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How to Adjust a Nissan Altima Neutral Safety Switch

by Robert Bayly

The Nissan Altima, like other cars with automatic transmissions, has a neutral safety, or inhibitor, switch, which allows the starter to operate only in Park or in Neutral. The neutral safety switch on the Altima also incorporates the backup light switch. The neutral safety switch on the Altima is located on the transaxle. If you have replaced the switch or the shifter cable, you also have to adjust the switch.

Park the Altima on a flat, paved surface. Shift the transmission into Park and set the parking brake. Raise the front of the Altima with a jack and lower it onto jack stands for support.

Locate the neutral safety switch. It is just above the transmission pan, behind where the shift cable attaches to the shift lever on the transmission. Use a wrench to remove the locknut that holds the shift cable to the shift lever. Pull the cable off the stud on the shift lever. Disconnect the switch from the wiring harness. Use a Phillips screwdriver to loosen the three screws that attach the switch to the transmission case.

Move the shift lever to the Neutral position, which would be two clicks from the Park position. You will feel the lever click into position as you move it.

Insert a 5/32-inch drill bit into the adjusting holes in the shift lever and switch. Make sure the drill bit is perpendicular to the switch and lever. Tighten the retaining screws on the switch.

Move the lever back into the Park position. Slide the end of the shift cable onto the stud on the lever. Attach and tighten the lock nut while pulling out on the cable.

Raise the Altima and remove the jack stands. Lower the Altima to the ground. Attempt to start the Altima with the shifter in all positions to ensure that it only starts in Park and Neutral.

Items you will need


About the Author

Robert Bayly, based in Apple Valley, California, began writing in 2010, his "how to" articles can be found on eHow. With more than 15 years in the auto industry, Bayly has been an auto and diesel mechanic, service writer and parts manager. He received certificates from Pontiac (parts system), Cat Diesel (engine service), Saab and Fiat (parts- warranty system).

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