P1610 Nissan – Lock Mode: Causes, Symptoms & Solutions

Is your Nissan refusing to start, and you find the annoying P1610 code on the scanner? I know how frustrating it can be! That’s why I’m here to help!

Simply put, the P1610 Nissan code suggests potential issues with the NATS system or the use of an incorrect key. Don’t wait any longer; gain valuable insights and learn how to fix it in this article! 

P1610 Nissan: An Overview

Let’s take a quick look at the essential details of the P1610 Nissan code!

  • Definition: Immobilizer Lock Mode
  • Severity: Medium
  • DIY Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Continue To Drive?: No
  • Estimated Repair Cost: $30 – $200

P1610 Nissan Code: Immobilizer Lock Mode Explained

The P1610 code, defined as “Immobilizer Lock Mode,” is specifically associated with the Nissan Anti-Theft System (NATS), also known as the Vehicle Immobilizer System. When this code appears, it signifies that the immobilizer system has entered lock mode, preventing the vehicle from starting even with the correct key. It is commonly triggered in various Nissan and Infiniti models, including the Altima, Almera, Frontier, Murano, Pathfinder, Sentra, and Maxima.

The NATS is designed to prevent the unauthorized starting of the vehicle by immobilizing the engine unless the correct key is detected. It works by immobilizing the engine unless the correct key is detected. When you insert the key into the ignition, the NATS antenna amplifier reads the unique binary code transmitted by the key. If the Engine Control Module (ECM) determines that the coded key is valid and matches the registered keys, it activates the fuel-injection sequence, allowing the engine to start. 

However, if the ECM detects an issue with the key or the NATS system during the starting process, it will trigger the P1610 code, indicating a problem with the immobilizer system. 

More specifically, this code becomes active when engine start is attempted 5 or more times using an unprogrammed or faulty key. Other associated codes may include P1614, P1612, P1611, and P1615, each indicating specific issues related to the NATS system, such as antenna amplifier malfunction, key problems, or communication failures.

If the ECM detects an issue with the key or the NATS system during the starting process, it will trigger the P1610 Nissan code.
If the ECM detects an issue with the key or the NATS system during the starting process, it will trigger the P1610 code.
(Image credit: b15u.com)

P1610 Nissan – Technical Service Bulletins

Nissan knows that many people experience the P1610 code issue, and they have released Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) to help. For example, if you own a 2005-2008 Nissan car with the NATS/Immobilizer system, there is a TSB called “MY 2005 – 2008; ENGINE NO-START WITH NATS DTC P1610” that provides guidance on how to diagnose and fix the problem. So, if you come across the P1610 Nissan code or any NATS-related issues, it’s a good idea to check if your vehicle is covered under any TSB.

How Serious is the Nissan P1610 Code?

The P1610 code is classified as a medium-severity issue. It relates to the immobilizer system and may prevent your vehicle from starting. While it doesn’t typically pose an immediate safety concern, it’s important to take it seriously.

The P1610 code doesn’t typically pose an immediate safety concern, but it’s important to take it seriously.
(Image credit: obrazki.elektroda.pl)

If you encounter the P1610 code, you won’t be able to continue driving because the car enters lock mode. Trying to escape lock mode without fixing the underlying problem is not recommended. 

Address the issue promptly to avoid future inconvenience or starting problems. Ignoring the code could result in occasional difficulty starting your car or complete immobilization.

Symptoms Of The P1610 Nissan Code

When your Nissan is affected by the P1610 code, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Engine cranks but does not start
  • Intermittent starting issues
  • Security indicator light stays on or flashes
  • Malfunction indicator lamp (MIL)/ check engine light illuminates

Important Note: Check the security indicator light. If it remains off during or after engine cranking, the issue may not be related to NATS.

Causes Of The P1610 Nissan Code

The P1610 code can be triggered by various factors and underlying issues, including:

  • Faulty NATS ignition key (most possibly the transponder)
  • NATS antenna amplifier malfunction
  • Issues with the Body Control Module (BCM) or Immobilizer Control Unit (IMMU)
  • Problems with the ECM
  • Wiring or connection problems within the NATS system

Read more: Nissan OBD1/OBD2 Codes List [Free PDF Download]

P1610 Nissan Code: Diagnosis And Repair Guide

In this section, we’ll walk you through diagnosing and resolving the P1610 error code in your Nissan, providing valuable repair insights along the way.

Essential Tools And Parts

Step-by-Step Procedure

1. Try alternate keys

If you have a spare programmed key, try using it to escape your vehicle from lock mode.

  • Method 1: Insert the spare key into the ignition and turn it to the ON position for 5 seconds, then turn it back to the OFF position. Repeat this process three times.
  • Method 2: If the above method doesn’t work, you can try disconnecting the vehicle’s battery for approximately 30 minutes. 

After reconnecting the battery, attempt to start the car using the spare key.

2. Inspect and replace/reprogram key

Carefully examine the key for any visible damage, such as cracks, chips, or excessive wear.

  • If the key shows signs of damage or wear, repair the faulty components or replace the whole key. Make sure you have the new key properly programmed.
  • If the key is in good condition, it may need reprogramming. Consult a locksmith or Nissan dealership for key reprogramming services.

3. Test NATS antenna amplifier

  • Locate the NATS antenna amplifier, typically near the ignition switch or the key insertion area.
  • With the ignition key in the OFF position, use a test light or multimeter to check for power and ground at the NATS antenna amplifier.
  • If there is no power or ground, further investigation may be required, and it is recommended to consult a professional or Nissan dealership for assistance.

4. Check NATS wiring and connections

  • Inspect the wiring harness and connections related to the NATS system.
  • Pay attention to any visible indications of harm, such as wires that are damaged or showing signs of wear and tear, any corrosion or rust, or connections that are not securely attached.
  • Repair or replace any damaged wiring or connections as necessary.

5. Consider BCM and/or IMMU replacement

  • If the P1614 code, indicating a BCM or IMMU issue, continues to appear consistently after attempting the previous steps, it may be necessary to replace the BCM and/or the IMMU.
  • It is recommended to seek the assistance of a professional technician or visit a Nissan dealership for accurate diagnosis and replacement of the affected components.

Note: Consult the vehicle’s specific service manual or wiring diagrams for detailed instructions and diagrams tailored to your Nissan model.

Check this video. This guy instructed how to diagnose the Nissan codes P1610 and P1615.

DIY Repair Level And Estimated Costs

The DIY repair level for addressing the P1610 code can range from moderate to advanced, depending on your experience and comfort level with automotive repairs. While some steps, such as escaping the lock mode, can be performed by most DIY enthusiasts, other tasks may require specialized knowledge and tools.

Below is a table outlining potential repair tasks related to the P1610 issue in a Nissan vehicle:

Repair TaskCost Range
Diagnostic fee$50 – $150
Wiring repair$50 – $200 
Key replacement/reprogramming$50 – $300
NATS antenna amplifier replacement$100 – $300
BCM – IMMU replacement$200 – $800

It is important to note that estimated costs may vary based on Nissan model, location, and parts availability. Consult a mechanic or Nissan dealership for accurate diagnostics and professional repairs to ensure proper NATS system functioning.

Wrapping Up

Navigating the P1610 Nissan code may seem daunting. Still, armed with the knowledge we’ve shared, you’re well-equipped to tackle this immobilizer-related challenge. Remember, timely diagnosis and repair are vital to ensuring a smooth driving experience. 

If you found this article helpful, please share it with fellow Nissan owners who may benefit from it. We also encourage you to leave your comments and questions below.

Stay informed, stay empowered, and keep your Nissan running at its best. Safe travels!

Reference Sources

  1. Nissan & Infiniti Tech News, An Introduction to Nissan Anti-Theft Systems.

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