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How to Replace Nissan Maxima Keys

by David McGuffin

Depending on the year of your Nissan Maxima, you may be able to obtain a duplicate key copy without much added cost or hassle. However, newer models, since 1999 have microchips inside of each key that pertain to the security features of the car. As a result, key replacements can only be done through the dealer. Alternatively, you may be able to change out the ignition switch for your Maxima, which will also result in obtaining a new, and different, ignition key.

Duplicate Copies

Contact the nearest Nissan dealer if your Maxima was made in 1999 or later. Call the dealership, and ask for the procedure to obtain a new key. The dealer will tell you what paperwork you need in order to prove that you do indeed own the car. Even if you have not lost your key, hardware stores will not be able to duplicate the key since the original has a microchip that works to disable part of the security system. Duplicates without the microchip will not be able to start the car. However, Maxima's that are 1998 and older can have the keys duplicated, since they do not have the microchips in them.

Write down your vehicle identification number (VIN) from your Maxima's dashboard. The dealer will most likely require your registration, driver's license and title to the car. If you have leased the Maxima, then you may need to take the paperwork from your lease as well.

Take all paperwork to the dealer, who will make a duplicate copy of your key. The cost for the duplicate will range from $100 up to $300, depending on the year in which your Maxima was manufactured.

Ignition Switch

Use a wrench to remove the negative battery cable from your Nissan Maxima. Wait 10 minutes, and disable the driver's side airbag by removing the panel located beneath the steering wheel and unclip the electrical connection leading to the airbag.

Unscrew the steering column paneling so that the ignition switch for your Maxima and steering column can be accessed. Also, remove the paneling underneath the dashboard as well as the knee bolster.

Unclip the ignition switch electrical connection, which is located near the location of the knee bolster.

Unscrew the mounting screws from the lock cylinder, and unclip the electrical harness from the ignition switch on your Maxima.

Remove the ignition switch bracket halves from the steering column by drilling out the security bolts, and removing them with a screw extractor.

Install the new ignition switch to the steering column by tightening the brackets with a socket wrench until the security bolts snap off. Reconnect the electrical connections to the new ignition switch.

Reconnect the negative battery terminal cable on your Maxima and test your new ignition switch by turning the car on with the new ignition key. Continue to reinstall the paneling for the steering column and underside of the dashboard. Be sure to reconnect the airbag electrical connection last.

Items you will need

About the Author

David McGuffin is a writer from Asheville, N.C. and began writing professionally in 2009. He has Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and Montreat College in history and music, and a Bachelor of Science in outdoor education. McGuffin is recognized as an Undergraduate Research Scholar for publishing original research on postmodern music theory and analysis.

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