2001 Maxima--hard to start.... sometimes!

Have a 2001 Maxima GLE with 220,000 plus miles. Lately, at times I turn the key and hear nothing but a humming sound. If I keep trying to start it, eventually it will start. Battery was tested by AAA and is OK.

Sometimes, even on the chillier mornings lately, it starts right up the first time. Sometimes it takes two or three tries, at times seven or eight tries. On those occasions, like I noticed tonight at the grocery store, the lights on the clock (and maybe the dash, but I wasn’t looking at that) are slow to come on as I keep trying to start it. Took it to my mechanic a couple of weeks ago, and of course it started just fine for him. He thought it might be the fuel filter, but that’s not an easy fix if we aren’t sure. He thought that once it won’t start at all, it will be easy to figure out. Any ideas?

You said you hear nothing but a humming sound, which is probably the fuel pump. You don’t hear the starter turning the engine over? If not, you may have a bad neutral safety switch in the transmission shifter. Next time you turn the key and the engine doesn’t crank, try moving the shift lever out of Park, then back into Park, then try to start the engine. If it does now turn over, the neutral safety switch is probably going bad.

If the engine does crank but won’t start, it may be a bad fuel pump. In that case, try waiting several seconds after turning the key to “run” position (where you hear the fuel pump hum) before turning to “start” position. Letting the fuel pump run several seconds helps build fuel pressure before trying to start. If that helps, you may need a new fuel pump.