Please help start our car
November 19, 2012 9:14 AM   Subscribe

My partner lost his car clicker for his 2001 Nissan Altima. The alarm engages when he tries to start the car. He can't disengage the alarm without the clicker. The dealership wants $300 for a new clicker, and we can't afford that. Does anyone know how to disengage the alarm so he can start the car?

I may not have explained this perfectly, so please no one correct me about not needing the clicker, etc. The dealer precisely insisted that we needed it. My partner has never been able to start the car without unlocking it first using the clicker. And now the clicker has been lost.

Can the alarm just be turned off somehow using some method we can do at home for free?

Your help would be so greatly, greatly appreciated.
posted by jefficator to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My boss needed to replace his clicker last year. We found one on for $50.00. He had to program it himself but it wasn't too bad. Certainly not worth what the dealership was charging to do it.
posted by myselfasme at 9:26 AM on November 19, 2012

You should be able to pull out the sparkplug for the alarm. You should be able to google to find which/where the spark plug is.
posted by ejazen at 9:28 AM on November 19, 2012

my 2003 Infiniti (which is essentially a Maxima that says "Infiniti" on it) didn't come with one. bought one off eBay for like $20. googling for the instructions turned up this, which seems to be about the same thing I had to do. FWIW, Nissan used the same remote for a lot of their cars - a friend's '10 Sentra has the same clicker minus the trunk button so there are definitely tons of them floating around out there.

small pedantic note: no spark plugs for alarms. fuses, maybe. spark plugs make the gas explode in the engine.
posted by mrg at 9:31 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

2001 age cars are likely to also have an immobiliser of some sort, so it maybe isn't just a question of disabling the alarm, but bypassing the immobiliser. So an easy fix (or at least a free one) may be out the question.

Replacement remotes/fobs are available:

I'd be inclined to order a new fob from there (or similar) and get it programmed (instructions are on the web, but there are also people/dealers that will do this). It should be less than $300, but I don't think you'll be able to do this for free.

You should be able to pull out the sparkplug for the alarm. You should be able to google to find which/where the spark plug is.

I am assuming this poster means 'fuse' rather then 'sparkplug'. It is pretty unlikely that an alarm (especially a factory one) is wired to a nice convenient fuse, though, or stealing the car would be pretty straightforward.
posted by Brockles at 9:31 AM on November 19, 2012

Oops, yes I did mean fuse. But, Brockles, yes alarms ARE wired to one and it does often make stealing cars very straightforward (although you need a method to get into the car first).
posted by ejazen at 9:37 AM on November 19, 2012

some discussions seem to indicate that you can disable it with the key only, by turning left then right in the driver's door. People say that this worked for them but I don't really understand how that's different from what you must be doing already.

the fuse technique apparently won't work.
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 9:38 AM on November 19, 2012

I had a similar problem with a Saturn Ion, and I ultimately gave up and cut the wires for the security system. No alarm at all anymore, but also no random going off at three a.m. for hours on end.

The internet suggests that you can do something similar with the Nissan: look, for example, here and here. The process is nearly identical to what I did to disable the alarm on my Saturn, so it sounds plausible to me.
posted by MeghanC at 9:48 AM on November 19, 2012

When my car alarm was malfunctioning, I asked a group of young gangstery-looking men playing basketball on my street if they knew how to disable it. Took one minute.

I thanked them and went on my way.
posted by RedEmma at 9:50 AM on November 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

But, Brockles, yes alarms ARE wired to one and it does often make stealing cars very straightforward (although you need a method to get into the car first).

The alarm sounder/bell/horn may be, but the immobiliser function will not be. Alarm noises are to dissuade you from stealing from the car, immobilisers are to stop you taking the car itself. The days of pulling the fuse to disable the alarm system in its entirety were gone around by around 1995.

Looks like there is a permanent method of disabling the factory security system though, from Pre-taped call in show's link, that would be free but semi-permanently leave you with no immobiliser at all. Only follow it if $50 or so is more valuable to you if than theft prevention of your car:

'Or, disable the factory alarm from ever
arming again.

Get out some basic install tools or get
a friend or a good technician
in there to do this.

Normally, you would insert the key in
the drivers door, turn left, then right
to disarm and reset it. Yours was reset.
Try key in the drivers door, turn left, then
right to diasrm and unlock. If no joy,
you can disable it for good by doing the

orange/blue |-| on pin 30 at the SECU.
|- negative polarity|. The SECU
(Smart Entrance Control Unit)
is located to the passengers side
of the steering column.

Once Located, splice into this wire with
a simular guage wire, and put it to
a solid chassis ground. This terminates
the OEM alarm functions entirely.

Your call of course, but if it's really expensive
at Nissan to repair it, then I'd take it out
of the equation, and put in
an after market system that does a better
posted by Brockles at 9:57 AM on November 19, 2012

If you're not comfortable doing this yourself, there are locksmiths who will do this for you, for much less than the dealership. In my neck of the woods, a new fob + programming costs about $75 from an independent locksmith. Try your local businesses.
posted by bonehead at 10:11 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just buy the fob online. I got one for my Honda Accord for $75 (in fact I got two so I would have a spare) and I had the dealer reprogram it. The service was much less expensive once I did not have to purchase the fob from them.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:27 AM on November 19, 2012

Also look on eBay for the clicker- we bought ours used for $10... The dealer wanted $140. Just make sure it's the right year.
posted by yb2006shasta at 12:12 PM on November 19, 2012

On our 2001 Maxima, the alarm disables whenever you unlock the door with the key. So, I'm at a loss as to why the alarm won't disable, or why the dealer insists you need it.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:32 PM on November 19, 2012

Have you called more than one dealership? I bet one of them would be willing to use their clicker to turn off the alarm. You can unlock and lock the car with the key in the future.
posted by twblalock at 2:16 AM on December 1, 2012

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