pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
95,200 miles
Total Complaints:
9 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace the steering lock unit (5 reports)
  2. dealer fixed it at no charge (1 reports)
  3. replace brake switch and sub harness (1 reports)
  4. replaced steering lock control unit (1 reports)
  5. steering lock control unit was needed (1 reports)
2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid electrical problems

electrical problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid Owner Comments

problem #9

Dec 312017

Altima Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


electronic steering wheel lock failure Left wife stranded in 8 degree freezing weather for hours, until AAA could schedule and tow the car home. This is a common problem and Nissan knows about it. Hundreds of thousands of cars from 2009 thru 2013 have been repaired as they fail, and they have extended warranties for this particular problem.

Will not issue a recall, just repaired at dealer and hoped it would be covered. They won't cover the cost of the part ($500), and labor $400.

This poorly designed electronic module has been replaced with a new, improved unit they redesigned to fix this problem. A recall is called for.

I worked as a Manufacturing Engineer at Ford Motor Company many years ago. Poorly designed parts should be replaced for free when they fix the problem with a newly designed part.

Remember the ignition switch problem with GM that caused failures when too many keys hung on the lock? They quietly redesigned the switch and installed them on newer cars.

Nissan has done the same thing. Redesigned the anti-theft module and installed on newer modules.


- ejjoseph, Billerica, US

problem #8

Dec 102016

Altima Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

It is beyond ridiculous that this is a well-known problem that has never been made a recall.

I should not have to figure this out 7 years later when the faulty part could have been replaced/avoided.

- Adrienne H., Cincinnati, OH, US

problem #7

Dec 152016

Altima Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

This is a ridiculous problem, and Nissan has tried to skate by with an extended warranty on the ESCL which they canceled last year, and never made public when it was first put into effect. A driver could literally be stranded anywhere with no warning that the part is on its way out, which is a huge safety issue.

This part is supposed to last for the life of the car, as indicated by the fact that the mounting screws have no slots for removal, so the tech has to grind slots just to back out the screws to unmount the device. I found YouTube videos that had over 100k views showing how to access the ESCL to bypass or replace it, which indicates how widespread this problem is. Nissan should be ashamed of themselves, and the NHTSA should force them to do a recall.

- Bob O., Marlboro, MA, US

problem #6

Nov 182016

Altima Hybrid 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 134,000 miles


Drove to work everything ok. Went to go home no key detected car won't do anything except lock the doors. walked to CVS to buy a battery for the fob thinking it could be that, replaced battery no change. Go a ride home, husband came next morning to check on car, started right up for him. For the next couple days no issues. Then Thanksgiving same thing. Had car towed to repair shop. Said it was a steering lock mechanism, about $920 to repair, they put part in but my fobs need to be reprogrammed. Their equipment didn't do the trick, They called a lock smith still could program. Come to find out only Nissan can do. Call Nissan service they give quote over phone of $1600.00. So now my car is still sitting at the original repair place, I have to have towed AGAIN and have to spend double the amount of money for a problem the NISSAN is aware of and only NISSAN can repair at double the amount. Not to mention I am still without a car, I had to borrow one, and will have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to repair a car only worth $3500.00 not to mention this is not the first time this car has left me stranded due to a brake sensor that had to be changed as well. I contacted NISSAN and due to my milage and service history they are not able to offer any assistance. This is definetly the last NISSAN I will ever purchase. I am the only driver of this car, I keep it maintenanced and have had several issues with it since I purchased in 2011, basically is a hunk of junk that doesn't hold it's value. When I get enough money this close to xmas, I will get it towed to a dealer and can then post the exact amount of what the repair will cost and what they did to repair it.

- Heather R., Smyrna, TN, US

problem #5

Nov 022015

Altima Hybrid Hybrid V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

This issue pissed me off. Went to the store came home parked tried to leave the house once again and the car wouldn't start. The key lock like was on but the engine wouldn't turn over. Googled some answers and sure enough the steering lock column was the issue. The part was $700 to fix and an additional $100 for the auto repair shop to diagnose the problem. Additional cost were cabs, trains, and uber ride to and from work. This issue is ongoing and someone needs to file more complaints with Nissan as no one wants to deal with this. I was ready to torch the car altogether but just chose to get it replaced.

- Renee L., Washington, US

problem #4

Oct 112014

Altima Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I have a 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid. My car would not start numerous times, then start again and then it wouldn't restart. I had to have it towed by AAA a few times. I got stranded many times, missed work, got a rental car etc. Every time I got to my car I worried: 'Is it starting or not?' I brought it to the dealer on a few occasions and they could not figure out what the problem was and even replicate the problem.

Then one day I had to have my car towed to the dealer again and the service rep said, that their mechanic told him that he had the same problem with his Nissan Altima. He replaced the brake switch and sub harness. So, they tried the same with my car. Approx. $750 dollars later and months after the issue first occurred, the problem was finally fixed. It was not covered under any recall or warranty. I have read many posts that the 2009 models and other years have same issue.

- Katrin B., Sherman Oaks, CA, US

problem #3

Dec 312013

Altima Hybrid 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,800 miles


My Car Operated Normally In The Morning, Drove To The Store To Get A Pack Of Smokes. When I Went To Start My Car To Go To A New Year's Eve Function, The Car Would Not Start & The Intelligent Key Light Flashing & No Key Light Stays On. I'm A Mechanic & Spent Hours Trying To Figure This Problem Out. Couldn't Figure Out What Was Causing This Problem. So Of coarse I Had It Towed To My House & My New Years Day Was Wreaked. Had Someone Go Out Of There Way To Come & Pick Me For This Function.

So On New Years Day, I Got On Line & I'm Reading All These Same Problems That I'm Having. My Car Only Has 46,800 Miles On It, This Is The First & Only Problem I've Had W/ It Since I've Bought It New. Well I Could Go On & On With This, But It Sounds Like I'm Going To Need To Take It To A Dealer, Also, Even Though I'm A Mechanic, Due To The Reprogramming Of My Intelligent Keys That Needs To Be Done When This Steering Lock Assemble Is Replaced. Well Now I'm Pissed, That I Got To Spend That Kind Of Money To Fix It.

I Really Believe Nissan Should Have A Recall On This Problem, That Hundreds Of People, Like Me Are Having. I'm Sure There Would Be A Hell Of A Lot More Complaints About This Issue, If They Knew That The Dealers Are Aware Of This Big Problem. Could You Even Imagine This Happening Somewhere Where There Isn't A Phone, Like The Back Country, With Below Freezing Temperatures & No One There To Help You. I/You Would Be Left Out There Too DIE.

I Really Believe Nissan Ought To Do Something About This Before Someone Dies. BIG LAW SUIT, BUT THAT SURE WOULDN'T" Bring That Person Or Persons Back.(So I Surely Hope They Recall This Problem Before Someone Does) Now I'm Going To Being Thinking Twice About This Issue They Are Having, The Car Is Not Safe, But A Death Trap !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update from Jan 14, 2014: Well I Called The Dealer About My Starting Problem, & I Told Them What I Believed The Problem Was. The Electronic Control Unit Lock For The Steering, They Told Me That My Car Warranty Will Cover This Problem, If That Is What Is Wrong, So They Towed The Car To There Nissan Dealership In Oxnard. They Called Me Later In The Day & Told Me My Car Was Ready To Be Picked Up, I Than Asked What It Was Going To Cost & They Said Nothing. The Best New I Ever Had, They Even Took Care Of The Towing Bill, As Well As The Parts & Labor. My Total Cost Was O Dollars & They Even Washed My Car For Me. Why I Can't Understand Is Why All The Other Complaints On This Site, The Car Owner Had To Pay For There Work To Be Done, Well I'm Happy & I'll Be Checking OUT.

- jeffreybrousseau, Oxnard, CA, US

problem #2

Oct 242012

Altima Hybrid Sedan V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I think it is rediculous to have this happen with a car that was bought new off the lot for 36K. The car is only 3 years old and has been serviced only at the dealership.

- Ricardo E., Castro Valley, CA, US

problem #1

Mar 112013

Altima Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Over 132 of SAME problem found on About Automobile complaints website; 14 posts about same issue headed as "intelligent key issue: Will not Start" on Nico.Club.com Nissan/Infiniti Car Owners Forum. Numerous posts on many other Nissan and car forum websites. All found with "Nissan Altima won't start" google query. There's no denying this is a big issue and one that Nissan should honor via a recall. I've had my 2009 hybrid for 2 years (one prior owner) and was happy with it until now. Now, I don't want the car or any other Nissan. Have no desire to own a car that the dealer/manufacturer won't stand behind.

I am pursuing this with Nissan corporate and my state attorney general. If Nissan doesn't honor this issue, I will sell my car and get something else.

- eeny, Voorheesville, NY, US

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