Nissan Altima Intelligent Key Issues?

I went to start my car this morning to go to my parents house and the Intelligent key warning light went on and it would not start. It is a 2009 and only had 35k miles on it. I read that it may be the steering lock mechanism and I might be looking at $600 to fix if that's the case. Does anyone know of issues with this Intelligent key doing this? Is this going to happen again? I am really irritated that my car won't start because of intelligent key and thinking about getting rid of this and getting a car with a normal ignition.
Did you try to disconnect the battery for 15 minutes and retry?

What about going into other modes, like ACC and Run?

Photo related...

Like the pic.

I tried to put in other modes but it just says lock on the ignition button. Will try the battery disconnect tomorrow.

I think my basic warranty is up since I'm past the 36 month mark and didn't buy anything extended.
Well, I did some more searching on the internet tonight and found lots of complaints about the 2009 Altima Steering Lock and that appears to be my issue as well. I found a video on you tube where a guy just moved the steering wheel up, down, left, right a few times to get the car to start. So I tried that and sure enough it worked. Apparently, Nissan issued a recall for similar part on other 2009 models but not the Altima and this part costs $600-$1000 to fix. It freaks me out a little that this thing could go out at any time and leave me stranded somewhere and makes me not want to buy a Nissan again for sure.
2009 and under 60k is a warranty issue. Why are you worried about $600?
I'm not worried about it. Just irritates me to have to fix something like this if its not covered under warranty. Is this part of drive train?
Ah, prolly not. Is it 3 years 36k bumper to bumper? If there is a recall for other models for the same issue, I would talk to the service mgr and see if he can help you out. Be nice.
Yeah it is 36 months/36k miles for the bumper to bumper and I am about 6 months out of that even though I'm under the mileage. It went out on me again tonight and couldn't get started. Will be either having towed or trying again tomorrow.

Thoughts on going to independent shop vs. the dealer? Feel like I always get screwed at dealer service department.
I've had good luck at Nissan dealerships. Being only 6 months out, and it being suck at catastrophic failure, and it being a recap on other models, the service mgr can contact Nissan and take care of you. I would start there.
Well, I had it towed to an independent shop before I saw your comment Steve. Unfortunately, they were not able to read the diagnostic code. So it was towed to the Nissan dealership down the street. Was told there would be $115 charge to to the diagnostic code and they would call me. He asked a bunch of questions about the key batteries and those were just replaced so that should not be the issue. If it is the steering lock mechanism, looking at $900 and assuming that does not include the $115 charge for the diagnostic.

Is there really a chance at getting at least part of this covered by Nissan even though I am out of warranty? He made it seem like this was a rare issue but I found lots of complaints and read that the part was removed starting with the model year after mine. From what I can see, the part was recalled for other models. I will be nice, may bring my brother with me to talk to them to help keep my blood pressure down and make sure I am nice. Will be extremely angry about this if I end up $1000 plus out of pocket for what seems like a defective part, and it will be my last Nissan.
Squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Deal with the service manager and be nice. If that doesn't work, start talking to the nissan rep, not the dealership. 6 months out of warranty, and a known issue, I think if you make enough noise, the will help you out.
Nissan should take of this.

If you feel that you can not deal in a calm manner, get someone to do it for you. This requires patient, firm, calm, unyielding discussion.

I am not sure what I would recommend if this appears to become drawn out.

Prob get mean ass lawyer to negotiate for you, and he should tell them that they are responsible for his fees.

Be sure that dealership is not trying to double dip, billing you & Nissan for repairs.

I ( personally) would leave Nissan with the vehicle & keys, and ask him/her to call me when all of the problems are resolved.

Keep making payments, if you have them. Rent car for transport.

Remind them that they are responsible for ane storage fees, and rental car expense.

Dealerships seem to have lost all concept of ethics today.

I am not sure all are this way.
Well, it turns out the problem was what I expected and the steering lock was bad. The service guy called me this morning and let me know the cost would be $808 to replace the part. I also assumed the $115 charge to diagnose would be added to that. I just told the guy my concerns and he said he would see what he could do. Was actually pretty nice about it. Ended up being $281.02 which was labor only I think. I am satisfied with the result and hoping this is the only hiccup I have with this vehicle.
Just wanted to update this thread.

Nissan is extending the warranty on 2009 Altima and Maxima vehicles for the Electronic Steering Column Lock (ESCL) Unit. For affected vehicles, the warranty coverage on these components will be extended from its original duration of 36 months/36,000 miles to 72 months/unlimited miles. All other warranty terms, conditions and limitations otherwise remain unchanged and continue to apply.
So it was actually a dumb key.
4thGenAg03 needs to go ask for a refund!
From what I can see, the part was recalled for other models.

Dunno much about this from personal experience but I know the failed steering lock issue is a common problem with 370Zs.

I think the fix can be done DIY (at least in 370Zs) but if you're under warranty I can't imagine the dealer not fixing it.

[This message has been edited by madd_ag_05 (edited 4/17/2013 1:32p).]
If the dealer is not giving you acceptable service, consider the Employee Referral Process:

Call or email Nissan North America Consumer Affairs @:


If your VIN is under that warranty extension, then it should be covered by Nissan NA.
Bump for power of Texags. Saved me $800 today when I googled the issue and this thread came up.
Fully warranteed through 2015 / unlimited miles per Nissan consumer customer service.
That's good to hear! I got the letter in the mail when it came out and was able to get a check for the costs to tow my car and labor to install new part.
There needs to be a meme about this....

"stops reading texags to find out about car issue....

Google search has result/solution on Texags..."
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