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1995 Pathfinder won't start ... but only sometimes!

We have a 1995 Nissan Pathfinder (automatic) that is having trouble starting. We can’t find a pattern to when it starts and when it doesn’t start so we can’t diagnose the problem.

When it doesn’t start, here’s what happens: turning the key, you can hear one soft click. Then nothing. After several or many turns of the key (and the same single click), it finally “catches” and starts.

Two weeks ago, the car would not start at all. Even the following day, it wouldn’t start. The lights and radio did work. We tried a jump-start and it surprisingly started right up. We immediately replaced the battery, but the problems resumed.

The following have been replaced since the problems began: starter, ignition switch, battery, transmission, and the horn for the alarm has been bypassed. Note: with the old battery back in, it does work.

Does anybody have any ideas???

So you kept the old battery and reinstalled it and now everything is fine? So what’s the problem?

The behavior is the same with both (new and old) batteries. So, the problem does not seem to be the battery.


Have you had the starter checked.

Also wondering if there’s a broken tooth on the starter or flywheel.

Since a jump start seems to have worked I suggest you clean the battery connections using a battery post cleaning brush. Even if the connections look ok they can have a layer of film on them that can cause this kind of trouble. If that doesn’t help then try starting the car in neutral to see if the safety switch is the trouble. You can also try moving the shifter around in Park to see if that helps.