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2006 Nissan Altima doesn't want to start

So, my family owns a 2006 Nissan Altima, and it’s developed a strange problem recently. It would start fine when cold, but then if I park it and come back 20 minutes later, it won’t start again. Apparently this is a thing that happens with Altimas. Now for a while, it was starting after two or three tries, but now it just simply isn’t turning over. When I watch it under the hood, it shudders some, and then there’s a puff of warm air/exhaust, i don’t know. I’ve read it might be the cam shaft sensor, but after replacing that the problem hasn’t gone away, and a few people have said it might be the fuel pump, but I replaced that as well and it’s still not starting up. I’m thinking i might try to replace the crankshaft sensor next but I thought I would ask here for advice and opinions just in case. This isnt the first time this has happened with this car, apparently - when my brother in law owned it, this happened once before, and the camshaft sensor being replaced fixed it.

You can pull a plug and see if you have spark. If you have spark then Squirt starter fluid into throttle body. If it starts fuel problem.

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Update. It’s not the crankshaft sensor either. Which is a shame because getting that sucker out and replacing it was a nightmare.

knefimore - Okay! The plugs were the next thing I intended to check, but… How do I check if I have spark? I’ve never worked on ignition/fuel stuff before, i have no idea how to do anything.

Now for a while, it was starting after two or three tries, but now it just simply isn’t turning over. When I watch it under the hood, it shudders some, and then there’s a puff of warm air/exhaust, i don’t know.

This is conflicting. Is it turning over but not starting, or when you turn the key to start there is nothing.
If it is the later.

Battery connections are the first place to begin when you have a “No start” situation. Even
if you have a new battery, if the connections are loose, dirty or corroded, you will not be
allowing the full flow of current to pass thru the connections. The connection may be
enough to turn on the lights, but not enough for the huge flow that is needed to operate the
starter. This is where many people say that they know the battery is good….”because the
lights come on”. This is no more a battery test than licking a 9volt battery. It only tells you that there is electricity…not how many volts or the amperage that flows from the battery.
Jump starting may have wiggled the terminal just enough to allow the current to pass and start the engine, but tomorrow you have the same problem.

First remove the cables from the battery and use a wire brush to remove any corrosion and dirt from the battery posts and the cable terminals. There is a tool with a round wire brush for this purpose, found at any auto parts store for less than $10
Before connecting the cables, apply a coating of di-electric grease to the battery posts this will keep oxygen away from the connection so that it will not corrode as fast.

It is just as important that the other end of the cables also have a clean connection. Remove the positive cable from the battery again so that you do not short anything out. Follow both cables to their far ends, remove this connection and wire brush the connection and the cable terminal clean and retighten these connections.

If there was work done recently, there may have been an “engine to body” ground that was not installed following the work. These grounds normally run from the rear of the engine to the firewall and are uninsulated and most are a braided wire. If any of these are found unattached…reattach them.
Remember….this is not a “Sherman Tank” don’t over tighten the connections.
Tight…tight………………too tight…broke!!!


Look up all the recalls/TSBs on this car. Apparently there was one (related to the no-start condition) that called for replacing the crank sensor and then having the dealer update the software. If you have not been to the dealer for the software update, I’d do that first.

Yosemite - okay, i can see how I was unclear. It turns over but will not start. As for the battery though, I will check the connections and clean them like you suggest, because sure, why not. Everything seemed fine when I disconnected it to install the fuel pump, but there’s nothing wrong with doublechecking.

jesmed1 - The sensors were replaced about 18 months ago at a dealership in washington, if my brother in law is to be believed. I would imagine the software was updated at that point…

if I can get it driving again soon, I’ll drive to a dealer and have it checked.

You can pull the plug, lay it against the engine. Start the car and watch the spark. Should be bright and bluish.

Use a spare plug instead. Use any old plug. It’s free and easy.

Welp, of the four spark plugs, two were firing badly, and two weren’t firing at all. I swapped them all out for brand new and it started up perfectly, check engine light went away. I have no idea how long they’ve been in that condition but I guess they went south at some point.

Sort of wish I had come to car talk before I installed a three hundred dollar fuel pump and eighty dollars worth of new sensors, haha… o h w e l l.

Thank you for your help, everyone!

Sometimes the fix is cheap and easy and ALWAYS start with the basics. So glad you’re back up and running @Internet_Dad.

Hahaha, maybe I spoke too soon the other day.

Everything seemed fine since the day I replaced the plugs, until around Friday, where I noticed the car was shuddering a little when it started. And now the check engine light has come back on again. This morning I drove it for about ten minutes, parked for two hours, and then when I came to start it again, it really shook before it started up again.

Basically it seems to be starting the same problem I just “fixed” by replacing the plugs.

So, uh, I’m getting a feeling that while that might have fixed things in the short term, there might be something else going on here.

I’m going to pull the plugs and replace them with new ones again, and see if that helps, but since these ones I’m removing are ALSO pretty much brand new, I can’t imagine they’ve gone bad - I’m going to try cleaning them. If the NEW new plugs act up in a few weeks, I’ll simply swap the cleaned ones back in, and see if that will keep the problem at bay till I can figure out what’s going on.

that’s what my pop used to have to do to keep mom’s maverick running, back in the day.

It sounds like you have a problem with one or more coils.


“I’m going to pull the plugs and replace them with new ones again…”

Before cleaning them, it would be good if you provided a good description of their condition, white?

Well, the car wouldn’t even start this morning, so I ended up doing the thing really fast a few minutes ago (after which it started right up).

@insightful The plugs all look pretty dark vs the new clean ones, and there’s a thin coating of something black/brown on the tip and threads. It’s built up a little on the washer at the base of the plug (I don’t know if washer is the word, the little metal ring which comes with the plug).

I swapped them all out for brand new and it started up perfectly, check engine light went away.
And now the check engine light has come back on again.
I don't recall any mention of the check engine light before. That would have been the place to start. You might want to check the codes before throwing any more money at it.

Fouling all the plugs in 2 weeks means too much fuel or oil getting to the combustion chambers. If you’re not using excessive oil, it’s probably fuel. Basics: clean the throttle body and MAF sensor.

@Internet_Dad I’ve just read your post. I’m having the exact see problems you are having down to a “T.” I was wondering if you ever got the problem corrected and if so how. I too have replaced all the parts you had listed and still it’ll crank when it hadn’t been ran in a while, but won’t of it and I try to crank a lil while later. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Check for spark next time this happens @JarredSayles . The original OP discovered a no-spark condition which was the likely cause. It appears they never posted back about the final resolution, but I expect it turned out to be a problem in the ignition system.

If you get a no-spark, and the plugs are in good shape, consider

  • coil packs
  • ignition module
  • crank or cam position sensor
  • battery problem

Those are all known to be subject to heat related failure.

If your test for spark shows good spark, post back.

I have recently purchase a 06 Altima with hard start issues example turn key on try to start spins over no crank not turn fully off then back to start again turning it over again repeat many times before finally cranking eventually thought it would be easy fix but so far money pit I replaced the fuel pump first as I thought it wasn’t getting appropriate fuel pressure guy said pump was going bad didn’t work same issue so I then turned to changing the camshaft and crankshaft sensors still nothing same issue then I found oil in the spark plug sleeve I removed the oil first then changed the valve cover as it was bad replaced new plugs and new coil packs just as I did not know condition still no start I sprayed starting fluid into intake to see if it’s fuel issue nothing only thing I can think is the ecu or ignition module may be bad fuses are good any ideas like I said it will eventually crank and drive after many many times of trying but I want the problem fixed and have no idea as I bought it as is and do not know past of vehicle

Well first of all you tagged on to a 2 year old thread , you should start your own so the replies will be for your problem. Also I know this is not English 101 but many of us will not wade though a post without sentence and punctuation structure.