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:
8 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
14 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,707 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2010 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

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 #7

Aug 062010

Altima 4-cyl

  • 300 miles
The light indicating "airbag off" for the passenger seat is frequently illuminated even when an adult (140 lb) passenger is sitting in the seat. The occurrence is approximately 10 percent of the time and occurs at any speed, even on the highway at 65 mph. This error has persisted throughout the life of the vehicle (purchased new in 2010), but the dealerships we visited insist that the system complies with their electrical tests, even though we showed them photographs of the "airbag off" light taken by a passenger while sitting in this seat. Nissan needs to be made to issue a recall to correct this life-threatening error.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #6

Aug 162013


  • 21,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the passenger's side air bag warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The technician stated that the passenger's side seat cushion would have to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 21,000.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #5

Jan 042010

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles


Passenger air bag is off when somebody is sit on the passenger sit sometimes is on and off I took my car for check up to the dealer and they told me that there is not problem codes in computer but the car continues with the problem but I asked another people and they had the same problem we need help because this dangerous in a crash.

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #4

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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problem #3

Jul 142012


  • 56,000 miles
The contact owns 2010 Nissan Altima. The contact stated that the vehicle was involved in a crash. The vehicle was destroyed however, the air bags did not deploy. A police report was filed and the driver was reported injured. The vehicle was towed to a salvage yard and was not inspected by a dealer. A contractor inspected the vehicle and was unable to determine an air bag failure. The failure mileage was 56,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Hanford, CA, USA

problem #2

Aug 182011


  • 8,000 miles
Computer does not detect front side passenger (adult) who weigh less than 125 pounds and hence airbags are not activated for about 10 minutes, before the computer finally detects an occupant. Nissan claims this is not an issue and the weight is set by federal regulations and they cannot do anything about it. With the number of adult us population less than 125 pounds being high, this presents a grave safety risk especially in the first few minutes of driving.

- Oakdale, MN, USA

problem #1

Mar 162010


  • 2,800 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Nissan Altima. While traveling at speeds of 60 mph, the vehicle began abruptly veering to the right without driver intent. The contact attempted to maintain control of the vehicle; however; the steering wheel became hard and resistant to driver input. The contact was unable to move the steering in either direction. The vehicle then spun out of control and proceeded to crash into a cement wall. The air bags did not deploy on impact. The police arrived and a report was filed at the scene accordingly. The driver suffered from minor injuries. The vehicle was towed to a local repair shop. She was advised that the front suspension and tires were damaged. There were no repairs made to the vehicle. The contact inquired about a recall campaign on the suspension but upon contacting the manufacturer, was informed that his VIN was not included in the campaign (NHTSA campaign id number 09V358000: Suspension). The approximate failure and current mileages were 2,800.

- Chino Hill, CA, USA

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