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:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,933 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2010 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

Jun 152013

Altima 4-cyl

  • 41,287 miles


If I have to pump the brakes to get the car started, will I soon have to pump the brakes to stop"????" vehicle not recognize the key. Happened several times prior to 6/15/2013. Just thought the key needed to be charged. But on this date I pull up at a hotel, checked in and went to move the car and it wouldn't start. Sat for an hour or two. Replaced battery a few weeks prior so it wasn't that. Had to be towed to a pepboys. Too late for a dealership, a Saturday evening, and I was over 5 hours from home. The car was dropped off across from the bays therefore they were unable to connect the diagnostic machine. After setting for a couple more hours it finally crank. They said it was the starter, as of today I have not replaced the starter. In August it did it again twice while my 16 yr was driving it to school. A couple of times in September. I took it to the dealer on 10/14/2013, their diagnosis were: Replace brake sw, sub harness, and tie straps. And now almost on a daily basis want start without pumping the brakes. I'm the only one that drives the car now because I'm afraid of the brakes eventually giving out.

- Mc Intosh, AL, USA

problem #6

Aug 172012


  • 33,000 miles
This vehicle stalls or loses power when driving. It seems to happen during long trips, especially in hot weather during prolonged driving (several hours). It seems to do well if kept at highway speed, but as soon as the car makes a stop or slows down, it completely stalls or accelerates with great difficulty at insufficient speed. It is a dangerous traffic hazard. The Nissan dealer expressed surprise when I called him regarding this problem. He said it was probably a batch of poor gasoline. After we experience another power failure, we took the car to the Nissan dealer to check it out, but they could not find the problem. After running tests, our personal mechanic said he thought it was a transmission problem, but we had the transmission analyzed and serviced, and the battery cables checked. The car recently lost power again on a trip from Montana to California. It lost power at stop signs or when I had to decelerate and then try to accelerate. After the car was turned off for the evening, it did not start the next morning, at first. Later it started and drove fine. I see there have been other complaints about other Nissan losing power or stalling. I would appreciate it if you would tell me what steps you are taking to address this problem.

- Paradise, CA, USA

problem #5

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 #4

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 #3

Mar 112011

Altima 4-cyl

  • 10,602 miles
Engine ping noise from engine at times really loud noise got worse then more problems happened over time at a stop car was accelerating like if was pressing the brake and the gas at the same time, next car would come to a stop then lost power when accelerating the car would not go more than a few mph this happened a few times and once down hill the car would not go in reverse and almost hit a parked car also almost got in an accident because the car would not clear an intersection, I also got video footage of incident, dealer keeps saying there is nothing wrong and the car is safe even after they saw the video they say the computer shows nothing then a recorder was installed in the car and the car was accelerated by itself the recorder button was pressed and the car was then taken to the dealer the recorder was taken off and the main Nissan company called me and said that the information on the recorder was accidentally erased. I have had many problems with this car since I had it this is my main concern but I have had problems from the windows not rolling down to the airbag light turning on and tail lights not working the dealer is not helping neither Nissan direct and at this point im concerned of my safety and my family's.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #2

Apr 182012


  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Nissan Altima. The contact was driving 60 mph when the vehicle stalled without warning. The failure was experienced numerous times. The dealer performed a diagnostic which located the failure at the electronic control module. The dealer reprogrammed the electronic control module however, the failure was not corrected. The dealer advised the contact that the electronic control module had to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and denied assistance with the repair. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 12,000 and the current mileage was 14,000.

- Monroeville , PA, USA

problem #1

Aug 132012


  • 47,038 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The current and failure mileage was 47,038.

- Bowie, MD, USA

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