2005 Nissan Altima electrical problem?



I have been battling an issue with my 12 year old car that I received as a gift. It started out as a very minor issue. They replaced the manufacturers radio with an aftermarket JVC radio years ago. It had the slight annoyance of dropping the radio signal when my phone charger was plugged in. I let it go but lately the electrical problems have gotten worse. It started with a very rough idle when stopped at a sign/light. I didn’t know what the problem was but there was an issue with the Catalytic Converter so we had the whole exhaust replaced with aftermarket parts thinking that was the issue. I kept saying I thought the problem was electrical but other solutions were attempted such as oxygen sensor, replacing an air intake hose, a idle sensor, and relearning the idle. None of this has helped. The problem increased once my husband had an HD radio installed in the car. Now I cannot drive with the lights or radio on - it kills the car dead. The battery was replaced in the last six months and they tested the alternator- he was getting 14 volts while running.

Any ideas on what else we can try? Is it really worth getting wiring fixed on a 12 year old car that has seen better days??


Well, there’s no way on Gods green earth that a properly functioning radio should kill the engine, so my first step would be to remove that radio; don’t put any radio back in until you find out more. Someone has monkeyed with the wiring a little too much from the sounds of it.
This may not solve the problem, but you have to start somewhere. Let us know how it behaves after that.


Sometime in all the messing around under the dash someone has created a short circuit when the accessories are turned on. While it’s a tedious mess to figure out what has happened, taking out the radio and taping all the bare wires carefully is a good start. Did the car run OK with the lights and radio off? It would be helpful to know that.

And stop throwing money over the parts store counter until you figure out what the problem is.


My guess, the engine computer isn’t getting the proper voltage supply for some reason. That computer is very sensitive toits power supply voltage, and even dropping from 12.6 volts to 11 volts can confuse them to no end, enough to cause the engine to stall out. That’s where I’d start, measure what voltage the engine computer power supply is being provided. If it isn’tat least 12.6 volts with the headlights and radio on, figure out why. Probably a bad connection, short circuit, or ground problem.

If you just want a working car for now, the quickest way to that might be to just remove any electrical equipment that isn’t original to the car. Worth a try anway. You shop will probably have to do that anyway as part of the debug process. The good thing about this problem is that it should be fairly easy to fix with a properly trained auto-electric technician working it.


Easiest thing to do would be pull the radio and check the wiring.