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Discussion Starter #1
Maybe someone can help. Searched the forums but haven't seen this. The ignition key is locking and you have to kind of fight with the steering wheel to get it unlocked. I got a new starter in it, left the garage just fine. My mechanic told me a new starter wouldn't lock up the ignition. But I'm curious if maybe I triggered something anti theft the next day. In the cold, my back passenger door was unlocked, but froze shut and it broke the handle off trying to open it.. I couldn't get the door to shut until I flipped a switch on that back passenger door to "lock," then it closed fine. Do you think that I could of triggered something? Maybe I should look how to reset the anti theft device. I had zero issues before this, now it fights me everytime. Thanks for any input. Really frustrating getting a starter replaced to this issue the next day!
 

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Starter has nothing to do with ignition key in lock cylinder turning hard. If you mess with steering then quit hitting curb and stopping engine, the power steering cuts off with wheels cocked and then the key WILL be hard to turn as the car weight is loaded on the lock cylinder at that time.

The door in back has nothing to do with the problem either. Separate issues all. You likely changed starter for nothing.

'My mechanic told me a new starter wouldn't lock up the ignition.'

True. What he didn't say was that the old one wouldn't either. If he thinks it will you need a new mech.

If the lock cylinder keeps acting up and front wheels are not pushed into a curb or them turned hard then cylinder is worn out and they will not turn like that. Look at your key, if the key edges are dead then the lock cylinder tumblers are too.

Talking a '17 year old vehicle now, the problems are all showing up. The key would have shown issue before by slightly dragging but if not paying attention then when it does it bad you listen THEN.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for your input. Originally, the car wouldn't start when turning the key, at that point it wasn't locking, at all. The starter was replaced, which cost me nothing because parts and labor were under warranty. The car starts now, but the next day, just driving from the mechanic is all I had been.. The ignition started locking the next day, but I can get it to turn if I work with the steering. I didn't hit any curbs or potholes driving home from the mechanic. As I said, the mechanic said the starter wouldn't cause issues with the ignition, but it did have to be replaced. The ignition issue started after the starter had been replaced. I'm not saying the 2 are connected. My mechanic said that older cars are just weird like that and things go out on them. But, it's time I think to start looking for a new car. I was hoping to get more out of my 03 Altima 3.5 because for a car so old it only has 148,000 miles
 

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It all has to do with torque on the steering when the key is turned off if only turning the steering wheel makes it turn fine.
Something is torque locking the ignition cylinder.
I had to replace my 03 starter, just clicked before.
Have to replace my 05 tomorrow,. same click issue.
Is it turning the steering wheel in the same direction every time? or does it vary?
 

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Most key cylinders have to clear a tab or groove to then turn, the tumblers are what activate the inner cylinder to barely clear that detent. If the tumblers are worn then not clearing the tab or other detent can be from the steering being torqued to load it like said. At that time a new lock cylinder will fix the issue or it won't.

I learned on Ford Focus cars which have a well-known issue with the cylinder sticking to lock that if you simply spent 1 minute with a file working the correct side of that detent tab that the locking up issue disappeared even with worn tumblers and I did it to both my cars so that they never have the locking up issue again ever. Normally that repair goes for some $600-$800. Not this boy, been driving cars like that now for years with zero problems.

'The starter was replaced, which cost me nothing because parts and labor were under warranty.'

I used to sell parts and not big on that at all. I was smothered with people who know nothing about cars and simply throw part after part at the cars because they are not smart enough to know the 3rd or 4th one is STILL not going to work. At that point you are technically stealing parts out of incompetence. One of the major reasons I quit parts, the higher ups allowed that and it throws away millions each year in potential profits they have tripped themselves up into giving away when the people working on the cars are dumb as sh-t. It affects all things in the business and vendors now sue the chains over it because 80% of all 'bad' warrantied parts have nothing wrong with them other than people kept trying one then another and another. When that particular part had nothing whatever to do with the issue.

I for one figured out my raise and promotion hinged on those numbers and quit even though they begged me to be a manager. I NEVER buy at OTC parts stores either, that same issue has parts now at around 200% what you can get them for online, and often even more.
 

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Hmmmmm.......more of same? I get clicking at starter issues from time to time but I haven't changed a starter in like 30+ years. It always proves out to be something simple and fixed in a minute or so at zero cost.

How I save literally thousands in parts. And in extra car purchases, 3 now at over 200K each. All 3 crank instantly and run fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It all has to do with torque on the steering when the key is turned off if only turning the steering wheel makes it turn fine.
Something is torque locking the ignition cylinder.
I had to replace my 03 starter, just clicked before.
Have to replace my 05 tomorrow,. same click issue.
Is it turning the steering wheel in the same direction every time? or does it vary?
I'll let you know tomorrow, I was going to try some advice on YouTube with a locking steering wheel/ ignition. I kept taking the key out, putting it back in, turning the wheel, taking it back out if I couldn't get it to turn the ignition. Seems I was doing it wrong. From what I'm seeing it's suggested to turn the key gently, then with your left hand on top of the steering wheel, turning left and then right until it unlocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Most key cylinders have to clear a tab or groove to then turn, the tumblers are what activate the inner cylinder to barely clear that detent. If the tumblers are worn then not clearing the tab or other detent can be from the steering being torqued to load it like said. At that time a new lock cylinder will fix the issue or it won't.

I learned on Ford Focus cars which have a well-known issue with the cylinder sticking to lock that if you simply spent 1 minute with a file working the correct side of that detent tab that the locking up issue disappeared even with worn tumblers and I did it to both my cars so that they never have the locking up issue again ever. Normally that repair goes for some $600-$800. Not this boy, been driving cars like that now for years with zero problems.

'The starter was replaced, which cost me nothing because parts and labor were under warranty.'

I used to sell parts and not big on that at all. I was smothered with people who know nothing about cars and simply throw part after part at the cars because they are not smart enough to know the 3rd or 4th one is STILL not going to work. At that point you are technically stealing parts out of incompetence. One of the major reasons I quit parts, the higher ups allowed that and it throws away millions each year in potential profits they have tripped themselves up into giving away when the people working on the cars are dumb as sh-t. It affects all things in the business and vendors now sue the chains over it because 80% of all 'bad' warrantied parts have nothing wrong with them other than people kept trying one then another and another. When that particular part had nothing whatever to do with the issue.

I for one figured out my raise and promotion hinged on those numbers and quit even though they begged me to be a manager. I NEVER buy at OTC parts stores either, that same issue has parts now at around 200% what you can get them for online, and often even more.
So you believe it may not have been the starter at all? I'm not really sure, all I know is that the key was turning just fine, but the car wouldn't start, there was no locking, but no start either. The starter is only a year old. They said it had to was had to be replaced, car starts now, but with the obvious locking of the steering wheel/ ignition. We have had very bad weather in Colorado, snowing every other day for almost 2 weeks, very cold weather too, they also use chemicals to de- ice roads and my car was running fine until this series of bad weather. The day my car wouldn't start I got a jump and it started, but the guy who jumped it said he saw a spark somewhere in the wiring. My car started fine going to work the next day, but going home it wouldn't start, got my battery checked, it was fine. And as I said, the starter was put in, it starts, but now with locking issues. I have a missing plastic liner over the left fender. I was told by my mechanic that shouldn't cause any issues, but could snow and water splashing up into the engine or possibly the chemicals they use to de-ice the road cause any wiring issues with the ignition, corrosion? I do know it can cause corrosion on clear coat if not washed off. It's probably not the issue, but just throwing info out there. Anyway, thanks for the info about the cylinder. I'm not sure if I should take it to my mechanic or a Nissan dealership at this point. Might just start looking for a used Toyota or Honda as my daily driver. Maybe trade in the Nissan.
 
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