Steering Wheel won't lock after swapping cylinder?

I recently bought a car that doesn’t run. The car was towed to my house, but they keys were lost by the previous owner. I had to pry the ignition mount off the steering wheel because the screw holding it down had no head. This was the only way I was able to turn the wheel in order to push it in my garage. Today I got a whole new ignition cylinder with key from the junkyard and swapped it in quite easily. However now the steering wheel won’t lock, and car just flashes lights on dash instead of cranking. Is there a programming procedure and does my car being on jack stands have anything to do with the steering wheel not locking? Need some input still learning A LOT!

Thanks, Dalton

The year of the car may matter as well as those flashing lights, or are they just on without flashing?

It’s an 08 versa lights just come on, no flash no crank. Think it may have something to do with the red car with the key in the middle light.

You need to tell us what kind of car this is. If this is an old car, which relies solely on the lock cylinder for security (no RF chip or resistor) then you may have misaligned the lock cylinder to the actual ignition switch, or damaged the ignition switch during this procedure. If this is a newer car, which uses an RF chip in the key head, or a resistor embedded in the metal blade of the key, then you will need to have a dealer or locksmith reprogram the security system in your car, or if that is not possible then you’ll need to swap the PCM and BCM from the donor vehicle.

Immobilizer system, the new key must be registered to the vehicle.

You could have had the car towed to a dealer to have a new key cut and registered, you didn’t need to replace the locks.

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So basically the car will only crank with the original key and cylinder. Is there anyway to reprogram the new stuff myself or am I sol. Any ideas about the steering wheel not locking or is it all tied together?

If it were easy, it wouldn’t be an effective security system. Call a mobile locksmith, have proof of ownership and be sure the battery is fully charged before the visit.

The steering should lock after the key is removed from the ignition lock and the steering is turned 1/4 turn, if not you may have damaged the steering column. The break-off ignition lock housing screws should have been cut off for removal.


Okay so I’ve figured some more things out after another night in the garage. Yesterday I had to swap the immobilizer chip from my old ignition (the one with no key) to the new ignition cylinder from the junkyard because the immobilizer chip broke off while I was taking it off at the yard. So I was using the junkyard cylinder with the junkyard key, but I had the original immobilizer chip connected. So my question is if I go back to the junkyard tomorrow (I work there), and carefully grab a new cylinder with the matching key and immobilizer will I still need a re program?

There are two parts on the column, the immobilizer receiver and the “halo” or antenna.

The key must be registered to the receiver and the receiver registered to the PCM.
If you can get a key, receiver and matching PCM you may have a chance.

Makes it difficult to steal cars. Years ago, if a customer left a vehicle blocking the shop driveway, I could remove the ignition lock/switch and install my own in 45 seconds and park the vehicle in a parking spot.

So I need a pcm like the little computer box that controls the tranny as well? Or it a different PCM?

Powertrain Control Module for the engine or have someone link the replacement immobilizer module to the PCM, if that is possible. Some computer systems only allow the use of new modules.

So at this point im pretty much stuck, and starting to look like I’m gonna have to call a locksmith or something. I grabbed an ecu, and ignition out of another versa today. I get home hook everything up and sane shit. Turn key all the lights come on and just stay on no crank. I checked to see if the engine would turn over and it turned over very easily. Battery definitely has sufficient power and all the starter wiring looked to be clean and intact. The previous owners claimed it cranked. Scanner says coolant temp sensor and cam sensor. Could either of those be causing no crank? I doubt it. I’m confused why the immobilizer would still be causing no crank with matching key chip and ecu.

Did you grab the immobilizer that matches the key ?

Yes it looked just like that one too.

just a thought. have you checked all the fuses and relays?
have you tried putting it in neutral and try starting it?

there should be a fuse that says intelligent key and 2 that say electric parts. make sure no of them are blown. I have seen a Nissan video that one of the fuses that said electric parts was blown and it had a no crank condition.

Just checked all the fuses. They are all good. Do you guys think it’s safe to say the immobilizer is the culprit still. Here is exactly what happens.

  1. open door blinking immobilizer light on.
  2. stick key inside ignition car starts to ding.
  3. turn key all the way to start and all the lights come on and stay on, and I hear a quiet motor turning on inside engine bay. (Starter right?)

Really just want this thing to crank so I can start diagnosing why it won’t run. Or worst case scenario if I need a motor.

As posted above this problem is designed by the manufacture to be difficult to solve, as it is part of their anti-car-theft system. I think the best path forward at this point is to take the lock mechanism, proof of ownership including the vin and get a key that fits the lock at a dealership, then reinstall the original lock ass’y and original immobilizer. If that doesn’t work you’ll next have to tow the car to the dealership for further programming so the key/lock/immobilizer/ecm match up.

That’s what it’s starting to look like at this point. To make matters worse is when I got the car towed to my house I totally forgot that I wasn’t going to be able to steer the car into my garage. I had to move fast because the car was just sitting in the alley. The first thing I did was jam a screw driver into the ignition and try and free up the ignition and wheel. Well that didn’t work and ended up just taking off whole ignition cylinder. Of course as soon as I got the car in the garage the previous owner calls back saying he found the key only I had already messed up the original ignition and it wouldn’t turn anymore. So I have the original key, ecu, and chip just the ignition is broke. Totally under estimated the immobilizer system. Another expensive learning experience.

Join the club!! … lol … The tow truck operator could have probably figured out a way to put your car into your garage. They usually have dollies to thwart the problems of wheels that are locked, brakes on, transmission in P, etc. May have been an extra fee though.

I expect you’ll find that you’re saving enough $$ buying a non-working car and fixing it yourself to more than make up for these minor extra expenses. What you are doing is what many mechanics do for themselves, so it must make $$$ sense. Best of luck.