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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2009-2010 Maxima has an expensive problem where the steering lock prevents the car from starting, & costs upwards of $1,000 to fix!

For more information, see this page on the Nissan Maxima Electronic Steering Column Lock (ESCL) defect.

8.9

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,030
Average Mileage:
65,000 miles
Total Complaints:
39 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace electronic steering lock (27 reports)
  2. not sure (10 reports)
  3. change the switch (1 reports)
  4. tap with hammer until it starts and remove fuse (1 reports)
2010 Nissan Maxima steering problems

steering problem

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2010 Nissan Maxima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #39

Dec 202017

Maxima SV

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

If you do not take care of it, you have to tow your car to the nearest agent.

- Amir B., Stillwater, OK, US

problem #38

Feb 052017

Maxima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,152 miles

click to see larger images

electronic steering control lock failure electronic steering control lock failure

On Sunday, 5 February 2017, I left my house to visit my brother at 10am and when I came back outside (20mins later) to my car, it would not start. An orange light that read "key" popped up on the dashboard. Tried to start the car and the key light came on, brakes were hard to press, and the ignition would not start only lock would show up on the push to start button. After two hours, I had to get the car towed to the dealership. While waiting for the tow truck to arrive, I did some searching online and found out that this was not an uncommon problem with the Nissan Maxima and not covered by any extended warranties; though I read that this problem occurred often enough with the 2009 Maxima that Nissan issued an extended warranty to cover this repair. 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. Monday, 6 February 2017, I received a call from the dealership to confirm my car issue (lock steering) and the cost was going to be $1104 to repair, with my military discount the cost was $985.46. still this is money I should not have had to pay considering that this is a manufacturer malfunction and has nothing to do with wear and tear of vehicle. Which, btw, the vehicle is in great shape and has had regular maintenance checks and all work completed by a Nissan technician which makes this even more frustrating. This complaint is to not only bring attention to the ongoing issue with the 2010 Nissan Maxima, but to also get reimbursed for my out of pocket repair. I have been a loyal Nissan customer since 2000 (this is my third maxima; favorite type of car), but I can honestly say Nissan, you're losing yet another customer…this is ridiculous.

- philipsw, Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #37

Jan 012017

Maxima

  • CVT transmission
  • 50,940 miles

I own a 2010 Nissan Maxima. On the morning of 1/1/2017, my car started without issue. However, when trying to return home my car wouldn’t start. Instead, the Intelligent Key warning light was illuminated & my steering wheel was locked. There was plenty of battery life remaining in my keyfob & I was able to lock/unlock my vehicle.

My owner’ manual only advised to contact a Nissan dealer for repair as soon as possible in this circumstance but unfortunately the Nissan service shop was closed until 1/3/17 due to the holiday. I called my husband & he ultimately had to make arrangements so he could come help troubleshoot the issue. While sitting in the vehicle with my 2 young children in 25 degree weather conditions, we researched the issue on our phones & instantly found that this (unbeknown to us) was apparently a known issue for both Altima & Maxima models.

In speaking with the Nissan service shop this morning, it will cost me $678 to order a replacement ESCL part & ~$180 labor…all for a KNOWN Nissan issue. Has anyone else encountered this same issue & come up with a solution - other than paying for Nissan's malfunctioning parts out of your own pocket?

- maitai, Hillsboro, OR, USA

problem #36

Jan 052017

Maxima 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,266 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Woke up Jan 5th 2016 to get ready for work and my car wouldn't start. I knew it couldn't been the battery nor alternator for I have had everything checked out for the winter. I notice a warning sign on the dash with a key symbol, which I've never seen before. So I began taking proper steps to get the car started by giving it a jump but no avail. Next I looked in the manual to research the warning sign and it says its a ''Nissan Intelligent Key warning light'', couldn't find any solution to my problem in the manual so I began my research. Which led me to a ugly truth about Nissan ''Steering Lock Failure / Engine wont start'' on 09 and newer model cars that are Push to Start vehicles. 09 model were recalled but not newer models, I am in a tight situation financially with a new house and new child and this happens. This issue isn't from wear and tear, its from a defect from the manufacture and they aren't doing anything to rectify it. Disgusting and will never purchase or advise anyone to purchase a Nissan again.

- Stefon I., Orange, NJ, USA

problem #35

Jul 012016

Maxima V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,879 miles

In July 2015 I purchased a one owner certified pre-owned 2010 Maxima with all service records up to date with extended warranty; thinking I was as safe as I could be. A year later on July 1, 2016 before work my 2010 Maxima with only 70,000 miles failed to start after pushing the start button. A tow truck to have my car towed to the nearest Nissan dealership. Being that it was after 6pm, the dealer would not be able to diagnose until the following morning.

Dealership called the next day to inform me that the problem was the steering lock assembly, which is not covered by the extended warranty and will cost me $925+tax!!! The car was operating just fine; no reason to think I was at risk of being stranded. According to online research, hundreds of people have experienced this issue and been stranded with their children and/or in horrible whether conditions, yet no recall.

2009 Nissan models were recalled for the same faulty part. Since the same part continued to be used on 2010 models, why was this recall not extended for 2010 models? Nissan should be held accountable for this expensive faulty part before something horrible happens to someone.

- harrelloh, Trenton, OH, USA

problem #34

Jan 182016

Maxima 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,882 miles

The ESCL went out with no warning in freezing cold temps at the gas pump. I had to have it towed to the dealership because this failure causes a complete lock down. Upon researching I found several complaints and an extended warranty for the ESCL in only 2009 year models. I made a call to Nissan consumer affairs who simply said the warranty is out and would not be covered !! This is an anti theft feature that has no warning of failure and is not part of any maintenance checks it is ridiculous that this would not have become a recalled part. Beware of this and that Nissan will not accept responsibility for this defective part.

- hollylately, Nashville, TN, US

problem #33

Jan 182016

Maxima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

-20 below wind chill and the car decides to not work while out shopping! Left my daughter and I stranded. The dealership service department states the steeling wheel lock replacement will cost $970 and that's not including labor or the overnight delivery fees to get the bolts needed for repair. Definitely not impressed.

- siegfried, Mandan, ND, USA

problem #32

Dec 082015

Maxima SV 3.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 99,000 miles

left me stranded. 45 minutes from home and 45 minutes from work. had to phone a friend to pick me up and take me to work. they also had to drive 2 hours later that day to pick me up and bring me back home. yellow key light came on two weeks ago. dealer said it was just the key in the key fob. they replaced the fob batteries. now the car wont start at all.

- Gerald M., Antioch, TN, US

problem #31

Nov 202015

Maxima LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

AFTER MAKING A QUICK STOP AT THE STORE I CAME BACK TO THE CAR AND TRIED TO START IT. WAS QUICKLY STRANDED BY A KEY LIGHT FAILURE ON MY CAR NOT ALLOWING ME TO START THE CAR. I WAITED TO HAVE MY CAR TOWED TO THE NISSAN DEALER TO HAVE THIS REPAIRED. AFTER SEARCHING ONLINE I DISCOVERED THAT I WAS NOT THE ONLY ONE HAVING THIS ISSUE. MANY NISSAN CARS BUILT IN 2009 AND 2010 ARE HAVING THIS SAME ISSUE. I THINK WITH ALL THE ISSUES NISSAN SHOULD DO A RECALL AND HAVE THIS PROBLEM FIXED SO PEOPLE ARE NOT GETTING STRANDED. THIS WOULD BE AN EASY FIX AND NOT COST US $1000 TO REPLACE THE PART.

- Andrew F., Hattiesburg, MS, USA

problem #30

Nov 052015

Maxima S 3.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 105,000 miles

I went to get in my car & nothing would work. The engine would not start or wouldn't even let u engage it in neutral.The dashboard was flashing a yellow key. I Googled tha problem & saw where hundred of other ppl had tha same problem as I did. I called the dealership & they said they had a similar problem with the 2009 Maxima & a recall was made on that model but upon giving them my vin# my car did not qualify. I feel that if Nissan knew the problem carried over to the 10' model then they should have recalled them too. I have owned 6 Nissan over tha past 8yrs & by them not taking responsibility for problem will really make me lose trust in Nissan Motor company.

- Michael R., Cherokee, AL, USA

problem #29

Oct 192015

Maxima SDN 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,384 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Steeling lock issue. Cannot start my car. had to get the car towed to the dealership and it cost me $1000 to replace lock steering. :(

Heard many people complained about the same issue for 2009/2010 model. Nissan should reimburse the cost!

- vipppchu, Glen Allen, USA

problem #28

Sep 282015

Maxima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Just the other day the Steering Lock Mechanism failed in my 2010 Nissan Maxima causing it not to start. I have since found out this is a very common problem. I am appalled to find that such a largely experienced failure of a part has not been recalled, it's not covered under warranties, and Nissan has not offered free replacement when it has failed. I just got the quote from the dealership - $925. Their suggestion - pay for the work and hope for reimbursement.

I was a fan of Nissan's, but after this lack of loyalty to a their costumers I am not so sure. Let's hope they do the right thing in the end...

- Nate O., Auburn, WA, USA

problem #27

Jul 172015

Maxima SV V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,800 miles

After work on 7/18/15, I went to my car to go home, but as I stepped on the brake and pushed the START button, I got nothing - not a peep from the engine - so I tried a few more times, but to no avail. I called AAA, thinking that my battery was dead (even though I'd just purchased a new one recently), but the jump didn't do anything to my car. I called home and had my back-up fob brought to me, thinking that perhaps the battery from my main one was dead, but the second one didn't work, either. Nor did either of them work in the port that's located in the bottom-left portion of the dashboard, so I got a ride to the local Nissan dealership where some salesmen gave me suggestions of what I should do. When I told them that I'd done everything that they mentioned, they said that all that was left to be done was to have my vehicle towed to the shop, which I did, but since it was a Friday and nearly 6:00 pm, my car wasn't going to be looked at until Monday afternoon. While waiting for the tow truck to arrive, as well as over the weekend, I did some searching online and found out that this was not an uncommon problem, not covered by any extended warranties, though I read that this problem occurred often enough with the 2009 Maxima that Nissan issued an extended warranty to cover this repair, so I don't see why this problem shouldn't also be included, as well. Nissan, you're losing yet another customer...

Update from Sep 1, 2015: The repair cost me nearly $1300 but is guaranteed for 12 months/12K miles by any Nissan dealership, so there is a bit of a silver lining...

- Jim H., BURLINGTON, WA, USA

problem #26

Dec 172014

Maxima SV

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,500 miles

I will never buy another Nissan. It is completely beyond my understanding how 2009 Maximas have a recall for the same issue but my 2010 does not. It has the same issue as the 2009 model. I had the unfortunate luck of having this issue occur after my warranty, of course. I called Nissan and they reviewed for possible assistance. When the lady told me they declined to assist, she could NOT answer my questions. I wanted to know what was done to fix the problem from the 2009 model to mine. She could not tell me if the part had been changed entirely for my year model. I had to go off her "word" that something had been done but nobody could tell me what. I find it even more ridiculous that the 2010 370z has a recall for this same part!

Nissan needs to realize that this is an issue across all of their vehicles and should not be picking and choosing which ones get a recall. If you are considering a Nissan DO NOT DO IT! This issue just goes to show what they will do to get out of admitting to faulty manufacturing that the consumer has no control over.

Update from Mar 24, 2015: I forgot to mention! I had to pay $900 out of pocket. I bought extended warranty through 100,000 miles and not even that covered the repair! Awful experience. If you have a Nissan, it will happen to you. I guarantee it.

- Oscar R., Irving, TX, USA

problem #25

Mar 292015

Maxima SV 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

MY CAR JUST TURNED 5 YEARS OLD. LOVE THE CAR BUT HAVE TO TOW THE CAR AND PAY FOR AN EXPENSIVE PART WHEN THOUSANDS OF OTHER OWNERS HAVE THE SAME ISSUE MAKES ME VERY MAD. THIS IS MY 4TH MAXIMA AND I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT NISSAN IS NOT STANDING BEHIND ITS PRODUCT. I HAVE ALWAYS PURCHASE NISSAN S FOR MY FAMILY AND WILL NEED TO RECONSIDER MOVING FORWARD.

- reidgeorgia, Peachtree City, GA, USA

problem #24

Jan 272015

Maxima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I've had my 2010 NIssan Maxima for almost 2 years and have had a few minor issues, but nothing this big. $1005 dollars to fix the f*cking wheel lock...... I so want to trade this in and just get something else right now. This is bullshit!!!! And I thought Nissan's were good cars. NOT.

- Ebony Y., Marlton, NJ, USA

problem #23

Jan 272015

Maxima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,900 miles

2010 Maxima with only 43000 miles, locked steering wheel cost $900 to have repaired.

- kjames4172, El Paso, TX, USA

problem #22

Jan 122015

Maxima 4DSC 3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,152 miles

Nissan has already acknowledged the severity of this problem for the 2009 model by extending the warranty to 72 months and unlimited mileage but refuses to do anything if you have the identical problem with the 2010 model. I spoke to Jennifer, a team leader at Nissan Canada (after having the matter escalated) and was told that for the 2010 models they used a different supplier for the part, therefore it was resolved and the extended warranty would not apply to 2010 models. However, as reported elsewhere, (e.g. YouTube, http://www.nissanproblems.com) this very same problem applies to 2010 models also!

- Brian W., Edmonton, Alberta, canada

problem #21

Dec 222014

Maxima 3.2L V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 100,100 miles

This problem makes the car un-drivable. There is a recall on the 2009 model, why on God's green earth would there not be a recall or extended warranty offered for the 2010 model. Especially since they were building in 2009! I love my Maxima, but after this experience I definitely will not be getting another one in the future. Especially since I will be in the market for 4 new cars in the next 10 years.

- Tyrone B., Killeen, TX, USA

problem #20

Nov 212014

Maxima SV 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,500 miles

My wife had started the car early in the morning to take my kids to school. Once she dropped them off she returned to the car, which unlocked fine but didn't start when the button was pressed. There was a key FOB indicator light blinking and a red indicator that says "KEY" flashing as well. Once I arrived I tried several attempts to reset the cars computer by removing the neg terminal on the battery for a different duration of time in order for the ECU to reset. This didn't work so I decided to get the car home where I can investigate the problem further.

One note here if you're in this predicament. Tow truck drivers are about as greedy as they come and will charge you extra for any additional steps other than throwing the car on the truck. In my case, the car was parked with the front of the vehicle toward a curb (the car needed to be backed out of the space in order to be towed). One inconvenience this steering lock failure causes is the vehicle is stuck in "PARK". There is a small black piece of plastic in front and slightly to the left of the shift knob. With a small flat head screwdriver, remove the piece of plastic and then press the button in the hole to place the car in "NEUTRAL" in order to back the car up. Additionally, my steering wheel didn't lock which I thought was weird but in this case was in my favor because I was able to steer the car out of the parking space and save myself what ever the truck driver would have charged to throw the car on "dollies". Just a thought in case you need to be towed and can save yourself some money doing some work.

Now, this is obviously a trend at this point. If you're experiencing this major inconvenience it's most likely due to the steering control lock. After doing some research, it is now known this part was over lubricated which causes the part to get stuck in the "locked" position. I called the local dealer and was told they sell the part for $700 and would charge $200 for installation. I also looked to see the cost of the OEM part online and it was $500. I read on a couple of forums you can give the part a couple of taps with a hammer and it would release the mechanism and allow the car to start. I thought it was worth a shot and gave it an attempt. After removing the panel under the steering wheel, the steering control lock is very accessible. I gave it several taps with a small hammer while simultaneously pressing the start button and it unlocked and the car was able to start.

If you chose to replace this component, I would assess the part be easily removed and replaced. There are YouTube videos with people giving good explanations on how to do this. If you would like the free alternative, and the route I decided to take, remove the fuse to completely disable the part altogether. There are obvious side effects to removing the fuse. The main issue being your steering wheel won't lock. This is really only an issue if parking on a hill and you need to lock the wheel toward a curb for extra precaution in case your car rolls down hill. If you're okay with this, locate the fuse box under the hood and then the fuse for the "steering control lock". I keep the fuse in the glove box in the event I need it some time down the road. DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK!!! YOU'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGES TO YOUR VEHICLE IN THE EVENT THIS CAUSES ADDITIONAL MISHAP. With that being said, I have driven the car for over a month with no issues.

- Joe T., Havelock, NC, USA

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