You could find yourself with the steering wheel locked for no apparent explanation as you prepare to take the wheel of your Nissan Altima. This sometimes happens, and in most cases it is not very serious. However, be sure to follow the steps we will examine with you in order to find the option as simply and quickly as possible.
Before solving the question, we will first help remind you how the starter mechanism works.

steering-wheel-stuck-nissan-altima

How the steering wheel of my Nissan Altima works

First, the starter switch is made up of two components.

  • The cylinder of the lock in which you insert the key to turn it
  • The electronic switch behind it. It gives the electrical impulse to start your Nissan Altima’s engine as soon as you turn the key.
    When should it be changed?
    Three cases may justify the need to change the switch on your Nissan Altima:
  • The switch on your steering wheel was damaged or forced, in most cases because someone tried to steal your car.
  • The switch instantly failed and no longer functions at all.
  • The switch on your Nissan Altima shows signs of weakness, there is a small delay between the time the engine starts or you have to press the key very hard.
    Check carefully your steering wheel with your Nissan Altima’s manual to see if the switch is made of one piece or if the two elements (lock cylinder and switch) are separate. Indeed, it is possible to exchange only the out-of-service element, which is more economical. You will likely need to spend about a hundred euros if you work with a garage, between 20 and 50 € if you change it yourself.
    Now to the facts:

How do I unlock the steering wheel of my Nissan Altima?

On a car, locking the steering wheel when stationary is a basic safety feature against theft. The steering wheel can only be unlocked by inserting the matching key into the vehicle.
Insert the key into the switch. Your steering wheel has most likely been locked since the last time you removed the key from the switch.
To unlock the steering wheel, only turn the key to the right and you can start the engine of your Nissan Altima. Try without forcing, in mechanics, it is hardly ever good to force so act gently on the steering wheel and the key until you find the unlocking point.
Move the steering wheel, if your key is locked, move the steering wheel in the direction it wants to move and your key will therefore turn. Be careful, you must be more or less synchronized when you turn the steering wheel and the key of your Nissan Altima.
Do not shake the steering wheel too hard. If you force too hard, you may ruin the switch pinions, which will definitely block the steering wheel on your Nissan Altima. If this still doesn’t work, try to remove the key slightly. The idea is to find a position that would facilitate it to turn. Try one or two millimetres less depressed.
If you can start, your key is worn out. It would consequently be wise to change it quickly.
It is also possible that your switch may be gripped. In the event of a blockage, it may necessitate a little specific anti-seize agent. Send one or two splashes into the slot of your Nissan Altima’s switch and then try to insert the key again. Play it gently to apply product all over it.
Also, just check that your key is not damaged or blunt; if the teeth are no longer as they were in the beginning, they will no longer have the capacity to move the pinions of the cylinder on your Nissan Altima’s steering wheel.
If the problem originates from your key, remember to take your duplicate in order to make another duplicate and thus have two keys that are in working order for your Nissan Altima.

Conclusion :

As you have read earlier, the main reasons for a steering wheel lock are a damaged key or a jammed cylinder. In automotive mechanics, the majority of breakdowns or malfunctions are due to parts that are poorly or not taken care of. Keep them in good condition by simply cleaning them regularly and also by taking care of them to maximize their life span.

If you wish more tutorials on the Nissan Altima, go to our Nissan Altima category.