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1998 Nissan Pathfinder sometimes won't start!

Hello, I have a Nissan Pathfinder. About 4 months ago, the car just would not start. When the key was turned, nothing would happen except the power coming on. I shook the car a few times and eventually the car started. It has happened about 5 times since then. After enough shaking of the car it will start. My mechanic says he can’t diagnose the problem without it not starting, but I can’t leave it with him indefinitely. Please help…

Did this “mechanic” at least pull, check, and clean all of your terminals & connectors at the battery and the starter?

Is it an automatic or a manual transmission? If auto, did this “mechanic” suggest trying to start it from Neutral the next time this happens? If manual, did this “mechanic” check out the switch at the clutch pedal?

I suppose I keep putting mechanic in quotes because there are very basic things that one does/checks for a no start of this kind regardless of whether or not the no start can be reproduced. Its true that these things can’t verify the source of an intermittent problem. But you don’t just stand there and stare at it blankly either.

The mechanic did nothing but turn the key… It started so he said I’m sorry, I need it to not start to diagnose. I don’t believe it is a battery problem as the battery is new and like I said, the power comes on no problem when the key is inserted and turned. But the car does nothing else. No noises at all.
The car is an automatic… There is a sensor of some kind in the brake where you must have the brake engaged before the car will start. I wonder if that sensor is loose or going bad? Not sure how to tell if that’s the problem though…

The sensor is in the brake pedal.

What possessed you to shake the pathy in the first place??? That just seem weird.

It sounds like some electrical connector is loose. If a mechanic is having a hard time diagnosing the problem…what do you think it’s like over the internet.

Hahaha… Yeah… Thank you all for your help though… I believe the first time, I kind of slammed the hood down in frustration and then it started… So then the next time, I thought maybe it was some sort of loose connection and perhaps shaking the car would jar the connection back… It worked and has worked a few times since then… haha…

The fact that stuff lights up inside of the car when you turn the key on tells you exactly zero about the condition of the battery or the cables. Clean - or have cleaned - the cable terminals & posts at the battery and starter ends. Even if this does nothing its still good maintenance.

The next time you have this problem, move the gear shifter to Neutral and then try to start it.

I agree. Even a brand new battery isn’t going to help if your connections are corroded or loose. I once had problems getting my Chevy Prizm to start, only to discover that the negative connection was loose. A little tightening with a wrench, and the problem was solved.

Hi I also have had the same issue as to it not starting, and yet I did the same as he did, I shook the t bar but when I played around with the transfer case gear knob it came to life and started,. It happened two times and by shaking the gear lever which selects 4wd,it started… So it’s obvious that there is something that is a common fault,i thought it might have been the neutral safety switch, what else could it be

The linkage for the 4wd mechanism might jiggle the transmission linkage enough to make a faulty neutral safety switch start working. That’s what I’d check first.

btw, you’ll get more responses if you post this as a new thread.