Notes: We don't recommend the 2009 Maxima nearly as highly as the 2007-2008 Maxima, because NHTSA complaints show a pattern of the steering lock module failing.

When the module fails it prevents the car from starting, & Nissan dealers charge over $1,000 (!!) to repair it. Nissan recalled the module on some other 2009 models with the same steering lock problem, but for some reason they left out the 2009 Maxima.

If you're thinking about buying a 2009 Maxima, instead consider a 2007-2008, or 2010 (or newer).


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,469 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.

2009 Nissan Maxima steering problems

steering problem

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2009 Nissan Maxima Owner Comments (Page 7 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #22

Dec 122012


  • 39,000 miles


The steering wheel lock issue is leaving Maximas stranded unable to start the car with these symptoms. What happens is when you try to start the car, without warning, the electric lock fails to unlock sending error message to the BCM. The car will not start in this case and will flash the intelligent key warning in the cluster. This is a known common problem with this model and a $1000 repair. It is obviously a design flaw. This should be a recall.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #21

Nov 252012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
I bought a 2009 brand new Nissan Maxima so I wouldn't have car issues for at least 4 or 5 yrs. 3 1/2 years later my stupid car left me stranded. I was dropping off movies (in & out) middle of the day with all my windows down when all of a sudden it wouldn't start. I noticed a yellow key light /symbol was on (left side) at first didn't worry called aaa they tried everything the manual said to do. With no luck called Nissan they said it sounds like its not recognizing the key and I had to tow it over. Now dealer says it has a internal failure in the steering lock assembly needs to be replaced. (fault code B2612) totaling $800 w/ labor. I declined service and to top it off my windows are stuck. (down) I'm mad/pist/frustrated don't think its fair that I have to pay $800 to start my car 3 1/2 year old car. Came home to get other quotes and complaints hoping someone else can help me. I found out I'm not the only one with this problem there's alot of Maxima owners with the exact same issue. My mileage was getting close to 30,000 and that's when this problem seems to happen. Nissan is eliminating steering lock 2010 models. Im very disappointed with Nissan thinking of trading in car don't want to deal with these kind of issues again. Someone please help!! not fair!!

- Costa Mesa , CA, USA

problem #20

Sep 202012


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Maxima. The contact started the ignition, and noticed that the automatic tilt steering wheel locked in the lowest downward position and would not maneuver out of the adjusted setting after several attempts. The steering wheel malfunction caused difficulty whenever driving. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the defective steering wheel tilt motor. The approximate failure mileage was 61,000.

- Oxford, MS, USA

problem #19

Oct 082012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 48,200 miles


Power tilt started moving and grinding on it own and stopped when the gears stripped out in the down position. The tilt motor has failed.

- Colonial Heights, VA, USA

problem #18

Jun 182012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 24,577 miles
We bought our Maxima brandnew in July of 2009. Loved everything about until this past June of 2012. Our first problem was some clitching electrical wiring. The outside mirrors wouldn't move up and down when we put the car in reverse. This would happen off and on while we took our trip out of town in June. After we came back my husband made a appointment to get it checked out, but because the outside mirrors were working again we just let it be and didn't follow up with the Nissan service department. In July of 2012 I was sitting in my parked car when I was ready to leave, I started my car only to hear this awful sort of grinding noise. I had a tow company come to tell that my battery was "dead". which I was surprised, because my car is just 3 years old and I only had 24577 miles on it. The towing company charged my battery for me to make it across the street to autozone, where I got a new battery. I remember the last time when I brought in the car for service, the lady was telling me that I needed to drive my car more often due to the battery being "low". which I thought was strange, I mean how inconvenient is that to have to drive you're car every day, because if you don't the battery just "dies" on you"! my last incident with my car happened this past Monday 09/17/2012 when I turn my car off, suddenly I hear again this awful grinding noise coming from the panel. Come to find out after I called the Nissan dealer that it was the steering column and that the motor need to be replaced and this is happening 2 months after my warranty ran out! I called Nissan dealer, they told me to bring it in. Seeing my car is 3 years me it should be a recall factory issue! and I shouldn't have to pay for it! they say this is a common problem" I don't think so! Nissan need to make this steering column a recall issue! because it is a dangerous defect.

- Lorton, VA, USA

problem #17

Sep 142012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 44,350 miles
The vehicle wouldn't start. 3 days later we found out that the vehicle is not starting because of the steering lock control unit. Dealer continues to argue that this part is not covered under the warranty. Based upon information found on the internet this is a frequent issue with the Nissan murano, Altima, and Maxima.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #16

Aug 102012


  • 46,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Maxima. While parked, the contact attempted to adjust the steering wheel and was unable to because the steering column remained locked. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing where the technician advised that the motors in the steering column would have to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 46,000.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #15

Aug 172012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
We noticed a strange noise when we started our 2009 Nissan Maxima and realized it was the steering column making the noise and that it was having trouble going up and down. It would just keep trying to move until you hit the button on the side of the steering column. (the button where you adjust how you want your steering wheel.) within that day, the steering column tilt quit working. When we brought it in to the dealership we were told that the steering wheel tilt motor needed to be replaced. I was told that there are no recalls issued on this and we are out of warranty. The dealership said the only thing we can do is call Nissan and see if they will pay or split the cost of this repair as I pointed out that there seems to be numerous occurrences of this type of steering column failure. At this point I have called Nissan and have been issued a case number. We have paid for the repairs but are hopeful that Nissan accept at least partial responsibility and refund us some of the repairs...

- Chaska, MN, USA

problem #14

Aug 052012


  • 33,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph the steering column failed, causing the contact to lose control of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis. The contact was informed that the telescopic motor would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified, but offered little assistance. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 33,000.

- Temple Hills, MD, USA

problem #13

Jul 142012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 33,500 miles
After starting my car I heard a loud grinding/whining noise coming from the steering wheel. The automatic tilt/telescopic steering wheel was stuck in the up position and failed to lower to the memory set position. The loud and distracting noise would happen every time I started the car and only stopped after manually trying to adjust the steering wheel, which did not work. The steering wheel is stuck in a position that so that I cannot see the gauges or speedometer properly which is dangerous when driving. After doing some research I have found this to be a common problem and Nissan should issue a recall to fix this dangerous defect.

- Centereach, NY, USA

problem #12

Jul 072012


  • 36,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that upon entering the vehicle, the steering wheel was in a locked position and would not unlock. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a diagnosis. The dealer stated that they needed to replace the gear box motor. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 36,000 and the current mileage was 47,000.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #11

Jun 222012


  • 45,000 miles
The automatic tilt steering wheel motor made a grinding noise then failed to move the wheel. This model has an automatic entry/exit system that moves the wheel up and down every time you enter/exit the vehicle. The tilt mechanism attempts to lower the wheel whenever I start the car. This has put the steering wheel in a position that is extremely low and will not raise. This has made steering difficult and blocks the view of the instrument panel.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #10

Jun 182012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
Steering wheel tilt motor grinds and remains in the down position. Understand special bulletin ntb09-094 is posted. The car is precariously challenging to drive with the steering wheel in this position which also makes it dangerous to see the dashboard with the wheel in the way. Too many complains on this problem. Nissan should issue a recall on the telescopic motors in this car asap.

- Taunton, MA, USA

problem #9

Apr 252012


  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that the steering seized without warning. The failure occurred while driving 35 mph. The steering wheel was difficult to turn. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and the contact was informed that the rack and pinion failred. The rack and pinion was replaced. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 35,000 and the current mileage was not available.

- Hillsborough , NJ, USA

problem #8

Apr 102012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 32,200 miles
Please investigate the occurrence rate of my complaint!!! the automatic tilt steering motor became inoperable and locked in the lowest down position upon starting the ignition. The car is uncomfortable to drive when the steering wheel is in the lowest position even when the automatic seat adjustments are set to the lowest position. I do not have full view of the dashboard instruments. Nissan has a tsb (technical service bulletin) on the issue and the dealer tells me it is something they are seeing more and more in the Maxima and murano models. My Maxima is just 29 days past the warranty expiration date. Nissan must recall vehicle model year 2009 (Nissan Maxima) to repair the tilt steering motor at their cost. The repair costs to the consumer is over $600. I believe it is a safety issue and could result in improper steering by the driver resulting in an accident/injury/death. Thank you

- Fort Collins, CO, USA

problem #7

Mar 252012

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 16,123 miles
My family and I were driving South bound on the New Jersey turnpike at 75 mph and the car shutdown, it would not accelerate and lost power. Luckily we were in the right lane and I acted quickly to turn on the hazards and get off the highway on to the shoulder to avoid a serious accident. This car only has ~16000 miles as well as all of its scheduled maintenance is up to date. After getting it towed to the Nissan dealership they informed us that it was a problem with the mass air flow sensor and that even though the car was within the warranty period the warranty would not cover it as they found a leaf in the sensor. We have no way to verify that there was a leaf in the sensor and the car is kept in a garage and/or driveway nowhere near a tree. We wanted to report this incident so that if more incidents like this occur maybe a recall is warranted as Nissan's engineering of the vehicles could be at fault. How could a leaf in get in there" if a leaf does get in why would that corrode the part"

- Havertown, PA, USA

problem #6

Dec 212011


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that after refueling, the vehicle would not start. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer and the contact was informed that the steering lock unit needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired because the necessary parts were on back order. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the parts would become available in a few weeks. The failure and the current mileages were 40,000.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #5

Jul 032011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
Tilt steering wheel locked in the extreme up position when drivers door was opened at approx 2 years/52,000 miles. Tilt steering wheel could not be lowered until disassembled by the dealer. Driver visibility was seriously obstructed, especially for shorter drivers. Potential air bag effectiveness was also seriously degraded. Nissan identified the problem is with the steering column adjustment motors (tilt or telescope) in service bulletin ntb09094. However, Nissan has not issued a recall and refused to reimburse this first-time Nissan owner for this safety defect. There is no certainty of whether replacement Nissan steering column adjustment motors do not have the same underlying design defect and will not fail shortly after installation. The telescope adjustment motor failed at approx 1 year/38,000 miles. Total replacement cost for parts and labor for both adjustment motors was approximately $400+. I request Nissan and NHTSA issue a recall for this serious safety defect.

- Crestview, FL, USA

problem #4

Aug 152011

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 22,500 miles
The steering wheel tilt and telescope motor stop working. I took it to the Nissan dealership to have repaired under warranty. Only to be told that I was one month out of factory warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles. The service advisor showed me that it was a bulletin dated in 2009, at the dealership service department showing there was an issue with the tilt and telescope motor. I'm out of warranty so I have to pay out almost 1,500 dollars to get it repaired. Its not fair to consumers when paying almost 40,000 dollars for a vehicle that has issues. It's not fair when the dealerships are aware of problems and not informing the owners until it's discovered after the warranty has expired. There should have been a recall on this vehicle or at least notified the owner to have done at their leisure.

- Windsor Mill, MD, USA

problem #3

Aug 152010


  • 82,000 miles
The collar will move up and down slow... report the motor is bad.

- Flora, MS, USA

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