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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,306 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2010 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

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 #7

Oct 172012

Altima 6-cyl

  • 39,590 miles
Went out to start vehicle, no start...towed to dealer, denied under warranty, made me pay for towed to a Nissan dealer to perform install of steering lock assay. And misc hardware.

- Bensalem, PA, USA

problem #6

Jun 182012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 54,732 miles
My vehicle did not recognize the ikey, and would not start leaving me stranded. This has occurred on several occasions (all during daylight hours) and is getting worse. I have previously replaced the key batteries thinking that might be the problem it is not. I am very concerned that I might be in the parking lot after work late at night and not be able to star/drive my vehicle. Being a young adult female this is a major concern of mine.

- St Marys, WV, USA

problem #5

Jan 272012


  • 16,923 miles


Bought vehicle new 14 months ago and the battery already had to be replaced. At my expense. Dealer service informed me may have trouble if not replaced. I wrote Nissan and they told me the following: "Nissan is not in the position to provide vehicle service contract coverage or warranty coverage. Nissan depends on its Nissan dealers to provide any and all warranty coverage concerns as they are in the best position to assess the vehicle and determine whether a part is warranty or not. We recommend you continue to coordinate with your local Nissan dealer??S service department with any warranty inquiries. " since Nissan itself will not properly look into the situation I will no longer purchase a Nissan and they have lost a loyal customer since 1972.

- Cameron, NC, USA

problem #4

Oct 182011


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Nissan Altima. The contact noticed that the owner's manual stated that the ignition switch on position could not be switched to the off position until the shift selector was moved to the park position; however, he was able to shut the vehicle off while the vehicle was in another gear other than the park position. The dealer was unaware of the failure since they did not reply to any attempts to contact them. The manufacturer was notified and advised the contact to notify NHTSA. No repairs were performed. The current and failure mileages were 15,000.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #3

Dec 282009

Altima 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
2010 Nissan Altima S (purchased new 12/7/09) and as part of the incentive to buy the vehicle, the dealership had after market leather installed and from there the problems have been non-stop. At this point, I believe the problem is electrical. I have taken my car nearly 10 times (one being today) in the past 15 months for service and was placed in loaner cars at least 4 times due to the problems. The passenger seat air bag not working and tire pressure light sporadically comes on both blinking and/or a constant. My entire seat was replaced and still the air bag light takes up to 5 minutes sometimes (it varies) to turn off indicating someone is in the seat. I have driven up to 4 miles with my passenger being unprotected. The dealership, today says this is normal. The tire pressure light has came off and on since the car was purchased with nothing found to be wrong each time, except once, they said I had a nail in my tire and they plugged it. I have never seen the repair work and looked very well... this past weekend, I vacuumed my entire car (meaning each door had been opened and shut) taking approx 15 minutes. When I got in the vehicle and tried to start it the shift was locked and the car would not start. All lights started blinking and then completely shut down. It would show "on" on the start button while not running. I was jump started and then instantly the tire pressure light blinked for one minute then stayed constant. The air bag sensor took even longer to work. Of course, when I took it to the dealership today, nothing was wrong--battery was good--air bags are good; however, they did confirm low tire pressure in one tire... I truly believe it is an electrical problem and the company is not standing behind their product. I am beyond frustrated and truly dishearten by Nissan and their lack of concern for their customers' safety and well being.

- Canton, NC, USA

problem #2

Nov 082010


  • 20,471 miles
2010 Nissan Altima. The automatic push button ignition would not start the engine. It cranked several times then did nothing when pushed. Waited 15-20 minutes and then it started right up. Upon starting the car was taken to the dealership. The mechanic was unable to determine the failure because no error codes registered. They checked further but couldn't find the cause and told me it would have to totally break before they could find it. This is an electrical system ignition flaw and we're extremely concerned about the safety of this vehicle and of being stranded.

- Choctaw, OK, USA

problem #1

Sep 302010


  • 12,792 miles
'09 Altima would not start. Second occurrence in one week. Jumped car and took it to gettel sarasota, fl Nissan dealership. Diagnosis - faulty "brake switch", needed to start keyless ignition they told me it was a "common" problem with these cars. Replaced part and no problems since. Keeping my fingers crossed. My so has a '07 Altima, and experienced the exact same problem the same week in naples, fl. Mine was covered by warranty, but he had to pay for a new part. Go figure! I believe this to be a serious problem and should cause a recall. ( no old parts available, to my knowledge.)

- Sarasota, FL, USA

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