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Key System Error Nissan Altima [2013-2019 Years]

Nissan is known for making reliable cars, but like all car makers, they sometimes have problems. One common issue in models like the Altima is a ‘key system error’ message.

This article will explain what this problem is and how to fix it based on my experience as an Auto technician.

Explaining the Key System Error Alert in Detail

“Key System Error” on a Nissan Altima means the system is not able to communicate with your Nissan’s immobilizer system.

Nissan I-Key

In most cases, the vehicle is having a hard time recognizing the key fob.

Nissan Uses Intelligent Key. When this fault message appears on your Altima, the car usually won’t start (In some cases, it does), but you will be able to lock and unlock the vehicle.

Now that you know what this means, let’s look at the main causes of a key system fault on your Nissan.

Nissan Altima Key System Error Causes

1. Bad Key Fob Battery:

keyfob battery

The most common cause of the Key System Error is the battery in your key fob.

The Key fob batteries on Nissan vehicles are known to fail frequently, especially if you use your key fob often.

The good news is that the battery is easy to replace, and you can find replacement batteries at most auto parts stores or the nearest Nisan Dealership.

Based on my own experience, keyfob batteries last 3-5 years, and then they need to be replaced.

2. Intelligent Nissan Keyfob Malfunction (Needs Reprogramming):

Nissan I-Key

If you’ve recently replaced your key fob battery, but the Key System Error is still showing up on your dashboard, then it may be time to have your key reprogrammed. Reprogramming your Nissan Intelligent key fob is very easy to do and can be done at any Nisan dealership.

Nissan Keyfob may malfunction due to many things, such as software problems and keyfob damage if you drop it. The only way to fix this issue is by reprogramming the Intelligent Key System.

Related: Stop-start system fault on a Nissan Fix

How to Fix and Reset Nissan Altima Key system error?

1. Replace Keyfob Battery

The first thing that you should do is replace the keyfob battery. You can get the recommended battery for the Nissan Altima from your local auto parts store or Nissan dealership.

Fortunately, these are relatively inexpensive. You should be able to get a new keyfob battery for anywhere between $5-10. I have included a video below showing you exactly how to replace the battery on your Altimas keyfob.

2. Reprogram the Keyfob

If the problem still persists, then you will need to get the key fob reprogrammed. The way that you do this is by taking your key fob and the car to a Nissan dealership and letting them reprogram it for you.

This will take anywhere from $100-200 depending on where you live, but it’s well worth it considering how much money these things cost when they go bad.

Doing these fixes will get you back on the road again, but if your key fob is still not working after these fixes, then there may be something wrong with your car itself. This could be anything from a bad battery connection to a defective ignition switch or even a malfunctioning starter motor.

But 99% of the time “Key system error” is caused by a bad keyfob battery or a Malfunction fob that needs reprogramming.

How Long Does Nissan Altima Keyfob Last?

The Key fob battery longevity depends on how much use your keyfob gets, but it’s estimated that most of them will last about three years before needing to be replaced.

From my experience, they can easily last 5 years or more, but it depends on how much you use them. If you’re a person who rarely uses their key fob, then the battery will last longer than someone who uses it daily and constantly presses buttons to lock or unlock doors as well as start the engine.




2 thoughts on “Key System Error Nissan Altima [2013-2019 Years]”

  1. My 2017 Nissan Rogue had this problem and was that the 450A fuse on the positive battery terminal had blow.
    I hope that this helps someone since you are not going to get much help from Nissan Dealers

  2. Nissan dealership told me to just ignore it! Duh!
    2015 Altima & I just had a new fob programmed & a new key cut. Now I have the key system error

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