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1996 Nissan Maxima - where should I start?

I’m having an odd issue with the Max. When it’s cold, it starts just fine. Once it’s up to temp, it struggles to start again. The starter is cranking away just fine, then, finally, it’ll catch and fire up, although the start up is soft. It takes a few seconds and then ramps up to normal idle. I’m puzzled about where to start on this. The battery, alternator, and starter are all a year or less old. I do not know when it last received plugs and wires, and the car now has 195,000 miles. Any suggestions?


That means you have to assume that they have never been replaced. Such is the nature of used cars that come with no maintenance records.

After replacing those spark plugs and plug wires of an unknown age, if the problem persists I would suggest considering possible problems with fuel pump, the fuel filter, and the fuel injectors.

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You may have leaking fuel injectors causing flooding. Next time you start a hot engine press the gas pedal down as you start and let go when the engine has started. If it starts and runs OK leaking injectors are a good possibility. You could try fuel injector additives and see if that helps.

If you don’t know the last time spark plugs and wires weren’t changed I would do so regardless.


Carry a bottle of water in the vehicle.

The next time the engine doesn’t start when the engine is hot, open the hood and pour the bottle of water over the fuel rails.

If the engine starts after doing this, the problem is vapor lock.


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