How to Change the Nissan Maxima Ignition Switch

by David McGuffin
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holding car key image by Photosani from

If the key in your Nissan Maxima will not turn in the ignition and your car will not turn on, then chances are that you need to replace your ignition switch. Another indication that your ignition switch has failed is if you can turn your vehicle on but you cannot remove the key from the lock cylinder. The ignition switch and lock cylinder for Nissan Maxima's are sold as one unit. The only specialized tools for removing the old ignition switch assembly are screw extractor drill bits for the snap-off security bolts on the failed ignition switch.

Step 1

Disconnect the negative ("-") battery cable from your Maxima's battery. Open the small window panel on the underside of your steering wheel, and disconnect the electrical connection for your airbag.

Step 2

Remove the steering wheel covers with a screwdriver. Unscrew the bolts and screws securing the underside of the dashboard console and leg compartment covering. Unscrew the knee brace. Disconnect the electrical connection leading to the steering wheel that is found underneath the knee brace.

Step 3

Use a socket wrench to unscrew the outer cover and mounting bolts for the ignition switch. Disconnect the electrical connection to the ignition switch on your Nissan Maxima. Use a powerdrill with extractor bits to pull out the snap-off security bolts that secure the ignition switch assembling mounting onto the steering column. Be careful not to damage the delicate steering column or its other components while drilling out the bolts on the ignition switch housing.

Step 4

Remove the old ignition switch assembly from your Maxima, and replace it with a new one. Use a socket wrench to screw on the security bolts, which will snap off once they reach the proper torque to fasten the ignition assembly mounts to the steering column.

Step 5

Reconnect the negative battery cable and the rest of the electrical connections, and turn on your Maxima using the new key which came with the replacement ignition switch. If the car engine turns on as usual, then you have connected everything correctly. Remove the negative battery cable until you have finished installing the rest of the steering column covers, knee brace and underside portions of the console covering, making sure that you perform the re-installation in the reverse order of the removal process. Do not forget to reconnect the airbag electrical connection.

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