FL, USA

problem #3

Jun 072010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
My 2010 Altima 2.5S has poor acceleration after coming to a stop. This is very dangerous, especially when making left handed turns in front of on-coming traffic. I would press the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor and the car will not accelerate quickly, it's almost like a hesitation or bogg. This issue is worse when the A/C is on. Nissan has not issued a recall, but they really need to, because there are many other Nissan Altima owners with the cvt transmission that are experiencing the same issue. I also own a 95 Altima and have never experienced an issue like this, quite frankly I am very disappointed and concerned with my 2010 Altima purchase because of this poor acceleration issue.

- Franklin, WI, USA

problem #2

Oct 012010


  • 5,000 miles
I bought my vehicle in August of 2010. In October we were on our way to Florida, and at the end of a full day of travel, aprox 6 hours- we exited I95 in Virginia to go to our hotel. When we came to a stop sign at the bottom of the ramp, we attempted to cross a state road to get to our hotel. When I depressed the accelerator the car barely moved and we were almost T-boned by another vehicle. We got to the hotel and after a nights rest the car seemed fine, but the car did the exact same thing the next night. When we got to Florida the dealer was unable to find anything wrong and couldn't offer a solution. On the trip back to NY this spring the same problem occurred every day after a long drive, even though we made rest stops during the day. I feel this is a very dangerous situation, not being able to accelerate to avoid a potential accident and do not feel safe driving this vehicle.

- Verplanck, NY, USA

problem #1

Apr 092010

(reported on)

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
2010 Nissan Altima making a loud clunk noise. Consumer states the noise happens only when it's cold outside, the vehicle is cold, and at speeds 30 mph and less. The consumer stated the noise was so bad, it felt as though the vehicle was going to stall. The consumer also stated it felt as though the transmission was slipping. The vehicle would drag/sputter. The slipping was sometimes accompanied by a rattling noise coming from the underbody which lasted for 3-4 seconds. The dealer was unable to duplicate the problems the consumer experienced.

- Newbury Park, CA, USA

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