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 1 of 2)

problem #28

Nov 112016


  • 111,450 miles


Takata recall. On November, 12 2016, I took my 2010 nissian Altima into griffin nissian's dealership to have my vehicle looked at due to an airbag light coming on the day prior, while in motion. It's still on parked also. It never goes off. After taking my vehicle in a service advisor called me and stated that the problem is a sensor inside the passenger seat has gone bad and would need to be replaced. I asked was that covered under the manufacture and he advised me that he wasn┐T sure. He advised it would be an estimated cost of around $600 dollars to repair the sensor. I then research the issue about the sensor, and my research showed that several vehicles have already been recalled for the same issue. I contacted nissian manufacture. And I explain the problem my car had and they advised me that someone would view the case and contact me back. The next day someone from nissian manufacture contacted me and advised I would have to take care of the airbag issue at my own expense. I stated to them that this isn┐T a part that has normal wear and tear and should be backed by the manufacture and I express how that sensor not working correctly could cause my family and I harm if we were to get into a motor vehicle accident and the airbags fail to deploy. I bought my vehicle from griffen nissian on 10-15-2014, the car was used, and however I take my vehicle to griffen nissian every time its need to be service and to have routine oil changes.

- Hamlet, NC, USA

problem #27

Apr 152016


  • 50,000 miles
Takata recall I was driving 45 mph down the street and the air bag light came on my dash. I see that there were recalls for newer models but not my model. Can you tell me why?

- West Helena, AR, USA

problem #26

May 052016


  • 52,000 miles
Takata inflators I was driving down the road and the air bag light came on the dash. I took it to the dealership and he said it was the passenger air bag. He said there was no recall. I just seen were newer models have recalls on them. I was wondering why my model doesn't.

- West Helena, AR, USA

problem #25

Apr 242016


  • 58,000 miles


Supplemental air bag sensor did not work. Had to replace the front passenger seat which contained the sensor for the airbag. Nissan has recalled 2013 Altima to correct this exact problem. Unfortunately it cost me $800. To correct my problem. I'm sure I'm not the only owner of an earlier model to have this problem.

- Sagamore Beach, MA, USA

problem #24

May 252016


  • 100,000 miles
The passanger air bag light is staying on showing the passenger air bag is off. Took to nissian and they are telling me its the sensor and that the whole seat has to be replaced. Im not sure what is causing this but nissian should be responsible for this. I see they recalled 2013-2016, but I think they need to look into this year models too. Its the same issue the other people are having with the ones that are recalled. Im so frustrated. Air bags should be something that should be fixed immediatly at no cost! we buy a car to feel safe when we are driving not to worry about our safety

- Southaven, MS, USA

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problem #23

Apr 232016


  • 64,000 miles
The contact owned a 2010 Nissan Altima. While the contact's vehicle was stationary, a second vehicle crashed into its rear bumper while traveling approximately 55 mph. The contact's vehicle was pushed into the rear of a third vehicle. The front end was damaged, but the air bags did not deploy. The vehicle was destroyed and towed. A police report was filed. The driver sustained back, neck, knee, and hand injuries. The front passenger sustained a concussion, neck, and back injuries. The rear driver side passenger sustained head and knee injuries. Medical attention was required. The manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 64,000. Updated 09/08/16

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #22

Oct 142015


  • miles


The passenger airbag sensor has malfunction which caused the indication light flashing. The Nissan dealership diagnostic the problem and the result was to replace the passenger seat. Since it was the airbag sensor malfunction, it will affect the deployment of the airbag if accident happens. This is not a wear & tear issue. It is the manufacturing problem. I am aware that later models of Nissan's vehicle have been recalled for the same issue, Nissan corporation refused to replace the seat at their cost since this particular model was not in their recall list.

- Highland Park, IL, USA

problem #21

Apr 032016


  • 145,000 miles
The passenger airbag sensor was malfunction which caused the indication light flashing. The Nissan dealership diagnostic the problem and the result was to replace the passenger seat. Since it was the airbag sensor malfunction, it will affect the deployment of the airbag if accident happens. This is not a wear & tear issue. It is the manufacturing problem. Even though a later model of Nissan's vehicle was recalled for the same issue, Nissan corporation refused to replace the seat at their cost since this particular model was not in their recall list.

- Walnut, CA, USA

problem #20

Apr 032016

Altima 4-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
The passenger seat belt indicator is malfunction. The passenger airbag sensor is malfunction. It affects the function of the airbag this is not a wear & tissue. This is a manufacturing issue of the airbag sensor. Updated 05/04/16 updated 05/16/16. Updated 05/16/16. Updated 06/14/16.

- Walnut, CA, USA

problem #19

Feb 192016


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Nissan Altima. When the contact released the brake pedal coming from a complete stop, the vehicle tapped the rear of the preceding vehicle. Without warning, the driver and passenger air bags deployed. The contact and passenger sustained injuries to the neck that did not require medical attention. A police report was filed. The vehicle was driven to the contact's residence. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000.

- Pepperell, MA, USA

problem #18

Dec 182015


  • 79,000 miles


The contact owns a 2010 Nissan Altima. While driving approximately 30 mph on a damp road, the contact depressed the brake pedal and the vehicle began to spin out of control without warning. The vehicle crashed into a concrete overpass. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was filed. The contact sustained injuries that required medical attention. The vehicle was towed to a parking lot. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 79,000.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #17

Aug 172015


  • 58,133 miles
On August 17, 2015 I noticed that my air bag light was flashing in my 2010 Nissan Altima coupe 3.5.. the next day I went to my dealership to have it looked at. They informed me that there was a "short' in the steering wheel airbag meaning that the airbag would not deploy if needed. I contacted Nissan with my concern about the short being a defect with only 58,133 miles on the car. Airbags should not have "shorts" in them for deployment!!! after 2 weeks they offered to pay for 1/2 of the cost of the replacement of the airbag. This indicated to me that they realized there was a defect with the airbag. I felt that they were responsible for more that just 1/2 half of the cost. They felt different. I was left with no choice but to accept their offer or drive with a defective airbag or pay the full cost of the replacement. This was the 2nd problem I had with an airbag with the car. They covered the cost the 1st airbag. Considering the problems with airbags in Nissan cars, I feel this might be another problem for Nissan that they do not fully acknowledge. I am curious if there are any other Nissan Altima owners who have experienced the same problem with the steering wheel airbag.

- North Canton, OH, USA

problem #16

May 012013


  • 22,000 miles
Passenger air bag off light indicates inoperative passenger air bag when adult passenger is seated. Apparent sporadic operation of air bag. Serious saftey hazard! why has this not been addressed? air bag sensor indicates sometimes it is operating properly, and other times dangerously inoperative. And it is not a weight issue. I once had the light turn off (meaning the air bag was engaged to operate in a crash) based only on the weight of my briefcase (holding a laptop) on the seat! so it is clearly a sensor issue. Light also goes on or off seemingly at will. While driving, it sometimes changes several times (on vs. Off) during a trip. Started around 22,000 miles in about 2013, and still erratic at 32,000 miles in 2015 (low mileage car) based on a review of past complaints, this has been a known, unaddressed problem of this model since 2010, and comprises what appears to be a whopping percentage of all complaints on this vehicle! reference NHTSA numbers 10705119, 10693858, 10621721, 10551401, 10538101, 10508652, 10462938, 10398851, 10386702 to date. Dealer said sensor is in seat, and entire seat would need to be replaced to fix. Really" cost about $1,000, so I now know what a life is worth to Nissan - less than $1,000, right" maybe a lawsuit would help, but they know proving the air bag sensor is defective is difficult and expensive for the average consumer. Kiss your loved ones before driving with the "passenger air bag off" warning light lit! why the NHTSA and Nissan refuse to acknowledge this well established, and highly risky defect is truly beyond me. Consider a different vehicle until this problem is finally addressed, if ever.

- Debary, FL, USA

problem #15

Mar 112015


  • 140,000 miles
The passenger seat airbag doesn't work. The "pass air bag off" light is on and the air bag cluster panel light is flashing. I reset the light but it came on again when someone sits in passenger seat. Looking around on the internet, this is a huge complaint for 2010 Nissan Altima. This is a dangerous safety issue.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #14

Mar 022015

Altima 4-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
Air bag defect. Sensor failure causing passenger side air bag to be non-functional. Diagnosed by kerry Nissan, florence, Kentucky 41042. Phone 859-371-8191. This is a recurring problem in 2010 Nissan. The cost of the repair exceeds $600. Part failure puts the public at risk. In addition, the part is not readily available, so car is unsafe to drive with someone in passenger seat.

- Southgate, KY, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Jul 012014


  • 49,000 miles
Repeated occurrence of the air bag light on and the passenger air bag light on when a passenger is sitting in the seat. The light turned on after my vehicle was serviced for a new radio needing to be installed and the rear speaker blew. The light has been reset twice but still turns on. Warranty is out and dealer stated front passenger seat needs replaced which is total cost of 1,000. There is recall on the 2013 2014 models for same issue. This year should be added. The car has low miles to have this issue.

- Sanford , FL, USA

problem #11

Feb 252014

Altima 4-cyl

  • 28,503 miles
On 02/25 I was T-boned by someone that ran a red light who was going approximately 30 mph and hit the front passenger side door/quarter panel and I was wondering why it is that my side curtain airbag did not deploy? from my understanding, in a collision with that kind of speed and the placement of the impact, the airbag should have deployed but it did not. While the car was being repaired, I asked the body shop to check into why it did not, and they told me that the firing pin for the airbag, was smashed to pieces. Which further tells me that something is wrong with my car to make the airbag not deploy. I am just grateful that my passenger and myself were both uninjured from the incident besides a slight case of whiplash. Everyone including the police officers that arrived on scene and the body shop were amazed that no one was injured especially since there was no airbag deployment to help protect her.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #10

Jun 012012

Altima 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
My passenger air bag light flickers when no one is sitting or even an adult is sitting. I took the car to the dealer and the service manager stated that was common for it flicker based on the weight of the passenger. Now, I see that 2013 - 2014 have had a recall with similar issues.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #9

Mar 262014

Altima 4-cyl

  • miles
Dear sir or madam --┐┐ my 2010 Nissan Altima suffers from the same passenger side airbag deployment issues Nissan announced today, 3/26/2014, in later models (2013-2014). This suggests that the failure of airbags to deploy on Nissan vehicles is more widespread--and covers many more years--than Nissan has stated. thank you.

- Bel Air, MD, USA

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