Your Nissan Altima wont start if the ignition or brake switch is faulty, the timing belt is old, or the vehicle is in the wrong gear position.
Aside from these, there are some more possible reasons you should know. In this guide, our auto team discusses the possible reasons why your Altima is not starting and provides some effective fixes, so read on!
- 1 What Are Common Reasons Your Nissan Altima Won’t Start?
- 1.1 – Drained Battery
- 1.2 – Faulty Ignition Switch
- 1.3 – The Vehicle Is in the Wrong Gear
- 1.4 – Drained Key Fob Battery
- 1.5 – Defective Alternator
- 1.6 – Worn-out Timing Belt
- 1.7 – Blocked Fuel Filter
- 1.8 – Stuck Steering Wheel
- 1.9 – Defective Distributor Cap and Rotor
- 1.10 – Insufficient Fuel
- 1.11 – Engine Breakdown
- 1.12 – Damaged Fuse
- 1.13 – Faulty Starter
- 2 What Are Common Fixes for When Your Nissan Altima Won’t Start?
- 3 Frequently Asked Question
- 4 Conclusion
What Are Common Reasons Your Nissan Altima Won’t Start?
The common reasons your Nissan Altima won’t start are a damaged battery, a faulty ignition switch, the wrong gear, a defective alternator, a worn-out timing belt, and a blocked filter. Other possible reasons are a stuck steering wheel, a bad distributor cap or rotor, engine failure, and a faulty starter.
– Drained Battery
Dead batteries are a popular reason why Nissan Altimas don’t start. The Altimas’ battery turns chemical energy into electrical energy and delivers voltage to the starter. The car battery provides the electricity that helps the electrical components of the vehicle work. Without a functioning battery, the vehicle will have no energy to start.
If the battery is worn-out and damaged, the vehicle won’t start even though the connections are correct or other engine components are working appropriately. A damaged or weak battery will cause the dashboard lights to be switched on when you turn the key in the ignition.
– Faulty Ignition Switch
The ignition switch is an electrical component that is part of an assembly responsible for starting the vehicle and providing power to specific areas of the car. The ignition switch connects the circuit that supplies voltage to the starter motor, so the engine cranks over and eventually starts.
A faulty ignition switch can cause your Nissan Altima car not to start when you press the remote control or use the ignition. If your car isn’t starting but the lights are turned on, there might be an issue with the ignition switch.
– The Vehicle Is in the Wrong Gear
Gears are used to regulate the rotational speed of a car. They are used for changing rotational speed and power by transmitting the generated power of the engine to the differential. Cars have to be in the park gear before they start. If the vehicle is in the wrong gear, then it won’t start when you try cranking the engine with the key.
– Drained Key Fob Battery
The key fob, also known as a hardware token, is a small handheld remote control device controlling vehicle access. It can also start the car engine. It operates using a remote keyless system and requires a battery to function.
Thus, if the fob’s battery is dead or weak, the Altima won’t start when you use the remote control device. Without a functioning battery, the fob cannot start the vehicle or operate the remote keyless system.
– Defective Alternator
An alternator is found in the front of the engine, driven by a crankshaft. The alternator helps convert mechanical energy into electrical energy to charge and replenish the car battery and other electrical components. Alternators function as generators in an engine and are part of the vehicle’s charging system.
If you are using a new battery or a fully recharged problem and the Nissan Altima vehicle still refuses to start, the problem might be the alternator. A faulty alternator will prevent the Nissan Altima start function from working because it has failed to replenish the battery’s energy and other electrical components. Once you notice a burning smell or see the battery symbol on the dashboard, that tells you that the alternator is defective.
– Worn-out Timing Belt
Timing belts control the camshafts in the engine and open and close the valves at the right time for a smooth operation. The timing belt helps synchronize the camshafts’ movement with the crankshaft so that the engine operates smoothly.
Due to constant use, the timing belt can wear out and stop performing correctly, and this will cause the vehicle not to start. Once the timing belt is already old, it will become brittle or loose. You can detect a brittle or loose timing belt if you hear a ticking noise under the vehicle’s hood or the starter.
– Blocked Fuel Filter
The gas filter is an integral fuel system component and works with other components, such as the fuel pump, fuel tank, and fuel line, for optimal internal combustion engine performance. It is used to screen out dirt, debris, and contaminants from the engine. It ensures that fuel from the fuel pump runs smoothly to the engine and keeps out particles that can damage it.
The continuous use of a filter can make it become clogged and it will stop functioning. The filter can become clogged by dirt and debris, preventing it from delivering fuel to the injector. If the filter cannot perform its function, the Altima car start function will not work because of insufficient fuel.
– Stuck Steering Wheel
Every vehicle has a steering wheel. The steering wheel is also called the hand wheel, driving wheel, or simply wheel, and it is used to control the steering system and the direction of a car. It is composed of a linkage system that directs the vehicle through its four wheels. The steering wheel operates while the engine is running.
If the steering wheel is stuck in a locked position, the car may not start until it is removed from the locked position.
– Defective Distributor Cap and Rotor
The distributor cap, also known as the ignition cap, is the component where the ignition wires that run to the spark plugs receive high-voltage current from the ignition coil. It is a removable component for covering the distributor and rotor in spark ignition systems. The distributor rotor is also the component in the spark ignition system that routes the spark to the right contact inside the distributor cap.
If the distributor cap is faulty, it won’t allow the spark to travel and ignite the fuel, keeping the vehicle from starting. Likewise, a loose ignition cap will prevent the spark ignition system from functioning correctly, so the vehicle cannot start.
– Insufficient Fuel
The energy that fuel provides is used to start a vehicle and propel it from one place to another. Your Altima may not start due to a lack of fuel in the tank. Insufficient fuel can also cause the vehicle not to work.
– Engine Breakdown
The internal combustion engine undergoes the four processes of intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust to provide power for the vehicle to function. The engine can be likened to the heart of a car. Without it, the vehicle cannot function. Thus, if there is a breakdown of the engine, the Altima won’t start.
– Damaged Fuse
Your fuse protects the electrical connections in your vehicle. A car fuse protects against overcurrent and short-circuiting by disconnecting the circuit if it detects a harmful current level. The fuses operate with relays and diodes in a car fuse box to protect the electrical circuits and ensure the vehicle’s electrical components operate correctly.
If the fuse becomes blown while protecting the electrical components, it means that the vehicle won’t start. A damaged fuse means there will be no electrical energy for the vehicle to start.
– Faulty Starter
The starter motor uses its small starting gear to engage the flywheel, which delivers power and starts the engine. Once you turn the ignition or press the engine start button, the starter provides a rotational motion that helps the engine kickstart combustion.
If you hear clicking noises when you start the car, the starter is faulty or broken. A faulty starter cannot start or kickstart the engine’s combustion process. However, if the starter is dead, you won’t hear any clicking noises when you turn the key.
What Are Common Fixes for When Your Nissan Altima Won’t Start?
The common fixes for when your Nissan Altima won’t start include installing a new battery, repairing or replacing the starter, replacing the fuse, and changing the timing belt. Other fixes include cleaning the filter, replacing the starter, filling the fuel tank, and replacing the distributor cap and rotor.
– Install New Battery
Replace the damaged battery with a new and fully-recharged battery. To install a new battery, open the car’s hood to locate the damaged battery. Disconnect the negative and positive cables from the battery’s terminals. Remove the faulty battery and install the new unit by connecting the cables to the battery.
The lifespan of an average battery’s terminals is 50,000 to 100,000 miles before they are replaced. Corrosion is a major reason the terminals of a battery may become damaged. If the terminals are not properly maintained, they can become corroded and won’t last long.
– Repair or Replace the Starter
If you suspect that a broken starter is why your Altima is not starting, it should be inspected by a mechanic. Hire the mechanic to help you repair the starter so that it will begin to function correctly. However, there are cases where the starter is already damaged beyond repair. In those cases, the old starter must be removed and replaced.
The broken alternator can be replaced by disconnecting the battery and loosening the bolts that hold the alternator in place. Take out the old alternator and put in the new one, then reconnect the battery and start the ignition to test the alternator.
– Change the Blown Fuse
The blown fuse should be replaced with a new unit. If you don’t have the expertise to change the fuse, contact an auto electrician to help you remove the damaged fuse in the fuse box and replace it. Also, you may have to replace the entire fuse box in some cases.
– Replace the Distributor Cap and Rotor
The faulty distributor cap and rotor should be replaced with a new unit. To replace the ignition cap, locate the cap under the car’s hood. It is usually a grey plastic component near the center of the engine. Clips hold the distributor cap, so unhook the clips and screws on the cap.
Then the rotor, which looks like a fan blade, should be slid off from the distributor housing. Once it is removed, replace it with the new rotor and screw it in place. The next step is to reorient the spark plugs to the new cap and then return the cap to the engine compartment. Test the car to see if it’s starting and working smoothly.
– Change the Timing Belt
Changing the old timing belt is a lengthy process that requires the expertise of a mechanic, so contact a local auto repair shop to help remove and replace the old belt with a new one. Make sure to conduct thorough research when looking for a trusted mechanic for your Altima.
– Fix the Alternator
A defective alternator should be fixed by replacing it with a new unit. Replacing the alternator requires the expertise of a professional, so it’s best to have a mechanic at an auto repair shop fix this problem.
The broken alternator can be fixed by disconnecting the battery and loosening the bolts that hold the alternator in place. Then install the new one. Reconnect the battery and start the ignition to test the alternator’s performance.
– Refill Fuel
If lack of fuel is why your Altima is not starting, you should head to a gas station to purchase fuel and get the vehicle working. Make sure to purchase the correct fuel type for your Altima and get the high quality kind.
– Clean the Gas Filter
A clogged filter should be fixed by cleaning out the dirt and debris that blocked the filter in the first place. To clean the filter, insert a hose inside the detached filter and spray it with a special liquid so the clogged particles flow out.
The filter should be allowed to dry for an hour before being reinstalled. Sometimes, the filter is fully clogged and the only solution is to replace it.
Frequently Asked Question
– Can You Start a Nissan Altima With a Weak Battery?
Yes, you can start a Nissan Altima with a weak battery by jumpstarting it with another vehicle’s battery. Park both vehicles facing each other and connect the jumper cables to the battery’s terminals. Next, start the working vehicle and run it for a minute before starting the dead car.
Having read through this guide and the tips it contained, you should know why your Altima is not starting and the common fixes.
Here’s a summary of what we have discussed so far:
- A weak or damaged battery won’t power the vehicle’s electrical components, so it should be removed and replaced with a new one.
- A defective alternator won’t charge and replenish the battery’s electrical energy and can cause the vehicle not to start.
- A broken starter can prevent the Altima from starting, so it should be replaced with a new one.
- A clogged filter will affect the fuel supply to the fuel injector, so dirt, debris, and other particles should be removed from the filter.
You can now diagnose why your Altima vehicle is not starting and fix it today!
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