1. Configured either as a coupe or sedan, the 2009 Nissan Altima is a sporty family car with the power, handling and style to hold its own among the competition. See Nissan Altima History Write a Review. Step 1: Rate and review this vehicle Overall rating. Reliability rating. Interior rating. Exterior rating.
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  1. 2009 Nissan Altima Specs
  2. 2009 Nissan Altima Sl
  3. Nissan Altima 2009 Problems

2009 Nissan Altima SE All Engines Sedan; 2009 Nissan Altima SL All Engines Sedan; Product Details. Recommended Use: OE Replacement Material: Steel Color/Finish: Primed Quantity Sold: Sold individually Replaces OE Number: 65100JA030-PFM Replaces Partslink Number: NI1230178 Warranty: 1-year Replacement unlimited-mileage warranty.

Safety Ratings.

NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings help consumers compare vehicle safety when searching for a car. More stars mean safer cars.

Combines Driver and Passenger star ratings into a single frontal rating. The frontal barrier test simulates a head-on collision between two similar vehicles, each moving at 35 mph.

Combines Side Barrier and Side Pole Star Ratings into a single side rating.

Combines the Side Barrier Driver and the Side Pole Star Ratings into a Front Seat rating. The Rear Seat rating is derived from the Side Barrier Rear Passenger rating. Force download steam workshop steam.

The Side Barrier test simulates an intersection collision between a standing vehicle and moving barrier at 38.5 mph.

The Side Pole Barrier test simulates a crash into a fixed object like a tree or utility pole.

The Rollover Resistance test measures the risk of rollover in a single-vehicle, loss-of-control scenario.

Safety Technologies

These features have been either verified by NHTSA or reported by the vehicle manufacturers as meeting NHTSA’s performance criteria.

Recalls & Safety Issues.

This is a record of safety issues for vehicles of this year, make, model and trim. If you are a vehicle owner, search for recalls by your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The vehicle identification number tells you if your car is affected.

Have a safety problem?

Report a problem with your vehicle, tires, car seats or other equipment. We review every problem as we work to keep our roads safe.

Every vehicle has a unique VIN. Enter a VIN to learn if a specific vehicle needs to be repaired as part of a recall.

Recall information from this VIN lookup tool is provided by the manufacturer conducting the recall. NHTSA does not record VIN information or results provided through this tool.

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  • December 20: Nissan Titan Recall Issued After 'Thermal Incident'recalls 32 days ago
  • December 11: Nissan Sentra Recall Ordered For Takata Airbag Inflatorsrecalls 41 days ago
  • November 1: Nissan AEB Malfunction Lawsuit to Continuenews 81 days ago

2009 Nissan Altima

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Nissan dealer.

CarComplaints.com Notes: You don't want to get 2009 and 2010 Altima owners started about their cars. That is, unless, you know how to start their cars.

These vehicles can suddenly become impossible to start thanks to a faulty electronic steering column lock (ESCL). Nissan dealers will gladly replace it, but that will run you $1000.

More info & videos about the Nissan ESCL defect are available over at NissanProblems.com.

It's one of the many reasons this car was named CarTalk's Turd of the Week and given our Beware of this Clunker badge. Two dubious honors.

Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
79,650 miles
Total Complaints:
19 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (14 reports)
  2. new transmission (3 reports)
  3. rebuilt transmission (2 reports)

transmission problem

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2009 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #19

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 155,002 miles

Just trying to figure out how to fix the problem. I ran fuel injector cleaner directly thru the lines, as well as in the gas tank as directed. It helped get better fuel mileage for the first 3-4 days but now it's slowly decreasing and when I begin to accelerate, reverse, take off and drive it shudders so bad it feels like it's gonna die. Once you reach around 45 mpg it's fine. Prior to this I felt like when going down highways or freeways at 55mph+ the rpms were revving up higher than they should.

- savannahdavis, Houston, US

problem #18

Altima SL V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 139,410 miles

My car was locked out for 6 months due to it being locked out from anti theft device malfunctioning. While Nissan said it would be thousands to fix my computer. My guy eventually found a way to just remove the fuse so the car thinks its always off.

So that happened and my floor below driver side feet is soaking wet when it rains, there are wet stains on my interior and my floorboard under driver side is eating a hole in it, which I assume will soon turn to rusted hole in floorboard.

Finally my service engine soon light came on and error code P1778 is the issue. Car stalls before going into gear like thinking about it, I'm terrified I will need a new transmission. Seems completely unfair

- Kelly-Anne H., Glen Burnie, MD, US

problem #17

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 218,001 miles

It is very annoying when sitting at a red light and then it turns green and it takes my car forever to take off. Then people behind me start to honk their horns. It is very embarrassing.

- Antoinice C., Clinton, MS, US

problem #16

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 150,000 miles


We were driving from Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado. We were outside of Denver going up Floyd Hill. The car was losing power going up previous hills before Floyd Hill down to 40mph. Then on Floyd Hill the car would only go 20mph. I had to get on the shoulder with cars whizzing by. The car was making a whining sound and it smelled like hot metal. I made it to the top and coasted down the hill and turned around at Clear Creek and took Highway 6 back to Golden. The transmission must have cooled off going down to Golden because I was able to drive it back to Greeley and park the Altima in the garage and put our luggage into our Honda Pilot. We went to Grand Junction using the Pilot. I will never take the Altima in the mountains again. Hopefully, I can use it for work around Greeley until I can sell it. I will never buy another NISSAN!!!!

- Allan W., Greeley, US

problem #15


  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,000 miles

I so annoyed with the fact Nissan is aware this is a safety issue and not bothering to place a Recall. How can you all sleep at night know that because of your inconsideration of safety for others, greed or being cheap you put other people lives in danger. When I travel more than 4 hours my car slows down from 75 mph to 40 and then 35 with a constant need to pull over to cool off. Not to mention the devastation of traveling at a slow speed without my intent and cars and trucks going 75 mph are coming behind me. This is horrifying.

I placed a complaint and my case manger stated because I didn't take out an extended warranty they could not help me with any compensations for service. REALLY, it is my fault. No it is yours Nissan because You Refused to put the appropriate Transmission Valve kit and cooler on these vehicles. Even the human body over heats. Shame on you Nissan. I had always bragged on Nissan cars. Not anymore. This will be my last. This is distasteful service.

- Odessa J., Stockbridge, GA, US

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problem #14

Altima 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 104,135 miles


- salsoto1, Fair Oaks, CA, US

problem #13

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 33,000 miles

Car vibrates when accelerating. Took to Nissan and they said there is no fix they can do and that it's just something I have to live with. Contacted corporate and they did nothing.

- littleshep7, Robertsdale, AL, US

problem #12

Altima LS 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 56,000 miles

As my family and I was traveling out of town, the car's acceleration appeared to decline out of no where. Even with the gas pedal pressed completely down to the floor, there was no change in speed. It made a whining noise as well. Since the first incident it has happened 8 times that I can count over the past year and a half.

I have taken it to the dealer several times and they have not been able to recreate the issue nor get a code. So my issue still exists. It only happens on long distance trips where I drive more than 40 miles or so at 75 MPH or more, usually 80MPH. The most recent incident happened this past weekend and my young daughter and I were almost killed by a tractor trailer so I once again took the car in to the Nissan Dealer and once again they could not recreate the issue.

It's pretty frustrating when you know there's an issue but you can't get a resolution. Like I would make up an issue to pay for, that's dumb! They want you to take it to an authorize Nissan Dealer but what good does that do when they can't find or fix the issue.

- Jemore M., Charlotte, NC, US

problem #11

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 45,000 miles

For a new car this should be fixed by Nissan. They should do it to be considerate

- cshilko, kansas city, MO, US

problem #10

Altima 2.5 S V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles

I bought my 2009 Altima 2 years ago with 37,000 miles on it, within a month the transmission started shuddering and hesitating as well as the loud whining noise that increases with acceleration. I bought my car used from Carmax and only had a 30 day warranty, when I took my car to Carmax they did not find a problem. I have had 2 friends with the same car have their transmissions fail in the 80,000 mile range, luckily for them they were still covered under the manufactures warranty and were able to replace their transmissions free of charge but not without headaches. I pray my transmission lasts or Nissan decides to recall them, because I bought my car through Carmax and it was considered a fleet car before I was told the manufactures warranty was void.

- Kristi S., Liberty, NC, US

problem #9

Altima SL

  • CVT transmission
  • 120,000 miles


Very disappointed in the performance of the car. Car shut down on interstate at night. Car gave no indication of shutting down. Thank goodness there was no one behind us because they would have hit us! Couldn't believe that it was the transmission. Had a Ford and had almost 300,000 miles before I started having trouble with the transmission. Will never buy another Nissan!!!!! Still have the car and thinking about trading it in.

- keyesoffaith50, Columbia, SC, US

problem #82009 Nissan Altima Is 10w30

Altima SL 2.5

  • CVT transmission
  • 52,000 miles

This is a 2009 Nissan Altima SL 2.5 with a CVT transmission. I love the car but the transmission is junk.

When you pull out in regular auto the car has a strange vibration and acts like it doesn't want to pull at all . When you do make it to 3500rpms the car finally picks up and accelerates like its supposed too. If you drive the car with the shifter on sport it acts just fine. Another issue that the car has is anytime you are driving with the auto trans on regular drive it will not pull out or climb hills. In some cases you have to put it all the way on the floor. This car only has 52k on it . While coasting on level ground the car will sometimes accelerate on its own. Well the car doesn't gain speed but the rpms increase up to around 3500 even with the braked applied. There is a strange vibration coming from the transmission until you get up over 2800rpms. I love this car but I believe that Nissan should recall the models with the CVT style transmissions.

- chitwood, Eubank, KY, US

problem #7

Altima 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

So i bought the car with only 36,000 on it and i noticed that i was bucking and very hesitant. i took it in and they said some torque bar had to be replaced. they replaced it at the dealership and wouldn't ya know i still noticed it was happening. when i went back again they had one of there mechanics take it for test drive. He said that it was normal for these transmissions to be slightly hesitant because they are set at such a low rpm and that it should only do it up to about 35 mph.. but in my car it was still doing it at 60 and up. They said even if they replace the tranny it would fix the problem and the problem could get worse. Now a year and a bit later i have started noticing the weird whining noise when accelerating almost sounds like ur car is going to explode. I have also noticed one day i was driving downhill apply the brakes slightly slowing to about 35-40 mph that my rpms had jumped to almost 3 1/2.. how the hell is the normal.. and now im hearing bout some steering lock i have a 5 yr old and am expecting a baby right now and i sure as hell don't need to get stranded for any of these situations.

Lets just say that after my loan is paid off, i will not buy another nissan and i will be trading mine. which sucks because its a nice looking car but way too many problems that i cant afford.

- phylicia, Osceola, WI, canada

problem #6


  • CVT transmission
  • 56,000 miles

I planned a weekend in the mountains with two of my co-workers. About 1/3 of the way up a steep grade, my CVT transmission would not shift and the car had NO pull at several points, I couldn't get the car to travel 15 mph. I pulled over to let the car rest. It didn't help. I inched up the mountain with little old trucks pulling trailers passing me.

I stopped at a car repair shop and the mechanic performed some diagnostics and took my car for a test drive. He confirmed that the transmission was slipping, just as I suspected. He told me to take it to a dealer. I had to leave my car in the parking lot of the car repair shop that weekend and hitch a ride to my destination (another 35 miles away). The car made it home without event.

The problem happened again less than a month later - on flat land at an INTERSECTION! The car didn't want to move despite the fact that I had the pedal to the metal. Again, the CVT wouldn't shift. I took it to a dealer to have them investigate. I paid $269 + car rental for three days for them to tell me that they couldn't re-create the problem and couldn't find the problem performing diagnostics. They even removed the oil pan to look for debris, indicating some sort of engine failure. My car left the dealer in the same condition that it was brought in with.

I contacted Nissan Consumer Affairs to ask for their help (by the way, this is not the first time I have had a problem with this vehicle-more about that later) and they told me that since the Nissan mechanics could not identify or re-create the problem, there was nothing that they could do to help me. To me, it defies logic that I would take my car to a DEALERSHIP for repairs (the most expensive ever) and leave it there for 3 days, and rent a car, if there is nothing wrong with my car!

I will be making a separate post about the steering column anti-theft device!

- Michelle N., Fresno, CA, US

problem #5

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I noticed as I am trying to accelerate, the car hesitates to get up to speed.

- alleydawg6, Paterson, NJ, US

problem #4

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 75,000 miles

The problem happens around 1200 rpms. As I am accelerating and hit 1200 rpms I hear a rattling noise coming from the front driver side area of the car.

- alleydawg6, Paterson, NJ, US

problem #3

Altima STD 4 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 62 miles

Since buying the car new my wife and I had noticed that during acceleration and thru about 50 mph the car had an annoying jerk. Although not significant, under certain conditions (road grade and car speed), it was what I would consider bad. I have brought this to the attention of my dealer but to no avail. They told me there was nothing could be done, short of replacing the transmission, as Nissan did not provide a means to make adjustments. On my last visit they did disconnected the transmission brake and asked me to see if it made a difference…it didn’t. Guess I’ll complain again at my next visit.

- geno62, Basehor, KS, US

problem #2

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 18,700 miles

I bought my Nissan thinking the company made changes to their transmission design and won't run into problems with it, but I was wrong. I bought the vehicle new August 2009. 1 1/2 yrs and 18,700 miles later I started having problems with the transmission. Sometimes the car won't move at all when I step on the gas from a stand still. All you get is a lot of shaking and grinding noises. I called the dealership to make an appointment to have it looked at and they gave me two choices: drop it off and leave it there, or wait until next week. I described the problem with the service person I spoke to. His reaction gave me the impression that he's heard of the same problem a million times before. It's too bad that the Ford Festiva and Yugo were mechanically built much better and lasted longer than my Nissan.

Update from May 25, 2012: The mechanics at a Nissan dealership I went to was very helpful and fixed the problem. They rebuilt the transmission and the car has been working like new since. I was out of a car for a few days though and didn't have a loaner car.

- rcq, Silver Spring, MD, US

problem #1

2009 Nissan Altima Specs

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 2,000 miles

2009 Nissan Altima Sl

When you accelerate, the car shudders/hesitates. Seems the problem occurs at between 1500-2500rpms. Has the feeling that there is 'bad gas'. Then when you give it more gas, it does a jackrabbit jump! Not good if in traffic or holding a cup of coffee!! I've brought it back to the dealer three times had said 1st time, it's normal, 2nd time they updated the software and 3rd time.., well I'm waiting for the response as the car is still in the shop. I'm not very pleased, I had hoped to really like the car.

Nissan Altima 2009 Problems

- grn, Deer Park, IL, US