Cellphones Are Kryptonite To Nissan's I-Key

Our pocket holds two things: our keys and our cellphone, so it’s a good thing we don’t own a 2007 Nissan Altima or Infinity G35. The intelligent I-Key used to start those models can be turned into a paperweight if placed within an inch of an active cellphone.

The solution: keep the two at least an inch apart.

Nissan isn’t rushing a permanent fix since there have been few reported problems. A newer, smarter, phone-proof intelligent key will debut by the fall. Owners with dead I-Keys can get new ones from the dealer. On the bright side, if this happens to you, at least you can call for help. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Nissan warns U.S. cellphones can disable car keys [Reuters]


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  1. GearheadGeek says:

    And in another article I read on this topic, Nissan said it was just one particular model of cell phone that’s been reported as having caused this problem, but they won’t say what that phone or the carrier is. Nice… let’s just have everyone paranoid about it instead of just people using phones that might actually cause the problem. If I had to guess, I’d guess it’s a GSM phone doing it, since they’re so “noisy” in RF. If you’ve ever had one near your computer speakers, you know what I mean.

  2. biggeek says:

    You mean we can’t yak on our cell phones and start our Infinities with the same hand?


  3. FLConsumer says:

    Having an M45, it’s the RF-noisy GSM phones which cause the problem. Never had a problem with it in my car, but I will only use CDMA phones.

  4. lonelymaytagguy says:

    GSM, CDMA, and iDEN interference may vary in audibility, but they’re all putting out enough RF to reach the nearest cell tower. Personally, I think iDEN creates the most annoying interference to speakers. (not to mention the “Roger, Houston,” Nextel b-beep)

  5. sebrock says:

    I have a G35 and every time I throw my cellphone in the cup holder on top of the key chain, the car wont start. Once I move my key an inch away from the phone, all is good.

  6. gilman says:

    The infiniti dealer told me GSM phones and especially treos are the primary culprit. I have a CDMA phone and I’ve never had a problem.

    Can’t wait until they just shoot an RFID into your arm to start your car. Hopefully they can use the same hole the feds/RIAA/credit bureaus use to install the mandatory ones we’ll all have to wear in a few years

  7. Mr. Black says:

    Simple solution, just don’t buy a Nissan. But what I’m actually curious about is this considered normal operating interference on the key fob’s end? Doesn’t the FCC license these sort of things to prevent issues like this? Wasn’t the key fob tested for interference in the design phase by Nissan?

  8. lonelymaytagguy says:

    I’d guess they’re “type accepted,” meaning one is tested by the FCC to ensure it meets whatever standards it needs to meet. Once again guessing, the keys are probably Part 15 (or is it 95) unlicensed devices which are legally subject to interference from both other Part 15 devices and licensed sources, too.

  9. mrskah says:

    It doesn’t really matter what type of cell phone that you have, it is affected by all of them. As for a fix, there should be a recall within a couple months issues. Otherwise, don’t drive your Nissan because they can lose their “intelligence(?)” while driving as well. Good Luck and makes you wonder what happened to normal keys.

  10. Zeyr says:

    Irritating, yes.

    End of the world? No.

    The Intellikey fobs as pictured above. Have a real key in them to use in case of battery failure or what not. That silver hole on the end is the key, the rest of the fob is a casing from which the key can be removed from.

  11. josh42042 says:

    I just rented one of these last week – nice car, might buy one. just glad my phone stays in my left pocket and my keys in my right!