Notes: The 2010 Nissan Maxima is a very good reliable vehicle. Beware of Maximas from 2009, and 2004-2006 though.

The 2009 Maxima has an expensive problem where the steering lock prevents the car from starting, & costs upwards of $1,000 to fix!

Nissan Maximas from 2004-2006 have a widespread transmission defect, but judging from our complaint data, Nissan fixed the transmission problem starting with the 2007 model.

For the 2010 Maxima, so far so good!


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,302 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 Maxima electrical problems

electrical problem

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2010 Nissan Maxima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #74

Dec 242016


  • 66,000 miles


Vehicle won't start at times. Has stranded my wife multiple times. Each time required a jump. Thought was battery, so replaced. Continued to fail. This last time wife tried to turn wheel a bit while locked and vehicle was able to be started again, she avoided being stranded once again. Known issue with Nissan.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #73

Dec 082016


  • 85,000 miles
Attempting to leave after work, my car would not start. I noticed that there was a flashing yellow light and I plugged that into google. It appeared that it was the steering lock control mechanism and it was common for this to fail. I had to get my car towed from work to the nearest dealership where the charge was $900 for the part and $250 for the service. Doing research, I noticed that this part was recalled for 2009 Altima. I bought my car in 2009, but it was a 2010 model, so it is my assumption that this was made with these 2009 parts. This part is vital apparently, as it causes all of the electrical components with the starter to disable. I feel fortunate that I was not traveling as I would have been stranded. It feels that Nissan is aware of this issue, however, they are not fixing it and charging a large amount of money for the part alone. This is extremely unsafe for users of Nissan's to not be aware of this issue and not have this part fixed immediately. Nissan should do their part and offer a replacement for free so individuals have faith in using their services again.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #72

Nov 262016


  • 100,000 miles
Got in car leaving from gym the steering wheel was locked could not move it. Called dealer who told me to hold key fob over car ignition did not resolve situation. I had to have it towed. I got on line to research about this locking mechanism and have discovered that this is a known issue with millions of consumer complaints to this very issue this is a known issue with millions of complaints being filed against Nissan for this situation. Apparently there should have been a recall on this internal steering wheel lock mechanism however Nissan has passed the cost of the faulty component onto the unexpecting consumer. This cost me $1000. Shame on you Nissan. Thank god I was not in motion.

- New Castle, DE, USA

problem #71

Aug 112016


  • 60,000 miles


I was on the highway headed to nashville, Tennessee. I had beem driving aproximately 45 minutes when my gas pedal stop working on me. The car started slowing down and I start pulling over to get outbof other cars ways. The breaks were still working but the gas was not working. I turned the car on and off and still no gas but alll of the sudden all the lights came on so I had no choice but to call my insurance for roadside assistance. I have never had or heard of an issue like this.

- Ft Campbell, KY, USA

problem #70

Feb 192016


  • 64,247 miles
Parked vehicle would not recognize energized fob start signal, requiring tow to dealership, replacement of steering lock assembly (parts cost $744.68). At 64,247 mi (out of warrantee), issue is of design without emergency mechanical starting procedure, extreme cost of replacement, unforeseen failure not due to operator.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #69

Jan 262016


  • miles
Key lock will not allow car to start or turn ignition.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #68

Jan 032016


  • 40,000 miles


The contact owns a 2010 Nissan Maxima. While parked, the vehicle would not start after repeated attempts. The contact stated that there was a key with a lock warning symbol illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering lock module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,000.

- Hyattsville, MD, USA

problem #67

Nov 032015


  • 68,431 miles
Unexpectedly the 2010 Nissan Maxima wouldn't start. I then check this website, and find a ton of complaints about the same issue! the electronic steering lock control! I don't understand how Nissan isn't held responsible for this faulty part. I paid almost $40,000 for a car that won't start. This can happen without any warning. My issue occured with my 4 month old son in the vehicle while everyone else I knew was at work. This is completely unacceptable! this same part number was recalled in previous years for the Maxima! the vehicle was stationary after stopping at the bank to make a deposit. Will someone please hold Nissan responsible for this ongoing issue!

- Drexel Hill, PA, USA

problem #66

Dec 142015


  • 80,000 miles
Unexpectedly, after driving one kid to school this morning, vehicle (stationary) would not start to drive my other kid to middle school. The electronic steering column lock (escl) unit that locks the steering wheel when the vehicle is parked and the ignition is turned off to help prevent theft prevents the vehicle from recognizing my key (fob), no regular key is issued, just button start. In my vehicle the escl may malfunction after the vehicle is locked and could prevent the engine from starting. Still waiting to hear the dreadful call from the dealer (have to be towed and I am not even done making payments for my 2010 Maxima) to see what the damage will be or if covered under an extended warranty. Not because the vehicle is in park, means it is not a safety issue. If you are stranded with a non reliable car, it is a safety issue, it can be in the middle of the mountains or the middle of a desert, no way to start a car if no mechanic key is issued and the only option, the fob, is not recognized by your own car.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #65

Dec 092015


  • 78,000 miles
Steering wheel lock system works with fab turning on vehicle disengaged and the wiring was determined to be the culprit and without the repair of $950 the car will not turn on. The vehicle was running just fine 1 hour prior to locking me out and causing many of hours with aaa diagnostics, then towing to 2 separate locations and I asked the dealer if this is a routine issue it seems extreme and a manufacturing defect that could have caused serious injury or death resulting if it happened when on the road and not in my garage to quote their response was no it wouldn't of done it while driving but it could of deserted you in a location other than your home causing you even further inconvenience. The vehicle is only 5 years old, I maintain it by operators manual, I cannot explain how upsetting it is to have a vehicle with the "auto theft" selling point be a faulty manufacturing of the ability for owners to start their vehicle. The random stop working is very concerning because the steering wheel cannot move. Its definitely a vehicle that should be recalled for this situation.

- Cranston, RI, USA

problem #64

Dec 012015


  • 85,880 miles


I drove to a friends was out of the vehicle about one hour.the vehicle was parked still. I returned to the vehicle and it wouldn't start. I call roadside assistance and got a tow to Nissan dealer. I was told I had to pay $115 diagnostic fee. Then they told me that it was my steering lock unit and it would cost me $1109.09.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #63

Nov 292015


  • miles
Tried turning on my vehicle and the steering wheel was locked. Cannot start my vehicle, the brake is not working and the steering wheel is locked.

- Hidalgo, TX, USA

problem #62

Nov 072015


  • 63,000 miles
I went to start my vehicle and an orange light that read "key" popped up on the dashboard. On my ignition button the "lock" word was luminated. My vehicle would not start, nor turn on electrical systems. I was stranded from picking up my daughter, which caused chaos and unnecessary obstacles that could have been a safety issue. My vehicle was in the off position, parked after only 2 hours after last use. Schools can call child protective services if you do not pick up your kid by a certain time. That proves that if I didn't find a way to get my daughter picked up in a timely manner she would've been in danger. Thank god I was in front of my home when this happened because I could've been in a hostile neighborhood, in the cold, with no heat. The piece in question that was the problem... quoted by Nissan is the "steering lock." This piece has been recalled by Nissan in the earlier models, but apparently not for my vehicle. (which is the year after the one that is recalled) apparently they didn't fix this issue. What if I was someone who needed to be home to take medicine at a certain time, or I didn't have a phone to tell the school where my daughter is waiting for me the issue, or my wife was in labor? this piece is an unnecessary hazard and needs to be fixed.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #61

Oct 142015


  • 83,000 miles
My 2010 Nissan Maxima experienced the steering lock failure and could not start the car. This, as I have been reading, is common and it's going to cost over $700 to fix. This is bs Nissan!

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #60

Jun 012015


  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Nissan Maxima. The contact stated that the vehicle's push to start feature would not start the vehicle until after several attempts. The key warning symbol illuminated on the instrument panel. The failure recurred on three other occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 65,000.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #59

Jun 062015


  • 32,500 miles
When I tried to start the vehicle, it was unresponsive and the anit-theft button was illuminated on the instrument panel, though there was nothing that should have prompted this (I was doing yard and no one was near vehicle). The brake pedal was stiff and the wheel was not movable. Neither the actual key or the smart key fob would start the vehicle. I attempted to reset the smart key fob as per the owner's manual (see anit-theft section) numerous times and it did not work. Ultimately, the vehicle's battery died that night (unsure if there was a drain coming from somewhere as a result of this anti-theft light) and aaa came to jump start it the following morning. After jumping the car the tech ran a diagnostic on the battery and alternator which both came back acceptable (though the voltage was obviously low in the battery - just needed to be driven and recharged). The fact that I had my key and was unable to start my vehicle while following the guidance of my owner's manual was disconcerting and concerning. I have a wife and 2 young daughters and we are a one car family. Had there been an emergency, this could be a serious issue. This is my first day on the NHTSA site and after researching similar year Maxima's, the problem seems widespread and there is seemingly no action being taken by either NHTSA or Nissan. Please advise on reasoning as to why, with numerous complaints across a number of model years and models, there has not been any action by NHTSA and/or Nissan. Thanks very much.

- Quincy, MA, USA

problem #58

Apr 182015

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
I arrive home at approximately 3:00 pm (pacific) and park my vehicle (I dont move it at all). At approximately 4:00 am (pacific) about 13 hours later... the vehicle is completely engulfed in flames!! the fire dept. Says it could be - it is more than likely an electrical fire.

- Paramount, CA, USA

problem #57

Mar 062015

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
I have 2010 Maxima and it has been working great. This morning, I started the car to warm it up for my daughter and turn it off for about 10min. When she was ready to leave, the car would not start. Car has power and door locks work fine locking and unlocking but nothing happens when you push button to start the car. Looks like many complaints about the same problem that is related to steering being locked and there is no way to unlock it. 2009 Maximas had the same problem and Nissan did a recall to fix it but nothing on 2010... why "?" this is a safety concern and needs attention asap.

- Richardson, TX, USA

problem #56

Mar 022015

Maxima 6-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
My 2010 Nissan Maxima would not start after it was driven to work. The dash light flashed a yellow key, the brake peddle was hard, and the push button was locked. The vehicle was towed to a local dealership where they confirmed the problem was with the electronic steering lock.

- Rockton, IL, USA

problem #55

Feb 282015


  • 62,000 miles
Got into my vehicle to leave for work, brake was hard to push, steering wheel locked in position that it was in, push button start would not work. Tried both keyfobs with no change in status. Light on the dash that I hadn't seen before (a key with a rectangular box around it) changed batteries in both fobs with still no change. Was late for work and had to have my vehicle towed out of my own garage. After researching found that the steering wheel lock would not disengage, which in turn triggered the anti-theft security system and my car would not recognize my own keyfobs. There's no other way to start the vehicle, no general override switch or button of any kind. I had a vehicle that I could not use.

- Osceola , IN, USA

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