Troubleshooting a 2009 Nissan Altima that Won’t Start: Key Detection Issues Explained

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Are you experiencing issues with your 2009 Nissan Altima not starting and displaying the “No Key Detected” message? In this article, we will delve into the common problems causing this issue and explore potential solutions. If you’ve found yourself in this frustrating situation, follow along for step-by-step instructions on how to diagnose and resolve the problem.

Key Detection Problem Overview

Upon encountering a “No Key Detected” error message on his 2009 Nissan Altima, the author of the video began his quest to uncover the root cause. Multiple attempts were made to resolve the issue, including holding the key against the car, reprogramming the key, and even disconnecting the battery. However, these efforts proved fruitless.

Investigating the Steering Control Box

After gathering information from other videos, it was discovered that the issue could be related to the steering control box. To access this component, the author removed the panel and attempted hitting the box with a hammer to potentially reset it. Unfortunately, this method did not resolve the issue.

Tapping the Box to Start the Car

The next attempt involved tapping the steering control box with a hammer and punch from behind, without removing the cover. Surprisingly, this action successfully fixed the problem, allowing the car to start. The conclusion drawn from this experience was that the vehicle likely had a faulty interlock steering interlock, a common problem with the 2009 Nissan Altima.

Replacing the Faulty Interlock Module

To permanently address the issue, the author recommended replacing the faulty interlock module. Although the cost at a dealership is around $500, it is possible to find more affordable options on platforms like Amazon or eBay. The replacement process involves removing the panel, disconnecting wires, and using a Phillips screwdriver to remove the module. The author shared a detailed step-by-step guide on how to replace the interlock module.

Difficulties with Removing Security Bolts

During the module replacement process, the author encountered difficulties with removing the security bolts. These bolts have heads that snap off when tightened, making them challenging to remove. To overcome this obstacle, the author used a ball peen hammer and a small cold chisel to chisel away at the bottom of the module. With this method, the screw eventually loosened, allowing for successful removal.

Programming the Replacement Module

Once the faulty interlock module was replaced with a new one, the author attempted to program it using a dongle provided with the module. Unfortunately, this step did not resolve the issue, and in fact, caused the lock and unlock functions to stop working. Seeking professional assistance, an auto lock specialist was brought in to diagnose the problem further.

Seeking Professional Assistance

Despite the efforts of the auto lock specialist, he was unable to fix the issue. It was suggested that there may be a potential issue with the PCM (Powertrain Control Module). The specialist also mentioned a potential difference between the 2009 and 2010 models that could be affecting communication. Ultimately, the author decided to reinstall the original interlock module and send the vehicle to a dealer for further diagnostics.


In this article, we explored the troubleshooting process for a 2009 Nissan Altima that was displaying a “No Key Detected” message and wouldn’t start. We learned about the potential cause of this issue, the faulty interlock module, and how to replace it. Despite encountering challenges during the process, the author’s experience highlighted the importance of caution when using aftermarket modules and seeking professional help when needed. If you’re facing a similar issue, we hope this article has provided you with valuable insights and guidance.