Mobile Phones Could Rub Auto Ignition Fobs

By: RyanThomas

The Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. is warning car owners that cell phones rub some of its "intelligent keys" the wrong way. Owners of the 2007 Altima sedan and the 2007 Infiniti G35 are being advised to keep their mobile phones away from the keyless-ignition fobs which are used to start their cars, as the phones can "wipe" the fob memory. The automaker is advising customers to keep cell phones and the plastic fobs containing the starters "at least 1 inch apart at all times."

A statement released last Wednesday by the Nissan North America Inc. said some cell phones, if allowed to touch the I-Key while sending or receiving a call, may alter its electronic code. "When this happens the I-Key will not start the vehicle and cannot be reprogrammed," the statement said.

Brent Adams, the vice president and general manager at Action Nissan in Nashville, said that the problem involves only a "certain type of phone and this particular service," which he declined to specify. He described the number of complaints as "minute." Adams noted that only a few customers have complained. "(Nissan officials) are doing the right thing by letting the dealers know," he said.

Ken Hunt, the owner of Hunt Nissan in Chattanooga, said that the dealership was including a warning in the vehicle packet for purchasers. He said no retail customers have complained. "I have ordered extra keys in case," Hunt said.

The all-new Nissan Altima, announced at the 2006 New York Auto Show, uses the automaker's D platform which was co-developed with Renault. The sedan features a new front and upgraded rear suspension, shorter wheelbase, and revised versions of the engines. The interior space of the car is mostly unaltered. It still flaunts the reliable and upholstery to retain the stylish and comfy feel.

The new G35 sedan, on the other hand, has been completely redesigned. The car is powered by a brand new engine called VQ35HR. This engine is more powerful, more fuel efficient, and more responsive than the previous engine. The "HR" stands for High Revolution. Over 80 percent of the internal components have been strengthened or redesigned to handle the increased RPM range. Although the horsepower rating is only eight more, the real horsepower divergence was much more due to the new SAE guidelines for horsepower ratings this year.

Instead of metal keys, both the Altima and the G35 use plastic fobs that send an electronic signal to the car's ignition system. The fobs are designed to let owners start their cars at the push of a button. But when some cell phones touch the I-Key while the phone is sending or receiving a call, the I-Key will not start the vehicle. It was not clear how many owners experienced the problem.

To remedy this, the Japanese automaker said that it is developing a modified I-Key to prevent the problem and will provide customers with the new keys in the early fall. In the meantime, Nissan will replace defunct fobs free of charge.

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