CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

1994 Nissan Sentra -- Intermittently won't even try to start

Hey all,



I’ve got the car mentioned in the title. Whenever I go to turn over the engine, it doesn’t do anything. You know how you have to depress the clutch pedal on a manual transmission car before it will start? It’s like that, only I AM depressing the clutch pedal, only instead it’s depressing me.



There’s a box of fusible links to the left of the battery, one of which is marked “Inhibit Clutch” – I’m not sure if that’s what I’m looking for, but I replaced it with a known good one and it still won’t start.



The battery is brand new and all the connections to it are fine. Everything electrical runs like a peach, except that no electricity is apparently getting to the starter.



Thing is, this doesn’t ALWAYS happen. It seems to be more prone to happen after the weather gets warm; and just a few days ago, it was 75 here in Denver. If it cools down again, I’ll go and try to start it and maybe get lucky.



Any ideas?

There’s a switch under the dashboard, activated by the clutch pedal. If that switch is bad, which is certainly possible on a car this old, it will not allow the starter to work.

Start with the simple, inexpensive things. Check the clutch pedal switch. Adjust it, replace it, or bypass it, whichever is appropriate for you.

1 Like

Did you check the interlock switch for the clutch pedal to make sure it creates a ground for the “Inhibit Clutch” relay primary circuit?

Tester

It’s 8 years later… I’m not sure I’ve signed on since 2009. But, you were right. Just uh… thought I’d say so. Thanks. :slight_smile:

Ah, the clutch saftety switch was the culprit eh? I’ve had to fix that swtich on my Corolla. Been there, done that. Thanks for posting the update, even though it took 9 years, better late than never … :wink:

Yeah, I remember twisting wires together after work one winter night: the clutch safety switch on my 1984 Chevy Cavalier. I felt pretty good about thinking it through and getting it going with few if any tools. Never did replace the switch, but did install a wire nut!

That’s practically an oem-level repair … lol …