Simple key replacement at the dealership failed. Couldn't program key- still not running



So you think I can at least use the key they already cut for me?


Perhaps I am the only one that has had a computer become locked or corrupt during a routine procedure. A replacement ECU should have solved the problem so this may be difficult to resolve. Have the old ECU put back in and another shop look at it, sometimes a fresh set of eyes is needed.

Did you use jumper cables on this car after it failed to start?


Sure didn’t. Knew right away it was the NATS once I realized I’m an idiot who drilled a hole in my key.


I once had a customer ask for a key to be replaced. I didn’t think this made sense, the transponder keys don’t fail normally the receivers are usually the problem. The customer came out to the shop and told me that he was a dentist and X-rayed the key to demonstrate the the equipment and the key wouldn’t work anymore.


Oh bull@#$#@. Any time your mechanic starts giving you sci-fi explanations, you know he’s in way over his head.

“Then perhaps you should fire him and hire someone who knows what he’s doing?”

These guys are frighteningly incompetent. I’d be on the horn to Nissan corporate, and if I paid with a credit card I’d be talking to the CC company and asking for a chargeback if the dealership doesn’t refund your money. I might even call up the local TV stations, because they eat crap like this up and if you have this problem, lots of other people will too.

The thing is that car computers do not run Windows. They’re tested much more carefully than a home PC, and the ECU in any given car of the same year-make-model is the same hardware as the other cars of the same year-make-model, whereas your Windows PC has hundreds of thousands of possible configurations, the majority of which involve hardware that didn’t exist when the OS was released. I have seen a car computer crash during a routine procedure once, but that was on a BMW, and it’s because they couldn’t be bothered to include error routines because BMW engineers can’t fathom the idea that someone might connect a bluetooth phone that wasn’t on their list of approved phones. Non-German car companies don’t tend to have that kind of blindness. And at any rate, the idea that drilling a hole in a key fob will send out an EMP (because that’s the only way to fry the ECU from a distance) without frying every other circuit board in the general vicinity is ludicrous on a number of levels.


I just got off the phone with the tech who was working on my car and wanted to update ya’ll to see if there was any help.

Reminder, this all started when I (stupidly) drilled a hole in my key, stuck it in the ignition, and tried and failed to start it. It would crank but not start. It was running fine prior to this, the only issues were the oxygen sensor and the air running on max at all times.

  • Just to clarify, they were able to hook everything up properly to begin to program the key to the car. The ECM, BCM, NATS antenna, everything- all fine.
  • The main problem, as he put it, was that they could not get the key to respond. They tried multiple keys and none worked.
  • Several months ago they had an 07 Altima in the shop that acted up similarly, and they could not figure it out. They thought perhaps there was a power surge, but there was no evidence of that in mine…
  • They used a system called Consult, not a tool like the CK100 or anything of that nature.
  • He claims they did call the tech line and there was nothing on the books about it. They also had their ‘shop foreman’ working on it and throwing parts at it.
  • He says the only other thing it could possibly be is the entire electrical harness which is a 2000 dollar part and ‘man to man, don’t waste your money’.
  • I’m being charged 485 dollars after tax for the key being cut and programmed and 4 hours of labor.


That’s the official Nissan scan tool

Sounds like the mechanic working on the car was stumped

Throwing parts at a vehicle is usually a sign that you’re lost

I think you should get your car towed out of there and to another shop. What you’re being charged would reflect 4 hours of labor + the key, seeing as how the labor rate is probably about $100/hr.


So, they have this happen before and couldn’t figure it out and now they are at it again.
I think I would talk to another Nissan dealership and see if I can tow my car there. Also, I would not have paid anything unless they actually fixed the problem.


Yeah, I talked to a guy on a different site that says up and down that Consult is the problem. He says a CK100 programming tool would work if I can find an automotive locksmith that has one.


Concur, to have much of a chance of getting it fixed you’re going to have to use a shop w/more experience in “bad key” problems. Depending on how the security system configuration of that key works, it’s possible drilling it could have shorted out traces on its internal circuit board that damaged something in the car’s electronics. That assumes there are electrical contacts on the key that connect with the car’s electrical system. Or the key somehow affects the ignition switch hard wiring connections.

If the only thing the key does besides turning the ignition switch is communicate with the car via an rf signal sending data bits back and forth between the car and they, unlikely that would damage the car’s electronics or wiring. But it could put some the modules-- including the ecm and bcm – in some ill-defined state I suppose. To fix that they’d have to do a hard reset on the all the modules in the car, and return the modules to the way they were on day 1. Doing that may not be so easy, if powering off doesn’t always effect a hard reset. It’s always a good design principle when making electronics gadgets having re-configurable memories to provide a simple method to return to the factory configuration, but not every design engineer may think of that, or their managers may tell them its too expensive to include that feature. I have one of those digital to analog tv adapters with that very problem; it’s gotten itself into a configuration where it shuts off if I try to watch a certain channel. All the other channels work fine. I can only watch that channel by selecting the next channel above it, then hitting the down arrow key to go to the next lower channel. There’s no way to reset that gadget back to the factory configuration of course.


They put new ECM and BCM in and still had the same problem.


You are battling the problem we have now, cars with more smarts than cars of yesteryear, but cars which can be much harder to diagnose. I live in Silicon Valley and one time the company a friend of mine worked had a product that sometimes would get itself into a configuration where it couldn’t be turned off … lol … after the customer pressed a certain sequence of buttons it would get into a mode where no matter what button they pressed, including the “off” button, it wouldn’t turn off. If the customer unplugged it to turn it off, it would never boot up again. If turned on, it would display an error code for 30 msec and turn off. As you might expect this didn’t make the customers very happy.


Tell me about it. My old vehicle was a 97 Toyota Tacoma. Could get new keys made at Ace and it ran reliably for a 15 year old truck.


One reason my vehicles are age 25 and 45. I do like the performance and drivability that electronic injection of the 25 year old yields, but if the ecm circuit board ever goes south, that could be the end the Corolla. If I couldn’t find a compatible ecm replacement, I’ve have no way to get it to work again, and still pass mandated emissions testing. I doubt my 45 year old truck could fail in a way that couldn’t be repaired. Might be somewhat time consuming & expensive to repair, but any failure mode could almost certainly be repaired.


No offense, but they’re screwing you. This statement defies logic.

With the VIN, a dealer should be able to cut and program a new key for you, even without the old key to work from. Do you have another dealer within driving distance? Perhaps they can help.


They cut the key fine. Programming is where they can’t seem to figure it out.


The vin number should be able to get them there.
Try another dealer.


I would imagine VIN code will work, but only with an original ECM/BCM, I would not be sure that a clueless guy replacing ECM to program a key would properly program VIN into replaced ECM.


He put my original ECM back in- do you think that could be an issue?


No, I was telling until he puts ECU back in place, programming by VIN code would likely fail