Let me preface this by saying I am a young, broke college student, so my language in describing the issue might not be totally accurate and I’d like to get a little more out of this old car if possible. It is a 2000 Altima GXE.
Chapter 1: Radio Problems
One day I started having radio problems. The car has an aftermarket Insignia radio from the last owner. The radio would not turn off. I tried desperately to get one of my favorite CDs out of the deck, and eventually the eject button collapsed into the unit. I tried triggering the eject function by poking at what looked like a button inside the newly formed cavity with a pencil. There was also a blue button inside the opening (on the circuit board?) that, when pressed, seemed to reset the radio. Yet I couldn’t get my CD out and the radio still would not turn off. When I started my car the following day, the radio would not turn on. I tried changing the audio fuse, but no dice. I accepted that I would have to drive without a radio.
Chapter 2: Car Not Starting
A few days later, my car would not start. It would crank, but not start. The dash lights illuminated so we figured it was more than a drained battery. We called AAA and had it towed to our mechanic. The mechanic checked the starter, fuel injector, fuel pump, spark plugs, distributor, and even the fuses. He eventually determined that it was most likely an ECM problem. Three weeks and a new (used) ECM later, we got the call that the car was ready and went to pick it up. That happened today.
Chapter 3: Not Fixed
The car started right away at the mechanic. To my surprise, the radio turned on. I drove the car home. It seemed more sluggish than usual, but it has been three weeks since I last drove it so I can’t tell if it was my imagination or not. Got home, parked in front of the house, and went to change the time on the radio’s clock, which is something I couldn’t even do during the events of Chapter 1. Success. I then went to turn the radio off. Nothing. It wouldn’t turn off. I held the power button for longer than usual, maybe 5 seconds, and the radio did turn off at that point. Turned off the car, went inside, came back out 5 minutes later to double check that everything was all good, and to my dismay, it wasn’t all good. The car was doing the exact same thing - cranking, lights on the dash, but no start.
Called the mechanic back. Told him my suspicions about the radio. He towed it away a few minutes ago. I’m not sure he has a clear strategy about where to go from here - he didn’t seem too confident.
Just some history: This car has had its fair share of engine problems. I’ve had it for a year, and the first repair on it was a new fuel injector because the car would jut back and forth while in drive with the brake pressed. Ever since then, the car would occasionally start rough, but after sitting for a minute or two, the engine would always level out and then it would drive normally. More recently (a few weeks preceding the radio issue) the car almost didn’t turn over - but did - and started especially rough. But again, after a few minutes, it leveled out.
If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions please let me know. Am I wrong to draw a connection between the strange happenings with my radio and my car not starting? I know a Nissan dealership might be more useful at this point, but the price they’ll charge me will be more than the worth of the car.