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:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,662 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2010 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #4

Oct 252012


  • 22,000 miles


The other driver made an illegal left turn causing the accident. The seat belts were buckled and the 2 front air bags activated. I am a mechanical engineer, I tried very hard to uncover the source of shrapnel injuries on my knees, on my head, and on my neck. Also, my wife received several shrapnel injuries on her head and on her body. Recently, I realized that these shrapnel injuries were caused by exploding plastic casings around the seat belts. The other driver was minimally insured. Without any law suit, we got a small partial compensation for these injuries. The exploding seat belt boxes were not initially thought of. Now, I firmly believe that my wife and I were seriously harmed by shrapnel from these exploding plastic covers...updated 11/17/14

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #3

Aug 042014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 18,047 miles
Car had intermittent no start condition and intermittent brake light outage. Mechanic replaced faulty original stop lamp switch 25320-ax00C(N).

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #2

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

problem #1

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

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