pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
77,156 miles
Total Complaints:
80 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. replace the steering lock control unit (35 reports)
  2. not sure (28 reports)
  3. replace the brake switch (6 reports)
  4. replace the steering lock unit (4 reports)
  5. replace the ignition interlock (3 reports)
  6. steering lock assembly replaced (3 reports)
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This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Nissan dealer.

problem #80

Aug 242015

Altima SL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,103 miles

We purchased this 2009 Nissan Altima new and have been very pleased overall with the car, but a situation just recently has made me question on ever purchasing another Nissan. A few weeks ago my wife took the car to the grocery store, but when she went to leave, the ignition was locked and the car made no attempt to start. She called me and I drove up to the store and sure enough, pushed the start button and nothing. We moved the groceries to our other vehicle and I drove us home, at which time I searched the internet to try and determine what's going on. To my amazement, I literally found hundreds of posts from other angry Nissan owners with the same problem and, with a little more research, I found Nissan had extended the warranty on this problem to 6 years (but still 6 month short for my immaculate 2009). I found several websites with recommendations on how to get the car going, which involved banging on the steering interlock, so I returned to the parking lot with a hammer and once I gained access to the module, banged on the interlock a few times and, as if by magic... it started!

I called the dealer in my area (the one we purchased it from in no longer in business) and found that this is going to cost us nearly $1,000 once we get the car to them. This is my wife's car and, under the circumstances, I have no confidence that my "repair" was going to last, so I see no other responsible option other than replacement (which needs to be done by a dealer). This is when I decided to contact Nissan customer service and I made my first call on Thursday, Aug 27th, early in the afternoon. I believe her name was Maretha and she seemed very pleasant and understanding to our situation. I explained that under the circumstances, I believe this problem should have prompted a recall because of the nature of the problem. There is no way I'm going to make my wife drive a car that randomly might leave her stranded who knows where, we were lucky this time being fairly close to home, but who knows next time. She told me that she couldn't even talk about doing anything unless we took the dealer and had them diagnose the problem. I question this strategy, because they would not promise me anything and if I do this it's a couple hours and $100 inspection more than me just taking the vehicle into have the work done. Based on our conversation, I was given the impression, if we spent this extra time and money, it would be worth it in the end, so I contacted the dealer and setup an appointment the following morning. As soon as I received the report from the dealer stating the obvious problem, I called Maretha back and she then told me she would need time to research the case and will get back to me on Monday, Aug 31st with a decision. My question back was "why does it take several days to make this decision, which leaves us without the car in the meantime. She said there was no way she could hurry the process, but promised again to contact me on Monday. At that point, I'm annoyed, but didn't see that I had any options and fully expected Nissan to work something out with us if we wait a few days.

Come Monday, no phone call? I call the number several times that she gave me but never get a call back. All of a sudden the phone rings at a little after 7 PM, but I'm in a first aid class and can't answer the phone. As soon as we have a break (about 20 minutes later), I call back, but only get voicemail again. I listen to my voicemail and it's Maretha calling to tell me that she'll call me back on Thursday? At this point I'm really starting to get angry at how we're being treated.

Tuesday morning, I call customer service back and Maretha is nowhere to be found, but I talk to another agent, who promises to have someone call me back... nothing!

Wednesday morning, I call customer service back and Maretha is nowhere to be found again, but I talk to another agent, who promises to take ownership of this problem and will have someone call me back. Wednesday evening I get a call back from someone new that said that Nissan had decided that since my car was out of warranty, there was nothing they could do. I explained my side of the situation, but they said it was cut and dried... it's not covered under my warranty. I then asked why they held me hostage (without a car) on this decision for nearly a week, if the decision was fixed based on the warranty and the process they made me go through cost us extra time and money, but they had no answer and told me I had no options appeal.

Thursday afternoon, I finally get a call back from Maretha, who repeats the decision to me and seems to have very little empathy for our situation, nor seems to want to make any effort to do anything about it. It seems the only variable in the decision was the fact that I didn't take the car back to the dealership for regular service. This car has been meticulously taken care of and looks and drives just like it came off the showroom floor, other than a failed part might leave us stranded at any time. That didn't seem to matter, nor did the fact that by following her advise this repair costs us more time and money than had we just taken it in to have fixed and not talked to Nissan. Quite a service you offer, but I guess you made a little more money for the dealer out of the deal. What a scam!

The next day I contacted the dealer in my area and they were nice enough to discount their work, which we scheduled and had done.

This is an example of terrible customer service and your poor decisions has convinced me that we will never purchase a Nissan product again and I will do everything in my power to make sure everyone hears how you treat your "valuable" customers

- , Snohomish, WA, USA

problem #79

Feb 022015

Altima Coupe 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 140,000 miles

The push button start seemed like such a great idea. Until the sensor stops working and the car won't start while you are 50 miles from home. Great, Nissan did recall the part and replace it. But I had to pay the towing and had to find my own way home for the night and then drive the 50 miles back to pick up at the dealership a week later when they finally fixed it. There should have been notification sent out about this problem so people will not be stranded.

- , Manassas, VA, USA

problem #78

Sep 212015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

yesterday, finally got to nissan appointment, i had figured it was the steering column lock, since that what most others were complaining about. turns out it was the brake sensor and harnass. Nissan's paper work stated that they "would replace brake sensor and "updated" harness . What's with the updated harnass, apparently the harnass that was installed in the 2009 was defective, so guess what.....have to have the new harnass changed out......Another defect in their car that customer has to pay to replace. Cost $558.00 My mechanic says no choice but to buy part except at nissan since any other parts, used, etc will be the old harness . Nissan selling this part for $350.00. NEVER have i had this much trouble with a car, and it not been fixed by the manufacturer. also have a recall, that i was never informed of my nissan, they tell me they need the car for an entire day, the entire exhaust system has to be changed out!

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #77

Sep 222015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

It's bullshit I've had the vehicle for 2 years now this is a serious problem it should have recall for this type of incident.

- , fort worth, TX, USA

problem #76

Jul 312015

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,500 miles

It makes you uncertain of being able to run your life unhindered.

- , Porter Ranch, CA, USA

problem #75

Sep 032015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,700 miles

The key symbol showed up on the dash. I thought it was the signal to change the battery in the remote which I did. I purchased batteries from auto zone. Symbol went away, so I thought. I went to the next store, came to start car and Nothing! Numerous tries car would not start. What the hell? The car was towed to a mechanic shop. Informed it was the steering column lock. Informed part is $650 and total cost would be close to $1,000 to repair. Called Nissan to ask is it on recall. Informed it was no recalls on my Vin #. Was not informed it could be an extended warranty issue. I researched the problem and noticed Nissan extended it to 7 years unlimited miles. I am contacting Nissan for repairs without cost.

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #74

Aug 032015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I see here this is quite the problem on this car talk to headquarters and doesn't seem like they want to help. Even though I'm not the only one having this issue! Haven't had any luck getting any kind of assistance so the cost is just over a thousand! I don't recommend the newer push to start Nissan to anyone no recall or nothing so just have an extra thousand bucks ready to put into a car that is not even ten years old. I always thought highly of Nissan but don't think I will ever purchase one again after this experience!

- , Brighton, CO, USA

problem #73

Jul 012015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

The light started appearing on the dash and before you know it didn’t start, looked it up and it shows the Anti-Lock Steering Lock control is a defect that is happening in all 2009 Nissan Altima’s. I called Avondale Nissan in Avondale, AZ and they informed me this is not a recall issue and will have to pay out of pocket.

The cost for everything came close to $1,000 its ridiculous that Nissan is not taking responsibility for a part they are surely aware is a malfunction and not recalling vehicles to get this taken care of, they said since it was not a safety issue it will not be recalled and expect their customers to dish out money for their incompetence. My next car will definitely not be a NISSAN!

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #72

Jul 072015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Steering wheel is locked, car is not reading fob key. Ignition will not start and cannot turn car on to put in neutral. Batteries in fob key were changed but made no difference. Have seen several other reports with identical complaints from other owners, Nissan has not issued a recall. This is a ridiculous issue that they have been ignoring and needs to be addressed!!!!

- , Irvine, CA, USA

problem #71

Jun 032015

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 50,000 miles

My vehicle will randomly not start. New battery and yes the battery cables are clean. I researched this issue online and viola, huge number of people have the dreaded steering wheel lock issue. Sure, Nissan extended the warranty to 6 years but with so many people having this problem, why the heck are they not recalling affected vehicles to get that $1200 part/labor replaced free of charge? It's obviously a defective part that will leave you stranded sooner or later. This has permanently ticked me off to the point where I, along with all of my family members will never buy another new Nissan again.

- , West Fargo, ND, USA

problem #70

Aug 122015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,324 miles

Plano Texas, 8/12/15 105 degrees, left the gym and my car wouldn't start!!! The brake wouldn't depress all the way and when I hit the push start button, the lights would come on, fans, dash lights would start but the engine wouldn't come on.

I called Auto nation Dallas(Formerly Bankston Nissan) 4707 Lyndon B Johnson FWY and told Matt about it, he thought it might be my battery - it wasn't. I replaced it this year and it has since been tested and found to be perfect). He asked me to bring the car in, had to call AAA to tow it in to the shop.

It took a full hour for diagnostics to be done after which he said it was the brake switch. My brakes had been just fine, also I had taken my car in for an oil change on 7/30/2015 and I had all green on my multi-point inspection. While I waited for my car's diagnostic my brother sent me a link to forums talking about the Warranty extension for the Electronic Steering Column Lock, when I asked the service guy about it, I was quickly passed on to a manager and then to Director Jeff all so they could tell me that the warranty expired 7/24/2015 and they would charge me $700 dollars if I wanted this fixed.

I did not receive a notice from Nissan and since I have been a customer at automation Nissan, they have my records and they don't show ever addressing the ESCL. They did fix the brake switch. They would not address the ESCL issue because the extension expired 20 Days ago!

- , Plano, USA

problem #69

Jul 232015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

I will never purchase another Nissan again. I was at work one day thnking I was about to jump in my car and go pick my baby up from the babysitter only to find out that my car wouldn't start. Long story short I investigated the problem and it ended up being the steering lock default bs. Called Nissan only to find out that they knew that the part was defected and it would eventually go out on all the 2009 altimas. So they extended the warranty for almost 6 yrs. My luck the warranty ran out in Oct. 2014 and my part went out Jul 2015. So NissAN TELLING me they want cover it because it happen outside the warranty. So it would have had to happen during the time of the warranty. Being that that raggedy ass part lasted a couple more months then expected they want fix it. So im stuck paying almost $1100

- , Salisbury, NC, USA

problem #68

Apr 152015

Altima EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

I'm trying to leave work at the end of the day and my car won't start out of the blue. The key light is blinking, but won't start, on a fairly new vehicle.

- , East Haven, CT, USA

problem #67

Mar 142015

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,036 miles

I had called Nissan USA asking about concerns regarding this problem, knowing this has been an issue. They had extended coverage on this part for 6 years unlimited mileage knowing full well it was a defective part and a flawed design. I have two concerns first the admitting of the company there is a a defective or flawed design on the car and they were extending coverage on the defective part.

I had purchased an extended warranty from Nissan when purchasing the vehicle which is still in time wise but out due to mileage, apparently the $1500.00 spent on that policy has no bearing except on their pockets, and no relation to the unlimited mileage they are offering in the extended warranty they are offering.

With the major car company goals of meeting or exceeding customers expectations Nissan falls far short of that goal in this area.

- , Landisville, PA, USA

problem #66

Mar 042015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

Driving my 2009 Altima all day yesterday with no problem... Came out of salon appointment with my wife, who is wheelchair bound.. went to start the car and nothing happens! The key light is flashing, which I later find out is a known problem with the steering lock system going bad.

I bought the car used from Nissan in 2011... apparently the warranty expired on 03/03/2015.. The steering column lock issue happens to me on 03/04/2015!!

I have the car towed to the dealer.. I leave the car and I am informed less then 30 minutes later that the problem is the steering column lock issue and it will cost me $960 to repair... Get a call 2 hours later that the car is all done and ready.

I called in to Nissan to complain about this while I am waiting for dealership to do the repair.. At this point I am waiting for them to call me back before I have to go pickup the car. I am going to jump up and down to get them to cover this under warranty since it happened less then 24 hours after the 6 year/999,999 mile warranty on this problem expired... I certainly hope they do the right thing!!!!!!!

- , Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #65

Mar 052015

Altima ES 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,231 miles

I called Nissan Head Quarters 800-NISSAN1, they opened a case to help resolve the issue. Our vehicle is currently with Riverside Nissan. Looking forward to getting this issue resolved with the assistance of Nissan.

- , Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #64

Jan 242015

Altima SE 3.0L

  • CVT transmission
  • 154,000 miles

This car is a piece of crap. I had to take my car in for another issue and after only 2 weeks of it being out of the shop, I go out to get in my car and it won't start. The key icon is flashing on the dash, so I changed out the battery in my fob, no luck. I tried to start the car by inserting the fob into the manual override, nothing.

I do not have any extra money to spend in this car and have to wonder if the issue had anything to do with the dealer having to tear apart my transmission 2 weeks earlier. I had contacted Consumer Affairs 2 weeks prior in regards to another issue with the car and was told that "it's out of warranty, nothing we can do." Stuck with this piece of crap and can't even drive it. Sitting in my driveway rotting as I do not have any more money to fix it.

- , Culpeper, VA, USA

problem #63

Jan 182015

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 155,000 miles

1) When my car did not start I was in another state 100's of miles from home. I attempted to replace the battery in the key but that did not solve the issue. I waited it out, which took about 30 minutes, sometimes longer. 2) This is not my first experience of this issue. I had it towed into a dealer over a year ago and was told the part was recalled and they replaced. This helped for about 1 1/2 years. 3) After the first few times it started to happen on a regular basis. I replaced the key, it did not happen again for over a year. 4) Removing the battery cables to reboot the car helped for a few months. 5) Now my current issue is while driving down the road all of a sudden my car does not recognize my key. It's been scary driving on an interstate and my car acts like I have stolen it. Headlights flash, the air or heat stops, no wipers, no radio.... 6) This is happening more often while I am driving. It has happened three times in the last week. Twice while I was on my way to work in the rain. The wipers stopped, even putting the key into the dash does not have an effect on the outcome. 7) I have just looked up recalls and of course there are none. 8) I planned on giving it to my daughter for her sixteenth birthday. I am thinking it's time replace the car and go upside down on another.

- , Smyrna, TN, USA

problem #62

Mar 052015

Altima SL 2.5L I4

  • CVT transmission
  • 38,400 miles

I got stuck with the car when the engine couldn't start because of this Steering Lock Failure. The car is just 38400 miles and the part failed! It was due to a manufacturing irregularity problem, which should be recalled.

Now because it is just several months out of warranty, I have to pay $1200 to fix it ! Plus the tow! And the pain to get stranded at freezing cold weather!

- , Latham, NY, USA

problem #61

Mar 022015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

2009 Nissan Altima just decided to flash the key light on Saturday and stopped working on Sunday. Never had a problem with the ignition or key before this time. Car would not start, steering wheel was locked in position tightly. Entered the manual key into the ignition to put in Nuetral and the lights and radio started to work. This should have been a recall since my car is 5 years old with only 55k miles on it and has never really been driven but to work and back. Nissan stated that there was a way to fix this if it was within the warranty which is a bunch of B.S...due to it happening right after my warranty expired!! The only thing to do by your customers is to be fair due to you knowing about this problem and not having a full recall on this item. I wonder what else don't we know about our Nissan's!!! Seriously in debate of buying another Nissan EVER!

- , Tulsa, OK, USA

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